9 Most Common IT Jobs in Illinois
Midwesterners looking for IT jobs often settle for Illinois — and there are plenty of IT jobs in the state to go around. If you're an IT professional and you'd like to live and work in Illinois, you've certainly got a lot of options in terms of jobs. When it comes to where you'll be living, however, the options get quite a bit more narrow.
That's because although there are hundreds of thousands of IT jobs throughout Illinois, the overwhelming majority of them are in Chicago alone – by our count, more than 60%. And when Chicago suburbs are included, that number jumps up 15 or 20 percentage points. So, if you want to work in IT in Illinois, you should be prepared to live in or near Chicago.
That said, Springfield, Rockford, East St Louis and Champaign all boast a sizable number of IT jobs too, as do many small cities in the state, like Belleville, Carbondale and Quincy. If you're in the market for an IT job in Illinois, we've processed a huge amount of data about current jobs and job postings in the state, and we've decided on Illinois' top 9 IT jobs. You can read about them below, or visit our interactive map of IT jobs across the country, State of IT Jobs.
9. IT Support Specialist
Starting off our list of top nine IT jobs in Illinois is IT support specialist. All throughout Illinois, businesses are increasingly digitized and interconnected, and the skills of a trained IT support specialist are highly valued everywhere in the state. Obviously there's no single job description for an IT support specialist, as the needs and expectations vary widely based on the business and team, but there are still some ways to prove yourself universally capable of the job.
Typically, the CompTIA IT Fundamentals+ or CompTIA A+ certifications are rock-solid foundations to a career in IT. Just like with every other job on this list, the huge majority of the available IT support specialist jobs are located in Chicago and its suburbs — Waukegan, Schaumburg and Glen Ellyn. But this job differs from most IT-related jobs in Illinois in that the demand for it remains relatively high in the state's smaller cities, like Gibson City and Clinton.
8. Software Engineer
Not only does software engineer make the list of top nine IT jobs in Illinois at No. 8, but fifth on the list is senior network engineer. In other words, there's room for growth in Illinois for software engineers. Software engineers won't have any trouble finding work in Chicago and its suburbs, and as you advance in your career, more jobs await you.
East St. Louis also has a healthy share of software engineer jobs, as does Champaign. In East St Louis, Marco Technologies is a large employer for IT professionals, as is Karpel Solutions and GuROO. Meanwhile, in Champaign, positions are regularly posted by companies like Pavlov Media, Riverside Research and EpiWorks.
7. Business Analyst
Given the size and scope of businesses in Illinois, it should come as no surprise that business analyst is the seventh most common IT-related job in the state. Only well-trained business analysts have the education and skills needed to wade through the huge amounts of data the state's companies produce and extract meaning from them. If that's something you're capable of, you'll undoubtedly find work throughout the state, but the most job postings for it are – like everything else on this list – in Chicago and its suburbs.
If you don't mind living in the Windy City, some of the city's biggest employers of business analysts and IT professionals are companies like Hydro, Inc, TSI Technology Sourcing, and iSenpai. If you venture out away from Chicago, you'll want to stay near the state's larger cities, where jobs for business analyst tend to cluster: Peoria, Champaign and East St Louis' suburbs like Belleville, Madison and Venice.
6. Systems Administrator
Systems administrators are essential for any company that does any of its transactions with a computer: no sysadmins, no machines. If you're a trained systems administrator in Illinois, jobs abound, all the way down to cities the size of Hudson and Towanda, where there are quite a few jobs for systems administrators with certifications in the field.
A common certification for a sysadmin to earn to prove their excellence is the Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA). This entry-level certification covers every part of the job a systems administrator should be able to handle for Microsoft setups, and some employers even consider it a prerequisite to consideration for a job.
5. Senior Network Engineer
Seeing senior network engineer at No. 5 on the list of IT jobs in Illinois is good news for anyone who was excited to see network engineer at the No. 8 position. Evidently, as network engineers become more experienced, the demand for them in the state of Illinois also goes up.
If you're a network engineer in Illinois with experience leading teams and undertaking huge projects, the best place for you to look for work would be in Chicago and its suburbs like Oak Park, Schaumburg, Des Plaines and Belleville, all of which top the list of cities with companies looking for senior network engineers in Illinois.
Network engineers looking to push themselves into the ranks of senior network engineer should consider the Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE) family of certifications. Holding these makes you eligible for some of the most competitive and best-paying IT jobs in Illinois.
4. Network Administrator
A good network administrator can be worth their weight in gold for companies who need up-to-the-minute data, instantaneous communications, and need to move and store huge amounts of data. If you're a network administrator and you hold your Cisco Certified Network Associate, in Chicago alone (not counting suburbs) there are over 100,000 existing and advertised jobs with that as a prerequisite.
3. Systems Engineer
For both systems engineer and network engineer to rank in the top three IT jobs in Illinois speaks to the state's technological advancement and interconnectedness. Increasingly, Illinois companies need IT professionals trained in understanding what sort of digital footprint the company will need and how to best address it.
Systems engineers are in demand all over the state, particularly in Chicago, where many of its suburbs – like Arlington Heights and Melrose Park – manage to top the state's bigger cities like East St Louis, Peoria and Springfield.
2. Network Engineer
Coming in at No. 2 on our list of top IT jobs in Illinois, network engineers are needed throughout the state. If you hold the Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) or Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE) certifications, there are more than 60,000 current and posted jobs in Chicago alone.
By the time one reaches the top levels of network engineering, those certifications or ones like them are all but necessary.
1. Data Analyst
The single most prevalent IT-related job in Illinois is data analyst. Data analyst is an extremely broad job, and depending on the company and position, can require wildly different skills and experiences. Whether analyzing throughput for a network, sales figures, market research, logistics, or transportation costs, good data analysts are the single most in-demand IT job in Illinois.
If you've made it this far, you can guess where the state's data analyst jobs are centralized: Chicago and its suburbs. According to our research, out of the 10 top cities in the state with data analyst positions, East St Louis and its suburb Venice are the only two that aren't Chicago or a suburb. But if Oak Park, Shaumburg or Evanston sound good to you, there are data analyst positions for the taking!
Explore the State of IT Jobs Map
If this sort of data is interesting to you, you should head over to our interactive map of IT jobs throughout the country, State of IT Jobs, and it can help you visualize where IT jobs are located throughout the country.