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A Guide to Information Technology – Degrees to Careers

Group of Information Technology experts work together.

Information technology (IT) degrees are becoming increasingly popular as the demand for skilled IT professionals grows. However, knowing which path is right for you can be challenging with many different IT degrees available. Anyone looking to pursue a career in information technology should consider an IT degree. These degrees offer you the opportunity to gain in-depth knowledge of the field, preparing you for various careers.

This guide to Information Technology looks at degrees, their requirements, and career options after obtaining your degree. By the end, you should understand which IT degree is right for you and your career goals.

What is Information Technology?

Information technology, also known as IT, is the study, design, implementation, and management of computer-based information systems. IT deals with using computers and computer software to store, retrieve, transmit and manipulate data.

Companies, organizations, or individuals can also use it in enterprise automation, including all aspects of its business processes, such as database and network management, security, e-commerce, and business intelligence.

IT professionals are in high demand, and they are well-paid. You can work in various industries with an IT degree, including healthcare, government, education, finance, and manufacturing.

If you’re interested in a career in IT, there are a few things you need to know.

  • First, you need to have strong technical skills. You’ll need to be proficient in programming languages, database management, and computer networking. You should also be able to troubleshoot problems and have excellent customer service skills.
  • Second, you need to be able to work well under pressure. IT jobs can be challenging and demanding. You’ll need to be able to handle stress and meet deadlines.
  • Third, you need to be able to continue learning. Technology is constantly changing. Hence, you’ll need to keep up with the latest trends and developments.
  • Fourth, you need to work well in a team. IT jobs often require team collaboration. You’ll need to communicate effectively and work well with others.
  • Finally, you need to have strong people skills. IT jobs frequently involve working with customers or clients. You’ll need to handle customer inquiries and complaints professionally.

If you have these skills, then a career in IT may be the right choice.

Information Technology Degrees

Information technology consists of different degree levels that prepare students for careers in the IT field. Below is an overview of the different types of information technology degrees.

Associate Degree in Information Technology

Since IT is such a broad field, an associate degree in information technology provides students with a basic understanding of the various areas of IT.

This can include networking, computer hardware and software, databases, and website development. Associate degrees, offered at community colleges, typically take two years to complete.

During this time, students take general education courses, as well as IT-specific courses, including, but not limited to:

  • C++ Programming
  • Data Structures
  • Discrete Mathematics
  • Web Design and Development

An associate degree in information technology can lead to a career as a computer support specialist, network administrator, or web developer. The average salary for these positions is $64,000 per year.

However, the exact salary will depend on experience, location, and other factors.

Potential Careers with an Associate’s Degree in IT

  • Computer Support Specialist, Salary: $55,510 per year
  • Network Administrator, Salary: $84,810 per year
  • Web Developer, Salary: $77,200 per year
  • Computer Systems Analyst, Salary: $93,730 per year

As you can see, there are many different potential careers with an associate degree in information technology. And being an entry-level degree, an associate’s degree is a great way to start your IT career.

Bachelor’s Degree in Information Technology

The next level of information technology degrees is the Bachelor in Information Technology.

This degree aims to provide students with the skills and knowledge necessary to enter into a career in the IT field. The coursework for this degree program typically includes classes in computer science, mathematics, and business.

A bachelor’s degree in information technology is the most common type of information technology degree. It is also the degree preferred for most positions in the IT field after an associate’s degree in IT.

The average salary for someone with a bachelor’s degree in information technology is $73,000 per year. But again, this number will vary based on experience, education, and location.

Potential Career Paths with a Bachelor’s Degree in IT

  • Software Developer, Quality Assurance Analyst, and Tester, Salary: $110,140 per year
  • IT Project Manager, Salary: $88,982 per year
  • Technical Architect, Salary: $114,682 per year
  • Database Administrator, Salary: $73,696 per year
  • Network Security Specialist, Salary: $72,156 per year

It’s easy to tell that a career in IT can be gratifying, both financially and emotionally. With a bachelor’s degree in information technology, you will have the opportunity to work in a constantly evolving field.

You will also be able to help businesses and individuals solve complex problems daily. If you are looking for a challenging and exciting career, then a bachelor’s degree in information technology may be the right start.

Master’s Degree in Information Technology

The third level of information technology degrees is the master's degree in information technology. This degree is for those with a bachelor’s degree in an IT-related field who want to further their career in IT.

The master’s degree in information technology can take two years to complete and requires a thesis or research project.

There are many different specializations within information technology. The master’s degree allows students to select a concentration that best suits their interests and goals.
Specializations within the master’s degree in information technology include Network Administration, Database Administration, and Software Engineering.

Some of the coursework involved in the master’s degree in information technology includes Project Management, Information Security, and Database Design. These concentrations prepare students for careers in leadership roles within the IT field.
Students who obtain a master’s degree in information technology will be able to find employment in a variety of industries, including the government, healthcare, and business.

Finally, the average salary for someone with a master’s degree in information technology is $115,000 per year.

Potential Careers with a Master’s Degree in IT

With the high-level skills obtained in this degree program, these are the potential occupations and salaries graduates could achieve:

  • Information Security Analysts, Salary: $103,590 per year
  • Computer and Information Research Scientists, Salary: $126,830 per year
  • Computer and Information Systems Managers, Salary: $151,150 per year
  • Chief Executive Officer, Salary: $197,840 per year
  • Computer and Information Research Scientist, Salary: $126,830 per year

As you can see, there are many different jobs available, each with its unique benefits.

Doctorate Information Technology Degrees

Doctorate information technology degrees are the highest level of academic achievement in the field. These programs typically take between four and six years to complete, and they often culminate in a research-based dissertation.

Students who pursue doctorate degrees can work in academia or research.

Typical courses in doctorate information technology programs include:

  • Advanced Computer Systems Design
  • Information Security
  • Network Architecture
  • Software Engineering Principles
  • Theories of Programming Languages

Students in doctorate information technology programs also complete a significant amount of independent research. This research goes into the student’s dissertation, which they must defend in front of a committee to earn the degree.

Those with a Doctorate in IT can earn a median salary of over $100,000 per year. However, this will depend on a person’s occupation, location, and experience.

Potential Career Paths with a Doctorate Degree in IT

Career paths for graduates with a doctorate’s degree in information technology are similar to those available to holders of other IT degrees. However, because a doctorate is the highest level of academic achievement, these graduates may have more opportunities available to them.

Some potential career paths for graduates with a doctorate in information technology include:

  • Professor, Salary: $80,560 per year
  • Intelligence or Systems Analysts, Salary: $103,590 per year
  • IT Management, Salary: $151,150 per year
  • Network and Computer Systems Administrators, Salary: $84,810 per year
  • Computer Network Architects, Salary: $116,780 per year

These are just a few of the many potential career paths available to those with a doctorate in information technology. The specific career path will depend on their interests, skills, and goals.

Information Technology Degree Candidates

A degree in information technology is perfect for those who want to enter the workforce as IT professionals.

The coursework covers various topics, from computer hardware and networking to software development and project management. With an IT degree, you’ll be prepared to take on numerous roles within the IT field.

This is because the holders of an IT degree have a broad range of skills to apply to different aspects of the industry.

For example, you might use your skills in networking to help set up a company’s computer system. Likewise, you might use your project management skills to oversee the development of a new software application.

No matter what role you choose to pursue, a degree in information technology will give you the skills and knowledge to succeed.

Information Technology Degree Program Coursework

The coursework for an IT degree covers a wide range of topics. You’ll learn about:

Computer Hardware and Networking

In this portion of the program, you’ll learn about different types of computer hardware and how to set up and maintain a network. You’ll also learn about other networking technologies, such as Ethernet and Wi-Fi.

Software Development

Software development is creating, designing, implementing, and maintaining software applications.

It involves requirements gathering, analysis, design, coding, testing, and deployment. Software development can be done either by a team of developers or by an individual developer.

Project Management in IT

Here, students learn the basics of Agile methodology and how to apply it in their projects. They also learn about other popular project management methodologies like Waterfall and Kanban.

Project management is an essential skill for IT professionals. Learning how to manage projects effectively can ensure that the team stays on track and completes tasks on time.

Programming Languages

Here, students learn about the different programming languages commonly used in the IT industry. They also come to understand additional features of each language and how to choose the correct language for their project.

Choosing the correct programming language is essential for any IT professional. By understanding the different features of each language, they can select the language that is best suited for their project.

Computer Networking

Networking involves the configuration and management of computer networks. Here, students learn about the different networking hardware and software types and how to troubleshoot network issues.

Networking is a critical skill for any IT professional. Understanding how networking works can ensure that their projects are well-connected and running smoothly.

Database Management

With database management coursework, students learn about designing, developing, and administering effective databases.

Students also learn how to use software tools to manage large amounts of information. Typical topics covered in database management degree programs include:

  • Data modeling
  • Database design
  • Data mining
  • Data warehousing
  • Web databases
  • Database security
  • Database administration

Networking and Security

Students learn about network systems’ hardware and software components in networking and security courses.

They also study how to protect networks from external threats and manage user access to network resources. Typical topics covered in networking and security courses include:

  • Network design
  • Network security
  • Wireless networking
  • Network administration
  • Cryptography
  • Web security
  • Virtual private networks (VPNs)

Web Development

With web development coursework, students learn to design, develop, and deploy effective websites. Students study web design concepts, as well as fundamental web programming languages, in addition to learning about various online programming languages.

Typical topics covered in web development degree programs include:

  • Web design
  • E-commerce
  • Web programming
  • User experience (UX) design
  • Web databases
  • Search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Web security

Information Systems

Information systems coursework covers a broad range of topics related to the planning, developing, and managing of information technology resources.

Apart from learning about various software and hardware, pupils also study business fundamentals and project management. Typical topics covered in information systems degree programs include:

  • Systems analysis
  • Systems design
  • Project management
  • Business process management
  • Enterprise resource planning (ERP)
  • Customer relationship management (CRM)
  • Supply chain management (SCM)

Health Informatics

With health informatics coursework, students learn how to use information technology to improve the quality and efficiency of healthcare delivery.

Students also study patient privacy and data security issues and learn about several health IT systems. Typical topics covered in health informatics degree programs include:

  • Medical terminology
  • Pharmacology
  • Disease management
  • Health information systems
  • Electronic health records (EHRs)
  • Personal health records (PHRs)
  • Telemedicine
  • Consumer health informatics
  • Bioinformatics
  • Clinical decision support systems (CDSSs)
  • Population health management (PHM)

These are just a few examples of the many different IT degrees available. As you can see, there is a wide range of coursework covered in these programs. With so many different IT degree options, it’s essential to research and select the program that best meets your needs and interests.

You’ll also have the opportunity to take elective courses in areas that interest you, such as web design or user experience. By the time you graduate, you’ll have a well-rounded skill set that you can use in various IT roles.

Why to Pursue a Degree in Information Technology

A degree in information technology can lead to several exciting and rewarding careers. IT professionals are in high demand in today’s increasingly connected world. They help businesses and organizations keep their data safe and secure. They develop new ways to use technology to improve efficiency and productivity.

Below are some reasons why pursuing a degree in Information Technology is a great choice:

There are many career opportunities available for IT graduates

As outlined above, the demand for IT professionals is high and should continue to grow in the coming years. Opportunities abound for those with the right skills and qualifications.

IT professionals are in high demand and can command high salaries

That’s right. The BLS predicts that between 2020 and 2030, the number of IT jobs will grow by about 13% (faster than average).

Moreover, the median salary for computer and information technology occupations was $97,430 in May 2021. And with a thirteen percent expected increase in jobs, there will be plenty of well-paid opportunities available for those with the right skills.

A degree in IT can lead to a rewarding and challenging career

The third reason you should consider pursuing an IT degree is the career opportunities that it can provide. A degree in IT can lead to a rewarding and challenging career in various industries.

There are many different types of IT jobs, from system administrator to network engineer to database administrator. With an IT degree, you will have the opportunity to work in various industries, including healthcare, finance, government, and education.

IT graduates have the opportunity to work with cutting-edge technology

Everyone wants to be at the forefront of new technology. As an IT graduate, you will have access to the latest and greatest in your field.

You’ll be able to work with companies developing new products and services and help shape the future of technology.

IT professionals can make a difference in the lives of others by using their skills to improve systems and processes

This is where the gratifying part comes in – you can use your IT skills to make a difference in the lives of others.

That’s right. You can use your talents to improve systems and processes, making things better for people who otherwise might struggle. It’s a great way to give back, and it feels pretty good too.

A degree in IT provides the opportunity to learn about many different aspects of technology

As an IT professional, you will have the opportunity to learn about many different aspects of technology. You will be able to learn about the hardware that makes up a computer system, the software that runs on it, and the networks that connect it all.

You will also learn about the different types of data stored on a computer system and how to protect that data from being lost or stolen.

Essential Career Skills Gained from IT Degrees

Pursuing an information technology degree is a great way to set yourself up for a successful career in the IT industry.

You will gain the technical skills and knowledge needed to succeed in this field and develop soft skills to help you stand out from the competition.

Here are just a few of the essential career skills you’ll gain from pursuing an IT degree:

Skills Derived from an Associate’s Degree in IT

An associate’s degree focuses on computer science and information systems basics. Here, you’ll learn how to conduct the following tasks accordingly:

  • Creating algorithms
  • Programming in various languages
  • Utilizing different software platforms
  • Working with databases
  • Designing basic websites

The skills you gain from an associate’s degree are helpful for entry-level positions. Those wanting to move into management or executive roles will need to pursue a bachelor’s degree.

Skills Gained from a Bachelor’s Degree in IT

A bachelor’s in information technology provides students with the skills and knowledge necessary to pursue a career in the field.

The coursework for an IT degree covers various topics, including computer networking, database management, and software development. In addition to these technical skills, students also learn soft skills, such as problem-solving and critical thinking.

The skills students gain from a bachelor’s in IT prepare them for various careers in the field, including network administrator, database administrator, software developer, etc.

Skills Developed from a Master’s Degree in IT

Considered one of the top IT degrees, a Master in Information Technology provides students with the advanced skills and knowledge necessary to pursue a career in the field.

The skills students gain include:

  • An in-depth understanding of computer systems
  • The ability to design and implement efficient networks
  • A solid foundation in programming languages
  • In-demand skills in database management

These skills shape students into competent IT professionals who can pursue various careers, such as network architects, system analysts, and software engineers.

Skills Derived from a Doctorate Degree in IT

Lastly, a Ph.D. in Information Technology can offer you a wide range of skills to benefit your personal and professional life. These include:

  • Analytical skills: One of the benefits of completing a Ph.D. is that it teaches you how to think critically and analytically.
    This means that you will be able to identify issues and problems quickly and efficiently and develop innovative solutions.
  • Leadership skills: Many people who complete a Ph.D. take on leadership roles in their field. This is because a Ph.D. gives you the ability to think strategically, plan, and motivate others.
  • Research skills: Finally, a Ph.D. in Information Technology will give you strong research skills. You will learn how to design and carry out practical research projects and how to analyze and interpret data. These skills will be invaluable in any career that you choose to pursue.

Job Outlook for Computer and Information Technology Careers

The computer and information technology field is one of the most rapidly growing industries globally.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in computer and information technology occupations will grow by 13 percent from 2020 to 2030, much faster than the average for all occupations. This growth will add about 667,600 new jobs to the economy.

There are several reasons for this growth.

  • First, the continued development of new technologies creates a demand for workers who can design, develop, and maintain the systems that enable people to use these technologies.
  • Second, as businesses expand their operations into global markets, they need workers who can manage and coordinate information technology across broad geographical areas.
  • Third, the COVID-19 pandemic brought many changes in the way businesses operate. It created a demand for workers who can help organizations transition to new ways of doing business.

Is a Degree in Information Technology Worth It?

The 21st century is the age of information. With technology becoming more and more ubiquitous, it’s no wonder that demand for IT professionals is on the rise. So if you’re considering pursuing a degree in information technology, you might be wondering: is it worth IT?

The short answer is: yes! A degree in information technology can lead to a stable and well-paying career in a growing industry. And with so many different IT specializations to choose from, you can find a field that aligns with your interests and goals.

Of course, pursuing any degree comes with its fair share of challenges, as with other careers. The field of IT is constantly evolving, which means you’ll need to keep up with the latest trends and technologies.

But if you’re up for the challenge and willing to put in the work, a degree in information technology can deliver a world of possibilities. So if you’re thinking about pursuing an IT degree, go for it!

Choosing the Right Information Technology Degree

Knowing which one is right for you can be challenging with so many different information technology degrees available. But don’t worry – we’re here to help!

Here’s a quick overview of some of the most popular IT degree concentrations:

  1. Computer Science: A computer science degree focuses on computing fundamentals, such as algorithms, programming languages, and software design. If you want to pursue a software engineering or development career, this is your degree.
  2. Information Systems: An information systems degree focuses on the business applications of technology. If you’re interested in working in management or developing business solutions, this is your degree.
  3. Information Technology: An information technology degree focuses on designing and implementing IT systems. This is your degree if you’re interested in working in network administration or system security.

These three degrees are just a few of the many different IT degrees available. To find the right degree for you, consider your interests and career goals. Then, research the curriculum of each type of degree to see which one best aligns with your needs.

FAQs

Which pays more, computer science or information technology?

There is no clear-cut answer to this question, as salaries for computer science and information technology professionals vary depending on experience, location, and other factors. However, computer science degrees tend to lead to higher-paying jobs than information technology degrees.

Is a degree in information technology hard?

Like any other degree, an information technology degree requires dedication and hard work. However, the rewards of a successful IT career can be well worth the effort.

What can I do with a degree in information technology?

An information technology degree can lead to various careers, such as software engineering, system administration, and database management. To find the right career for you, research the job market and consider your interests and goals.

Take the Next Step with an Accredited Online IT Degree

With in-depth coursework and experienced faculty, online IT degree programs can help you take your career to the next level. And because they’re accredited, you can be sure you’re getting a quality education that will prepare you for success in the workforce.

You can find various online IT degree programs on the GetEducated website’s database. Pursue an online IT degree and take your career to the next level!

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