For the past 13 years, Kaeo Tam has served as CIO at University Health Partners of Hawaii (UCERA). But when Tam began his tech career in 1980 after graduating from the University of Hawaii at Manoa with a bachelors in electrical engineering, the C-suite position was furthest from his mind.
“I never imagined I would be doing this,” Tam told IEEE-USA InSight.
Like all CIOs, you have to start somewhere and that somewhere is often an entry-level position in tech. Entry-level jobs are typically defined as requiring less than 12 months of hands-on work experience in a particular field, said Megan Slabinski, district president of Robert Half.
And what makes these 10 positions the best for entry-level tech workers in 2022?
“The number one reason is demand. There is an inverse of available talent to meet the demand and its creating opportunities for entry-level candidates that historically may not have been considered for some of these positions,” Slabinski said. “The number two reason is most of these positions have gradation and skill advancement within the roles themselves.”
With these particular roles having the highest demand, it translates into having the highest earning potential in these areas, as well, Slabinski said, noting Robert Half released its 2022 Salary Guide in September. She recommends that entry-level workers should conduct research and take care with their salary negotiations.
Corporate America’s digital transformation is making a number of these top 10 entry-level positions hot, Tam said. Software developers and infrastructure tech positions are in steep demand, making retention sometimes difficult, Tam said, pointing to his personal experience as CIO.
And as we head toward 2022, the demand for these top entry-level jobs is not likely to ease. In fact, it’s likely to accelerate, Slabinski said.
Here’s a look at the 10 best entry-level jobs in 2022, according to the Robert Half Salary Guide:
Software Developer – $122,250
Job Description: Building applications, typically with the use of compiled languages such as Java and C++, may be part of your tasks, along with fixing bugs and deployment. Understanding Agile will likely lock in points with hiring managers.
Job Requirements: An IT-related degree is usually required for junior developer positions, but completing a reputable bootcamp program and engaging with the development community via hackathons and on open source projects can help position you in this field.
Database Administrator – $107,750
Job Description: As a DBA, you’ll be handling the operational aspect of database management. This will run the gamut of managing permissions to testing modifications. It also requires you to collaborate with information systems managers and application development teams.
Job Requirements: SQL knowledge ranks as a top skill for this position.
Systems Analyst – $99,500
Job Description: Consider yourself someone who wears two hats — one in the business world and the other in the technology world. You’ll need to collect requirements from users and stakeholders and convey that information via technical documents to your developers and programmers.
Job Requirements: This job requires you to analyze, document and communicate technical solutions.
Network/cloud Administrator – $97,500
Job Description: Developing, administering and maintaining a stable network infrastructure will be your priority when supporting your company to ensure it’s secure and has a high availability of its enterprise systems. Be prepared to provide round-the-clock support and handle emergencies due to ever-changing software, hardware, network security programs and data storage systems.
Job Requirements: Experience in network protocols and the software and hardware involved in LAN and WAN operations.
“There’s such a short supply of qualified candidates that companies are having to consider candidates with less-tenured work experience for these kinds of jobs and train them up to meet the demand in their organizations,” Slabinski said.
Front-end Web Developer – $93,250
Job Description: Your ability to combine development skills with an understanding of design and usability are needed to create attractive user environments for their mobile phones to big screen TVs.
QA Analyst – $81,250
Job Description: Building, customizing, deploying and managing test automation frameworks will be among your responsibilities, along with creating alternative test scenarios and acceptance tests.
Job Requirements: Experience in executing and analyzing automated test results would be among the requirements you would face, while experience with bug and test management tools, such as, Bugzilla, JIRA, Zephyr and Gitlab would be an additional win.
Technical Writer – $75,750
Job Description: This entry IT job calls for you to write clear documents, ranging from user manuals to online FAQs, as it relates to your company’s products, services or processes.
Job Requirements: Strong writing skills, an analytical mind and the ability to translate complex information into understandable terms and steps are the skills you bring to the table.
Desktop Support Analyst – $62,750
Job Description: Software configurations, connectivity issues, hardware repairs and replacements are some of the laundry list items you’ll be facing in this role, in which you’ll either work directly with the end user or receive elevated requests from the help desk.
Job Requirements: In this role, you’ll need to know the essential elements of your company’s tech stack, such as email servers, cloud systems, databases and other aspects to the stack.
Help Desk, Tier 1 – $44,000
Job Description: You’ll be acting as a traffic controller for tech support, fielding calls and resolving straightforward problems while redirecting more complex matters to experienced help desk team members and desktop support analysts.
Job Requirements: Previous customer service experience is helpful, because good communication and problem solving skills are key. Technical knowledge is not required at this entry-level stage and companies frequently provide training to increase your skills.
“In my experience, people on the help desk tend to move into either security or a specialty,” Tam said. “In general, there’s more demand and pay if you’re in any kind of specialization.”
Computer Technician – $42,500
Job Description: In an enterprise environment, you’ll be providing technical support in helping to install hardware and software, as well as coordinate repairs.
Job Requirements: Strong knowledge of Windows, PC hardware and networking will help secure this entry-level position.
While some entry-level workers may one day aspire to become a CIO, Tam noted there is no shame in remaining as a help desk worker or computer technician and moving up the tiers for those particular roles.
“There is a growth path as you accrue seniority and become smarter and smarter at what you do,” Tam said. “You’ll be able to solve people’s problems faster and faster because you’ve seen it all before.”
In addition to Robert Half’s list of the Top 10 Best Entry-Level tech jobs in 2022, another resource for salary information for all stages of your tech career is IEEE-USA’s Salary & Benefits Survey Report, which was also released in September.
Dawn Kawamoto is a freelance writer and editor. She is an award-winning journalist who has written and edited technology, management, leadership, career, finance, and innovation stories for such publications as CNET’s News.com, InformationWeek, TheStreet.com, AOL’s DailyFinance, The Motley Fool, Dice.com and Dark Reading.