IT Careers vs. Everything Else: The Ultimate Cage Match

IT Careers vs. Everything Else: The Ultimate Cage Match

Wondering if a career in IT is right for you? Technology jobs often offer better pay, more opportunities for growth and lower barriers to entry than fields like finance, health care or sales. In the battle of IT careers vs. everything else, the real winner is the job that’s right for you.

IT Careers vs. Everything Else: The Ultimate Cage Match

If you’re contemplating “what career is best for me,” you may be considering several different types of careers in several different industries. And you may be wondering how careers in information technology stack up against other popular career choices in terms of salary, number of job openings and required training. Or maybe you’re curious about how your professional skills and innate talents would serve you in various professional roles. To help you begin to weigh your options, here are some key facts about popular information technology jobs as well as some about careers in other popular fields. Based on the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and U.S. News and World Report findings. (Please note that salaries can vary greatly based on location, industry, experience, etc.)

Careers in IT compensate quite well compared to other fields and often require less training and education than many high-paying fields. They also allow you to exercise a diverse range of skills, and there are ample opportunities in IT. It’s slated to be a growing field for the foreseeable future. Take a look at these stats about specific job roles in technology.

Computer Support Specialist

  • Annual salary range*
    • Low: $38,560
    • Median: $62,760
    • High: $102,410
  • Job outlook: Above-average growth over the next 10 years
  • Types of roles: IT support specialist, technical support specialist, technical security support specialist, desktop support technician
  • Training/education/experience required: Training or apprenticeship experience that familiarizes you with major hardware and software components; CompTIA A+ certification also helpful
  • Soft skills/personality traits that are a good fit: Problem-solving abilities, communication skills, attention to detail

Computer Systems Analyst

  • Annual salary range*
    • Low: $60,680
    • Median: $99,270
    • High: $158,010
  • Job outlook: Above-average growth over the next 10 years
  • Types of roles: IT systems specialist, computer technician, technology project manager
  • Training/education/experience required: Training or apprenticeship experience that familiarizes you with both computer systems and business practices
  • Professional skills/personality traits that are a good fit: Creativity, problem-solving abilities, communication skills, collaboration/teamwork

Information Security Analyst

  • Annual salary range*
    • Low: $61,520
    • Median: $102,600
    • High: $165,920
  • Job outlook: Above-average growth over the next 10 years
  • Types of roles: IT security specialist, software security engineer, security officer, IT security director
  • Training/education/experience required: Training or apprenticeship experience that familiarizes you with both computer systems and business practices; IT security certification also helpful
  • Professional skills/personality traits that are a good fit: Creativity, problem-solving abilities, attention to detail, collaboration skills, research abilities

Software Developer

  • Annual salary range*
    • Low: $64,470
    • Median: $120,730
    • High: $168,570
  • Job outlook: Above-average growth over the next 10 years
  • Types of roles: Computer software developers, mobile app developers
  • Training/education/experience required: Training or apprenticeship experience that familiarizes you with programming languages
  • Professional skills/personality traits that are a good fit: Creativity, problem-solving abilities, adaptability, attention to detail, communication skills

IT Careers vs. Other Popular Careers

You may be wondering how information technology careers compare to other fields. What’s the salary range? What would my day-to-day responsibilities be? How much training do I need to get there? Well, don’t fret because we’ve got all those answers and more for you below.

IT Careers vs. Sales Careers

A common but often overlooked aspect of an information technology career is working with people. IT careers often require you to help your colleagues troubleshoot technology issues or to work on teams to come up with innovations and solutions to complex problems. Most IT professionals don’t sit in the dark in front of their computers, despite how they’re often misrepresented in popular culture. People who thrive in information technology careers are often people-focused individuals who genuinely enjoy working with and helping their colleagues and associates. They do have a good amount of time to work independently, though, and, unlike in sales, their success at work doesn’t dramatically hinge upon their ability to persuade. Check out the table below to see how IT stands up against sales.

Have we convinced you? Read how to change careers from sales to IT.

  IT Sales and Related Occupations
Annual Salary Range $38,560 – $168,570* $27,260 – $103,710 plus commission*
Job Outlook Above-average growth over next 10 years Average growth expected over the next 10 years
Types of Roles Support specialists, developers, analysts and more! Insurance agents, advertising agents, inside sales representatives, outside sales representatives, account executives, sales engineers, sales managers
Training/Education/Experience Many entry-level IT roles require little formal education; you can get started with a few classes or a certification Entry-level sales positions often require a high school diploma, and sales positions in highly technical fields often require a bachelor’s degree
Professional Skills/Personality Traits That Are a Good Fit Problem-solving abilities, communication skills, attention to detail, collaboration/teamwork, creativity, adaptability Communications skills, the ability to persuade, listening skills, growth-minded outlook

IT Careers vs. Health Care Support Careers

Just as many career changers opt for careers in information technology, so, too, do they opt for health care support careers. Both can be viable, lucrative options. And they require many of the same professional skills and personality traits, since both require solving problems and working on teams. Health care support careers involve working with the public and interacting with a large number of people every day. IT careers, on the other hand, aren’t solitary, but they usually are more behind the scenes. Check out the table below to see how IT stands up against health care.

Have we convinced you? Read how to change careers from health care to IT.

  IT Health Care Support Occupations
Annual Salary Range $38,560 – $168,570* $29,430 – $77,810*
Job Outlook Above-average Growth Over Next 10 Years Above-average growth expected over the next 10 years
Types of Roles Support specialists, developers, analysts and more! Clinical lab technician, cardiovascular technologist, dental assistant, medical assistant
Training/Education/Experience Many entry-level IT roles require little formal education; you can get started with a few classes or a certification Typically, technical school diploma or certification; varies based on role
Professional Skills/Personality Traits That Are a Good Fit Problem-solving abilities, communication skills, attention to detail, collaboration/teamwork, creativity, adaptability Communications skills, empathy, the ability to work well in a fast-paced environment and work under pressure

IT Careers vs. Construction Careers

On the surface, IT jobs and construction jobs are quite different, but both fields offer an array of careers. Not all construction jobs require you to work outdoors (although many do), and not all IT jobs keep you at a desk all day, every day. Both fields also provide many opportunities for contract workers who are looking to take on side projects, and higher-level positions in both fields offer great pay. Check out the table below to see how IT stands up against construction.

Have we convinced you? Read how to change careers from construction to IT.

  IT Construction and Extraction Occupations
Annual Salary Range $38,560 – $168,570* $37,520 – $97,860*
Job Outlook Above-average Growth Over Next 10 Years Average growth expected over the next 10 years
Types of Roles Support specialists, developers, analysts and more! Construction worker, construction manager, cement and concrete mason, brick mason, insulation contractor, steelworker
Training/Education/Experience Many entry-level IT roles require little formal education; you can get started with a few classes or a certification Technical school or bachelor’s degree for some positions, previous work experience for others; U.S. Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) training
Professional Skills/Personality Traits That Are a Good Fit Problem-solving abilities, communication skills, attention to detail, collaboration/teamwork, creativity, adaptability Organization/planning skills, negotiation skills, strong work ethic

IT Careers vs. Finance Careers

One of the biggest differences between an IT job and a finance job is that, in most cases, an IT job requires quite a bit more creativity. Although finance jobs do often require problem-solving abilities, the industry is heavily regulated, so solutions to finance problems are often relatively straightforward and based on industry best practices. IT careers, on the other hand, require you to come up with creative solutions to problems and to provide your employer with innovative work on a regular basis. Check out the table below to see how IT stands up against finance.

Have we convinced you? Read how to change careers from finance to IT.

  IT Financial Specialists
Annual Salary Range $38,560 – $168,570* $57,900 – $171,000*
Job Outlook Above-average Growth Over Next 10 Years Average growth expected over the next 10 years
Types of Roles Support specialists, developers, analysts and more! Financial analyst, financial advisor, accountant, compliance officer, cost estimator, loan officer
Training/Education/Experience Many entry-level IT roles require little formal education; you can get started with a few classes or a certification Bachelor’s degree for some positions, previous work experience or certifications for others; varies based on position
Professional Skills/Personality Traits That Are a Good Fit Problem-solving abilities, communication skills, attention to detail, collaboration/teamwork, creativity, adaptability Communication skills, critical-thinking abilities, attention to detail, time management skills

Is IT Right for You?

A career in IT could be a wonderful fit for you if you’ve ruled out careers in these other popular industries. IT jobs have solid salary and growth potential and offer so many rich opportunities to problem solve, collaborate and innovate. To better help you make an informed decision about your career change, take our free career quiz to see if IT is right for you.

*Salary data pulled from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in May 2021. Low represents the 10th percentile, and high represents the 90th percentile.

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