A degree in information technology can help get an individual a job as a computer and information systems manager, analyst, or administrator. The exact required education differs by the position and employer.
Information technology covers the transmission, sharing and storage of information and data through network systems, databases and the Internet. Professionals in the field set up local area networks, design computer systems and develop information security systems.
For many information technology careers, a bachelor's degree is a typical requirement, but completion of certificate or associate's degree programs may be sufficient for a few positions. Alternately, individuals interested in careers in research, management or postsecondary teaching careers may need to earn master's or doctoral degrees. These programs typically cover computer science, systems security, information science, computer programming, computer engineering, database management, security fundamentals and statistics. Some programs include courses offered through distance learning.
|Career||Computer and Information Systems Manager||Computer Systems Analyst||Network and Computer System Administrator|
|Education Requirements||Bachelor's degree in computer or information science; master's degree may be required||Bachelor's degree in a relevant field; some business courses recommended as well||Bachelor's degree in a relevant field, although some employers will accept a post-secondary certificate|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||15%||21%||8%|
|Median Annual Salary (2015)*||$131,600||$85,800||$77,810|
Source: * U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
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Graduates of information technology programs may find careers as computer security specialists, computer system analysts, computer support specialists, computer system designers, computer programmers or database administrators. Certifications are offered by some hardware and software companies and other organizations, including CompTIA, Microsoft, Cisco and others. Certification usually requires training and testing, and those who hold these credentials can show potential employers their proficiency in particular areas.
Computer and Information Systems Manager
A computer and information systems manager oversees the computer system for an organization or business. They work with managers in other departments to determine the goals of the company and design and supervise the installation of a computer system that can fulfill those aims. In addition to a bachelor's degree in a relevant field, computer and information systems managers need several years of experience in the field. The median salary for this job was $131,600, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported in May 2015, and the projected job growth was slightly faster than average for the decade of 2014-2024, at 15%.
Computer Systems Analyst
Computer systems analysts work with information technology professionals and business leaders to examine an organization's computer system and work out ways to make it more efficient. A bachelor's degree in a computer field is common, and many also have taken some business courses. A master's degree in business administration (MBA) may be required. These professionals may work for a business, but many are contracted as consultants. The BLS predicted that jobs for computer systems analysts would grow by 21% from 2014-2024, much faster than average for all occupations. The median salary in this field, according to the BLS, was $85,800 in May 2015.
Network and Computer System Administrator
A network and computer system administrator supervise the operation of an organization's computer system, fixing problems, installing hardware and software and training users, among other tasks. Some employers will hire an individual who has completed a certificate program, but most prefer someone with a degree in a relevant field. The median salary for this profession was $77,810 in May 2015, the BLS reported, adding that job growth was projected to be 8% from 2014-2024.
There are several job options that come with an information technology degree, such as: computer systems analyst, network and computer system administrator, and computer and information systems manager. Certifications can be beneficial to job opportunities.