Outlook & Growth
This career is expected to grow 45 percent—much faster than average—through 2018. The computer systems design and services industry will add more than 656,400 jobs over the decade, placing it among the five industries with the largest job growth.
E-commerce is a booming business; it has expanded markets for products and services and created jobs for the professionals who design, build, maintain and administer its systems.
E-commerce experts with knowledge of network security will be particularly desirable.
Salary & Wages
E-commerce experts work in many industries. E-commerce employees who worked for Internet service providers, web search portals and data processing services averaged $809 per week in 2006. Workers in the computer systems design and related services industry averaged $1,401 a week in 2008.
E-commerce experts, especially those with security expertise, can expect to earn significantly more.
What is an E-Commerce Expert?
Electronic business (e-business) is any process that a business organization conducts over a computer network. Electronic commerce, referred to as e-commerce, is the part of e-business that involves the buying and selling of goods and services online.
Some service firms specialize in developing and maintaining sites on the Internet for client companies. Others create and maintain corporate intranets or self-contained internal networks.
E-commerce firms design sophisticated computer networks, assist with upgrades, design programming features for clients and engage in ongoing maintenance. They help clients select the right hardware and software products for a particular project, and then develop, install and implement the system, as well as train the client's users.
Education & Degree Path
In 2006, between 60 and 75 percent of workers in the industries where e-commerce experts predominate held college degrees. For the most part, e-commerce experts usually hold a bachelor’s degree in a computer-related or business field, though many support specialists hold only associate degrees in computers or some related area of programming.
In this industry, auxiliary study in accounting, inventory control, or other areas of business can be a huge plus. E-commerce systems combine computer systems with buying and selling so knowing accounting and inventory can help one understand how to design and implement online catalog and order fulfillment systems.
Managers and high-level supervisors in this area often seek MBAs or master’s degrees in computer systems design or technology management.
Some employers seek applicants with specialized technical or professional certification.
Entering the Field:
Getting a degree in an appropriate subject, such as business, accounting, programming or systems management, is the best way to enter this field. Sometimes people enter the field in a computer support role, then work their way up to a programming, design or analyst position. A certificate in e-commerce can help you specialize.
This area used to be an excellent area of opportunity for career changers. Throughout the 90s, high demand in these new technologies made employers willing to hire people with a willingness to learn. However, the growing number of qualified trained workers and the reduction of demand for computer support specialists in recent years has reduced the ease of entry without a formal bachelor’s degree.
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Source for salary and growth data is the Bureau of Labor Statistics. For more information on careers in computer systems design (e-commerce), salaries and job prospects visit: U.S. Department of Labor, Career Guide to Industries, 2010-11 Edition, Computer Systems Design and Related Services.