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IT, or information technology, refers to the transfer or other use of information by way of computers or computer systems. IT professionals are people who maintain, build, or repair hardware and software associated with computer systems or other components related to information processing. This job can be difficult and will require a significant level of skill and knowledge, but a college degree is not always necessary. Many IT professionals do earn degrees from colleges and universities, as this often increases the likelihood of securing a good job, but people with high school diplomas and significant experience or skill within the field can also become such professionals.
Many types of IT professionals exist, each one focusing on one or more aspect of computer systems maintenance or analysis. A programmer, for example, is one of many IT professionals who will create computer programs and platforms by writing computer code. In most cases, programmers are entry-level workers, though senior programmers may make more money and have more responsibility; the senior programmer will very often oversee a team of programmers and may still write code himself as well. If a program is damaged or otherwise does not function properly, the senior programmer is usually called in to fix the problem.
IT professionals are often hired by companies to test, install, repair, or otherwise maintain complex computer systems in one location or many locations. Global companies will often hire several IT professionals throughout the world to maintain vast networks of computer systems; this task requires a manager or managers who can coordinate several teams of IT pros in various locations. The nature of the Internet often allows such professionals to work from any location, though in certain situations, a professional must be on-site. This usually occurs when a hardware issue arises and the professional needs to physically alter a component.
The pay for IT positions can vary significantly. Some entry-level positions do not pay exceptionally well but offer the possibility of fast promotion. The location at which the professional works will often dictate the pay and benefits as well. Working for a large corporation is likely to pay more than working for a school district, for example, but the amount of work and the intensity of that work may be markedly higher when working for a corporation rather than a smaller entity or a small business. Some IT professionals choose to open their own businesses, contracting with various businesses or even running computer repair services.
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