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Roam Free in IT: Plenty of Non-Desk Jobs for the Tech-Savvy

Working in IT doesn't always mean (mostly) sitting at a desk and staring at a computer monitor. There are plenty of jobs that let you work in a variety of tech environments.

Chained to my deskA fairly common misconception about working in information technology (IT) is that it entails sitting at a desk for long hours at a time and staring at a computer screen all day. While there is a kernel of truth to this, given the fact that a field focused on technology will necessarily include some of those characteristics, this misconception is both exaggerated and erroneous.


There are many disciplines and professions within IT that involve a fairly robust degree of movement and non-computer-based desk work. Let’s take a look at seven promising professions within IT that will not keep you chained to a desk from 9 to 5.


Small Business IT Consultant — IT has permeated virtually every sector of the economy; almost all businesses, from large multinational corporations to small- and medium-sized companies have a need for technology and IT services to maximize their profitability and efficiency. As such, the demand for IT savvy individuals offering consulting services to small businesses has never been greater.


As a small business IT consultant, you will be expected to fulfill a wide variety of tasks away from any desks or computer screens. You will frequently be attending meetings, or hosting IT solutions workshops, or seeking out new clients — all non-desk-based work activates.


To become a small business IT consultant, you’ll generally need to develop a highly specialized expertise in one or more IT services that businesses usually seek out. These typically include services such as vendor management system implementation, network security improvement, and managed enterprise solutions implementation and support, among many others.


IT Field Technician — IT field technicians travel to organizations and companies to help diagnose and repair IT-related problems. Often, IT field technicians are expected to travel to companies in remote locations and, as a result, can spend a significant time away from any desks or computers.


Common tasks IT field technicians are expected to complete include maintaining and repairing equipment, installing software and hardware, providing on-site technical support, and configuring computer networks. While there are many sub-specialities a prospective IT field technician can choose to master, virtually all such individual, will, at a minimum, have their CompTIA A+ credential.


Telecommunications Engineer — Telecom engineers specialize in providing communications and information transfer solutions. While telecommunications engineering is a broad field that does involve a decent amount of computer-based work, many of the tasks required of these professionals are highly physical in nature — physical network wiring, design, and implementation, are just a few of the tasks one will be called on to perform. System Administrator — System administrators are responsible for the maintenance, performance, and improvement of computer systems and are typically employed by large organizations such as universities or school boards, as well as larger businesses.


Because the core responsibility of a system administrator centers around ensuring that that the users of a particular network are able to easily and efficiently access and use it, much of their job involves in-person IT work such as installing computer components and software or providing on-site computer troubleshooting and repair services. Furthermore, a key component of any system administrator’s job is training and providing support to the users of a given computer network.


Most system administrators possess a degree or some college experience in computer science, information technology, electrical engineering, or computer engineering as well as one or more certifications depending on the specific type of systems they are administrating (database, network, security, etc.).