Requirements for a Career in Technology

How can you improve your chances of landing a career in technology? Find out everything you need to know — from resume tips to education requirements.
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  • Tech careers include those in hardware, software, design, and research and development.
  • You can specialize by industry or function: tech development, security, or support.
  • Technology degrees differ by their scope, cost, and career outcome.
  • Tech internships can provide practical experience, mentorship, and on-the-job training.

Technology can help make people and processes more effective.

It has and will continue to shape manufacturing, energy, healthcare, and the global economy. According to the Future of Jobs Report 2020 from the World Economic Forum, technology could displace 85 million jobs by 2025, but it will create 97 million more.

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And technology careers continue to grow, touching nearly every industry.

Check out the common jobs in tech and the requirements needed to land them. And learn about the options for information technology (IT) degrees.

What Are Common Technology Careers?

With a variety of technology careers available, tech professionals can take many different paths in the field.

Jobs in tech may focus on computer hardware or software, design and development, support, or research. And while many positions require a minimum education level, you can develop technology skills on your own or through experience.

Common jobs in tech can also be separated by level.

General entry-level careers include jobs such as computer support. But more specialized entry-level careers include web and software development, computer network and database architecture, and computer systems and information security analysis.

With a graduate degree, technology career options expand to include computer and information research science, management positions, and postsecondary teaching roles.

Specializations may be available within these tech occupations as well, like working with certain types of applications and systems or managing specific technology organizations.

Technology skills and expertise can apply to careers outside of computer and information technology as well. With the right education and experience, for example, technology professionals can work in business or engineering.

Popular Tech Concentrations

Within the many jobs in tech, you can find various concentrations and subfields.

For example, students can specialize in the programming field and focus on a specific coding language. Or they can choose to work with games and other applications. Similarly, web developers can specialize in full-stack, front-end, or back-end development.

In the cybersecurity field, professionals can concentrate in systems or network security. They can design and develop security software or implement and manage security. They can also pursue concentrations in risk management, loss prevention, or incident response.

Technology careers overlap with other industries as well, which presents additional concentration opportunities.

For example, tech professionals may specialize in business or healthcare applications. They may also focus on finance or information technology.

What Degree Should You Get to Work in Tech?

The broad computer and information technology industry has many technology careers and inroads.

Aspiring professionals can pursue certificates, undergraduate degrees, or graduate degrees. And they can pursue in-program specializations or create their own track through electives or internships.

Certificates and Certifications

Tech-related certificate programs provide accelerated and targeted training in various disciplines.

Aspiring tech professionals can use certificate programs to gain entry-level training or find a specialty. These programs usually take from 3-12 months to complete. Costs for these programs can vary.

The technology industry also offers industry certifications — credentials that recognize technology mastery in specific fields or technologies. Certifications usually require passing an exam. This usually requires participants to have a minimum education and experience level to qualify.

Pursuing certificates and certifications can provide students and professionals with access to career support services and networking opportunities.

Associate Degree

Technology degrees at the associate level typically cover the fundamentals and principles of the field. In these programs, students develop a computer science and information technology foundation, plus widely applicable and transferable general education courses.

Usually two years in length, associate degree programs can lead to entry-level careers. Many graduates, however, decide to continue their studies with a bachelor's program. This route may improve program accessibility and even save students money, since associate programs often feature less competitive admission policies and lower tuition rates, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).

Associate programs can offer a quick introduction to the field and help students choose which technology careers interest them most.

Bachelor's Degree

At the bachelor's level, the study options for information technology degrees become more diverse. Plus, bachelor's degrees lead to most entry-level technology careers and help graduates qualify for many industry certifications.

While most programs take comprehensive approaches to the discipline, you can also choose to specialize. These four-year programs expose learners to many subfields and career paths, even providing technology internships for practical experience.

The admission requirements for bachelor's programs vary considerably by school and discipline. Competitive programs, for example, may only accept applicants with high GPA and SAT scores.

In the 2020-2021 academic year, the average annual cost of tuition and required fees for a bachelor's program was $9,375 at a public school and $32,825 at a private school, according to NCES.

Master's Degree

In a master's in technology program, students can advance their expertise in the field in general and develop a specialization in many different subfields.

Students learn to design and develop technologies and master the application of them. Master's programs may also take interdisciplinary approaches and teach learners to use technology to find solutions for businesses and healthcare organizations.

And these programs often feature extensive research and practical requirements, too.

The program takes 1-2 years to complete and qualify graduates for most technology careers, including leadership positions. And according to NCES, it cost an average of $20,000 in tuition and required fees for the 2019-2020 year.

Doctoral Degree

Doctoral programs in technology explore the most advanced and specialized topics in the field.

For entry, prospective students typically need strong academic backgrounds, including a master's degree with a high GPA. The competitiveness of the application process ensures students can handle the demanding nature of the programs.

A student's chosen research topic informs their specialization, as they attempt to advance scholarship in their field.

Graduates often pursue postsecondary teaching careers, but research and development and management roles are also available.

These technology degrees take students 4-6 years to complete. They feature large and original research projects, seminars, and practical experiences.

To cover graduate tuition costs, doctoral students can apply to teaching assistantships.

Tech Internships

Google's internships give information technology and science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) students the opportunity to work on their internal projects and receive skills-based training. Google welcomes students from various degree levels and disciplines each year.

SpaceX intern program features annual opportunities in business operations, software development, and hardware engineering. The programs run for at least 12 weeks and accept applicants with a minimum GPA of 3.5.

Amazon internships provide experience for students from around the world in all degree levels. Participants receive thorough onboarding, training, mentorship, and networking opportunities.

Meta University internship program helps students gain experience in tech roles like analytics, product design, engineering, and operations. Participants may join global networking projects.

Microsoft's intern program offers internships in its commercial, operations, and engineering departments. Participants receive on-the-job training, mentorship, and real project experience in the programs.

What to Include in Your Tech Resume

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    Experience: Focus on relevant experience from the tech sector that highlights your accomplishments. Include any volunteering and internship experience as well.
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    Education: Discuss all relevant educational credentials, including degrees, certificates, and certifications. Pro tip: Start with the most recent, and work your way back.
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    Achievements: Highlight all relevant achievements that might separate you from your peers, such as awards or special recognitions. Also include scholarships or tech-related acknowledgements.
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    Achievements: Highlight all relevant achievements that might separate you from your peers, such as awards or special recognitions. Also include scholarships or tech-related acknowledgements.
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    Skills: Technical skills for resumes should include any noteworthy abilities that might be useful for jobs in tech. Emphasize skills in your area of interest — but a wide variety of knowledge can help as well. Skills may include working with hardware, software or platform proficiencies, or your programming language familiarity.
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    Portfolio: If possible, consider linking or submitting a portfolio with your resume. Portfolios should spotlight your unique experiences and skills from school, professional, and hobby projects.

Frequently Asked Questions About a Career in Technology

Is a tech career worth it?

In a short answer: Yes.

Technology careers offer many diverse opportunities and strong earning potential. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 15% growth in computer and information technology careers between 2021 and 2031. Plus, the median annual salary for the field as of May 2021 was $97,430.

And many jobs in tech use similar skills and knowledge, which may give you access to various careers and industries. The field also offers growth opportunities as you gain experience.

Which tech job has the highest salary?

The highest-paying technology career is in computer and information technology management.

According to the BLS, the median annual salary for this occupation was $159,010 in May 2021, more than $110,000 higher than the median annual salary for all occupations.

The top 10% of wage earners in tech management took home annual salaries of more than $208,000. The industries in tech management with the highest median annual salaries include information technology at $165,940, finance and insurance at $162,240, computer systems design services at $162,150, and manufacturing at $160,010.

How do I get a tech job with no experience?

You can access technology careers in many ways, including through education, experience, or a combination of both.

But one of the most effective ways to land a job in tech is to pursue an information technology degree, such as computer science or information science.

In addition to degrees, aspiring tech professionals can pursue IT bootcamps and certificate programs. While studying in any of these programs, you can gain experience through technology internships. You can also build a portfolio to show your technology experience.

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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