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Information technology (IT) is all about data -- where to store it, how to retrieve, transmit and manipulate it. Information technology degree programs prepare students to develop, maintain and use computer systems and software for the processing and distribution of data.

Students interested in learning how to work with data may want to consider earning an IT degree. With so many IT degree programs to choose from, interested students potentially have much to gain from exploring the options that are available.

What Does an Online IT Degree Program Entail?

Online degree in information technology programs prepare students for the fast-paced world of computer technology. Students who earn an IT degree will typically study a wide range of technology-related disciplines, including:

Information Technology
  • Web development
  • Software development
  • Windows OS/Server fundamentals
  • Security
  • Databases

Students who choose to earn an IT degree may also choose a specialization to enhance their degree. Specializations include, but aren't limited to, subjects of study such as criminology, cyber security, data management, healthcare management and finance.

For students interested in this field, there are a wide range of IT degree programs to choose from. Those who want to earn an IT degree can choose work toward an associate's degree or bachelor's degree, which can be earned in as little as two years or four years of full-time study respectively.

Prospective who choose to pursue graduate studies in information technology can earn a Master of Science in Information Technology (MSIT), which can usually take as long as 2-3 years to complete. Students interested in earning a doctorate degree can even earn a Ph.D. in information technology, which can take four or more years to complete and may entail completing and defending a dissertation in addition to regular course work.

Career Outlook for Information Technology Majors

With the recent rise in the utilization of all types of technology, computer-related occupations are adding to overall job growth in the U.S. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, computer-related occupations should expect 18 percent growth from 2012 to 2022.

Here's a breakdown of a few of the IT-related roles slated for potential growth:

  • Information security analysts: Information security analysts are the professionals in charge of monitoring their organization's computer systems in an effort to detect security threats. The BLS notes that employment for information security analysts is projected to grow 37 percent from 2012 to 2022, with much of the growth attributed to an overall increase in expected cyberattacks.
  • Database administrators (DBA): These professionals, who use specialized software to store and organize data, should also expect an increase in job prospects as well with 15 percent growth predicted from 2012 to 2022 by the BLS.
  • Computer and information systems managers: computer and information systems managers are in charge of planning and coordinating all computer-related activities within an organization. Employment is expected to increase 15 percent from 2012 to 2022.

Other potential careers for those with an information technology degree include computer network architects, computer programmers, computer systems analysts and software developers.

Sources:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, "Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-2015 Edition," Computer and Information Systems Managers, January 8, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/computer-and-information-systems-managers.htm#tab-1
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, "Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-2015 Edition," Database Administrators, January 8, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/database-administrators.htm#tab-1
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, "Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-2015 Edition," Information Security Analysts, January 8, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/information-security-analysts.htm#tab-1
"BS in Information Technology," Western Governor's University, http://www.wgu.edu/online_it_degrees/information_technology_degree
"Information Technology," Carnegie Mellon University Heinz College, http://www.heinz.cmu.edu/school-of-information-systems-and-management/information-technology-msit/index.aspx
"Online Bachelor of Science in Information Technology," Colorado State University Global Campus, http://csuglobal.edu/educational-programs/bachelor-degrees/information-technology "PhD in Information Technology," Rutgers Business School, http://business.rutgers.edu/phd/programs/it

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