Information technology is a vast industry. And when it comes to finding the right career in IT, personality traits play a huge role. While some roles, such as those in data analysis, rely on math-based technical skills and logical problem-solving, other positions, such as those in software development, require creativity and innovation.
Choosing the right career path is easier when you understand which personality traits are conducive to which jobs. Here's a look at the industry and some roles that might be right for you.
Traits for trades.
The IT industry is enormous, and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that it will add about 557,100 jobs by 2026. Professionals with the right education and skill set can find fulfilling careers in any number of specialties, each requiring a unique combination of skills and personality traits. Here are several common characteristics of IT professionals in particular fields.
Software development is at the top of the list of IT roles that rely on creativity. Developers, programmers, and engineers create software applications and frameworks by designing, programming, testing, and upgrading systems. According to Glassdoor, software developers make about $80,000 a year, on average.
Developing new computer software is akin to creating music or writing a book—the process is incumbent on imagination and skill. Web designers can also flex their creativity, building websites that are appealing and functional. Other IT jobs for creative people include computer systems designer, user experience designer, and artificial intelligence specialist.
The devil, as the expression goes, is in the details. Minor mistakes can be catastrophic for database analysts, health information management specialists, programmers, and coders, who often handle fine details while completing tedious tasks. IT analysts have a strong knowledge of big data, database systems management, and programming languages. Data analysts make roughly $74,000 a year, on average, according to Salary.com.
These professionals use their meticulous attention to detail to analyze data and provide recommendations to businesses and organizations. Other detail-oriented IT positions include web developer, network maintenance specialist, and computer hardware engineer.
Analytical skills are essential to most IT careers. For example, computer and information systems managers regularly analyze problems and devise solutions, and they help manage and analyze technology resources, such as cloud management applications, for their employers. Glassdoor reports that the average annual salaries for computer and information systems managers is about $91,000.
Coders need strong analytical skills, too, in order to decode and follow complex instructions. Database administrators, computer user support specialists, and computer and information research scientists also need strong analytical skills in their jobs.
Communication often goes hand-in-hand with leadership qualities, as many director-level IT positions require professionals to lead teams, delegate responsibilities, and foster collaboration to solve problems.
Communication is critical in IT management positions, such as IT director, technical services manager, and management information systems director, since managers and directors need the ability to communicate effectively with their team and with senior management. An effective IT director will make around $130,000 a year, Glassdoor says.
Communication skills are also important for statisticians, operations research analysts, and computer support specialists.
Disorganization can spell disaster for many IT professionals, especially those in data and information technology management, where preventing mistakes is key. Average annual salaries for information technology managers is about $97,000 a year, Glassdoor says.
IT management positions—like a director of IT services, use keen organizational skills to keep an IT department running smoothly. Other IT professionals, such as business analysts and senior systems administrators, require good organizational skills too, since professionals in these roles juggle multiple projects while leading teams.
Finding the right role.
One thing that all IT professionals have in common is curiosity. Information security analysts identify problems and then fix them. Software developers create software that solves a need. Computer systems designers seek to create the next big thing in technology. If you have a curious mind, there's an IT role out there for you. By identifying your personality traits and comparing them to various IT roles, you can make an informed decision about which profession to pursue.