Online bachelor's degree programs in information technology are available. Many of these programs can be completed entirely online, and specializations in networks or databases may be offered. It's important to note that some schools require enrolled students to have access to field-specific software and hardware. Applicants may need to pass a math or science placement test.
Bachelor of Science in Information Technology
An online bachelor's degree in information technology will educate students in a number of areas, including building and maintaining networks and databases, multimedia and Web development, programming and information security. While prior knowledge of the field is helpful, it is not a prerequisite since foundational courses are built into the curriculum to ensure students have no gaps in their understanding. People who are interested in this type of degree may also want to explore programs in computer information systems, management information systems and network systems administration.
Information and Requirements
Typically, IT bachelor's degree programs take about four years to complete and require around 180 credit units. Some programs will allow students to choose an area of concentration, like network administration, database administration or general information technology. These programs can be completed entirely online.
The minimum system and technical requirements necessary to complete the program will vary based on the school. Some schools will require specific software, like the Adobe products, Java or Norton Antivirus. They may also call for specific hardware, like a display of a particular size, certain graphics card or a minimum amount of VRAM. In order to take full advantage of the online content delivery systems used by many schools, it is typically recommended that students have high-speed Internet and that they utilize particular browsers.
All bachelor's degree programs require a certain number of general education courses, and IT programs are no exception. Occasionally a placement test may be administered in English or math, and extra classes may be required based on the student's performance. Besides those, the majority of coursework in IT programs focus on technology classes that are either foundational in nature or apply to specific facets of the IT field. Here are some examples of those classes.
IT programs often include courses in computer programming. Sometimes these classes are specific to a certain programming language and other times they are survey or overview classes that examine a number of different languages. This type of class might also include information on concepts such as program design, handling errors and debugging.
This type of class looks at the various threats that exist against computer systems and how to combat them. Subject matter such as cryptography, ethics and privacy may be covered. The course might also look at specific types of systems and their vulnerabilities.
This type of class teaches various tools for coding and authoring Web-based software and applications. Sometimes these courses will teach the use of specific developmental tools, such as Flash, while others might focus on XML-based approaches.
Graduates with IT degrees have a number of career options. The most common are computer and network systems administration, database administration and computer systems analysis. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected that these careers would grow as fast or faster than average during the 2014-2024 decade.
The BLS expected that network and computer systems administration positions would grow by 8%, database administration positions would grow 11% (faster as average) and computer systems analyst positions would grow 21%. As of May 2015, the BLS reported median annual wage information for computer and network systems administrators and database administrators as being $77,810 and $81,710, respectively. As of that month, computer systems analysts earned a median annual salary of $85,800.
Continuing Education Information
IT graduates have a number of online continuing education options available to them. There are multiple online programs to earn a master's degree in IT, as well as graduate certificate programs. If graduates wish to gain knowledge in a particular system, there are also industry certification programs available online that can prepare them for the exams administered by companies such as Microsoft.
In summary, online bachelor's degree programs in IT provide an introduction to the fundamental concepts of the field, such as programming and system security, which can provide a foundation for multiple IT-related careers. Graduates may also advance to master's degree programs or pursue graduate or professional certificates in specialty areas.