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How Long Does it Take to Become an IT Specialist – Professional Guidance

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As the importance of technology grows in every industry, so does the demand for IT specialists. This meteoric demand for these skilled professionals has seen a rise in people looking forward to starting their careers in this field. If you want to pursue this fast-growing career choice, knowing how long it takes to become an IT specialist is essential. Let’s find it out.

How Long Does it Take to Become an IT Specialist?

Becoming an IT specialist takes anywhere from 2 to 5 years of study. Your work can range from help desk support to cybersecurity. Depending on your chosen specialization, it can vary significantly.  Here is a brief time frame based on different levels of IT specialization.

Entry Level Positions

If you aim to work in entry-level positions such as help desk or tech support, you can be ready in about two years. You can acquire basic certifications such as CompTIA A+, which provides foundational IT knowledge and skills. It also provides practical experience that can come in handy as you move up in this career choice.

Specialized Roles

It takes anywhere from 2 to 5 years for you to be able to fulfill more specialized roles in IT. You can get a relevant certification, associate, or bachelor’s degree. Since these roles are more critical, you must get as much practical experience as possible. Specialized certifications such as CCNA, CEH, MySQL, etc., give you the right skill set and experience to excel in these roles.

Advanced IT careers

Advanced IT careers such as IT consulting, Project Management, or System Designer require extensive education and experience. Apart from accreditation such as PMP, CMA, or CMC, you require at least 8 to 10 years of experience working in IT to reach this level.

These experts undertake major responsibility in designing and maintaining complex systems. IT consultants help design and install the entire IT infrastructure based on the company’s needs. Project managers are important in planning, executing, and wrapping up projects. Their input is valuable in tasks such as the software development cycle. System designers manage the entire IT system. They seamlessly combine a system’s different elements to perform a particular task. Since these tasks require key skills, you need a lot of dedication and willingness to learn to reach this level.

What Does an IT Specialist Do?

An IT specialist manages and maintains the IT infrastructures, networks, and systems. Depending on their specialties, their role can vary significantly. It includes troubleshooting, installing and maintaining computer hardware and software, network management, and data security. Some roles an IT specialist can perform are explained below.

Help Desk Support

Help desk support is essential for the seamless operation of any corporation. These professionals are key to diagnosing and solving various issues, such as hardware problems or software bugs. Their assistance is vital for the smooth functioning of the company’s IT infrastructure. They are experts in providing user-friendly assistance. They play a crucial role in managing end-user accounts, managing permissions, and ensuring data security.

Software Development

IT specialists are tasked with developing and maintaining software that fulfills the requirements. They are responsible for designing, coding, and testing the software to ensure that it meets the company’s needs. Once the software is deployed, they must ensure it is compatible with all the systems within the corporation. They are responsible for ensuring the software is maintained and updated regularly.

System and Network Administration

Managing system and network infrastructure is crucial in maintaining a reliable IT infrastructure. These professionals ensure that both hardware and software aspects are functioning smoothly. They place various security measures to protect against cyber threats and establish data backup and recovery procedures to safeguard critical information. Their ability to plan for disaster scenarios is vital to ensuring minimum downtime.

Database Administration

Database administrators are entrusted with designing, implementing, and maintaining database systems. A well-managed database system ensures that data is efficiently stored and easily accessible when needed. These professionals also ensure that data retrieval is swift and seamless. Their roles include data backup, recovery, and protection against unauthorized access.

Cybersecurity Management

Cybersecurity specialists play a huge role in safeguarding the corporation. They defend the digital assets from threats of cyberattacks. Their duties include a range of responsibilities, such as installing firewalls and encryption. Constant monitoring allows them to detect any intrusion into the system before it can cause harm. When faced with any incident, these professionals are tasked with containing the damage.

Career Path for IT Specialist

The career path for an IT specialist is dynamic as it depends on the specialization and the field they choose to work in. The IT sector is always evolving, and you must be able to adapt to the rapid changes that are a part of this career.  If you have decided to forge a path in this field, here are some key steps that need to be taken.


It is the first step on your path to becoming an IT specialist. Your educational background plays an important role in shaping your career.

Unlike some career choices, IT allows you to bypass traditional degrees and focus on acquiring skills specific to your industry. Many certification programs, such as CompTIA A+, CompTIA Network+, Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA), and Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), are well-known and accepted in this field. These certifications will help you start a career in IT.

A 2-year associate degree or a 4-year bachelor’s degree in computer science or information technology is also one of the routes you can pursue. Apart from giving you the skills required to succeed in this field, it also gave you a solid understanding of IT fundamentals, including programming, networks, and databases.

Since technology keeps updating, you must update yourself as well. Learn new languages, familiarize yourself with the advancement in your chosen field so that you can make yourself a valuable addition to any team,

Gaining Practical Experience

Practical experience helps you apply the knowledge you have gained to real-world scenarios. You can put your skills into practice to build more experience. You can start by doing some personal projects. They are a great way to check your skills. If you are ready, look for internship projects that allow you to work on real projects and learn from seasoned professionals.

Building experience also helps you climb to more specialized IT roles. Real-world experiences prepare you for the challenges brought along by these roles.


Once you have the required education and experience, you can decide to specialize in a specific area of IT. You should carefully choose one that aligns closely with your chosen field. Decide whether you want to work in hardware and networking, system administration, software development, database management, or cybersecurity.

Acquire certifications that will help you move forward in your chosen field. You can include CCNA, CompTIA Server+, CISSP, or MySQL. You can also learn in-demand programming languages like Python, Javascript, and PHP.

Becoming an IT specialist is a journey that can take anywhere from two years or more, depending on your chosen path and specialization. It is an ever-evolving field with new developments and technologies being introduced regularly. To become efficient in this field, you must keep updated with new advancements in your chosen field.

The demand for skilled IT professionals remains high, and it is an excellent field for those seeking a rewarding and promising career. You can apply for a position if you want to connect with corporations seeking a proficient IT specialist.

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