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Top 10 Technology Careers for 2013

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Clint Stephens

on 28 January 2014

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Transcript of Top 10 Technology Careers for 2013

How the rankings were decided:
10-Year Growth Volume (10 percent)
10-Year Growth Percentage (10 percent)
Median Salary (30 percent)
Job Prospects (20 percent)
Employment Rate (20 percent)
Stress Level (5 percent)
Work-Life Balance (5 percent)
#10: Computer Systems Administrator
Network and computer systems administrators keep your emails sending and your Web pages loading, plus they lend their tech-savvy skills to managing telecommunication networks. This profession is expected to add 42,900 new positions by 2022.
Network and computer systems administrators earned a median of $72,560 in 2012, or approximately $34.88 per hour, according to the BLS. The best-paid 10 percent earned more than $115,180 in 2012, while the lowest-paid made less than $44,330. The highest-paid in the industry work in Boulder, Colo., San Jose, Calif., and the Washington. D.C., metropolitan area.
Network and computer systems administrator jobs often require a bachelor's degree – typically in computer or information science, although sometimes a degree in computer engineering or electrical engineering is acceptable. Coursework in computer programming, networking or systems design will be helpful.
#9: Computer Programmer
Patience and a generous understanding of how computers function will benefit those interested in computer programming. These IT specialists rewrite, debug, maintain and test the software and programs essential to key computer functions. The Labor Department predicts employment growth for programmers of 8.3 percent between 2012 and 2022.
The BLS reports the median annual wage for computer programmers was $74,280 in 2012. The best-paid 10 percent in the field made approximately $117,890, while the bottom 10 percent made approximately $42,850. The highest-paid in the profession work in the metropolitan areas of Santa Fe, N.M., Bethesda, Md., and Anniston, Ala.
Many computer programmer jobs require at least a bachelor's degree, but a two-year degree or certificate may be adequate for some positions. Some programmers hold a college degree in information systems, computer science or mathematics.

Students seeking software engineering or programming jobs can improve their employment outlook by getting an internship. Large computer and consulting firms often train new employees in intensive, company-based programs.
#8: IT Manager
IT managers are the go-to personnel when your email won’t send or your word processor won't open. As the head of the IT department, they triage the operations of an organization's technical network, and they're a growing profession. Expect 50,900 new positions by the year 2022.
IT managers earned a median of $120,950 in 2012, or about $58.15 per hour, according to BLS data. The best-paid earned more than $187,199, while the lowest-paid brought home a still-respectable $74,940 in 2012. The best-compensated jobs are located in Jacksonville, N.C., or the Bay Area, specifically San Francisco and San Jose, Calif.
IT managers typically need a bachelor's degree in computer or information science, including coursework in computer programming, software development and mathematics. Many organizations also require IT managers to have a graduate degree, such as a Master of Business Administration.

Most spend five to 10 years in an IT occupation before being promoted to manager, but smaller companies generally do not require as much experience as larger companies. Successful IT managers can further advance to IT directors, chief technology officers and perhaps even chief information officers.
#7: Mechanical Engineer
This job is a perfect blend of right- and left-brain thinking: Mechanical engineers shepherd devices from the theoretical design phase to the technical production phase. The profession makes our list for its low unemployment rate of 3.1 percent and comfortable median salary of $80,580.
According to the BLS, mechanical engineers earned a median salary of $80,580 in 2012. The best-paid earned about $121,530, while the lowest-paid earned less than $52,030. Industries that pay well include oil and gas extraction, and audio and video equipment manufacturing. The top-paying metropolitan areas for the occupation include Bloomington, Ill., Idaho Falls, Idaho and Taunton, Mass.
For most mechanical engineering jobs, you'll need a bachelor's degree bearing the occupation's name. Hopeful managers have an even higher educational standard to meet: a master's degree, in most cases.

Along with a degree from an accredited program and four years of relevant work experience, those offering their services on an independent basis must pass a state exam for licensure – a requirement in all 50 states as well as the District of Columbia.
#6: Civil Engineer
Part of the payoff to this job is looking around and seeing the fruits of your skill and labor. Civil engineers have a hand in building bridges, retrofitting buildings and damming reservoirs. By 2022, there should be 53,700 new openings for civil engineers.
Civil engineers made a median salary of $79,340 in 2012, according to the BLS. The highest-paid 10 percent in the profession earned $122,020, while the lowest-paid earned $51,280 in 2012. The most highly compensated positions are within the commercial and industrial machinery repair industry, and the highest-paid positions are in Lafayette, La., Naples, Fla., and Midland, Texas.
Entry-level jobs require a bachelor's degree in civil engineering, which includes coursework in math, statistics and engineering mechanics and systems. One out of every five civil engineers also has a master’s degree, according to the BLS, which can help advance civil engineers to managerial positions.

All 50 states and the District of Columbia mandate licensure for civil engineers who offer their services directly to the public.
#5: Database Administrator
This fast-growing profession involves setting up databases to fit a company's need, then maintaining those database's operations. The Labor Department predicts this field will add 17,900 new positions by 2022.
The Labor Department reports that database administrators made a median salary of $77,080 in 2012. The highest-paid 10 percent in the profession earned $118,720, while the lowest-paid earned $42,930 that year. Some of the most highly compensated positions can be found in these industries: computer and peripheral equipment manufacturing, communications equipment manufacturing and natural gas distribution.

The top-paying metropolitan areas for this position are scattered throughout the country, with San Francisco, Trenton, N.J., and Washington, D.C., taking the top three spots.
Employers generally require a bachelor's degree in a computer-related field such as computer science or management information systems, although some favor applicants with a master’s degree in business administration with a concentration in information systems.

Database administrators are often certified for a specific database platform, such as MySQL Database Administrator, Oracle DBA and Microsoft Certified Database Administrator.
#4: Information Security Analyst
If you've watched the news this year, then you probably have a good idea how important this IT professional is to companies and the government – as analysts plan and monitor security of computer networks. You probably also aren’t surprised by how much this occupation will grow: 36.5 percent by the year 2022.
Information security analysts earned a median annual salary of $86,170 in 2012, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The best-paid 10 percent made $135,600, while the lowest-paid took home $49,960. The highest-paid in the profession work in the metropolitan areas of New York City, San Francisco and Bethesda, Md.
Many earn a bachelor's degree in computer science, programming or engineering. Some employers seek applicants with a Master of Business Administration in information systems. Many analysts obtain a CompTIA Security+ certification, which includes training in network security, threats and vulnerabilities and cryptography.

The daily skills and knowledge required depends on the position - from a basic understanding of how computers work all the way up to people who do penetration testing where they break into your system. They need to know every detail about your computer.
#3: Web Developer
Web developers are responsible for the sleek fonts and clean layout you love on your favorite websites. The Labor Department considers this one of the fastest-growing jobs this decade and predicts employment should swell at a rate of about 20 percent by 2022.
The BLS reports that Web developers made a median salary of $62,500 in 2012. The highest-paid 10 percent in the profession earned $105,200, while the lowest-paid earned $33,550 that year. The most highly compensated positions are in the natural gas distribution, waste treatment and disposal, and depository credit intermediation industries.

Computer systems design employs the largest share of Web developers in the field. The highest-paid positions can be found in the metropolitan areas of San Jose, Calif., San Francisco and New York City.
Employers generally prefer a bachelor's degree in a computer-related field such as computer science or information technology, but you may be able to snag a Web developer position if you have technical skills and practical experience. Web developers may also get certifications, including Certified Web Developer, Certified Internet Webmaster and Advanced Web Developer, all of which demonstrate varying levels of expertise. If you really want to be on the cutting edge, consider getting a certificate in Mobile Application Development.
However, "experience is always more important than certifications."
#2: Computer Systems Analyst
Computer systems analysts must understand computer hardware, software and networks and how they work together, so they can make recommendations to organizations for the best operations systems to use. The Labor Department predicts 24.5 percent employment growth for this job by 2022.
The Labor Department reports that computer system analysts made a median salary of $79,680 in 2012. The highest-paid 10 percent in the profession earned $122,090 that year, while the lowest-paid earned $49,950. Some of the most highly compensated analyst positions support the mining industry and securities and commodities exchanges. Location-wise, the highest-paying jobs can be found along the East Coast, from Bridgeport, Conn., to North Port, Fla., with State College, Pa., in between.
Most employers prefer applicants with bachelor's degrees in a relevant field, such as computer science. For technically complex jobs, a master's degree may be preferred, and some employers seek applicants who hold a master's degree in business administration with a concentration in information systems.

This is also a field that values technical skills, so people who have degrees in other areas may be able to snag a computer systems analyst job if they have courses in business systems analysis or related subjects under their belt. Practical experience also helps.
Software Developer
These professionals are the brains behind your Candy Crush obsession and Android phone dependency. They might be applications developers, who design computer software, databases and games, or they could be systems-focused developers, who are responsible for building operating systems. Growth for both types of IT professionals should balloon: The Labor Department predicts there will be nearly 140,000 brand new positions created before 2022.

The Labor Department reports that software developers made a median salary of $90,060 in 2012. The highest-paid 10 percent in the profession earned $138,880 in 2012, while the lowest-paid earned $55,190.

While the computer systems design industry and software publishers employ the highest number of software engineers, the highest-paid positions are spread far and wide across the country, with Sioux City, Iowa, Haverhill, Mass., and Newark, N.J., leading the way.
A bachelor's degree is often a requirement for software developer positions, although practical experience may be enough to snag an entry-level job. Developers wishing to advance in their careers should stay up to date on the latest programming tools and languages with continuing education courses, which are sometimes offered through employers.
Two niche industries that pay computer systems analysts particularly well are animal slaughtering and household appliance manufacturing, but job seekers should note that there are relatively few positions available in these fields.

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