Information technology careers are hot. In fact, computer and mathematical occupations together will experience some of the most intense growth of all occupational groups in Kentucky from 2018 to 2028—1.43 percent annually.
Demand for these workers will stem from greater emphasis on cloud computing, the collection and storage of big data, and information security, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. There’s room in this field for workers of many different levels of education, from postsecondary certifications to master’s degrees.
The Kentucky Community and Technical College System offers courses leading to several different certifications as well as the associate degree. You can specialize as well: business software and support, data center technologies, geospatial technologies, informatics, internet technologies, network technologies, programming, and video game design.
Often, bachelor’s degrees in computer science are offered through colleges of engineering. In any IT career, it’s important to keep up with the latest changes in technology, so you will have to continue your education throughout your career.
The most jobs are available for software developers and software quality assurance analysts and testers. A bachelor’s degree will give you the skills you need for these lucrative careers.
- Software developers and software quality assurance analysts and testers: 19.2 percent growth from 2018 to 2028, from 8,175 to 10,118 jobs. Median wage $85,056.
The help desk
The second highest number of jobs available are for computer user support specialists (help desk technicians). These workers help individual users and also troubleshoot and maintain computer systems. Education requirements vary. You may be able to get work without a postsecondary degree.
- Computer user support specialists: 16.12 percent growth from 2018 to 2028, from 6,333 to 7,354 jobs. Median wage $47,988.
Designing and programming
You can get well-paid work in information technology by earning an associate degree. Among the fast-growing occupations are web developers, digital interface designers, and computer network support specialists.
Web developers and digital interface designers have to understand both graphic design and programming. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the best opportunities are for those who understand multiple programming languages and digital multimedia tools such as Photoshop.
Computer network support specialists (technical support specialists) analyze, troubleshoot, and evaluate computer network problems. They often work under network and computer systems administrators.
- Web developers and digital interface designers: 19.6 percent growth from 2018 to 2028, from 1,388 to 1,660 jobs. Median wage $6.7,119
- Computer network support specialists: 11.55 percent growth from 2018 to 2028, from 1,558 to 1,738 jobs. Median wage $54,821.
Have you heard of LANs, WANs, and the intranet? Computer network architects, also called cloud architects, design and build those data communication networks.
- Computer network architects: 3.52 percent increase from 2018 to 2028, from 1,191 to 1,233 jobs. Median wage $78,590.
If you’re interested in computer science and business, a career as a computer systems analyst may be the best of both worlds. These professionals study the computer systems in a business and design solutions to increase efficiency and effectiveness.
- Computer systems analysts: 12.07 percent increase from 2018 to 2028, from 4,514 to 5,059 jobs. Median wage $71,154.
Database administrators and architects use specialized software to store and organize data, such as financial information and customer shipping records. They have the highest median wage of the computer occupations.
- Database administrators and architects: 13.74 percent increase from 2018 to 2028, from 968 to 1,101 jobs. Median wage $86,558.
Information security analysts
Information security analysts are responsible for the protection of computer networks and information. Annual mean wage in Kentucky as of May 2020 was $82,830, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. There were about 850 Kentuckians employed in this work in May 2020. Nationwide, employment of information security analysts is projected to grow 31 percent from 2018 to 2028.
Math and statistics
Demand is growing in Kentucky for people who know how to analyze data and use it to solve business problems.
Operations research analysts identify and solve problems in areas such as business, logistics, healthcare, or other fields. By analyzing computer databases, sales histories, and customer feedback, they develop practical solutions to business problems. This field requires a background in computer science and advanced math, such as calculus and statistics.
- Operations research analysts: 26.42 percent increase from 2018 to 2028, from 1,075 to 1,359 positions. Median wage $66,016.
Another hot mathematics occupation is statistician. Though few in number, the occupation is the fastest growing occupation in the state that requires a master’s degree for entry. Government, healthcare, and research and development companies employ statisticians. Because statisticians often work with data analysis software, computer programming courses may be helpful.
- Statisticians: 33.72 percent increase from 2018 to 2028, from 86 to 115 jobs. Mean wage $83,309.
Figures from the Kentucky Occupational Outlook to 2028.