Tech Career Snapshots: CIO to Help Desk

Tech Career Snapshots: CIO to Help Desk

Perhaps the first step in applying for a job is understanding the position itself. In the information technology field, that's a more complicated task than you might expect, as technology job titles are constantly in flux (like the technology itself). Even the hodgepodge of "standard" titles requires some explanation beyond what's offered in job descriptions.

For those new to the industry, this is especially confusing. You're thinking about entering the IT world, and suddenly you're confronted with names of positions you never even knew existed. A $60,000 salary for a quality assurance engineer? Not bad, but what is QA? Is this a position you aspire to? You'll never know unless you know what a person in that position actually does.

To help you make sense of all this, here is another installment in our series of straightforward, no nonsense descriptions of technology job titles. Salaries are approximate and vary by region. Once you know the titles, expect to see lots of variations, often with a "senior" or "junior" appended to it, or with a qualifier related to the type of technology or computing system.

Chief Information Officer (CIO)

  • What they do: The CIO serves as a company's technology guru, overseeing everything from the purchase of computer systems to overarching plans to use technology to gain a competitive edge. With technology often viewed as central to a company's mission -- and not simply as serving "back office" functions, like accounting -- the role of the CIO is increasingly strategic; that is, geared toward finding ways to utilize technology in new and creative ways.
  • Skills: The CIO needs to know the technology, but he also needs to have the savvy -- and confidence -- to walk into the CEO's office with ideas to help the company thrive and grow. The CIO is often an expert in a particular industry, whether it's toy retailing or database software. A CIO must have demonstrated skills in management, team-building and budgeting. A CIO is typically an individual who has already held a top technology post, such as IS director.
  • Salary: $140,000

Project Manager

  • What they do: The project manager develops requirements, budgets and schedules for IT projects. Project managers may coordinate multiple projects, from development through implementation, working with both clients and project leaders. Project managers report on the project's status to clients, manage project resources and timelines, and write proposals and other project documentation.
  • Skills: Project managers must know the technology, but they also need to be able to communicate with personnel unfamiliar with the demands of IT projects. Knowledge of a specific area of technology, such as e-commerce or database design, is considered crucial by many organizations, although some emphasize more generic project management skills. Database analysts, senior software engineers and others may take on project management tasks, providing them with the experience needed to become full-fledged project managers. Knowledge of planning tools, such as Microsoft Project or Visio, is often required.
  • Salary: $76,000

Quality Assurance Engineer

  • What they do: Complex technology projects require testing -- lots of it -- in order to avoid gaffes (and outright disaster). QA engineers work to execute testing plans and goals to ensure systems work properly. Tasks include the design and implementation of testing procedures, interaction with support staff, categorizing bug fixes and enhancement requests, and reviewing bug reports.
  • Skills: QA engineers must have problem-solving and organizational skills, along with knowledge of the underlying technology of the systems being tested. A position with an Internet company, for instance, might require knowledge of HTML, CGI, Internet protocols and Java. QA engineers should have experience with bug-tracking software and automated testing procedures.
  • Salary: $63,000

LAN Manager

  • What they do: The LAN manager provides assorted services, from design to administration, of an organization's local area network, which connects staff within an organization.
  • Skills: A LAN manager needs to know the intricacies of the specific systems being used by a company: Windows NT, Novell, Unix and so forth. Knowledge of networked applications, virus-protection schemes, system diagnostic utilities, and experience with routers, hubs and bridges is also necessary.
  • Salary: $57,000

PC Tech Support Specialist

  • What they do: You need the latest version of Internet Explorer on your PC? Call tech support. Tech support specialists are responsible for the maintenance and support of a company's PCs. Tasks include troubleshooting, responding to technical problems, and performing maintenance, upgrades and configurations.
  • Skills: Tech support specialists should have knowledge of assorted operating systems, such as Windows 95 and 98, Windows NT and Macintosh, along with familiarity with frequently used applications, from Web browsers to Microsoft Office.
  • Salary: $38,000

Computer Operator

  • What they do: A computer operator is responsible for tasks related to the daily operations of a company's computing systems. Tasks include performing backups, executing batch print jobs and maintaining logs of operations.
  • Skills: A computer operator must be able to follow precise instructions, evaluate problems and plan a course of action to remedy situations. An associate's degree, or comparable experience, is often required, with training in the specific system being operated.
  • Salary: $35,000

Help Desk

  • What they do: Help-desk workers answer support questions, from the silly to the serious. They may handle questions from a company's own computer users, or they may respond to queries, via phone or email, from individuals using a product produced by the company.
  • Skills: Help-desk staff must have a comprehensive understanding of specific systems and applications, with the ability to provide clear answers to common (and not-so-common) questions.
  • Salary: $35,000

Learn more about IT careers.

Latest Jobs

Stoelzle Oberglas
Posted: 05/27/2015
New York City, NY, 10001
Posted: 05/27/2015
Irvine, CA, 92618
Posted: 05/27/2015
Carlsbad, CA, 92013
Posted: 05/27/2015
Mountain View, CA, 94035
Parker and Lynch
Posted: 05/27/2015
New York, NY, 10017

Want more personalized results?  Update Your Profile


Monster Communities

Teaching Community
Where teachers meet and learn.
Create and connect.
Networking for the career-minded woman.
Nursing Link
Where nurses call the shots.
More Monster Communities

Monster Partners

Scholarships, financial aid and more ways to pay for school.
Find top campus and online degree programs.
Military portal for the US Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.
Financial Aid
Scholarships & financial aid.
Staffing for Government Jobs
Staffing and hiring solutions for federal government agency jobs.
More Monster Partners

Job Hunt Strategy

Six Ways to Make a Recruiter Hate You
If you want to blow your chances with recruiters -- and, by extension, with the companies they work for -- here are six perfect ways to do so.

Resumes & Cover Letters

Rev Up Your Resume to Relocate
Hoping to relocate? Get the ball rolling on landing the right job in the right location with these expert resume and cover letter tips.


100 Potential Interview Questions
Interview questions can run the gamut. You probably won't face all 100 of these, but you should still be prepared to answer at least some of them.

Salary & Benefits

10 Questions to Ask When Negotiating Salary
Most of us aren't natural negotiators, but asking these 10 questions during salary negotiations can help you get everything you deserve.

Employee Sourcing

Alt text
November Monster Employment Index Grows 13% Year-Over-Year, Tenth Consecutive Month of Positive Annual Growth.

For Seekers

Campus and Online Degrees
Advance your career and earn more with an online degree.
Free Salary Wizard
What are you worth? Find out and negotiate a better salary.
Research Careers
Get information on jobs and career paths to help guide your choices
Questions & Answers
Find answers to all your career related questions -- powered by Yahoo! Answers
Resume Distribution Service
Our distribution service puts your resume right in the hands of recruiters.
Resume Writing Services
Our experts will craft a keyword-rich resume that stands out in the crowd.
More Career Resources

For Employers

Career Ad Network
Target your job posting to more candidates on thousands of websites.
Hire Right Background Checks
Explore our background check packages to improve the quality of your hires.
Hiring Home Page
Find the best candidates for your business with Monster hiring solutions.
Job Postings
Find the right solution for your hiring needs. Starting at $99.
Power Resume Search
Monster's new search technology precisely matches people with your jobs.
Resource Center
Find staffing insights, labor trends, HR best practices and more.
Target Post
Connect with skilled, hourly and administrative candidates for only $99.

Social Media

Jobs on Twitter
Find jobs in your area and industry.
Monster Careers
Tune into our career advice and discussions tackling a wide range of topics and industries.
Monster Corporate & PR
Stay up-to-date on the latest news. Get the 'Who', 'What', 'When', and 'Why' on all things Monster related.
Monster Customer Service
Got a Monster question? We've got the answer. Whether you're a job seeker or employer, we can help you find the answers you need.
Monster for Employers
Find advice on hiring.
Follow Us
Check out our many pages and stay connected with the latest industry news, events, career advice and job openings.

Other Links

Monster Company Profiles
Explore companies and get information to guide your career decisions.
Compare Salaries
See how your pay stacks up to others in your field.
iPhone Application
Download the Monster app for iPhone and iPod touch.
Monster Job Seeker Blog
Monster Job Seeker Blog.
Monster Thinking Blog
Monster's Recruitment Trends Blog.
Jobs & Career Resources
Search Jobs:
For Employers: Post Jobs | Search Resumes | Advertise
About Monster | Work for Monster | Advertise with Us | AdChoices | Partner with Us | Investor Relations | Social Media
Terms of Use | Privacy Center | Accessibility Center | Help | Security | Contact Us | Sitemap | Mobile
©2015 Monster - All Rights Reserved U.S. Patents No. 5,832,497; 7,599,930 B1; 7,827,125 and 7,836,060 MWW - Looking for Monster Cable? - V: 2015.8.0.34-306