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A bachelor's degree program in information technology can give students a foundation in such areas as database systems, networking and programming. Students could apply that knowledge in a potential career or further coursework in the subject. Students working toward their degree usually earn a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in information technology.

Online bachelor's degree in information technology: coursework and overview

Full-time students typically complete the bachelor's degree program in four years. During that time, they take a variety of courses, both inside and outside of information technology. Although the curriculum varies by school, programs tend to offer some of the same courses. Below are examples of courses that are commonly required for or relevant to the information technology degree:

Information technology degree courses

  • Introduction to Programming: Courses provide an overview of computer programming, often for the purposes of problem-solving and algorithms, using an array of programming languages. Many schools offer courses in a specific language, such as Java or C++.
  • Database Systems: Introductory courses examine relational database systems in regards to development, design and applications. Among the typical topics discussed is data modeling.
  • Networking Fundamentals: Students learn concepts and applications of networking and telecommunications systems. Specific topics explored may include network configuration and network protocols, such as TCP/IP.
  • Network Security: Students learn how to protect computer networks from security attacks, with attention to topics such as firewalls, encryption and intrusion detection methods.
  • Introduction to UNIX/Linux: Students learn the structure, function, and installation of UNIX and/or Linux operating systems. Courses often review shell scripts, basic UNIX commands, and electronic mail.

Courses related to information technology

  • Computer Applications: These courses help students develop a proficiency in word processing, presentation, and spreadsheet software. Courses targeting information technology could also cover software and hardware useful for the discipline.
  • Organizational Behavior: Students analyze individuals' behavior in organizations in regards to such topics as communication, motivation, leadership and conflict resolution. Organizational behavior courses can be useful, considering many information technology careers involve collaborating with others in the company to meet goals.
  • Statistics: Often required for information technology programs, these courses can teach students a number of statistical concepts and applications, including regression, probability, sampling and correlation.

Potential careers for individuals with a bachelor's degree in information technology

Information technology courses help students develop knowledge and skills applicable to a variety of careers. Potential careers that individuals with a bachelor's degree can pursue are discussed below:

  • Systems designers and systems architects assist organizations in selecting their hardware and software systems and create a strategy to meet long-term goals for computer systems. They also help make sure that the systems meet organizational goals. Courses in networking and database systems may help students become familiar with the technology that systems designers and architects use.
  • Programmer analysts design their system's software and develop applications that meet the needs of an organization. Other responsibilities may include debugging code and contributing to decisions regarding application objectives. Programming courses can help students acquire knowledge of algorithms and programming languages that could be useful for this career.
  • Network and computer systems administrators install, organize, and support businesses' computer systems, commonly including network segments and local area networks. They also work to preserve network and computer system security. Courses in networking and network security can help students prepare for the functions of this career. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), professionals in this career often hold a bachelor's degree in a computer or information science-related subject.
  • Information security analysts prepare and implement actions intended to protect a company's computer systems and networks. This occupation also entails observing networks for potential security risks, investigating violations and keeping up to date on security trends and breaches. Network security courses can teach students about tactics used in security breaches and ways to prevent and address threats to security.
  • Database administrators develop and administer databases based on users' needs and also make sure that databases operate smoothly. Responsibilities often include planning security measures and implementing and testing modifications in database structure. Courses in network security and database systems can familiarize students with various computer systems and methods of maintaining security. The BLS states that database administrators typically have related work experience and a bachelor's degree in an information or computer-related subject.

In addition to pursuing a career, individuals with a bachelor's in information technology can work to expand their skill set through a master's degree program. According to the BLS, for positions such as network architects, employers may even prefer that candidates have a master's degree. Students interested in advancing their education can discuss their qualifications and next steps with an admissions counselor.

Individuals can find further details on earning a bachelor's in information technology in the Guide to College Majors in Information Technology.

Sources

"15-1121 Computer Systems Analysts," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2014, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes151121.htm

"Computer Systems Analysts," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, January 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/computer-systems-analysts.htm

"15-1141 Database Administrators," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2014, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes151141.htm

"Database Administrators," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, January 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/database-administrators.htm

"15-1122 Information Security Analysts," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2014, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes151122.htm

"Information Security Analysts," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, January 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/information-security-analysts.htm

"15-1142 Network and Computer Systems Administrators," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2014, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes151142.htm

"Network and Computer Systems Administrators," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, January 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/network-and-computer-systems-administrators.htm

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