Information Technology Degree Program Summaries by Program Level

Students seeking degrees in information technology (IT) can find programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Students may start out their careers as a technical support specialist and pursue management positions within the field as they gain more experience or education.

Essential Information

Information technology programs at all levels usually cover database management, security, networking, programming, information systems management, Web development and operating systems. It's also common for students to complete some business coursework, such as accounting, marketing and business law, along with their technical courses. Students may find program specializations in information systems management, network administration, computer security, web development and many others.

A high school diploma is generally required for associate's and bachelor's degree programs. Internships or a capstone course may be required for graduation in some bachelor's degree programs. Entrance into a master's program generally requires a bachelor's degree, along with satisfactory scores on GRE or GMAT.


Associate of Science in Information Technology

An information technology associate's degree program is the minimum academic requirement for entry-level positions in the technology industry. Students learn to develop small networks, develop and maintain computer databases and implement network security systems. Business courses teach students to manage information systems, solve common problems in business organizations and effectively communicate in a business environment.

Students take general education courses, including English and mathematics in addition to the information technology curriculum. Financial accounting courses might also be required. Information technology courses include:

  • Computer hardware and platforms
  • Web design and software development
  • Information systems management
  • Spreadsheets
  • Multi-user operating systems

Bachelor of Science in Information Technology

Bachelor's degree programs in information technology are offered with academic minors and specializations, including business administration, network administration, Web administration and information system security. Students learn the fundamentals of information technology concepts, including programming languages, graphic design, Web design and information security, in addition to coursework that teaches database management and software applications.

Business courses include marketing, finance, interpersonal skills and business law. Students learn to develop and manage information systems through academic coursework and applied training in computer technologies. Courses that are common to this degree program include:

  • Digital media
  • Computer interfaces
  • Databases
  • Computer architecture
  • Wireless networks

Master of Science in Information Technology

Master's degree programs in information technology are offered with a wide-range of specializations, including software engineering, information assurance, information technology management, software design and project management. Graduate students study business management fundamentals in addition to the information technology curriculum, which includes coursework in database and telecommunications management, software development and Java programming. Students also learn about legal and ethical issues currently facing the Internet and organizational theories in business management. Information systems management coursework includes the study of business enterprise, finance and marketing.

Students learn to function as information technology managers and technical specialists through academic coursework and practical experience. Coursework will depend on the area of specialization chosen. Typical courses include:

  • Strategic planning
  • Software development management
  • Network management
  • Information technology research
  • Operating systems

Popular Career Options

Information technology graduates go on to enjoy careers in a variety of settings, including business, finance, education and government. Popular careers for graduates include:

  • Technical support specialist
  • Information system manager
  • Network administrator, database administrator
  • Web developer
  • Computer programmer, software developer

Continuing Education Information

Associate's degree graduates can pursue certificate programs in Java programming, UNIX network administration and e-commerce. Also available are programs that lead to Cisco and Windows technician certificates. A bachelor's degree program in information technology can lead to more advanced positions and better job prospects in the technology industry.

Graduates who already hold a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology might elect to pursue professional certificate programs in networking, programming, security and software development. Certificate options include Web technology, network and systems administration and project management. Graduates can also enroll in a master's degree program in information technology.

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), computer and information systems managers held about 341,250 jobs in the United States in 2015 (www.bls.gov). The BLS also reported that this number was projected to grow by 15% between 2014 and 2024. The annual median salary for computer and information systems managers in 2015 was $131,600.

Information technology (IT) degree programs can help students prepare for careers in many different environments. The skills of information technology professionals are needed in most businesses. The jobs for these individuals range from entry-level to high-level management.


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