About Online IT Schools and Degrees
Unlike the past when information was stored in books and magazines, people of the modern world depend on digital devices such as computer, tablets and smart phones to learn about everything from latest scientific research to gossips about their favorite celebrities. Extensive use of IT technology has also led to an increase in demand for professionals who specialize in it.
IT professionals are responsible for identifying the data and processing needs of the employer or the client, and develop technology systems to meet those demands. You may be responsible for managing the information and its delivery. You will have the knowledge and expertise to use hardware and software applications for the creation of computer programs and Web pages. You may also be responsible for creation of new software applications within your field.
The work of IT professionals is not limited to technology firms. You may work for government agencies, healthcare facilities, educational institutions, research laboratories and private companies, which depend extensively on computer networks and IT systems.
IT Degree Levels Available Online
- Undergraduate/Graduate Certificate: 1 year to complete
- Associate Degree: 2 years to complete
- Bachelor's Degree: 4 years to complete
- Master's Degree: 1-3 years to complete
- Doctorate Degree: 4-6 years to complete
Undergraduate and graduate level certifications in IT are immensely popular especially among professionals who seek upgrade their skills to advance their careers. The short-term, continuing education programs are offered by community colleges, universities and vocational institutions across the country. They focus on a specific technology or process within the broad field including topics such as basics of IT, business operations, web design, system analysis, and quality assurance. Learn more about the topics before enrolling in them, especially if you are hoping to learn extensively about a specific topic.
Associate degree in Information Technology is a great program for high school graduates looking to take up entry level positions at various agencies. The two year program covers a various topics such as spreadsheets; professional communication skills; computing problems; basics of computer networking; programming; database management; switching, routing, and WANs; IT systems management; and Web page construction.
Many colleges and universities also offer a Bachelor's degrees. The four-year program will provide extensive training in several aspects of the field including databases, foundations, general education, IT fundamentals, organizational behavior and management, programming, systems administration and management, technical writing, and web development. The Bachelor's program will also give you the eligibility to pursue advances graduate and doctorate level programs in Information Technology.
If you are looking to advance your career as an IT professional, and take up a leadership position at a large corporation or multinational, you should try to acquire a Master's of Science in IT. Upon completion of a graduate program, you will acquire the expertise required to identify the client's computer network and IT needs and lead a team of processing professionals to complete the project. You will learn cutting edge technologies and advanced level education on several topics such as information systems, databases, programming, networking fundamentals, global enterprise systems, innovation and ethics.
A doctorate degree is often the highest academic degree in the field of Information Technology. Apart from working at government and private agencies, a Ph.D. will give you the opportunity to pursue research or join as a faculty member at a local college or university and teach Information Technology to undergraduate and graduate students. Apart from certain units of coursework, you will also be required to conduct research on a specific topic related to your field of study. You will be awarded a doctorate degree after a review committee approves your research and dissertation.
Certification and Undergraduate programs in IT Technology require:
- High school diploma with a good GPA history
- SAT/ACT scores
- Letters of recommendation
- Statement of purpose
Graduate or doctorate degree requirements include:
- Bachelor's degree in IT or a related field
- Work experience
- Letters of recommendation
- GRE scores
- GPA history.
TOEFL scores are important for international students to prove their proficiency in English.
Online Information Technology Degrees vs. Traditional College Programs
Students looking to pursue degree programs in Information Technology debate over the benefits of online degrees versus traditional campus-based programs. The traditional programs are highly structured, and allow you to interact directly with faculty members and fellow students. This may allow you to develop good professional contacts. You may complete the program on time and get employment immediately.
The online programs, on the other hand, are great for working professionals and busy adults who wish to pursue higher education without altering their personal and professional commitments. The programs are flexible and can be completed at your own pace from the convenience of your home or office. The online programs are as competitive as the traditional degree programs. In fact, almost 85 percent of employers have a positive impression about such programs, and are ready to hire individuals who have acquired Information Technology skills through online degree and certification programs.
When universities and colleges offer online degrees, they save significantly on infrastructure and facilities. They can also offer the program to hundreds of students at the same time. Most institutions will pass on the savings to the students. You will also save on travel and accommodation. Hence, online degrees in Information Technology are cheaper than the traditional programs. An undergraduate program runs between $9,000 and $40,000. The graduate programs cost between $11,000 and $34,000 per year. The exact cost would depend on the school and the type of the program. You may also be required
Choosing the Best Information Technology Degree
You should consider several factors before enrolling in a degree or certification program in Information Technology. Make a list of all the college offering programs. Make sure the program meets your future goals. Check the accreditation of the program and credentials of the faculty members. Find the cost of the program. Contact the university's Admissions Office to learn more about their enrollment and graduation criteria.