An information technology specialist applies technical expertise to the implementation, monitoring, or maintenance of IT systems. Specialists typically focus on a specific computer network, database, or systems administration function. Specialty areas include network analysis, system administration, security and information assurance, IT audit, database administration, web administration, and more.
Education requirements vary depending on the IT specialty. While some IT specialists work their way up with professional certifications, most experts begin their careers with an information technology degree at the associate or bachelor level. IT certifications are useful for building specialist expertise and staying up to date on the latest advances in a specific area of information technology.
Mean annual salaries for information technology specialists ranged from $70,000 to $80,000 in 2009. Job outlook is excellent for IT specialist positions; network analysts, for example, can expect 53 percent job growth, making this the fastest-growing occupation in the U.S.