There are a variety of specialties and disciplines in the IT field that students may pursue depending on their interests, aptitudes and career goals. Computer support is one of the most common specializations, but there are a wide range of specialties available, such as networking and security, database administration, and programming. Students in this field of study can learn to install, configure, maintain, troubleshoot and repair computer hardware and applications.
Associate's Degree for Computer Systems Specialist
These degree programs usually take two years of full-time study to complete and are offered at community colleges, technical schools and similar institutions. A high school diploma or equivalent is required for admission to these programs. Students can expect coursework involving networks, database management and programming languages. Common courses include:
- Networking technologies
- Database management
- PC troubleshooting and repair
- Operating systems
- C++ and Visual Basic programming
- Systems security
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), computer user support specialists were expected to see 13% job growth from 2014-2024 and earned an average annual salary of $52,430 as of May 2015 (www.bls.gov). For the same time period, computer and network systems administrators are expected to see a 8% employment increase and, in May 2015, these professionals earned an average annual salary of $82,200, according to the BLS.
Graduates of these programs may go on to pursue several higher-level degrees in the computer and information technology fields, including information technology, computer information systems and computer science at the bachelor's, master's, and doctoral levels. Additionally, graduates may be qualified to test for professional certifications in disciplines such as CISCO network communications, C++ programming, Visual Basic programming, and Microsoft certified applications development. Given the ever-changing nature of digital technology, it is common for professionals in this field to regularly update their skills and knowledge through a variety of programs and required certifications.
An associate's degree program in computer systems trains students in subjects such as networking technologies, database management, and operating systems. Graduates are prepared to enter a variety of careers or to pursue further education.