An information and communications technology (ICT) specialist designs, maintains, and services systems used to store, retrieve, and send data. A broad spectrum of careers are available in this field, ranging from supporting a library's collection to running the technology used in military operations. Career qualifications can vary depending on the specific industry and the job, but may include a degree in computer science or a related field.
In the design of systems, an ICT specialist can work with the rest of the development team to create specifications and implement them. These technology professionals consider how a system will be used, who will be using it, and what might change in the future. The requirements for something like a bookstore's catalog and point of sale system, for example, are very different from those of an office messaging system used at a bank to keep people in touch with each other. Future developments are also a consideration. At a library, for instance, the types of media in the collection could change and the cataloging system needs to be able to accommodate them.
Installation of the components of information technology is also part of the job for an ICT specialist. This can include making hardware and software recommendations to clients as well as performing the installation itself. Once installed, the system can be tested and the ICT specialist can offer training for personnel who will use it. Some firms may maintain an ICT staff to offer ongoing maintenance and support, especially if they are large or their systems are complex.
Routine maintenance as well as specific service in the event of problems are also the responsibility of an ICT specialist. The technician needs to be able to update systems and perform scheduled tasks while also handling ongoing issues. These can include failing software or hardware, viral incursion, and other problems that may arise. ICT specialists may need to pursue continuing education to keep up with developments in the field, ranging from new technology to the latest hacking techniques.
Part of the work also requires considering the needs of a given industry. An ICT specialist may work in a variety of settings and needs to adjust the services offered to the audience. The requirements for an engineering firm versus a restaurant, for example, are very different. Some training for the work may include additional study in the industry where the information technology will be used in order to be able to offer the best services.