I can’t believe my oldest son has started his senior year of high school. I couldn’t be prouder of all his accomplishments. He’s a member of the National Honor Society, has maintained high grades, ranked high in the state for his position in soccer, and has completed multiple AP courses for college credits. He is a motivated young man, but I was surprised at his answer when asked what he wanted to do for a career. You guessed it … the typical “I don’t know!” was the answer. Maybe that’s not so surprising. When I was his age, my answer was exactly the same.

I remember a special day in high school when we completed exercises based on our personality types that identified what areas of work we would excel in. When the results came back, I was a match for technical skills. I knew I liked technology and working on computers, but I had no idea what type of education would suit me the best. If you or someone you know is considering entering the IT field, here are some directions to consider.

Information Technology and Information Systems is one of the top degree choices among those who wish to enter a help desk type position dealing with end users, system/server administration or systems engineering. It broadly covers many different aspects of Information Technology.

Information Science gives you the necessary tools to manage and store data. Maintaining the confidentiality of high value data is a skill set needed by the government and private companies.

Computer Science is often pursued by both new and seasoned IT professionals. It can be a difficult program as it focuses on programming, math and theory. This degree will cover a broad range of IT skills and often complements an IT supervisor or manager position well.

Software Engineering is a good idea if you want to design and develop computer programs that meet users’ needs and solves real-world problems. Phones, computers, tablets and even your vehicle are examples that would be useless without software that makes it a functional piece of equipment.

Computer Engineering primarily contributes to advanced developments in communications and network technology. Computer engineers design systems and devices that have a significant impact on the world, such as in the manufacturing, medical, transportation and economic industries.

Computer Animation teaches how to use data structures and algorithms to animate everything from online games to medical-related graphics.

Cybersecurity continues to evolve and will be an ever-changing field of study. It teaches how to create, operate, analyze and test the security of computer and networking systems. It also includes areas of interest like incident response, ethical hacking and digital forensics investigation.

Regardless which direction you plan to take, your education and training will never be finished if you decide to embark on a career in an IT field. I have been working in the industry for more than 20 years and have never stopped learning. For me, one of the greatest advantages of being an IT professional is the opportunity and need to continually learn.