Information technology generally refers to corporations' purchasing managing and maintaining computer hardware, software, networking and services, but a list of IT job categories would cover a wider range of activities than that. Positions are typically categorized based on programming language or protocol, types of platforms, the extent to which things are created, maintained or managed and involvement with technology budgeting or purchasing.
A List of IT Job Categories
Depending on the size of the company, there are varying degrees to which IT employees handle technology implementation, maintenance, repair and support.
Professional Pecking Orders
Here are some of the different levels of involvement with technology reflected in IT job titles. They're listed in alphabetical order, not hierarchically, which is worth noting because organizational structures do vary from one company to the next. For example, some employers might use the title technician to refer to an employee with more seniority than an administrator, other employers might call administrators more experienced than technicians, while still other employers would limit administrators to maintenance and have technicians only do installations.
- Administrator: Like the word implies, administrators install, maintain and repair a type of technology within a company. Most prevalent are network administrators and database administrators.
- Analyst: Analysts assess the performance of technology and diagnose technical problems as they arise. These jobs can also involve financial analysis of a company's technology purchasing.
- Architect: This individual draws up plans for technology systems and implementations, including software, hardware and websites.
- Chief Information Officer: Akin to being chief executive officer of IT, the CIO oversees all the other types of personnel listed in this article and plans a company's entire technology budget.
- Consultant: Professionals with "consultant" in their job titles tend to have a free agent status, meaning they work for multiple clients and are their own bosses. Some consultants are contractors who receive hourly compensation without benefits or tenure while others work on a retainer basis..
- Designer: This role can involve planning new technology, enhancing application usability, designing websites, or other duties depending on the company's organizational hierarchy.
- Developer: Sometimes the term "developer" is interchangeable with "programmer," referring to people who create new software, or customize applications to fit a company's needs.
- Engineer: Typically engineers develop anew or upgrade existing software, hardware, networking, or Internet applications.
- Manager: Like the title suggests, managers oversee other technology employees and encourage them to meet standards of excellence. IT managers often have the authority to buy technology and plan budgets.
- Programmer: This typically entails coding new software or web-based applications, but there are also programmers who work at machine level to build hardware.
- Statistician: Measuring the performance of a company's technology is a job for a statistician, who may work with analysts to apply these numbers.
- Support: Also referred to as help-desk staff, these employees respond to queries from their coworkers in non-technology departments and get these colleagues' software, hardware and other technology to run smoothly.
- Technician: This label is sometimes interchangeable with "administrator" or "support," depending on the particular employer. Usually, technicians install, maintain and repair computer hardware or other types of technology equipment.
There are IT job categories focused on a single programming language, network protocol or type of hardware. Smaller companies might group similar types of computer lingo together as part of one employee's responsibility. Conversely, larger employers might have a group of people working on the same language, or even the same brand of technology product. With that in mind, here are some of the different languages, protocols and platforms that describe various roles within IT departments.
- Desktop personal computers
- Internet hardware
- Personal digital assistants
- Storage hardware
- Security hardware
- Server hardware
- Audio and video:
- Operating systems
- Remote access
- Security software
- Server software
- Word Processing
- Ruby on Rails
- Visual Basic
The groups of categories above are merely a sampling of how employers group different jobs within IT departments. Technological innovations have a way of growing the lists of different types of software, hardware, networking and technology services used by corporations.
As technology continues to improve the way businesses operate, the list of IT job categories will likely grow with the pace of innovations.