Careers. Information Technology. Computer Science, Technology and Database Administration In a Music Studio Game Design Web Design Computer Hardware Programming Entrepreneurship Computer Security. Some Careers in Information Technology.
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Computer Science, Technology and Database Administration
In a Music Studio
A rising demand for skilled employees to develop new software and hardware technologies has resulted from the expansion of computer use. New and specialized job opportunities—including database administrators, computer scientists, and analysts—will increasingly rise out of evolving technologies and employer practices.
Systems analysts work with the individual needs of organizations by helping them solve their computer and technology problems. In this way, the organization is able to maintain optimal efficiency in investment, business, and personnel procedures.
Computer scientists devise new ways of developing existing and up-and-coming computer systems. This includes designing new hardware and software systems to maximize a computer’s power.
Systems analysts generally work within a specified field related determined by the organization they work for. Accounting, business, scientific and engineering systems are but a few of these fields.
First, analysts determine the problems with the system through discussion with the managers. Goals and solutions are then determined and implemented, using methods such as information engineering, mathematical and data modeling, and cost accounting. Determining the proper inputs and outputs of the system serve to meet the individual users’ needs. To assist the management in deciding financial capacity in implementing these new systems, analysts often prepare cost-benefit and return analyses.
After the system is accepted, analysts run tests and observations to determine what hardware and software is needed to set it up. To eliminate the possibility of any future errors in the system analysts will make specification charts and diagrams for programmers to work with. Analysts with heavier experience are often called software quality assurance analysts. This type of analyst performs all of the normal work in addition to finding problems and solutions to computer systems.
Programmer-analysts must be proficient in both programming and systems analysis in order to design and improve computer software. As this becomes process becomes more mainstream, more of these analysts will work with client server applications development, multimedia and Internet technology, and object-oriented programming languages
Network systems and data communications analysts design and evaluate different types of systems. These systems include wide area networks (WAN), local area networks (LAN), Internet and Intranets, and others. In addition to researching for the necessary products and hardware and software components, analysts do network analysis, modeling, and planning. Telecommunications specialists work with the overlap of computer and communications development.
Many design and development occupations have grown out of the rising use of the World Wide Web and computer graphics. Individuals with jobs such as webmasters maintain all performance and technical aspects of a website. This includes approving of site content and speed access. Web designers usually maintain day-to-date site design.Many new jobs have been created as a result of emerging web-technologies. Webmasters maintain the performance of a website, while Internet developers create and design websites.
Computer scientists work in the diverse areas of researching, inventing, or theorizing. Their jobs are categorized by the amount of expertise they have in a particular field. Academic institutions will usually have computer scientists work with hardware, language design, and complexity theory. Others develop the use of human-computer interaction, robotics, or virtual reality. Computer scientists in the private sector also work with information technologies, designing language and other programming tools, knowledge-based systems, theory application, and computer games.
Not too long ago, musical performances were recorded on analog tape. A single mistake often meant that an entire passage had to be redone. And if several musicians were working together, things got even trickier, particularly if they recorded their parts at different times. Analog overdubs were very difficult, and required an enormous amount of skill.
Analog – The representation of information in a continuous stream rather than as individual pieces of data. Analog recording media included cassette and VHS tapes.
Digital – The representation of information as individual pieces of data using the numbers 1 and 0, rather than as a continuous stream. Digital recording media include CDs and DVDs.
Digital audio technology has completely changed the way musicians and producers work. Today, most music is recorded digitally – all directly to a hard drive. This digital informatin can then be manipulated, spliced, cut, pasted, and edited, all by special editing software. Furthermore, digital media never wears out or degrades in quality, two major concerns when dealing with analog tape.
Every new technology brings with it new career opportunities, and digital music is no exception. Producers, musicians, and editors now work differently than ever before, and the new skills they use are in high demand.
Producer – works with every aspect of a music project, and is chiefly responsible for the sound of the finished piece. Producers are often seen “at the helm of a recording studio’s mixing board. Today, those mixing boards interface with high-end computers running special software.
Engineer – understands the nuts and bolts of the hardware and software systems. While producers handle the artistic side of the recording, engineers work on the technical side, helping producers use multimedia tools to create the sounds they desire.
Editor – Once all the music has been recorded, the sound editor works with the producer and the musicians to get all the pieces in the right place. In many cases, dozens of separate audio files, each representing a different instrument or “take” have to be pieced together, overlapped properly, and mixed. Editors use sophisticated software to piece all these audio clips together and adjust factors such as volume levels to make the finished product. In many cases, the separate musicians on an album never even see each other! Their parts might be recorded on separate days, in separate studios. The editor combines all the parts and polishes them to create the illusion of a complete band performing in a single take.
Modern computer technology has largely been driven by the computer game market. Game designers are constantly modifying and expanding their designs, making their games more innovative, faster, and visually stimulating. Game players, always eager to try the “latest thing”, keep hardware manufacturers on their toes, always calling for faster processors, more efficient operating systems, and speedier components.
It is hard to imagine a future without computers and video games. And as long as there are games, there will be a need for people who can create them – and make them better. Although there are many different ways to make a living as a game designer, there are two main categories of work.
Designer – The game designer might be a programming expert, or might not. In many cases, a game can be designed with paper and pencil (although this is not as common as it once was). The designer envisions the idea for game, creates characters and storylines, settings, and environments. Most importantly, the designer creates the framework for the game itself and how it works. What are the rules? How do different elements of the game interact? What mathematical computations are used to determine which character will win in any given situation?
Programmer – Once a design has been created and a basic framework is in place, it is up to the programmer to make the new world come to life. In most cases, games are programmed in a high-level language like C++. Modern action games might be coded in specialized languages made especially for games, languages with arcane names like Xconq and OpenGL.
The programmer’s job is not only to create the game from the designer’s plans, integrating graphics with audio and special effects, but to keep all aspects of the game balanced. For instance, games must be optimized to use memory and processor time as efficiently as possible.
Teamwork: In commercial game design, designers and programmers work hand in hand, checking each other’s work , and making changes along the way. A finished game is never the result of one person’s vision - in most cases, dozens of people have made suggestions, designed graphic elements, modified rules or visuals, and contributed to the game as a whole.
In a relatively short amount of time, the Web has become one of the most prevalent and important pieces of technology in the world. Thanks to the universal connectivity it provides, entire new economies and businesses have come into existence.
All of this growth and efficiency, of course, relies on talented people behind the scenes. Many different technical careers are at work making the Web the vibrant experience that it is: hardware engineers keep servers runing and communicating with one another; software engineers keep UNIX talking to Windows and Windows talking to Mac. And on top of it all, Web designers create the code that makes the Internet useful.
There are a number of different ways to make a living as a Web designer. Each one calls for a unique set of skills, disciplines, and strengths.
HTML Specialist – HTML, or hypertext markup language, is the actual script language that displays Web pages. HTML is an example of a “specification” – a widely agreed upon set of rules as to how the language should be used to describe a Web page. Since this specification changes and evolves over time, it is the job of the HTML specialist to stay educated on the latest specification and how to use it to create cutting-edge Web pages.
Backend Programmer – Most complex Web sites are tied to a database of some sort. It might be a search engine, or a used car shopping site, or a mail-order company. In all of these cases, the Web page interfaces with the database, does some computations, and returns the appropriate results. Backend programming is one of the most important aspects of business on the Internet. Talented programmers who can work on tying databases to the Web are some of the most sought-after employees in the computer field.
Computers, to many people, are simply tools that they use without much thought about how they work. But for others, computer hardware is the focus of an exciting career.
Research, Purchasing, and Administration – When companies need to buy computer hardware, they face many decisions. Which components should be purchased? How will they work with the company’s existing machines? Will the new equipment support the existing software in use? To answer all these questions, companies rely on hardware experts to research and select the appropriate equipment to meet the company’s needs.
Design – Hardware components are meticulously designed by teams of experts with proficiencies in electronics, engineering, and computer architecture. For large companies that manufacture components (for example sound cards, video cards, motherboards, etc), there is a constant quest to make these products more efficient, faster, and less expensive. Hardware design can be a meticulous job. It often begins in the virtual realm where circuit boards and wiring plans are designed using special software and then tested for viability. A prototype model is made and tested before production of new units can begin.
Repair – As the number of computers in the workforce grows every day, so too does the number of skilled technicians needed to work on them. Computer hardware is just like any other durable good – it wears out. It requires maintenance, and from time to time it needs to be replaced.
Computer repair technicians spend much of their time “in the field” – at the offices of their customers – fixing machinery on the spot. In large computing environments, where many machines are networked together, a single computer component that fails can have a domino effect on multiple workstations. For instance, if a network server’s hard drive controller has an electrical failure, it prevents all computers on the network from working properly.
As a result, repair technicians are often needed on very short notice. Large corporations usually keep a sufficient number of repair technicians on full-time staff, while smaller companies will call an outside agency and pay by the hour. Repair work by the hour, particularly during premium times like evenings, weekends, and holidays, can be very lucrative.
No matter how powerful or elaborate a piece of hardware is, it is worthless without properly written software to make it work. Think of an enormous office building: it takes architects and construction crews to put the beams and girders in place, but that building is practically useless unless the rooms inside are equipped with the necessary tools to live, work, or play. You can imagine computer hardware as the architecture, and software as the tools that make that hardware useful.
Like the building itself, software has to be constructed. In many cases, a software program can be purchased off the shelf. Programmers not only write this “ready to go” software, but are also called upon to create customized software.
Authoring Systems – An authoring system is a tool that allows you to construct an experience for the computer user by putting together graphics, text, animation, and sound, and making those elements work in reaction to what the user does. Authoring systems can create presentations, self-paced tutorials and online education programs, or just about anything you can imagine. The most common software used for authoring is Macromedia Director, and very robust and complex program with hundreds of features and options.
Animations and Video – As broadband internet access becomes more common, Web publishers are seeking to offer their audience more content that takes advantage of an increased capability. This means more sophisticated animation, video and audio can be created for distribution over the Internet.
Back-End Programming – In many cases, multimedia applications are driven by custom code that determines what images are displayed and what sounds are played. Custom programming is the backbone of most of the business computing world. Experts in programming languages like Visual Basic, Java, C++, and C# are currently in demand.
The entrepreneurial urge is as old as the human race itself. Wherever communities sprang up, commerce was quick to follow. Recent years have seen the entrepreneurial instinct emerge more than ever before. Much of this is due to the rise of the Internet and the affordability and power of modern computers.
A large part of this entrepreneurial revolution is squarely centered in the realm of multimedia. As computers have become more graphically advanced, businesses have used the power of multimedia to sell their products and services, educate customers, and train employees.
Advertising: Once limited to statis print ads and fairly basic television and radio commercials, ad agencies can now create content for their customers in an enormous variety of ways. Online banner ads, liquid crystal store displays, and animated kiosk screens are just some of the ways multimedia has expanded options for advertisers to interact with customers.
Small businesses can use multimedia to put themselves in the “big leagues.” At one time, colorful marketing materials and interactive demonstrations and presentations were limited to large companies with deep pockets. Now, thanks to inexpensive hardware and software, entrepreneurs can create professional marketing materials themselves.
Video production companies can offer filming, editing, and final production for a fraction of the cost of conventional film studios. Digital video technology has made high-end filmaking tools available to companies that would never have been able to afford traditional cameras and lighting equipment.
Perhaps the single most important aspect of multimedia as applied to business is the Internet. It has been said that the Internet leveled the playing field in business, and that is largely true. Now, a small mom-and-pop store with one location can sell its products online, anywhere in the world, and can reach new customers in exactly the same manner as large multi-million dollar retail stores.
Computer security specialistsplan, coordinate, and maintain an organization’s information security. These workers educate users about computer security, install security software, monitor networks for security breaches, respond to cyber attacks, and, in some cases, gather data and evidence to be used in prosecuting cyber crime. The responsibilities of computer security specialists have increased in recent years as cyber attacks have become more sophisticated.
Get more information from O*NET—the Occupational Information Network: O*NET provides comprehensive information on key characteristics of workers and occupations. For information on a specific occupation, select the appropriate link below. For more information on O*NET, visit their homepage.
Business Intelligence Analysts (15-1099.10)
Computer Security Specialists (15-1071.01)
Computer Specialists, All Other (15-1099.00)
Computer Systems Engineers/Architects (15-1099.02)
Data Warehousing Specialists (15-1099.09)
Database Administrators (15-1061.00)
Database Architects (15-1099.08)
Document Management Specialists (15-1099.14)
Electronic Commerce Specialists (15-1099.12)
Geographic Information Systems Technicians (15-1099.07)
Geospatial Information Scientists and Technologists (15-1099.06)
Information Technology Project Managers (15-1099.11)
Network and Computer Systems Administrators (15-1071.00)
Network Designers (15-1099.03)
Network Systems and Data Communications Analysts (15-1081.00)
Software Quality Assurance Engineers and Testers (15-1099.01)
Telecommunications Specialists (15-1081.01)
Video Game Designers (15-1099.13)
Web Administrators (15-1099.05)
Web Developers (15-1099.04)
Introduction to Multimedia (Glencoe)
Occupational Outlook Handbook (http://www.bls.gov/oco/oco1002.htm#comp )