Getting a Degree in Information Technology

Information Technology Degree

Information Technology Degrees: What You Need to Know

Almost any business has a need for someone in Information Technology. People in this type of career work to monitor and manage computer hardware, software, and networks within a company or an organization.

Information Technology is the application of technology to solve business or organizational problems on a broad scale. They work to solve all technical problems, big and small.

With a degree in information technology, you won’t have to limit yourself to just one type of industry. You can find jobs in retail, insurance, design, banking, and more. The IT field is fast-changing, and information technology will evolve and probably become even more important in the future. For this reason, it can be a smart choice when trying to decide what to study in college and which career path you should follow.

Associate’s Degree in Information Technology

Although it is best to go for at least your bachelor’s degree in information technology, going for an associate’s degree in information technology can also be a good idea. With your associate’s degree, you can qualify for plenty of solid job opportunities that can give you a foothold in the field and start you on a path to advancement.

The degree can be completed in two years or even less and can be an excellent way to get into the field before you know what direction you want to pursue. You might be able to find a job as a computer support specialist or a help desk specialist, who would help troubleshoot and address software issues, or a computer systems analyst, who would work behind the scenes to connect IT with smart business solutions.

Most community colleges would have an associate’s in information technology or a similar degree program and you should be able to find programs both online and in-person based on what would work best for you.

Bachelor’s Degree in Information Technology

Getting your bachelor’s degree in information technology can lead to even more job opportunities. Going into a bachelor’s program, you can look at different concentrations such as cybersecurity, data management, and analytics, or information management.

You might take classes such as the fundamentals of information technology, essential computer technology, basic web design, information security, basic networking, and IT ethics.

A bachelor’s degree will take you about four years, but if you already have your associate’s, you can earn it in about two. You can find online and in-person programs based on what is available and what works best for your situation.

For online programs, The University of South Florida-Sarasota-Manatee, Florida International University, and The University of South Florida all have highly rated programs. For in-person programs, Purdue University, The University of Washington, and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute all have highly rated programs.

Jobs you can get with a Bachelor’s Degree in Information Technology

  • Network and Computer Systems Administrators, who ensure that networks and the systems connected to them stay operational, help to access networks and troubleshoot issues, have an average salary of $64,892, according to Glassdoor as of August 2020.
  • Database Administrators, who use software to organize, store and retrieve data such as shipping manifests or customer information, have an average salary of $78,779, according to Glassdoor, as of August 2020.
  • Information Security Analysts, who work to protect data from outside tampering, monitor network security, and develop new barriers to intrusion based on the info they gather, have an average salary of $76,410, according to Glassdoor as of August 2020.

Master’s Degree in Information Technology

Getting your master’s degree in information technology will allow you to expand your knowledge of concepts and techniques used in the IT industry. Students will learn project management, problem-solving skills, analytical skills, troubleshooting, and more.

The classes you would take would depend on the program and the school that you attend. You may take classes on computer programming, software development, data science, internet technologies, algorithms and data structures, and computer and network security.

A master’s program typically takes 1-2 years, maybe longer if you go part-time. You can attend online or in-person depending on what programs are offered and what would work best for your situation.

Those in a master’s program would need to pick a specialization such as computer science, network security, computer networking, cybersecurity, systems management, or IT management.

Highly Rated Online Information Technology Degree Programs

  • The University of Southern California
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • The University of Arizona

For in-person programs, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, The University of Washington-Seattle, and The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign all have highly rated programs.

Jobs you can get with a Master’s Degree in Information Technology

  • Business Intelligence Analysts, who evaluate a company’s data as well as their computer and industry data and discover ways to improve their company’s market position, have an average salary of $76,402, according to Glassdoor, as of August 2020.
  • Senior Software Engineers, who develop information systems by studying operations, designing, developing, and installing software solutions, have an average salary of $121,521, according to Glassdoor, as of August 2020.
  • Chief Information Officers, who have the executive job title given to the person at an enterprise in charge of IT strategy and computer systems, have an average salary of $162,191, according to Payscale as of August 2020.

Doctorate Degrees in Information Technology

The Doctor of Information Technology, DIT, is a research-oriented professional doctoral degree. The research would focus more on industry practice than on theoretical framework. Having this degree would also allow you to pursue a career in teaching at the college level. Having a PhD. in IT covers research on the business, economic, and organizational implications of digital and information technologies. Graduates can also become senior consultants, systems administrators, lead systems analysts, and IT directors. Unicaf University, Nova Southeastern University, and George Washington University all have highly rated programs.

Related Majors: Computer Information Systems, Computer Science, and Data Processing.

Scholarships:

Getting your degree in information technology means you can apply for certain scholarships that specialize in information technology, computers, or similar degrees. Here are a couple of them:

The Lilly/BDPA Scholarship

The Lilly/BDPA Scholarship is from the BDPA Education and Technology Foundation. The scholarship is for any graduating high school student or current college student who is a minority, with an interest in information technology. They will also need to be someone who has made significant contributions to society. Students must excel academically, show exceptional leadership potential, and make an impact on their communities. The award is given to multiple students at the amount of $4,000, to be used to pursue an IT-focused degree at an accredited 4-year college or university.

Aspiring Tech Pro Scholarship Program

The CompTIA Scholarship Program honors aspiring technology professionals that are positively impacting local IT communities. Applicants must be a paid CompTIA Student Member. The CompTIA Rising Star Scholarship offers 10 awards, at $2,000 each. The scholarship is open to students looking to pursue a career in technology. It is also for student chapter members who are contributing significantly to the success of their student chapter and their local IT community, making a lasting and valuable impact on their school’s technology program or the IT industry.

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Julie Provost is a freelance writer, blogger, and owner of Soldier's Wife, Crazy Life, a support blog for military spouses. She lives in Tennessee with her National Guard husband and three boys.