CAREER OPPORTUNITIES IN INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY

Introduction

The era of computers and automated information and communication technology has brought both blessings and disappointments in the workplace. Some people have acquired very well paying jobs while others have lost theirs. For example an ordinary typist has been replaced by one who can create documents using a computer. Many new jobs have been created in areas like banking, manufacturing, educational institutions, communication and other service industries.

Description of career opportunities in the field of ICT

Information and communication technology (ICT) has created new job titles such as computer operators, computer technicians, system analysts, computer programmers, software engineers, computer engineers, information systems manager, data base administrator, computer trainer, website administrators, computer graphics designers and network administrators. This section explains some responsibilities of these professionals who are generally called information technology workers.

Computer operator

Some of the responsibilities of a computer operator include:

  1. Entering data into the computer for processing.
  2. Keeping up-to-date records (log files) of all information processing activities.

Computer technician

Given that computers require regular maintenance, upgrading as well as emergency repairs, demand for computer technicians continues to grow as more and more people computerise their workplaces and homes.

Some of the responsibilities of a computer technician are:

  1. Troubleshooting computer hardware and software related problems.
  2. Assembling and upgrading computers and their components.
  3. Ensuring that all computer related accessories such as printers, modems, storage media and devices are in good working condition.
  4. In developed countries, technicians help hardware engineers in designing and creating some computer components such as storage devices, motherboards etc.

System analyst

This is a person who is responsible for analysing a company’s needs or problems then designs and develops a computer based information system. A good system analyst is one who has at least the following attributes:

  1. Good problem solving skills and creativity i.e. must have wide experience in solving problems.
  2. Good communication skills: The analyst must be able to communicate clearly and precisely both in writing and in speech. He/she must be able to talk to different groups of people e.g. managers, operators, attendant and general public.
  3. Must have business knowledge: The analyst must clearly understand the environment for which the system is being developed.
  4. Technical knowledge: A system analyst must be well trained in relevant areas of computer science such as hardware, software and programming knowledge.

Some of the responsibilities of a system analyst include:

  • Reviewing the current manual or redundant information system and making recommendations on how to replace it with a more efficient one.
  • Working with programmers to construct and test the system.
  • Coordinating training for users of the new system.

Computer programmer

Large organisations such as insurance companies, banks, manufacturing firms and government agencies hire programmers to work together with system analysts in order to:

  1. Write in-house application programs or system programs.
  2. Customise commercial application packages to suite the organisations needs. 3. Test, debug, install and maintain programs developed or customised for the organization.

Software engineer

A software engineer is one who is skilled in software development and technical operation of computer hardware. Some of the responsibilities of the software engineers are:

  1. Developing system and application software.
  2. Developing user and technical documentations for the new software.
  3. Maintaining and updating the software to meet day-to-day requirements while overcoming challenges.

Computer engineer

Computer and electronic engineers are coming up with new and more efficient technologies in information and communication technology almost daily. Since computers are electronic devices, hardware designers must be good in electronic engineering in order to be able to:

  1. Design and develop computer components such as storage devices, motherboards and other electronic components.
  2. Determine the electrical power requirement of each computer component:
  3. Re-engineer computer components to enhance its functionality and efficiency.
  4. Design and develop engineering and manufacturing computer controlled devices such as robots.

Information system manager

The information system manager controls, plans, staffs, schedules and monitors all the activities of the ICT department in the organization. Using computerised management information system (MIS), the manager can test the impact that an alternative course of action might have on the business.

Other responsibilities of an information system manager include:

  1. making sure that all tasks in the IT department are done correctly and on time in order to support business planning, control and decision making processes.
  2. Preparing budgets for the department.
  3. Keeping the department inventory records up-to-date.
  4. Managing the human resource within the department.

Database administrator (DBA)

The major purpose of computerising organisations or institutions is to store data in an organised way for easy access, retrieval and update. The organization requires a person who should be responsible for updating records in an information system database. For this reason, a database administrator is responsible for:

  1. Designing and developing database applications for the organization.
  2. Setting up security measures needed to control access to data and information.
  3. Keeping the database up-to-date by adding new records, modifying or deleting unnecessary records.

Computer trainer

Due to the dynamic nature of computers and information technology, there is a high demand for qualified ICT trainers. Some of the responsibilities of an ICT trainer are:

  1. Training people on how to use a computer and various application programs.
  2. Developing training reference materials.
  3. Guide learners on how to acquire knowledge through carrying out research.
  4. Advising the learners on the best career opportunities in the broad field of ICT.
  5. Preparing learners for ICT examinations.

Web administrator/webmaster

Internet is one of the areas of information and communication technology that has drawn the interest of most people. Thus people are able to exchange messages, search for information and do business through the Internet.

Business organisations, educational institutions and individuals put information on the Internet by developing websites. Most organisations hire the services of a web developer who is given the role of the company’s web administrator also referred to as a webmaster.

A web administrator is responsible for:

  1. Developing and testing websites.
  2. Maintaining, updating and modifying information on the web site to meet new demands by the users.
  3. Monitoring the access and use of internet connection by enforcing security measures. 4. Downloading information needed by an organization or institution from Internet websites.

Computer graphics designers and typesetters

In publishing skilled graphics designers and typesetters are required in order to design graphical objects and professional publications. Such people may get employed in publishing houses to typeset books, newspapers and magazines.

Self-employment

Self employment can be achieved by using computers or other ICT devices such as mobile phones to start bureau services, Internet services, consultancy services and computer hardware and software vendor business.

Network administrator

A network administrator is a specialist whose responsibilities are to:

  1. Set-up a computer network.
  2. Maintain and enforce security measures on the network.
  3. Monitor the use of network resources.
  4. Maintain and troubleshoot network related problems.

Computer sales representatives

Computer sales representative should have good knowledge in information and communication technology. This would helps them to analyse customer needs and advice them accordingly. A good computer salesman needs to be self confident, persuasive and proficient in business communication.

Further educational opportunities in ICT

Most computer related educational opportunities offered at post-secondary level are relatively new and dynamic in nature compared to other disciplines. It is therefore difficult for most institutions that offer ICT courses to update their ICT curricula in order to accommodate these rapid changes. These changes also make it difficult for aspiring ICT professionals to identify the best career opportunities and training institutions. ICT courses are offered in the following tertiary institutions:

  1. Universities
  2. Polytechnics
  3. Colleges

 

Universities

A university is considered as the highest institution in formal education. In most countries, universities are categorised into two major groups’ namely public and private universities.

Public universities

Public universities are established by the state through the award of a charter and are run by a state appointed management team. However, current trends in educational management point to the fact that even state universities should be allowed to operate in an autonomous manner. Admission to such a university is controlled by either the state or a recognised body. However, most universities in developed countries do their own independent admissions.

 

Private universities

Private universities are self-sponsored institutions set up by individuals, churches or any other organization. Such universities are privately run and students’ enrolment depends on whether the student is capable of sponsoring himself/herself. However, for these universities to operate they must be registered or accredited by the commission of higher education or any other quality assurance body that is recognised worldwide. Accreditation leads to public acceptance and confirmation evidenced by the grant of charters by the state or accrediting bodies.

Universities are authorised to offer approved diploma, undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. Some of the ICT related degree programs offered at university level courses include Bachelor of Science in computer science, Bachelor of Information Technology/Systems, Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering etc.

 

Research institutions

Although for a long time universities have been considered as centers for research and excellence, other specialised research institutions that concentrate on narrow fields of study such as computer or ICT technology, agriculture and space science exist. There is a lot of research being undertaken in the field of computing such as artificial intelligence. It is possible to enroll in such institutions as a research trainee.

Polytechnics

These are institutions of higher learning that mostly offer diploma and certificate courses’ in technical fields such as ICT, mechanics, food production etc. A polytechnic may also be accredited by a university or the state to offer degree programmes.

Some of the ICT courses offered at polytechnic level are diploma and certificate in computer studies, computer repair and assembly, computer operator, management information system etc.

Colleges

Just like the polytechnics, middle level colleges offer diploma, certificate and craft courses in many disciplines such as technical, ICT, teacher training, business management etc.

Most public and private colleges are now offering ICT related courses both at certificate and diploma level.

The most important consideration to make before you join a college to pursue an ICT course is:

  1. Whether it offers ICT courses recognised both locally and internationally.
  2. The cost of training with such an institution.
(Visited 107 times, 1 visits today)
Share this:

Written by