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You’ve probably heard that tech jobs offer a unique combination of flexible work schedules, high starting salaries, and the chance to do work that can change the world. But without an understanding of tech jargon, it can be hard to tell exactly what those jobs are. Web designers probably create websites, right? But then WTF is a web developer? Are network administrators and database administrators the same thing? And what do UX and SEO stand for? Don’t panic! It all becomes clear over time. But just to make sure that time is sooner than later, we’ve put together a list of ten common tech job titles and explained exactly what they mean.
1. Web Developer
Typical Web Developer duties include:
- meeting with clients or management to define the needs and design of a website
- working with web designers (see below) to determine what built websites will look like
- implementing website design, including adding graphics, audio, and video content
Web Developer job requirements usually include:
- up-to-date familiarity with web tools like jQuery, Github, and SaSS
- Bonus: an understanding of visual design
Average Base Pay: $88,488
2. Web Designer
Web Designers create the “plans” for a website—the site’s layout, color palette, font set, and visual themes. Those designs are then turned into websites by Web Developers. If you have a background in print design and are interested in a tech career, web design is a natural starting point for a career transition.
Typical Web Designer duties include:
- setting website goals with clients and employers (and designing websites accordingly)
- creating images, icons, banners, and any other visual elements of a site
- establishing and implementing a style guide which keeps any content on the site look consistent and on brand
Web Designer job requirements usually include:
- advanced knowledge of Photoshop and Illustrator
- a professional portfolio with a minimum of five designs ready for employer review
- familiarity with WordPress functions and standards
- Bonus: a working knowledge of content marketing
Average Base Pay: $56,143
3. UX Designer
UX (User Experience) design is the practice of using visual design, behavioral psychology, and consumer research to improve users’ satisfaction with physical products like tablets or smartphones, as well as digital products like software programs and web applications. UX design jobs ranked #27 out of 50 in Glassdoor’s recent Best Jobs in America report (Glassdoor’s list of the 50 best jobs across all industries based on high job satisfaction, strong hiring opportunities, and competitive pay), meaning it’s another tech job with a lot of demand.
Typical UX Designer duties include:
- creating wireframes (a basic model of a user interface layout without any of the design bells and whistles)
- creating product prototypes
- developing storyboards used to illustrate the user’s experience with a product and personas (fictional users designed to model real user behavior)
- analyzing user testing and feedback, and using this research to iterate the product and enhance the user experience
UX Designer job requirements usually include:
- familiarity with basic coding skills
- a solid understanding of graphic design tools like Omnigraffle and InVision as well as wireframing tools like Axure RP and Balsamiq
- the ability to communicate clearly with stakeholders, developers, and users
- problem solving skills, willingness to be a team player (UX design involves close work with developers, clients, and users), and detail-oriented critical thinking
Average Base Pay: $97,460
4. SEO Specialist
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) refers to the process of improving a website’s visibility and ranking with search engines like Google and Yahoo so that a site will show up higher in search results. SEO Specialists are tech professionals who focus on staying up to date with SEO best practices and implementing these practices across an organization’s websites and other digital presence.
Typical SEO Specialist duties include:
- doing keyword research (identifying which search engine search terms—or what terms you Google—are driving traffic to the organization’s website)
- studying website traffic, trends, and behavior (where are the website’s visitors coming from, which links are they clicking, when do visits occur, etc.)
- web page A/B testing (testing A and B versions of web pages to to see which are more effective for generating traffic)
- creating effective ranking strategies (consulting Google’s Search Engine Evaluator Guidelines and other resources to find effective ways of improving website search rankings)
SEO Specialist job requirements usually include:
- a solid understanding of performance marketing, customer conversion, and online customer acquisition
- working knowledge of website analytics tools like Google Analytics, NetInsight, Omniture, WebTrends
- an understanding of factors that affect websites’ search engine rankings and search engine algorithms
- experience with A/B testing
Average Base Pay: $37,620
5. IT Support Specialist
Information Technology (IT) Support Specialists provide technology-related advice and help both to individual computer users and to entire organizations. These support specialists are at the front line when it comes to the routine maintenance and operation of computer networks. Support specialists tackle problems until they become complex enough for network administrators (see below) to step in.
Typical IT Support Specialist duties include:
- diagnosing problems with a customer’s or colleague’s computer
- setting up and repairing network computer equipment and related devices
- training people to work with their computer hardware and software, including printers, word-processing software, and email
- providing team members and managers with information about common customer tech-related problems and concerns
IT Support Specialist job requirements usually include:
- demonstrable computer knowledge (Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree in computer related fields may be required)
- continued education to keep up with tech developments
- certification in networks, hardware, and software based on systems used by specific employers
Average Base Pay: $52,369
6. Network Administrator
Network (or System) Administrators oversee and manage an organization’s network of computers. Any company or institution using more than one computer or software platform needs to coordinate their system and keep it up and running, which is why—as of this writing—Glassdoor has over 70,000 listings for Network Administrator jobs.
Typical Network Administrator duties include:
- determining an organization’s system needs and installing the appropriate network hardware and software
- making necessary upgrades and repairs to keep systems operational
- maintaining system security
- evaluating and optimizing network performance
Network Administrator job requirements usually include:
- a Bachelor’s degree in a field related to computer or information science
- certification in the network products used by employer
Average Base Pay: $61,474
7. Systems Analyst
Systems analysts (or architects) are responsible for designing, implementing, and analyzing an organization’s information systems (the methods an organization uses to collect, store, and communicate company data). Information systems can include databases, search engines, office automation, and enterprise systems (software suites that help manage data analytics and reporting in large organizations).
Typical Systems Analyst duties include:
consulting with managers to define how information systems need to function in an organization
researching new technologies and deciding if they can increase the organization’s performance
preparing a cost and benefits analysis so management can decide if information systems upgrades are financially viable
designing new systems by selecting and configuring hardware and software
Systems Analyst job requirements usually include:
- a Bachelor’s degree in a computer-related field like computer science or computer information systems (with additional business courses as a plus)
- a Master’s degree in business administration (MBA) with a concentration in information systems or a Master’s degree in computer science for higher level positions
- programming or technical expertise gained outside of college (as an alternative to the degrees listed above)
continuous classes and learning to keep up with new technology
Average Base Pay: $65,528
8. Database Administrator
Database administrators use database software to store and organize an organization’s information (like financial records and customer contact data). Their primary role is to make sure data is accessible to the users who need it while remaining secure from unauthorized access. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that database administrator jobs are projected to grow 11 percent from 2016 to 2022—a faster rate than the BLS average based on all occupations, fueled by growing international data needs.
Typical Database Administrator duties include:
- keeping organizational data secure
- backing up and restoring data to prevent data loss
- maintaining databases and update permissions
- merging old databases into new ones
Database Administrator job requirements usually include:
- a Bachelor’s degree in an information or computer-related subject (firms with large databases may look for master’s degrees in computer science, information systems, or information technology)
- an understanding of database languages like SQL (Structured Query Language)
- software-specific certification depending on the software used by the organization
Average Base Pay: $77,428
9. Information Security Analyst
Information Security Analysts are in charge of carrying out the security procedures developed by an organization to protect their computer network from cyberattacks and unauthorized use. With so much critical information now stored digitally, Security Analyst jobs are projected to grow a whopping 28 percent from 2016 to 2026, a much faster than average rate among all occupations, per BLS.
Typical Security Analyst duties include:
- monitoring organizations’ computer systems for security breaches and investigating security violations when they occur
- installing and properly using security software to protect sensitive organizational information
- documenting the details of any security breaches and the determining the extent of the damage they cause
- conducting penetration testing—simulated attacks that allow analysts to look for vulnerabilities in their computer networks
Security Analyst job requirements often include:
- a Bachelor’s degree in computer science, information assurance, or programming are preferred by many employers
- a Master’s degree in business administration (MBA) may be preferred by some employers
- previous experience in roles like network administrators or systems analysts
- some employers prefer security certification from organizations like the International Info Systems Security Certification Consortium.
Average Base Salary: $76,133
10. Information Technology Manager
Information Technology (IT) Managers are project managers who plan, coordinate, and oversee an organization’s computer and technology infrastructure. IT Managers are the ones who define and establish their organization’s technology goals and implement policies and systems to meet those goals. IT Management is another fast-growing tech role with growth projected at 12 percent from 2016 go 2026, faster than BLS’ average of all occupations.
Typical Information Technology Manager duties include:
- analyzing their organization’s technology needs and coming up with upgrade recommendations for executives to consider
- performing cost/benefit analysis of new projects and justifying the funding of those projects to executives
- determining short and long-term staffing needs for their department
- planning and managing the work of other IT professionals, including systems analysts, web developers, security analysts, and computer support specialists
Information Technology Manager job requirements usually include:
- a Bachelor’s degree in a computer or information science-related field. This can include Management Information Systems programs, which include business and computer-related classes
- some organizations also require IT managers to have a graduate degree (e.g. an MBA or master’s in computer science).
- many IT management jobs require several years of experience work in a related IT job, ranging from three years for a lower-level management position to five to ten years for director level positions.
- most jobs for computer and information systems managers require several years of experience in a related information technology (IT) job. Lower-level management positions may require only a few years of experience. Directors are more likely to need five to ten years of related work experience. A chief technology officer (CTO), who oversees the technology plan for a large organization, may need more than 15 years of experience in the IT field before being considered for a job.
Average Base Pay: $97,792
Scott Morris is Skillcrush's staff writer and content producer. Like all the members of Skillcrush's team, he works remotely (in his case from Napa, CA). He believes that content that's worth reading (and that your audience can find!) creates brands that people follow. He's experienced writing on topics including jobs and technology, digital marketing, career pivots, gender equity, parenting, and popular culture. Before starting his career as a writer and content marketer, he spent 10 years as a full-time parent to his daughters Veronica and Athena.