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Online Schools for Computer Technology: How to Choose

Computer technology degree programs are available at many different levels and areas of focus. See what these programs typically cover, and learn how to find a school that matches your goals.

As students are researching the available online undergraduate and graduate degree programs in computer technology, they should consider a program's area of focus and what kind of career support they provide to help make a decision for which school to attend. Explore some of the degree options and a few of the schools that offer the programs.

How to Select an Online Computer Technology Program

At the bachelor's level and above, computer technology degrees are often found as information technology programs. Online programs are available at many colleges and universities. Specific areas of focus may be available in these programs, which are important to consider. Many schools also offer career support services that students may find particularly helpful.

Area of Focus

Computer technology is a huge field comprised of many different subsections for a vast number of careers. Prospective students seeking an online degree program in computer technology may first want to decide what field they are specifically interested in. For example, programming, networking, software support and hardware are just a few of the possible focus areas for online students in computer technology programs.

Career Support

Some institutions offer career support for online computer technology graduates, which may be in the form of resume writing assistance, interview practice or even providing business contacts. Career support helps students to market themselves to prospective employers and often provides statistics and assessments to help students see how they can improve their chances to succeed and stand out within the field of computer and information technology. Career services for distance learning students are offered through a variety of means, such as e-mail and Skype video calls.

List of Online Computer Technology Programs

Associate of Applied Science in Electronics and Computer Technology

This program provides students with general knowledge of computer and networking hardware and software. Students often use simulation programs to gain basic knowledge of how to assemble and run many different types of computer-related technology. Class communication is often handled via education software that allows students to communicate with the rest of the class via forums and with instructors through e-mail and, at times, voice or video chat. Students learn about:

  • Introduction to routing
  • Input and output ports
  • Programming concepts
  • Electronic systems

Bachelor of Science in Information Technology

Many times, these programs offer different focuses, such as business intelligence, network administration or information security. Students may be required to acquire software specifically for their particular focus, such as graphics, Web publishing or network software. Courses for this degree vary depending on the focus a student chooses, but often include basic courses in:

  • Networking and data structures
  • Software architecture
  • Database elements
  • Systems administrator

Online Master of Science in Information Technology

Information technology master's degree programs typically have a tighter focus than an undergraduate degree. These online programs are often designed for students who work full time and require flexible class schedules. Online students can usually choose between several areas of focus, such as:

  • Database systems technology
  • Business information technology
  • Systems engineering
  • Information assurance

Online Graduate Certificate in Information Technology

Graduate certificate programs in information technology are also available through distance learning. Work may be completed entirely online, using unified education software in a flexible format similar to master's degree programs that allow students to turn in assignments and tests as fits their schedule, usually by a single class end date, and communicate with their teachers and the rest of their class through message boards and e-mail. These programs may deal with one particular aspect of information technology, such as:

  • Information systems analysis and design
  • Database implementation
  • Business data communication and networking
  • IT strategy and management

Schools With Online Programs in Computer Technology

The University of Massachusetts has a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology program that is offered fully online or in a hybrid format with some on-campus courses. Admission to the program is competitive, so students are encouraged to apply early. The program offers different focus areas in computer science, computing, operations and information management and information technology.

Colorado Technical University provides an online Master of Science in Information Technology program that is highly ranked by U.S. News & World Report. The program requires 48 credits and students are able to choose a general option or a concentration in computer science, information technology or business. Students complete the program with a capstone course.

Dakota State University offers an online graduate certificate program in information technology that requires 9 credits. However, this program may not be available online in all 50 states. The program boasts small class sizes and is designed for IT professionals or professionals currently taking on IT responsibilities.

Online graduate certificates, associate's, bachelor's and master's degree programs in computer technology are fairly common. When making a decision on which school to attend, students should consider a program's focus, as many of the programs offer various specializations, and the career support that a program offers.

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