10 Entry-Level IT Jobs and What You Can Do to Get Hired

Written by Coursera • Updated on Jul 29, 2021

These in-demand jobs could lead to a new career in IT, from the help desk to the cloud.

Featured image for Popular IT certifications

IT is a wide and growing field. Jobs in the IT sector in the US are projected to grow at a much faster rate than other occupations in the next decade [1].

And it’s versatile too. You can start at the help desk and work your way up to any number of specialized jobs as you grow. Or you can jump straight into a field you’re interested in if you have some background knowledge. Here are ten entry-level IT positions to consider as you begin your job search.

Learn more: How to Get a Job in IT: 7 Steps

1. Help desk technician

Median Annual Salary:  $41,454 [2]

Job Outlook: 8% annual growth [3]

Requirements: Knowledge of computer systems and troubleshooting. Certifications, associate degrees, or bachelor’s degrees may be requested.

When a computer user or employee is having problems with hardware, software, or a network, they call on a help desk specialist to assist. A help desk technician might maintain, install, or troubleshoot hardware and software, resolve networking issues, or help resolve other problems for other company employees. 

The title for this role might vary. Help desk technicians can also be called help desk analysts, desktop support technicians, service desk technicians, computer support specialists, among several other titles. These positions collectively are sometimes referred to as help desk positions.

Many IT professionals start their careers in help desk roles. If you don’t know where to start in IT, this is a good role to consider; it’ll expose you to other areas of IT you might be interested in. As you gain experience, it’s possible to move into other jobs, like system or network administrator, cloud engineer, or information security analyst.

Three common help desk technician interview questions

  • What is  your troubleshooting process?

  • Can you describe a time when you’ve had to work with someone you didn’t get along with?

  • What would you do if faced with a technical issue you didn’t know how to solve?

Placeholder

Google IT Support

Google

PROFESSIONAL CERTIFICATE

2. IT technician

Average salary: $46,185 [4]

Job outlook: 8% annual growth [4]

Requirements: Knowledge of computer systems and troubleshooting. Certifications, associate degrees, or bachelor’s degrees may be requested.

Like help desk technicians, IT technicians work to support the technical issues within an organization’s computer system. But while help desk technicians might spend more time resolving user issues, IT technicians are more likely to spend time doing the actual technical work to resolve the issue. An IT technician should be able to troubleshoot, know how to use several operating systems, and understand the basics of IT networks.

IT technicians can also be called IT associates, IT analysts, or IT specialists. Some companies may have IT technicians do help desk work as well.

Three common IT technician interview questions

  • Can you tell me what an IP address is?

  • What do you like about being an IT professional?

  • Tell me about a time you worked on a team.

Read more: How to Get a Job as a Computer Technician | 10 Tips

3. Web developer

Median annual salary:  $77,200 [5]

Job Outlook: 8% annual growth [5]

Requirements: Ability to program. Associate, bachelor’s, or master’s degrees may be requested.

Web developers create websites that businesses use to operate and interact with their customers. This field breaks down into three main areas: front-end, back-end, and full-stack developers. Front-end developers design the parts of a website that users interact with. Back-end developers build and maintain the server, application, and database that power a website. Full-stack developers do both.

Requirements for entry-level candidates will vary by company and industry. It’s possible to get a job with a high school diploma or an associate’s degree, especially if you’ve done some web development on your own. Front-end programming languages you’ll want to learn include HTML, CSS, and Javascript. Back-end programming languages might include Python, Ruby, or PHP.

Three common web developer interview questions

  • Can you tell me about a project you’re most proud of?

  • What APIs have you worked with?

  • What are the differences between developing for mobile and desktop?

Placeholder

Web Design for Everybody: Basics of Web Development & Coding

University of Michigan

SPECIALIZATION

4. Systems administrator

Median annual salary:  $84,810 [6]

Job outlook: 4% annual growth (as fast as average) [6]

Requirements: Experience with computer systems. Certifications, associate degree, bachelor’s degree, or equivalent experience may be requested.

System administrators, also called computer administrators, install, configure, and maintain operation of multi-user computer systems and servers. A successful sysadmin uses their knowledge of software, hardware, and networks to keep businesses running smoothly. Their roles can overlap heavily with network administrators.

Keeping up with the latest network technology is a lifelong learning process. As you expand your skill set and learn to use the latest products, you can advance to roles like systems engineer or systems architect. 

Three Common Systems Administrator Interview Questions

  • What is a frustrating support issue you’ve encountered?

  • What is DNS and how does it work?

  • How would you go about troubleshooting a problem you don’t understand?

5. Systems analyst

Median annual salary:  $90,920 [7]

Job outlook: 7% annual growth (faster than average) [7]

Requirements: Certifications, associate degree, bachelor’s degree, or equivalent experience may be preferred.

Systems analysts might sound similar to systems administrators, but they’re quite different. The goal of a systems analyst is to make a company’s computing systems more efficient and effective. They identify opportunities for improvement and design, test, and deploy systems to execute those improvements. 

While not always a requirement, a bachelor’s degree in computer or information science can make you competitive for this job.

Three common systems analyst interview questions

  • What is a DHCP server and why would you use one?

  • What would you include in a software audit?

  • What’s the largest project you’ve worked on in the past?

6. Database administrator

Median annual salary:  $93,750 [8]

Job outlook: 10% annual growth (much faster than average) [8]

Requirements: Certifications, associate degrees, or bachelor’s degrees may be requested.

Database administrators (DBAs) store, organize, and secure data. This is an especially critical task for companies with large information systems (like banks and hospitals). Ensuring that databases operate efficiently helps companies analyze and leverage this data for growth. 

Build a foundation for a job in database administration with a bachelor’s degree in a computer or information-related field. You can also set yourself up for success by learning database languages, most commonly Structured Query Language (SQL).

Three common database administrator interview questions

  • How do you prevent data loss during a migration to the cloud?

  • How do you troubleshoot database problems?

  • How do you learn about new applications?

7. Site reliability engineer

Median annual salary: $126,718 [9]

Job outlook: 34% annual growth (much faster than average) [10]

Requirements: Site reliability or DevOps experience and related skills. Bachelor’s degree, or equivalent experience may be requested.

Site reliability engineers (SREs) keep the websites and apps we use up and running smoothly. SREs develop automated solutions for common development and operational tasks, like latency monitoring, capacity planning, and emergency responding. As long as  technology continues to play a role in our day to day lives, there will be a growing demand for SREs. 

Besides a computer science degree, you can elevate your resume with a certification in DevOps or SRE. You may also expand your job opportunities by learning a scripting programming language, like Python. As you start out as a SRE, you’ll develop skills that transfer to other roles in IT, including cloud or full-stack engineering.

Three common SRE interview questions

  • What does your current deployment pipeline look like?

  • What’s the difference between DevOps and SRE?

  • What are some common architecture bottlenecks?

8. Software developer

Median annual salary: $110,140 [11]

Job outlook: 22% annual growth (much faster than average) [11]

Requirements: Experience with programming languages. Bachelor’s degrees or master’s degrees may be requested.

Software developers (sometimes called software engineers) build the systems and applications that run on computers, phones, and other devices. These programs are typically designed to allow companies or employees to perform specific tasks, like manage data or collaborate across teams. 

Many software developers have a bachelor’s degree in computer science or software engineering. You can also gain relevant experience through coursework or a bootcamp, or through an internship.

Three common software developer interview questions

  • What are your top programming languages?

  • Can you tell me about a tough development problem and how you solved it?

  • How would you diagnose and resolve a bug in a critical application?

9. Information security analyst

Median annual salary:  $103,590 [12]

Job outlook: 31% annual growth (much faster than average) [12]

Requirements: Certifications, associate degrees, or bachelor’s degrees may be requested.

Information security analysts (also called cybersecurity analysts) are tasked with protecting a company’s computer networks and systems. This involves planning and implementing security measures and quickly addressing security breaches should they occur. As technology continues to advance, so does the need for robust security. 

Develop your skill set through an entry-level information security certification like the CompTIA Security+. Many information security security analysts have a bachelor’s degree in information assurance or computer science. If you can’t land an information security analyst position immediately, try getting your foot in the door with a help desk or IT technician position, and build experience from there.

Three common information security analyst interview questions

  • What process would you use to secure a server?

  • How do you defend your personal wireless access point?

  • What tools do you use for performing security assessments?

Read more: 10 Popular Cybersecurity Certifications (2021)

10. Cloud engineer

Median annual salary:  $110,590 (Glassdoor) [13]

Job outlook: 27% annual growth (much faster than average) [14]

Requirements: Knowledge of cloud platforms. Bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, or equivalent experience are typically preferred.

Cloud engineers help businesses migrate applications, functions, and processes to the cloud. They typically oversee the design, configuration, and monitoring of cloud-based services like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and the Google Cloud Platform. As more companies move their IT infrastructure to the cloud, the demand for cloud engineers continues to rise. 

Many companies look for entry-level candidates with at least a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field. That said, having relevant experience can set you up to be competitive for the job as well. If you’re working your way up to become a cloud engineer, try starting in positions like system or network administration that’ll expose you to some work with the cloud. As you gain experience, you can advance to become a cloud developer, cloud administrator, or cloud architect.

Three common cloud engineer interview questions

  • What is the benefit of cloud computing for a business?

  • How do you design for failure?

  • Can you describe your most challenging cloud computing project?

Next Steps: Landing an entry-level IT job

Now that you have an idea of what kinds of entry-level IT jobs are out there, you can start looking into landing one. If you’re starting from scratch, you’ll want to start building relevant skills that you can put on your resume. There are several ways to gain those skills once you know what they are—you can get a certification, teach yourself, or enroll in a course.

Not sure where to start? Consider checking out the Google IT Support Professional Certificate. The coursework will cover all the basics of IT and get you job-ready in six months. Plus, it’ll prepare you for the entry-level CompTIA A+ certification exam—and the first week is free.

Placeholder

FAQs

Are there any entry-level jobs without any requirements?

Some IT internships or apprenticeships may not require past experience. But generally, full-time entry-level positions will require you to have some relevant skills and experience that show you can do the job. If you don’t have a degree or are trying to enhance your skill set, a relevant certification can show employers that you’re capable of completing tasks.

What skills should I develop to get a job in IT?

Though this depends on the role, many entry-level IT positions request some knowledge of operating systems, computer security, networking principles, and troubleshooting. If you want to go into software or web development, a versatile and popular programming language like Python can be good to learn.

If you’re stuck, try finding a few positions you’re interested in on a job search website to see what skills are commonly requested.

Read more: 7 Essential IT Skills to Start Your IT Career

How do I get a job in IT?

A good place to start is to do some research to get an idea of what role in IT sounds interesting to you. From there, you can learn what skills you’ll need to have, and whether it makes sense for you to get a certification. Read the details about how to get a job in IT.

What’s an IT certification?

An IT certification is a credential you can earn by passing an exam. They can show employers that you have a professional level of knowledge in the field. Studying for the exam can be a good way to gain hands-on experience and learn new skills. Explore entry-level IT certifications to get started.

What is IT, exactly?

IT is the use of digital technology like computers and the internet to store, manage, protect, and retrieve information. Watch the video below for more context on what IT is used for, and why it's important.

video-placeholder
Loading...
So you're interested in IT—but how would you define it, and why is it important?

Related articles

Article sources

1. US Bureau of Labor Statistics. "Computer and Information Technology Occupations, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/home.htm." Accessed June 17, 2021.

2. Glassdoor. "Help Desk Technician Salaries, https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/help-desk-technician-salary-SRCH_KO0,20.htm." Accessed June 17, 2021.

3. US Bureau of Labor Statistics. "Computer Support Specialists, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/computer-support-specialists.htm." Accessed June 17, 2021.

4. Glassdoor. "IT Technician Salaries, https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/it-technician-salary-SRCH_KO0,13.htm." Accessed June 17, 2021.

5. US Bureau of Labor Statistics. "Web Developers and Digital Designers, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/web-developers.htm." Accessed June 17, 2021.

6. US Bureau of Labor Statistics. "Network and Computer Systems Administrators, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/network-and-computer-systems-administrators.htm." Accessed June 17, 2021.

7. US Bureau of Labor Statistics. "Computer Systems Analysts, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/computer-systems-analysts.htm." Accessed June 17, 2021.

8. US Bureau of Labor Statistics. "Database Administrators, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/database-administrators.htm." Accessed June 17, 2021.

9. Glassdoor. "Site Reliability Engineer Salaries, https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/site-reliability-engineer-salary-SRCH_KO0,25.htm." Accessed June 17, 2021.

10. LinkedIn. "2020 Emerging Jobs Report, https://business.linkedin.com/content/dam/me/business/en-us/talent-solutions/emerging-jobs-report/Emerging_Jobs_Report_U.S._FINAL.pdf." Accessed June 17, 2021.

11. US Bureau of Labor Statistics. "Software Developers, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/software-developers.htm." Accessed June 17, 2021.

12. US Bureau of Labor Statistics. "Information Security Analysts, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/information-security-analysts.htm." Accessed June 17, 2021.

13. Glassdoor. "Cloud Engineer Salaries, https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/cloud-engineer-salary-SRCH_KO0,14.htm." Accessed June 17, 2021.

14. LinkedIn. "2020 Emerging Jobs Report, https://business.linkedin.com/content/dam/me/business/en-us/talent-solutions/emerging-jobs-report/Emerging_Jobs_Report_U.S._FINAL.pdf." Accessed June 17, 2021.

Written by Coursera • Updated on Jul 29, 2021

This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.

Learn without limits