IT specialists install, maintain, and operate computer systems. Certificate program graduates can use learned skills and training to earn positions in the IT departments of large and small businesses or to start up their own information technology consulting services. IT professionals then can earn certifications to show their proficiency. Many software and computer companies offer certifications in the use of their products. Applicants for certification usually must complete training and pass a competency examination.
Some IT certificate programs are designed to provide students with a broad overview of the computer science field so that they might eventually settle upon a specialization, such as website design, database systems technology, technical writing, computer support technology, information architecture, or project management. Certificate programs in information technology are most often offered through the continuing education or extension departments of 4-year universities and 2-year community colleges and last about a year. Only a high school education is required to enroll.
Certificate Programs in Information Technology
IT certificate programs offer practical courses relating to technical procedures in computer science. These programs can also offer basic business and organizational courses to prepare IT specialists for careers in the workplace. Examples of courses found in such a program are listed below:
- Information systems
- Microsoft Office Suite
- Applications software
- C Programming
- Database development
- LAN/WAN technologies
Popular Career Options
Information technology is a broad field, and IT professionals can hold several specialized positions in the industry. Some of these might include:
- Information systems manager
- Systems administrator
- Database administrator
- Computer programmer
- Computer systems analyst
- Information technology project manager
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
As reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov), computer programmers' employment opportunities are expected to decline by 8% from 2014 through 2024. The job market for computer and information systems managers, that same decade, is expected to grow at the much faster rate of 15%, according to the BLS. The average income for computer programmers in May of 2015 was $84,360, and the average yearly salary for computer and information systems managers the same year was $141,000, the BLS reports.
Individuals who graduate from a certificate program in information technology might go on to earn associate's, bachelor's, and even master's degrees in a specific area of the field. Some subjects available at these degree levels include information systems, computer programming, software engineering, and network administration. Typically, those information technology professionals with advanced degrees have more career opportunities open to them than those who do not.
IT professionals can earn a variety of certifications to help them advance in their careers. Most certification designations are offered to IT professionals who complete training and then pass an examination related to a particular computer program or type of software. Certified individuals improve their chances of being hired by employers looking to hire information technology associates with particular skills. Some of these particular certifications include:
Cisco Certified Network Professional
Individuals who earn the Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) designation must successfully demonstrate that they can implement, maintain, and troubleshoot Cisco networks, particularly those related to voice, wireless, and security systems.
Microsoft Certified Database Administrator
Microsoft offers several certification opportunities for information technology and computer science professionals interested in learning how to use advanced Microsoft systems. Individuals who earn a Microsoft Certified Database Administrator designation have proven they have the knowledge and skills necessary to create and use Microsoft databases.
Apple Certified System Administrator
An Apple Certified System Administrator must pass both a certification program and an examination proving that he or she has an in-depth, workable knowledge of Apple technical architecture, and Mac operating systems.
IT certificates are one way to become educated in how to operate and maintain computers in a workplace. These programs teach students a versatile skillset composed of many different computer usage techniques, giving them the opportunity to find employment in a number of fields and earn several forms of professional certification.