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Mark A. Revels, Ph.D., MS
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Career Paths in Computer Information Technology
Computer Information Technology (CIT) has become an integral part of modern life and business. Among its most important functions are the efficient transmission of information and the storage and analysis of information. The professions below all help individuals and organizations share and store information through computer networks and systems, the Internet, and computer databases. The CIT program at WKU can help you prepare for any of these exciting career options.
Network Architects or Network Engineers
They are the designers of computer networks. They set up, test, and evaluate systems such as local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs), the Internet, intranets, and other data communications systems. Systems are configured in many ways and can range from a connection between two offices in the same building to globally distributed networks, voice mail, and e-mail systems of a multinational organization. Network architects and engineers perform network modeling, analysis, and planning, which often require both hardware and software solutions. For example, setting up a network may involve the installation of several pieces of hardware, such as routers and hubs, wireless adaptors, and cables, as well as the installation and configuration of software, such as network drivers. These workers may also research related products and make necessary hardware and software recommendations, as well as address information security issues.
Network and Computer Systems Administrators
They Design, install, and support an organization's computer systems. They are responsible for LANs, WANs, network segments, and Internet and intranet systems. They work in a variety of environments, including large corporations, small businesses, and government organizations. They install and maintain network hardware and software, analyze problems, and monitor networks to ensure their availability to users. These workers gather data to evaluate a system's performance, identify user needs, and determine system and network requirements.
They are responsible for maintaining system efficiency. They ensure that the design of an organization's computer system allows all of the components, including computers, the network, and software, to work properly together. Administrators also troubleshoot problems reported by users and by automated network monitoring systems and make recommendations for future system upgrades. Many of these workers are also responsible for maintaining network and system security.
They work with database management software and determine ways to store, organize, analyze, use, and present data.
They identify user needs and set up new computer databases. In many cases, database administrators must integrate data from old systems into a new system.They also test and coordinate modifications to the system when needed, and troubleshoot problems when they occur. An organization's database administrator ensures the performance of the system, understands the platform on which the database runs, and adds new users to the system. Because many databases are connected to the Internet, database administrators also must plan and coordinate security measures with network administrators. Some database administrators may also be responsible for database design, but this task is usually performed by database designers or database analysts.
Computer Security Specialists
They plan, coordinate, and maintain an organization's information security. These workers educate users about computer security, install security software, monitor networks for security breaches, respond to cyber attacks, and, in some cases, gather data and evidence to be used in prosecuting cyber crime. The responsibilities of computer security specialists have increased in recent years as cyber attacks have become more sophisticated.
They focus on the interaction between computer and communications equipment. These workers design voice, video, and data-communication systems, supervise the installation of the systems, and provide maintenance and other services to clients after the systems are installed. They also test lines, oversee equipment repair, and may compile and maintain system records.
They are responsible for the technical aspects of Web site creation. Using software languages and tools, they create applications for the Web. They identify a site's users and oversee its production and implementation. They determine the information that the site will contain and how it will be organized, and may use Web development software to integrate databases and other information systems. Some of these workers may be responsible for the visual appearance of Web sites. Using design software, they create pages that appeal to the tastes of the site's users.
Webmasters or Web Administrators
They are responsible for maintaining Web sites. They oversee issues such as availability to users and speed of access, and are responsible for approving the content of the site. Webmasters also collect and analyze data on Web activity, traffic patterns, and other metrics, as well as monitor and respond to user feedback.
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