Information technology (IT) refers to the use of computer technology to solve business or organizational problems. We often think of IT in terms of the support specialists who help troubleshoot computer issues. But the field extends well beyond the help desk.
Jobs in the IT sector are projected to grow at a much faster rate than other occupations in the next decade . And you typically don’t need prior experience to get a job in this versatile, ever-evolving field. Here are nine entry-level IT positions to consider as you begin your job search.
Median annual salary: $55,510 
Job outlook: 8% annual growth 
When a computer user or organization is having problems with hardware, software, or a network, they call on a computer support specialist to assist. This role uses analytical skills and communication skills to troubleshoot user problems.
You can prepare yourself for many entry-level computer help desk technician jobs with an associate’s degree or computer-related classes. Earning a bachelor’s degree in information technology, computer science, or engineering opens up career opportunities at larger software companies.
Starting out as a computer support specialist gives you flexibility in your career path. Choose to move into software development or systems administration or advance to a management role in a company’s IT department.
Three common computer support specialist 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?
Build the job-ready skills you’ll need for a role as a technical support specialist with the Google IT Support Professional Certificate. Get hands-on experience with day-to-day support tasks while earning a Google credential for your resume.
Median annual salary: $77,200 
Job outlook: 8% annual growth (much faster than average) 
Web developers create websites that businesses use to operate and interact with their customers. This field breaks down into three main concentrations. 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. Expand your HTML programming and graphic design skill sets to enhance your resume and attract recruiters.
Earn a bachelor’s or master’s degree in computer science to grow your career prospects and progress into management roles.
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?
Create interactive web experiences for your portfolio as you complete the Web Design for Everybody: Basics of Web Development & Coding Specialization from the University of Michigan.
Median annual salary: $84,810 
Job outlook: 4% annual growth (as fast as average) 
System administrators, also called network or 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.
Some employers require a certificate or associate’s degree in a computer-related field. Others look for a bachelor’s degree in computer or information science.
Keeping up with the latest network technology is a lifelong learning process. As you attend IT conferences and get certified in the latest products, you can advance to roles like computer network architect or IT manager.
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?
Build a foundation in systems administration and IT infrastructure with the Google IT Support Professional Certificate. You don’t need any previous experience to build job-ready skills in as little three to six months.
Median annual salary: $93,730 
Job outlook: 7% annual growth (faster than average) 
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 systems to execute those improvements.
While not always a requirement, a bachelor’s degree in computer or information science will set you up for success. Continue learning the latest technologies throughout your career to stay competitive and advance to roles like IT project manager, IT director, or chief technology officer (CTO).
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?
Median annual salary: $109,541 (Glassdoor) 
Job outlook: 27% annual growth (much faster than average) 
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 candidates with a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field. Make your resume even more attractive to hiring managers by earning a master’s degree or a certification in cloud computing. Build skills with AWS, Google Cloud Platform, and Microsoft Azure to boost your competitive advantage.
As you gain experience in the cloud, you can advance to become a cloud developer 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?
Build a foundation for a role as a cloud engineer with the Cloud Engineering with Google Cloud Professional Certificate. Familiarize yourself with the Google Cloud Platform while preparing to earn the industry-recognized Associate Cloud Engineer certification.
Median annual salary: $125,162 
Job outlook: 34% annual growth (much faster than average) 
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. Further expand your job opportunities by developing a basic knowledge of popular programming languages.
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?
With the SRE and DevOps Engineer with Google Cloud Professional Certificate, you’ll learn how to apply SRE methodology to monitor, troubleshoot, and improve infrastructure in the Google Cloud Platform. These skills will help you prepare for the Google Cloud Professional Cloud DevOps Engineer certification exam.
Median annual salary: $110,140 
Job outlook: 22% annual growth (much faster than average) 
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 a certification or bootcamp, or by completing an internship at a software company.
As you gain experience, you can progress from a junior developer to a senior or lead developer, information systems manager, or chief technology officer (CTO).
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?
Median annual salary: $103,590 
Job outlook: 31% annual growth (much faster than average) 
Cybersecurity analysts (also called information security 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.
Most cybersecurity analysts have a bachelor’s degree in information assurance or computer science. Develop your skill set through an information security certificate like the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP). Earning a master of business administration (MBA) in information systems can help you progress to more advanced, higher-paying roles as a cybersecurity administrator, engineer, or consultant.
Three common cybersecurity 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?
Whether you’re entering the workforce or switching careers, you can build job-ready skills through the IBM Cybersecurity Analyst Professional Certificate. You don’t need any prior experience to earn this career credential.
Median annual salary: $98,860 
Job outlook: 10% annual growth (much faster than average) 
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).
Some companies may require you to earn a software-specific certificate. Pursue a graduate degree in computer science, information systems, or IT to open up new opportunities to manage larger databases.
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?
With the IBM Data Science Professional Certificate, you’ll learn to think like a data scientist while getting hands-on experience with SQL and Python. Build the skills you need for the job and gain access to the IBM Talent Network, even if you have no prior experience.
If you’re ready to start your job search, check out these job search resources from Coursera. Join job search webinars and events, get advice from career coaches, learn how to write an effective resume, and prepare to ace your IT interview.
1. US Bureau of Labor Statistics. "Computer and Information Technology Occupations, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/home.htm." Accessed March 25, 2021.
2. US Bureau of Labor Statistics. "Computer Support Specialists, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/computer-support-specialists.htm." Accessed April 13, 2021.
3. US Bureau of Labor Statistics. "Web Developers and Digital Designers, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/web-developers.htm." Accessed April 13, 2021.
4. 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 April 13, 2021.
5. US Bureau of Labor Statistics. "Computer Systems Analysts, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/computer-systems-analysts.htm." Accessed April 13, 2021.
6. Glassdoor. "Cloud Engineer Salaries, https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/cloud-engineer-salary-SRCH_KO0,14.htm." Accessed April 13, 2021.
7. 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 March 25, 2021.
8. Glassdoor. "Site Reliability Engineer Salaries, https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/site-reliability-engineer-salary-SRCH_KO0,25.htm." Accessed April 13, 2021.
9. 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 March 25, 2021.
10. US Bureau of Labor Statistics. "Software Developers, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/software-developers.htm." Accessed April 13, 2021.
11. US Bureau of Labor Statistics. "Information Security Analysts, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/information-security-analysts.htm." Accessed April 13, 2021.
12. US Bureau of Labor Statistics. "Database Administrators, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/database-administrators.htm." Accessed April, 2021.