Information technology (IT) is a compelling career field because of the high demand for skilled IT professionals. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that job openings for computer and information systems managers will increase by 11% between 2020 and 2030, higher than the 8% average job growth rate anticipated for all occupations during the same period.
The BLS also indicates opportunities for web developers, computer and information research scientists, and information security analysts will grow by 13%, 22%, and 33% respectively during that same decade, underscoring the strong demand for skilled IT experts. Let’s look at some of the IT degrees you can consider pursuing to prepare for your IT career and the application requirements for each degree.
An associate’s degree can lead to an IT career.
An associate of applied business (AAB) degree can equip you with the skills and knowledge needed to become an information specialist, computer programmer, computer and information systems manager, or web developer. AAB degree programs include computer networking, computer programming, system administration, and information security and assurance courses. Associate’s degree applicants must have high school diplomas or general education development (GED) diplomas.
A bachelor’s degree prepares you for multiple job options.
A bachelor’s degree in an IT discipline offers graduates a solid IT foundation that can lead to opportunities in several IT occupations. Common IT degrees include a bachelor of science (BS) in information technology, a BS in web development, or a BS in cyber security. Typical BS in information technology courses include fundamentals of information technology, computer networking, computer programming, network infrastructure management, cloud computing, and web server application development.
Students pursuing their BS in cyber security will concentrate on introduction to interpersonal communication, computer programming, system administration, information security and assurance, and network security. Graduates may work as information security analysts or white hat hackers, who try to penetrate networks and identify vulnerabilities in the network security systems.
A bachelor’s degree applicant must prepare a college application and may benefit from working with a college application counselor. Experts provide college admissions help to applicants. These counselors help applicants identify which programs they want to pursue in college and advise high school students about what courses to take to strengthen their college applications.
Application counselors also offer expert insights about how to gain work and volunteer experience. College admissions review boards consider the applicant’s school transcripts when reviewing their application. They also review the applicant’s resume and goal statement, as well as the reference letters provided. Application counselors help applicants prepare all components of their college applications, ensuring applicants impress the admissions boards.
Earning a master’s degree can increase your job prospects and income potential.
A master of science (MS) in information technology is a graduate degree you can pursue after earning a bachelor’s degree. While applicants aren’t required to have a bachelor’s degree in an IT discipline, those with a degree in a different subject area must complete bridge courses while earning their MS information technology degree online. Those who enter the program with a background in IT typically earn their MS in two years, while those who must complete bridge courses may need an additional year to complete their studies.
The MS degree program covers courses such as IT infrastructure sustainability, machine learning and data mining for IT, and enterprise security and forensics. Graduates can pursue career opportunities as computer and information research scientists, chief data officers, chief information officers, or chief information security officers. According to the BLS reports, computer and information research scientists earned median annual incomes of $126,830 as of 2020, while chief information security officers took home an average annual income of $226,559 as of September 2021.
Individuals interested in an IT career can pursue an associate’s, bachelor’s, or master’s degree. Disciplines such as information technology and cyber security prepare graduates for multiple IT careers.