Is an Information Technology Degree Right for You?
A career in information technology can be a challenging undertaking: the industry is always changing as new technologies take over. Professionals in technology fields are always learning and developing new skills in order to stay relevant in the business and a bachelor’s degree in information technology is only the beginning.
With course work based in software, computing and databases, networking and Internet security, students enrolled in information technology programs learn to address organizations’ technological needs. Information technology students must also hone their communication and presentation skills, as they will often be required to impart some of their knowledge of software and operations to others.
Advice for Earning Your Information Technology Degree Online
Bachelor’s degrees in information technology are widely available online. However, hybrid programs may be the best option for flexible degree programs in this field. Hybrid programs, in which courses are delivered virtually and on-campus, allow students to complete lectures on their own time while also receiving hands-on instruction.
Also, programs that require at least one internship experience allow students to develop on-the-job, practical experience in the field, make professional contacts, and refine their real-world problem-solving abilities. If you decide to go with a completely online program, it is especially important to verify the school’s accreditation status. Accreditation ensures that programs meet standards of quality and that students qualify for federal financial aid.
Online Information Technology degree programs include a range of courses in technology, from database management to mathematics to network security. Many programs also include a number of business courses, as well as general education coursework. Common required courses might include:
- Business Platform Technologies
- Database Design and Management
- Network and Communications Management
- IT Strategy and Management
- Applied Linear Algebra
Common Career Paths
Some potential careers for those with a bachelor’s degree in Information Technology include:
- Expected Growth: 30%
- Average Annual Salary: $102,185
Software engineers use the concepts and principles of computer science along with mathematical analysis to generate, test, and assess the software applications and systems that make computers work. They are able to develop numerous types of software, including computer games and business applications. Software engineers start with analyzing a user’s needs and then put together software to meet those demands. The above salary and employment growth figures were gathered from the BLS, and represent average incomes.
- Expected Growth: 28%
- Average Annual Salary: $75,245
Network administrators are responsible for designing, implementing and supporting computer systems. They work with active network equipment such as routers, adaptors and cables to connect computers to a hub that in turn connects them to the Internet. Network administrators test the reliability and security of a network. They also fix broken equipment. At some companies, a network administrator will design and set up the networks as well. Figures above were provided by the BLS.
- Expected Growth: 22%
- Average Annual Salary: $91,345
Management analysts work to keep a company or business relevant in the ever-changing market. Sometimes referred to as management consultants, a management analyst examines an organization’s structure and productivity, and recommends changes to increase profits. Management analysts within the information technology field explore how a company employs technology, and the ways in which it can upgrade and improve upon current software and programs. In doing so, management analysts ensure that companies remain on the cutting edge of technological innovations. Figures above were provided by the BLS.
Computer Systems Analysts
- Expected Growth: 22%
- Average Annual Salary: $83,715
Computer systems analysts, like management analysts, evaluate the technology and information systems used by an organization and make suggestions for better, more efficient infrastructures. They focus specifically on technology resources, but need a fundamental understanding of business needs in order to make informed recommendations. Systems analysts are employed in almost every industry, from nonprofit organizations to financial services firms. Figures above were provided by the BLS.
Computer and Information Systems Managers
- Expected Growth: 18%
- Average Annual Salary: $118,910
Also called IT managers, information technology managers oversee and supervise the employees and operations of the IT department at an organization or company. They support and manage the technology and equipment used at the company, troubleshoot issues, implement security measures, and more. IT managers can work in technology companies, like software development companies, but they may also be employed at any company that uses technology as part of their daily operations. Figures above were provided by the BLS.