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One decides on a career when something unique happens in their life. It could be the exposure to a new experience, or when you see something happening to a friend, family member, or yourself. Well, the same goes for people who decide to choose one of the many careers in computer technology. They feel the magic of the hardware, or they sense the power of control when they create a program that performs its function well. They decide to make magic for the rest of their lives. Wow! What a feeling!

Maybe, now that you have built a computer and had the opportunity to run programs on it, or play a game, or two; you begin to sense the magic, or feel the power; then you can see yourself looking at one of the careers in computer technology. Well, this is where you begin.

You have to decide where your interests are, either in the equipment (hardware), or the programs (software); whether you’re turned on by creating the software, or applying it and moving the world. There are hundreds of opportunities in any of the many careers in computer technology and information systems. The best place to get a good overview of each of the careers in computer technology is on the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) website.

Creating hardware has a smaller number of career disciplines; one either designs and builds computers and computer equipment, or maintains it. The designers are usually college trained engineers, the equipment builders are engineers and trained technicians, and so are the people who maintain the computer equipment. In order to enter these fields as one of the computer hardware professionals it is necessary to acquire the proper skills. For the computer engineering careers that includes a bachelors degree or higher in electronics, electrical, or computer hardware engineering. Also, a mechanical engineering degree can be desirable for designing and builders of some computer components. For the technicians this includes training at a trade or technical school, or an associate’s degree from a community college, or training from a computer or parts manufacturer. A number of technicians receive their electronics and computer training in the military.

The software people have a larger number of career fields to migrate to, from analyzing the need for software, to designing and building computer programs, to maintaining and updating the same. On the application side, by having the computer programmers take existing computer programs and adjusting them for specific needs. Then there are those who create and maintain the store bought software such as, the operating systems, the word processing packages, spread sheets, data base managers, accounting packages, mail managers, contact managers, CAD/CAM programs, etc. This also includes those who create the computer games played on the PC's, Mac's, or other gaming machines, and the thousands of apps that are created for the cell phone industry. Also, those of us who create websites, of which there are many millions. Training for this is as simple as taking an online tutorial for one of the many programming languages, or as complex as graduating from a PhD program in one of the careers in computer science. About 80% of the people in these software related fields hold a bachelors degree or higher and some even multiple PhD’s.

Aside from the satisfaction of working in a field that one loves, it's important to find a job and make a living. For this you need to know the location and availability of either hardware or software jobs. Both of these careers fields are somewhat recession proof, but you need the resources to locate a position. The software people have an excellent source of information and opportunities, as well as a salary survey in the newspaper ComputerWorld. On the other hand the hardware people can find similar information in engineersalary.com.

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