What Is an Information Technologist? (A Complete Guide)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 27 July 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Information technology, or IT, encompasses a wide range of industries and networks that facilitate the exchange, storage and security of data and information. Job opportunities are plentiful in information technology as long as you have the right skills and qualifications. By understanding the requirements and duties of a computer information technologist, you can make an informed decision about pursuing an IT career. In this article, we define IT, clarify what an information technologist is, list IT careers and explain how to enter the field.

What is information technology?

Information technology involves using computers and telecommunications to research, design and build information management systems. Both computer hardware and software applications are foundational elements of these processes. IT requires developing, administering and providing support for communication networks and databases. Professionals in this sector ensure individuals and organisations can gather, process and exchange data securely.

What is an information technologist?

An Information technologist is a trained specialist who can create, install, manage and support various components of IT systems. They might specialise in computer hardware, software, communications networks, databases or security systems. They ensure that organisations have efficient and updated technology for the smooth flow of data and information. Additionally, they establish and share security protocols to protect the networks they administer. They may work independently or as part of a team, reporting to an IT manager.

What does an information technologist do?

Depending on their job, an information technologist can have a range of routine and long-term duties. Some typical tasks include:

  • Installing, testing and maintaining computer hardware, software, systems, networks and associated devices

  • Troubleshooting system issues and providing technical support to users

  • Setting up accounts and providing technical training for organisations' staff

  • Building databases for storing and accessing data

  • Performing periodic database audits

  • Backing up data on servers and creating reliable data retrieval protocols

  • Overseeing data migrations

  • Managing network security configurations, user permissions and firewalls

  • Coordinating with external contractors and vendors on infrastructure development

  • Developing new procedures and strategies to enhance technological efficiency

Related: Cybersecurity Interview Questions and Answers

How much money does an information technologist make?

An information technologist makes a national average salary of ₹3,10,440 per year. Pay may vary according to your role, education, experience and employer. Information technologists with extensive experience and up-to-date technical skills can expect to have high earning potential.

What are examples of information technology careers?

With an IT degree, you can pursue the following careers:

  • Computer programmer

  • Software engineer

  • Cloud system engineer

  • Applications engineer

  • Web developer

  • User experience (UX) designer

  • Quality assurance tester

  • Support specialist

  • Systems analyst

  • Database administrator

  • Data quality manager

  • Data scientist

  • IT security specialist

  • IT technician

  • IT director

  • Network engineer

  • Interactive digital media specialist

  • Help desk technician

Related: What Is a Full Stack Developer? Benefits and Career Advice

How to become an information technologist

You can become an information technologist by following these steps:

1. Complete the 12th HSC exam in the science stream

First, take the HSC exam with physics, chemistry and mathematics or with physics, chemistry, mathematics and biology from a recognised state board or university. It also helps to take computer science. If in the general category, you can pass the HSC exam with at least 50% aggregate marks, and with 45% marks if in the reserved category.

2. Get a certification

IT certifications range in duration from a few days to a few weeks. To be eligible for these usually requires knowledge of basic computer concepts. Some of the certification courses you can take are Programming Through C, Programming Through Python, Object-Oriented Programming Through C++, Core Java, ASP.NET with VB and Certified Android Apps Developer.

3. Pursue a diploma

You can pursue your diploma after passing class 10th or the HSC exam with mathematics. The course duration can range from six months to three years, and college admission can be merit-based or based on an entrance test. Some of the college entrance exams you can take include the Delhi Common Entrance Test (Delhi CET), the Arunachal Pradesh Joint Entrance Examination (APJEE), the Uttarakhand Polytechnic Joint Entrance Exam (UBTER JEEP), the HP Polytechnic Admission Test (HP PAT) and the Telangana Polytechnic Common Entrance Test (TS POLYCET). These tests require the study of physics, chemistry, applied mathematics, English, computer programming, system analysis and design.

4. Earn a bachelor's degree

You can earn a Bachelor of Engineering (BE), a Bachelor of Technology (B.Tech), a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA), a Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) or a Bachelor of Commerce (B.Com) in information technology. The eligibility criteria are 10+2, with physics, chemistry and mathematics, at least 50% aggregate marks and a passing score on one of the following common entrance tests (CETs):

  • Common Admission Test (CAT)

  • Xavier Admission Test (XAT)

  • Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT)

  • Joint Entrance Examination Main (JEE)

  • JEE Advanced.

You can also get a lateral entry with a three-year diploma. Course duration ranges from three to four years.

5. Complete a post-graduate diploma

The eligibility criteria for the one-year postgraduate diploma in information technology (PGDIT) is a BE, B.Tech or B.Sc. degree in any engineering branch or information technology field. For instance, you could've studied computer science, computer applications, electronics, statistics, mathematics, physics or chemistry. Plan to score at least 55-60% marks and clear entrance exams like the Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) or the Tamil Nadu Common Entrance Test (TANCET). You can also obtain a two-year postgraduate diploma in information technology management (PGDITM), which requires a bachelor's degree in any subject and 50% marks.

6. Acquire a master's degree

You can pursue a Master of Engineering (ME), a Master of Technology (M.Tech), a Master of Management Studies (MMS), a Master of Science (M.Sc.) and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in information technology. These two-year courses require a BE, B.Tech, B.Sc., BCA or B.Com in information technology or a relevant discipline with 50-60% aggregate marks. You can also pass entrance exams like the Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE), the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT), Maharashtra Common Entrance Test (MH-CET) or the Xavier Aptitude Test (XAT).

7. Develop essential soft skills

Working as an information technologist involves daily collaboration with different types of people. Therefore, having strong communication, negotiation, interpersonal and relationship-building skills is key. Creative, critical thinking and problem-solving skills can also help you understand why problems occur and how to resolve them.

8. Gain work experience

Since many employers prefer experienced candidates, consider working part-time or as a freelancer while completing your education. You can find work locally or online and form an idea of the current industry situation for IT professionals. Creating and launching your own IT projects can also prove beneficial, as it shows employers you have the skills, planning ability and commitment to see a project through to completion.

9. Prepare a cover letter and resume

A well-prepared cover letter and resume highlights your unique abilities and helps you stand out from other candidates. Emphasise your strengths and skills and customise your letter and resume to fit the job requirements. Proofread and edit for accuracy, grammatical errors and spelling mistakes. Read the cover letter aloud to make sure it sounds professional.

Related: Writing a Cover Letter: Tips and Examples

10 Apply to information technology jobs

Search for computer IT jobs on online job boards, professional networking sites, professional IT groups, IT company websites and social media. You can also inform your IT industry connections that you are looking for a job and ask them to make recommendations. Before sending a job application, read the job requirements carefully and make sure that you are a good fit for the skill sets that the employer requires. You can also use your job search to note what is in demand in the market and which skills you benefit from gaining.

11. Practice for the job interview

Ask a friend to help you practise answering the most frequently asked IT interview questions and get their feedback regarding your performance. You can also record yourself and observe the way you speak, the tone of your voice, your response style and your body language. Practice answering the interview questions until you feel more confident and comfortable.

12. Stay updated on IT developments

You benefit from staying updated on the latest technical developments. The IT field is fast-growing, and equipping yourself with the latest knowledge and skills makes a significant difference in your employability. It also offers you a wider choice of jobs and allows you to find higher-paying and more satisfying opportunities.

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