Information technology (IT) is a discipline that deals with managing the technology responsible for storing, transmitting, and organizing data in information systems. IT degree programs train students to provide technical support as well as to manage and ensure the security and efficiency of information systems. Typically, people seeking IT degrees enjoy working with computers, are good at communicating technical information, and enjoy science, mathematics, and logic. Those working in this profession tend to be good at and enjoy identifying, analyzing, and creatively solving problems.
Online IT degrees are widely-available to students at the associate level through the master’s level, although online PhD programs are offered by educational institutions, but not as widely as lower level degrees. Generally, students getting an online degree in this subject will complete an internship as part of their curriculum. This equips gives them professional experience and helps make them marketable when applying for jobs after graduation. With a degree in IT, individuals can pursue work in government or industry; information technology degrees prepare students for work as web designers, IT consultants, database administrators, software engineers, information systems or IT managers, and IT researchers.
An associate’s program in IT is often offered as an Associate of Art (A.A.), Science (A.S.), or Applied Science (AAS) degree. In associate programs, students learn the fundamentals of IT. More specifically, they learn the structure and design of information systems and databases. Some schools allow students to choose options relating to their study program; for instance, some students might choose to take a business approach to their degree while others might choose an approach directly related to governmental IT systems. Core online courses usually taken by students include IT in Business Organizations, IT Security, and IT Design and Analysis. Course work at this level entails reading assignments, exams, and homework assignments and projects in which students must, for example, evaluate a database. Since not all employers require all IT employees to have a degree, people may seek associate degrees to make themselves more marketable for entry-level positions, or in their pursuit of a bachelor’s degree. Associate degree earners may pursue careers as computer support specialists, health information technicians, webpage designers, and network administrators.
A bachelor’s degree in IT is a step up from an associate degree in terms of marketability and job options, making it an attractive academic path for some. Others earn their bachelor’s degree because it is a means to entering into a future graduate program. Jobs commonly obtained with a bachelor’s degree include those in computer systems analysis, computer and information systems management, software engineering, and IT consulting. In a bachelor’s program, students gain a deeper knowledge of information systems in terms of management, programming, and design. In addition to the general education courses they must take, common degree-specific courses include IT Integration and Problem Solving, Data Organization and Management, and Introduction to Computer Languages. Course work in a bachelor’s program will involve watching online lectures, engaging in discussions relating to course material, projects, papers, and exams.
A master’s degree in IT familiarizes students with the advanced theories, practices, and management of information systems and technology essential to the industry. Upon degree attainment, master’s degree holders should have the skills and knowledge they need to meet the IT needs of various organizations. Jobs graduates may be qualified for include, but are not limited to, managers of information system, network, and IT departments; computer programmers; computer engineers; system analysts; and security specialists. Online classes students take can include Computer Engineering, Business Strategy and IT, and Software Systems Engineering. Aside from the exams, reading assignments, and online labs common to an online degree, students may be required to complete a thesis, capstone project, final project, and/or internship depending on the school and program.
An online PhD degree program in IT gives students a well-rounded education regarding the various settings in which IT is used. Programs generally require students to examine and understand IT in individual, commercial, and political settings. Since the Ph.D. is more research-focused than lower-level degrees, doctoral students will find their course work is primarily concerned with conducting research and working towards completing their dissertation. Additionally, they must take a series of courses which require students to complete extensive papers and exams; these courses can include IT Leadership, IT Research, and Strategic Planning. Students generally seek this degree so that they can qualify for university teaching positions, or industry research positions for government and business entities.