Career opportunities for information technology — also known as IT — and computer systems specialists have increased over the 20-year span ending in 2010-11, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. As virtually every business, organization and household has computers and networks, IT professionals are in high demand, and colleges across the country provide training programs for future computer specialists. There are various areas of specialization, common career titles and countless working environments available. With so many options, the starting salary for jobs in computer information systems can vary greatly.
Starting Salary of Systems Analysts
Systems analysts use knowledge of business, computer engineering, statistics and other information to help maintain or improve a system used by an organization or firm. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, or BLS, there were around 512,720 systems analysts working in 2009. Starting out in this field, less-experienced analysts earned wages in the bottom 10th percentile, or less than $47,130 a year. However, those in the 25th percentile made up to $60,070 a year. Different employers also paid different starting salaries: Working for the state government likely paid less, as the average wage was $67,720, compared with computer equipment manufacturers that paid $94,930 a year on average.
Starting Salary of Network and Systems Administrators
Network and systems administrators typically set up the local network and Internet systems for a facility, business or school. The BLS estimates that there were about 338,890 network and systems administrators working in 2009. Starting salaries in the bottom 10th percentile were less than $41,940 a year, while those reaching the 25th percentile made up to $52,940 in wages. Jobs in elementary and secondary schools averaged $59,920 a year, but starting out at a computer equipment manufacturing company likely came with a higher starting wage — the average was $89,840 a year.
Starting Salary of Information Systems Managers
Although management positions are often reserved for the more experienced IT professionals, it's possible to start a career as an information systems manager, overseeing the activities of a computer systems team. There were 287,210 managers in 2009, according to the BLS, and starting wages in the bottom 10th percent were less than $69,900 a year. Even those in the bottom 25th percentile had the chance to earn up to $89,240 a year. Schools again paid less than average, while securities and commodities brokerage firms and other personal services paid the highest average wages.
Qualifications and Starting Salaries
Certain jobs in the information systems field may be attainable with just an associate degree. However, those who purse a bachelor's degree, commonly in computer science or information technology, can typically receive higher starting wages. IT professionals who also possess certifications in one or more areas of specialization can garner even higher starting salaries: They're more competitive in the job market when applying with more prestigious companies.