Online IT management degree programs are widely available at the undergraduate and graduate levels, and many of these programs can be completed entirely via distance learning. In some cases, attendance at a few on-campus sessions may be required for student orientation or hands-on lab components, as well as some in-person testing.
Earning an associate's degree can lead to entry-level employment as a computer support specialist. Completion of a bachelor's program can prepare students for network or computer systems administration roles. Individuals with master's degrees may be better qualified than bachelor's-degree holders for some roles, though an individual's previous IT experience is often an important consideration for prospective employers as well.
Associate's Degree in IT Management
Distance-learning information technology (IT) management programs at the associate's degree level are designed to quickly train students for entry-level computer specialist jobs. Students typically take classes in computer systems design and analysis, database security, sensitive information protection and computer-user interfaces. This type of program is intensive to computer science and mathematics. Online associate's-level IT management degree programs are widely available and may be completed in as little as 15 months, although program specifications differ from school to school.
Program Information and Requirements
While most of these types of programs may be completed entirely online, others are hybrid programs that combine distance and on-campus instruction. In some cases, students may be required to visit the campus or an outreach center for IT management testing purposes. Programs generally fall within a range of 15-32 months for completion.
Online IT management instruction at the associate's degree level primarily requires that the student have a high-speed Internet connection and up-to-date operating system software. Even students who prefer Mac computer systems will be required to learn the popular Microsoft operating system and Windows software.
Associate's degree programs in IT management provide students with the knowledge and skills to work with various computer languages, hardware, software and operating systems.
An online computer fundamentals course teaches students how to build computers and install hardware and software. Students also learn to use interfaces, troubleshoot problems and understand numeration systems.
IT Management Security
Students enrolled in an online IT management security course learn to protect computers from common threats, such as hacking and viruses. Countermeasures for these threats are discussed.
This distance-learning course illustrates eXtensible Markup Language (XML) and how to use it to create websites and other Internet documents. XML Schemas and related formats, such as XHTML, are also covered.
Bachelor's Degree in IT Management
Students enrolling in online bachelor's programs in information technology management may sometimes choose a specialization, such as security, Web development, software programming or network management. Bachelor's-level programs are broader than associate's degree programs; however, students who have earned an associate's degree in IT management may be able to transfer credits to a bachelor's degree program.
Online bachelor's degree programs in IT management often enable students to earn certifications, such as the Client Java Programming, Comp TIA Security + and Cisco Certified Network Associate credentials. Students may earn these certifications by taking required courses and then passing qualifying exams.
Program Information and Requirements
Online bachelor's degree programs in IT management are widely available. Many programs may be completed entirely online, though some IT management programs require students to visit the campus or a proxy center for additional instruction or testing. Online instruction is provided through audio and video downloads, archived files and interactive websites.
Since online IT management bachelor's degree programs are intensive to studies of computer hardware, software and operating systems, some courses may require specific equipment that the student does not have. In these instances, the student should contact a school adviser to discuss the possibility of using an on-campus or off-site computer lab to assist in course completion.
In these 4-year degree programs, students enroll in online IT management courses in networking, software development and database implementation.
Online network management courses train students to transmit data and understand network topologies. The effective use of communications equipment is also examined, since IT managers must be able to convey technical information to their clients and co-workers.
Students enrolled in a distance-learning Linux course learn to install, administer and maintain the application. Linux is an open-source operating system.
An online course in computer programming logic emphasizes pseudo code, data structures and algorithms. Object-oriented programming is the focus.
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Master's Degree in IT Management
Students seeking a managerial or academic IT management position might consider a master's degree program, which can also be pursued online. Prior to enrollment, students are required to have a bachelor's degree in a related field. Students may choose a concentration in areas such as IT project management, information systems security or enterprise information systems. These programs generally may be completed within two years or less.
Program Information and Requirements
As is true of online associate's and bachelor's degree programs, distance-learning master's degree programs may either be completed entirely online or by incorporating minimal on-campus attendance. Students communicate with faculty and fellow students by using e-mail and online interactive forums. Website archives, audio files and multimedia interaction are used to facilitate online instruction. Online master's degree programs in IT management sometimes offer students opportunities to become certified in particular software products or programming languages.
Students should have a high-speed Internet connection as well as access to various types of computer equipment. In addition, students may be required to purchase webcams, microphones or other computer accessories to enable them to participate in interactive online classes.
Students enrolled in master's-level IT management programs explore project management, systems analysis, telecommunications and advanced networking.
Information Technology Systems Management
Distance-learning IT systems management courses often examine economic trends and productivity concerns related to information technology. Students may read case studies about the use of technology systems in different industries and organizations.
SQL Server Administration
Students enrolled in online SQL administration courses learn to install, configure and troubleshoot Microsoft's SQL client and server database system. Upon completing this course, typically students may take the Microsoft SQL certification exam.
Technology Project Management
At the master's level, IT courses often incorporate advanced leadership topics such as project management. This course teaches students to plan and implement technology solutions to address user needs. Scheduling, budgeting and project management software are explored.
Students who have successfully completed an online associate's degree program in IT management may wish to seek employment right away or to further their education. Those desiring to join the workforce may become computer support personnel, network administrators or webmasters. Upon gaining experience in an entry-level position, students may advance to supervisory IT management positions. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for computer support specialists was predicted to increase by 12% between 2014-2024.
The BLS reports that corporations often prefer to hire graduates with a bachelor's degree for network administrator, database administrator and network architect positions. Because of rapidly changing technology, organizations typically require employees to take part in some sort of continuing education. In May 2015, the BLS reported a median database administrator salary of $81,710 and a median network systems administrator salary of $77,810.
Students who have graduated from a master's-level IT management degree program may seek specialized positions in computer security, telecommunications or network engineering. According to the BLS, computer systems analysts had a median annual wage of $85,800 in 2015. The BLS anticipated a 21% increase in job prospects in this field between 2014-2024. Employment demand was expected to increase as the need for secure networks and technological integration rose.
Fully online and hybridIT management degrees are available. Students can earn an associate's or bachelor's degree, which will likely set them up for entry-level work in the field, or a master's degree, which may lead to more managerial positions.