Students in AS and AAS programs in computer information technology are taught to install and upgrade software and hardware, develop computer networks, and assess the information and computer needs of an organization. These two-year programs include externships and prepare graduates to test for industry certifications in operating systems or programming languages.
Associate's degree programs don't usually have prerequisites other than high school diplomas or the equivalent. However, some computer IT programs require applicants to complete college writing or basic learning strategy courses and pass algebra or math competency tests. Applicants should also be proficient in using computers.
Associate's Degree in Computer Information Technology
Students complete coursework and gain hands-on experience by spending time in computer labs. Additionally, they may be required to complete externships for real-time experience in the field. Course topics may include:
- Hardware fundamentals
- Desktop application maintenance
- Database management
- Routing for computer networks
With experience and on-the-job training, graduates may find employment opportunities in the information technology (IT) industry. Possible job options include:
- Computer support specialist
- LAN administrator
- Computer programmer
- Cisco support technician
Employment Outlook and Salary
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), demand for computer programmers was expected to decline by 8% from 2014-2024 (www.bls.gov). To provide some salary perspective, the BLS reported in 2015 that computer network support specialists earned a median annual salary of $62,250, while computer user support specialists earned a median of $48,620 per year.
Continuing Education Information
Management positions in the IT fields usually require the completion of bachelor's or master's degree programs in computer-related areas. Candidates may also choose to pursue MBA (Master of Business Administration) programs. Employers usually prefer applicants with industry certifications. Some computer IT programs prepare students for such industry certifications as MCP (Microsoft Certified Professional) or CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate).
By earning an AS or AAS in Computer Information Technology, aspiring IT workers gain the technological expertise and practical skills they need for entry-level employment and to seek professional certifications. Graduates also have the necessary educational background to transfer to bachelor's degree programs.