Information technology careers are hot. In fact, computer and mathematical occupations together will experience some of the most intense growth of all occupational groups in Kentucky from 2016 to 2026—1.5 percent annually.
Demand for these workers will stem from greater emphasis on cloud computing, the collection and storage of big data, and information security, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. There’s room in this field for workers of many different levels of education, from postsecondary certifications to master’s degrees.
The Kentucky Community and Technical College System offers courses leading to several different certifications as well as the associate degree. You can specialize as well: business software and support, data center technologies, geospatial technologies, informatics, internet technologies, network technologies, programming, and video game design.
Often, bachelor’s degrees in computer science are offered through colleges of engineering. In any IT career, it’s very important to keep up with the latest changes in technology, so you will have to continue your education throughout your career.
The most jobs are available for software developers. A bachelor’s degree will give you the skills you need for these lucrative careers.
- Software developers, applications: 33.4 percent growth from 2016 to 2026, from 5,223 to 6,965 jobs. Average salary $80,322.
- Software developers, systems software: 21.7 percent growth from 2016 to 2026, from 2,011 to 2,447 jobs. Average salary $86,915.
The help desk
The second highest number of jobs available are for computer user support specialists (help desk technicians). These workers help individual users and also troubleshoot and maintain computer systems. Education requirements vary. You may be able to get work without a postsecondary degree.
- Computer user support specialists: 15.8 percent growth from 2026 to 2026, from 5,322 to 6,161 jobs. Average salary $46,986.
Designing and programming
You can get well-paid work in information technology by earning an associate degree. Two computer occupations—web developer and computer network support specialists– are among the fastest growing occupations in Kentucky that you can enter with an associate degree.
Web developers have to understand both graphic design and programming. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the best opportunities are for those who understand multiple programming languages and digital multimedia tools such as Photoshop.
Computer network support specialists (technical support specialists) analyze, troubleshoot, and evaluate computer network problems. They often work under network and computer systems administrators.
- Web developers: 17.8 percent growth from 2016 to 2026, from 1,306 to 1,538 jobs. Average salary $58,095.
- Computer network support specialists: 17.2 percent growth from 2016 to 2026, from 1,423 to 1,668 jobs. Average salary $56,779.
Skilled professionals are also needed to build networks, make computer systems work for business, and manage databases. Double-digit growth is expected for these occupations as well.
Have you heard of LANs, WANs, and the intranet? Computer network architects, also called cloud architects, design and build those data communication networks.
- Computer network architects: 12.2 percent increase from 2016 to 2026, from 1,596 to 1,790 Average salary $75,928.
If you’re interested in computer science and business, a career as a computer systems analyst may be the best of both worlds. These professionals study the computer systems in a business and design solutions to increase efficiency and effectiveness.
- Computer systems analysts: 10.5 percent increase, from 4,235 to 4,678 jobs. Average salary $75,381.
Database administrators use specialized software to store and organize data, such as financial information and customer shipping records.
- Database administrators: 14.5 percent increase from 2016 to 2026, from 1,148 to 1,314 jobs. Average salary $72,282.
Information security analysts
Information security analysts are responsible for the protection of computer networks and information. Average salary in Kentucky as of May 2018 was $83,890, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. There were about 800 Kentuckians employed in this work in May 2018. Nationwide, employment of information security analysts is projected to grow 28 percent from 2016 to 2026.
Math and statistics
Demand is growing in Kentucky for people who know how to analyze data and use it to solve business problems.
Operations research analysts identify and solve problems in areas such as business, logistics, healthcare, or other fields. By analyzing computer databases, sales histories, and customer feedback, they develop practical solutions to business problems. This field requires a background in computer science and advanced math, such as calculus and statistics.
- Operations research analysts: 28.2 percent increase from 2016 to 2026, from 953 to 1,222 positions. Average salary $74,216.
Another hot mathematics occupation is statistician. Though few in number, the occupation is the fastest growing occupation in the state that requires a master’s degree for entry. Government, healthcare, and research and development companies employ many statisticians. Because statisticians often work with data analysis software, computer programming courses may be helpful.
- Statisticians: 35.9 percent increase from 2016 to 2026, from 92 to 125 jobs. Average salary $72,242.
Figures from Kentucky Occupational Outlook to 2026.