Associate's degree programs in computer software and information technology are designed to help students develop the skills needed to maintain, configure and repair state-of-the-art computer software, information systems, networks and associated peripheral devices, such as modems, printers and scanners. Courses involve fundamental applied and theoretical concepts in digital and information technologies, network administration, system development, database management and programming languages. A high school diploma or its equivalent is usually required for acceptance into these programs.
Associate's Degree Programs in Computer Software and Information Technology
Students might learn important troubleshooting techniques and programming languages that are needed for information technology (IT) work in businesses and other industrial settings. In addition to required general education coursework, students can expect classes that cover:
- Computer applications and operating systems
- Cisco networking systems
- Microsoft networking systems
- Hardware fundamentals
- LAN/WAN administration
- Software and systems troubleshooting
Popular Career Options
The IT field is highly competitive, dynamic and fast-paced, with opportunities for employment in a wide range of disciplines. An associate's degree program in computer software and information technology prepares students for a variety of entry-level jobs in the computer and information industries. Some common job titles are:
- Help desk support technician
- Field service technician
- Network service technician
- Systems analyst
- Junior programmer
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), computer programmers could expect to see an 8% drop in employment opportunities from 2014 to 2024 (www.bls.gov), while employment of computer network support specialists could grow by 8%. Salary information provided by the BLS shows that computer programmers earned a median annual wage of $79,530, and computer network support specialists earned $62,250 as of May 2015.
Salary and employment information about computer user support specialists, which would include help desk technicians, indicates that these workers are projected to experience 13% employment growth during the 2014-2024 time period. Their median annual wage as of 2015 was $48,620.
Continuing Education Information
Many careers in IT may require industry-affiliated certification in addition to a degree. Common certifications in this field include the Microsoft Certified Professional, Cisco Certified Network Associate and A+ Service Technician certifications. Students who are interested in furthering their education and employment opportunities may go on to enroll in four-year bachelor's degree programs in computer-related fields. After that, they can pursue graduate degrees in similar subjects.
Regardless of which particular area of IT you want to work in, an associate's degree in computer software and information technology can provide you with the general education and technical skills you need for an entry-level job. Graduates may also go on to earn professional certifications or transfer to bachelor's degree programs.