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Career Tracks: Information Technology Specialist

Creative Positions
 
Technical Producer
Degree requirements: BA or MBA
Job description: The producer acts as both the nerve center and lightning rod. For projects such as entertainment software, the producer is like the director of a movie, setting the tone as well as the overall look and feel, and taking responsibility for the final version. All the art, content, administrative, and other decisions go through the producer-it can be stressful but rewarding when it works. The producer may report to the product manager, who's in charge of commercial concerns, or to a technical manager.

Web Developer

Degree requirement: BA
Job Description: Web developers are masters of HTML, and they know how to create Web pages that will look good in any browser on any platform. In addition to knowing applications such as Photoshop, Illustrator, and Flash, a Web developer understands databases, JavaScript, XML-and how to work with both designers and engineers. Tight deadlines can make this work tough at times, but for those who love to work with rapidly evolving tools and challenges, this job is ideal.

Webmaster

Degree requirement: BA
Job description: Smaller companies in particular tend to roll the areas of Web architecture, design, implementation, and management into one position: the webmaster. Webmasters may even be responsible for content creation and editing, working in conjunction with marketing. If you hold this job, be prepared to know and do a little bit of everything.

Engineering Positions

QA Engineer

Degree requirements: BS in computer science, MS preferred
Job description: A good QA engineer has to think of every stupid, silly, and accidental thing a customer might do to and with a product, from using a keyboard in the bathtub to clicking 1,000 times repeatedly on an ornamental on-screen widget. In some work environments this can be fun, but often it's a strictly regimented process, usually on a tight deadline as a product moves from pre-alpha to final release. QA people support product teams, track bugs, and write documentation.

Software Engineer
Degree requirements: BS in computer science (MS preferred for senior position)
Job description: Junior software engineers mainly do the dirty work of inputting code, connecting application modules and functionalities, debugging, and porting to other OS platforms. However, the junior position is a stepping-stone to the senior position, which offers the potential of having a say in the end product. Senior engineers also work with end users, OEM customers, and others; they also take a more supervisory role in team structure.

Application Programmer

Degree requirements: BS in computer science
Job description: This type of programmer/engineer works specifically on a particular application that will either end up as a shrink-wrapped product or as a module that will interact with final products. This position entails documentation, product development,
and product integration-one example would be writing or revising software that addresses a specific task, such as calibrating color monitors.

Database Administrator
Degree requirement: BS in computer science or equivalent experience
Job description: Database administrators, or DBAs, participate in database design and maintain, develop, and test database environments. Often, the DBA is responsible for making backups and ensuring that information is recoverable in the event of a disaster.
Administrators may also plan, coordinate, and implement security measures to safeguard information. It's also crucial to have the right certifications to get your foot in the door-these are often more important than academic degrees.
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