Information technology professionals are in demand. It’s one of the few industries that have more jobs available than there are candidates to fill them. The IT industry is also one that can lead to a lucrative career for professionals who like to continually learn, staying up-to-date with technological advances, and those who have the right IT certifications. So, how do you get started? We have the answers you need. Below are five of the best entry-level IT jobs, their certification requirements, and salary expectations to help you take the first step toward the IT career you’re looking for.
Entry-Level IT Jobs, Certification Requirements, and Salaries
The following are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to IT roles and certifications, but they’re enough to give you an idea of what you’re looking at to get started in the industry.
1. Help Desk Technician
The help desk technician is an entry-level role who is responsible for diagnosing technical issues that are impeding other employees or customers from doing what they need to. Help desk technicians are not usually responsible for resolving any problems, instead they identify them and then hand them off to another IT professional to be fixed.
To become a help desk technician, you will likely have to have a bachelor’s degree in an IT-related field, although some organizations may only require a high school diploma and an IT certification for the job. CompTIA A+ and Network+ certifications are sufficient for this role.
The average pay for a help desk technician is $16.51 per hour, which is about $34,340 per year. The salary range for this role is $26,606 to $51,876, and is dependent on the organization, location, and your experience.
2. IT Support Specialist
As an IT support specialist, you would be responsible for setting up, installing, and troubleshooting an organization’s technology and software. This job usually also involves servicing, maintaining, and upgrading all the hardware for a company including desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones.
This role requires at least a high school diploma as well as some work experience in an IT role. Some IT support specialist jobs require an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in an IT-related field. Certifications such as CompTIA A+ and Network+ help greatly in securing this type of IT job.
The average salary for IT support specialists is $47,854, with a range from $33,967 to $70,321.
3. Desktop Support Technician
A desktop support technician is responsible for configuring, maintaining, and troubleshooting an organization’s network and wireless systems, including setting up user accounts, formatting, and setting up desktop and laptop computers. It is also the role that is first in line when there are any issues involving desktops or laptops.
This job typically requires a bachelor’s degree in an IT-related field, as well as the CompTIA Network+ certification and some related work experience.
The average pay for a desktop support technician is $19.56 per hour, which is about $40,684 per year. The salary range for this role is $31,305 to $61,314, depending on the organization, location, and your experience.
4. Computer Technician
A computer technician’s job can encompass many different duties. It’s typically a starting point for someone who diagnoses and fixes computer hardware problems, before he or she decides which specialty area to pursue (for example, networks, desktops, servers, etc.).
The computer technician role typically requires a bachelor’s degree in an IT-related field, but some employers may only require a high school diploma along with a certification like CompTIA A+.
The average pay for computer technicians is $15.52 per hour, which is about $32,281 per year. The salary range for this role is $23,656 to $55,085.
5. Systems Administrator
As a systems administrator, job duties include all aspects of creating and maintaining computer systems and networks for a company, as well as for determining an organization’s needs in terms of networks and computers and then implementing that plan.
To be hired as a systems administrator, candidates typically need to have a bachelor’s degree in an IT-related field. However, if you don’t, having IT certifications can fill the gap. CompTIA A+, Network+, Security +, CCNA and Microsoft MCSA should be sufficient.
The average salary for a systems administrator is $60,771, with a range from $40,451 to $86,765.
Start Your IT Career with the Right Certifications
If you're trying to get into IT and have limited computer experience, your next best step is to get your CompTIA A+ training and certification. As you can see above, this certification is essential for most entry-level IT jobs. The reason for this is simple, CompTIA A+ has become the standard that recruiters use to assess whether applicants understand the fundamentals of how a computers and basic networks function.