Do you love everything about technology? If you want to transform your fascination with technology into a career, then getting a degree in information technology could be a good path for you. Your degree in information technology will help you polish your tech skills while also teaching you a whole lot more about software, networks, and computer systems. 

You’d be happy to know that tech skills are highly valued in the job market. Your degree in IT can open up some exciting job options with great salaries and benefits. Sounds intriguing? 

This blog will take you through what an information technology degree looks like, along with careers, salaries, and everything in between. 

In simple words, information technology (IT) is the field that deals with using computers, software, and other technologies to store, retrieve, and send information. The field of information technology is vast. Think about it; we interact with information technology many times a day. From phones to computers to apps and more, we depend on IT to enhance the efficiency of our lives. There are new and better-than-ever technologies being developed that are revolutionizing our lives. Technology is growing and evolving. The field of information technology is exploding, with more demand than ever. It’s an evergreen field with many opportunities. 

Related: Popular Bachelor of Science Degrees for Tech Savy Students

A degree in information technology refers to an educational program at the undergraduate or graduate level that focuses on preparing students for careers in the field of information technology. These programs are designed to equip students with the knowledge and skills needed to work with computer systems, networks, software development, cybersecurity, data management, and related technologies.

Your bachelor’s degree in information technology will give you a strong foundation in fundamental aspects of the field, including computer programming, database management, network administration, cybersecurity, and software development. This undergraduate program provides you with a broad understanding of various IT domains, allowing you to explore the diverse facets of information technology.

With a master’s degree in information technology, you can choose to further specialize in specific areas based on your interests and career goals. This advanced degree provides an opportunity for in-depth study and specialization in emerging technologies or specialized branches of IT. Specializations might include cybersecurity, data science, IT management, artificial intelligence, software engineering, or systems architecture, among others. With specialization, you will be able to further tailor your career to your specific interests and take on leadership roles. 

IT professionals are the ones who power the digital landscape and make it all work. These professionals perform a wide range of tasks related to the design, development, implementation, and maintenance of computer systems and software. 

Here are some common roles and responsibilities of IT professionals:

1. System and Network Administration

Network administrators manage and maintain an organization’s computer networks, ensuring connectivity, security, and efficient data transfer.

System administrators oversee the day-to-day operations of computer systems, including servers and other hardware.

2. Software Development

Software engineers/developers create, test, and maintain software applications, websites, and systems. They write code in various programming languages.

3. Database Management

Database administrators manage and maintain databases that store and organize an organization’s data. They ensure data integrity, security, and optimal performance.

4. Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity analysts protect computer systems and networks from security breaches and cyberattacks. They implement security measures, monitor for suspicious activities, and respond to incidents.

5. Technical Support

Help Desk Support assists end-users with technical issues, troubleshooting problems, and providing guidance on using hardware and software.

6. Project Management

IT project managers plan, execute, and oversee IT projects, ensuring they are completed on time, within budget, and meet organizational objectives.

Related: How To Become A Project Manager

7. Business Analysis

Business analysts work with stakeholders to understand business needs and translate them into IT solutions. They bridge the gap between business requirements and technical implementation.

8. Cloud Computing

Cloud architects/administrators design, implement, and manage cloud infrastructure and services to store and process data over the Internet.

9. Data Analysis

Data scientists/analysts extract meaningful insights from large sets of data, helping organizations make informed decisions.

10. IT Consulting

IT consultants offer expertise and advice to organizations on how to best use technology to meet their business objectives.

Information technology is a promising field with many exciting opportunities. If you’re a computer geek fascinated by software and lines of code, then you will be a good fit for this role. Your IT degree will come with a range of benefits and advantages that you’re going to love!

Here are some compelling reasons to get your IT degree:

1. You’ll seem smart 

IT degrees make you look smart. Knowing everything about computers and being able to fix glitches is amazing. There are many features that average users don’t know about; most users only use computers to half their potential. But you, being a computer expert, will be able to leverage all the super things that computers can do to make your tasks more efficient. Being tech savvy is cool!

2. There’s a high demand for your skills

IT professionals are needed everywhere and across industries. You will have the freedom to choose from a range of different, diverse settings. Organizations are constantly on the lookout for skilled individuals like you to manage their technology infrastructure. 

3. You’ll be well-compensated

Being adept at handling technology is a valuable skill that is sought after in the market.  IT professionals often enjoy competitive salaries for their specialized skills. Your IT degree can lead to well-paying positions and financial stability.

4. It’s a versatile path

An IT degree opens doors to a wide range of career paths. Whether you’re interested in software development, cybersecurity, data analysis, or network administration, the IT field offers diverse specializations to match your interests. 

5. IT is global

IT skills are globally recognized and in demand. With an IT degree, you can explore job opportunities worldwide, making it a passport to an international career!

Your degree in information technology will not only satisfy your passion for technology but also open doors to a dynamic and rewarding career. Sounds like a good deal, right?

The different levels of IT degrees offer different levels of specialization. While you can land entry-level IT jobs with an associate degree, with a bachelor’s, you can gain more knowledge, which can prepare you for a wide variety of roles. A master’s offers you the opportunity to specialize in any particular subfield of your interest and upscale your career with leadership roles. By earning a  doctoral, you can add your own original knowledge to the field, thus earning the title of ‘doctor’.

Let’s look at each degree level in more detail:

Science Degrees:

1. Associate of Science in Information Technology (AS)

The Associate of Science in Information Technology is a two-year program designed to provide foundational knowledge of basic IT concepts and practical skills. This degree generally covers a broader foundation and is ideal for students who want to build on it with a bachelor’s. Coursework typically includes introductory classes in networking, basic programming, and IT support. Graduates of this program often find entry-level positions such as IT support specialists, help desk technicians or junior network administrators. 

2. Associate of Applied Science in IT (AAS)

An Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree in IT typically takes about 2 years to complete. AAS in IT is more hands-on and practical, emphasizing the application of technical skills directly in the workplace. Courses often include programming languages, networking fundamentals, database management, and cybersecurity. Graduates may pursue roles such as computer support specialists, network technicians, or systems administrators.

3. Bachelor of Science in Information Technology (BSIT)

The Bachelor of Science in Information Technology is a four-year undergraduate program that offers a comprehensive understanding of various IT domains. Students cover a more comprehensive curriculum, including networking, systems analysis, databases, programming, and cybersecurity. Upon completion, individuals are prepared for roles such as IT analysts, network administrators, software developers, and database administrators.

4. Master of Science in Information Technology (MSIT)

The Master of Science in Information Technology is a graduate-level program that focuses on advanced IT topics, research, and strategic management. Students can specialize in areas such as cybersecurity, data science, network administration, or software development, tailoring their studies to align with specific career interests. These specializations enhance expertise and competitiveness in the rapidly evolving field of information technology. Graduates often pursue positions as managers or other leadership roles in their chosen fields.

5. Doctor of Philosophy in Information Technology (Ph.D. in IT)

The Doctor of Philosophy in Information Technology is a doctoral program that emphasizes research, innovation, and the generation of new knowledge in the field of IT. The curriculum involves in-depth research in specialized areas, the completion of a dissertation, and participation in advanced seminars covering cutting-edge IT topics. Those earning a Ph.D. in IT often pursue careers as university professors, research scientists, chief technology officers (CTOs), or senior IT strategists.

Humanities Degrees: 

1. Associate of Arts in Information Technology (AA in IT)

Similar to AS in IT, this is a two-year program aimed at helping you learn the fundamentals of technology and preparing you for entry-level careers. The difference between AA and AS lies in the curriculum. AA focuses on including humanities subjects and critical thinking, taking a more broader perspective for a holistic approach to the study. While an AS takes a more specialized approach, delving deeper into technical aspects and emphasizing courses directly related to the field of study.

2. Bachelor of Arts in Information Technology (BA in IT)

A Bachelor of Arts (BA) in IT emphasizes a comprehensive education by integrating liberal arts elements, producing graduates with strong communication and critical thinking skills. Suitable for roles requiring a balance of technical expertise and broader perspectives. On the other hand, a Bachelor of Science (BS) in IT focuses more on technical proficiency, offering a specialized curriculum that prepares graduates for roles demanding in-depth technical knowledge, such as software development or cybersecurity.

3. Master of Arts in Information Technology (MA in IT)

A Master of Arts (MA) in IT strikes a balance between advanced technical knowledge and leadership skills. It often includes concentrations in areas like IT management or cybersecurity, preparing graduates for strategic roles. In contrast, a Master of Science (MS) in IT emphasizes in-depth technical expertise and research-oriented coursework, making it ideal for individuals aiming for roles demanding advanced technical proficiency, often involving research and development.

While choosing a concentration is not mandatory, it has its benefits. It can give you an edge in your chosen field and make your resume stand out. It also puts you forward as a serious candidate with a genuine passion for your preferred field. If you choose not to specialize, then you can continue studying a more general curriculum and broaden your job prospects.

In a BSIT, you can choose a concentration to gain specific skills in the field of your choice. The number and type of concentrations offered may be different depending on the college. Some typical concentrations include project management, software development, cybersecurity, networking, data management, cloud computing, and artificial intelligence.

If you’re confused about what concentration to pick, then evaluate what matters most to you in a job—is it the money, is it about your passion, or is it about ending up with a job ASAP? Choose a concentration based on what you want from your job.

But as the wise old saying goes, choose a concentration that you enjoy because there will always be a way to find a job and if you end up doing what you like, then that can outweigh any cons that may come up later on. 

It is also advisable to consult your college counselors or teachers and get their opinions as well. 

Similarly, in MSIT, you can choose to specialize in a particular field if you want to. The specialization options are different for different colleges. Typical specialization options include data analytics, database design, healthcare informatics, information security, enterprise technology management, software application development, and web design. Alongside your core education, you’ll choose elective courses that align with your focus area.

As an IT major, you will acquire strong technical and practical skills. You’ll learn a lot about computers, software, and even business and communication. You will take a number of classes that will help you build a strong foundation in IT. Along the way, you will also pick up specializations that will help you develop a more field-specific skillset. 

The specific curriculum might vary but here are some typical subjects that you can expect to study:

1. Foundational Knowledge

You will kick off your degree by delving into computer science fundamentals, programming languages, and database management. This will help you build a strong foundation for IT.

2. Technical Skills

Here, you will explore networking, system administration, and cybersecurity to gain hands-on expertise in managing networks and securing information systems.

3. Development and Design

Learn web development, software engineering, and IT project management, honing your skills in designing and implementing effective IT solutions.

4. Data Mastery

Acquire proficiency in data analytics, understanding how to interpret data for informed business decisions.

5. Innovation and Infrastructure

Explore cloud computing, information systems, and IT infrastructure, shaping the future of IT with a focus on innovation and efficiency.

6. Ethics, Communication, and Problem-Solving

 Address ethical considerations and legal aspects in IT while developing strong problem-solving skills and effective communication with non-technical stakeholders.

7. Cutting-Edge Technologies

Be introduced to artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), exploring technologies at the forefront of IT innovation.

Here are some in-demand certifications to get in IT so that you can stay on top of your game in 2024:

1. AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner (CCP)

This certification is designed for individuals with a foundational understanding of AWS Cloud, validating their ability to navigate the AWS Cloud environment, understand its basic architectural principles, and make informed decisions about AWS services.

2. CompTIA A+

A foundational certification, CompTIA A+ covers IT fundamentals, offering a broad understanding of hardware, software, networking, security, and troubleshooting. It serves as an entry point for individuals starting their IT careers, providing a vendor-neutral perspective applicable across diverse technology environments.

3. CompTIA Network+

Focused on networking concepts and skills, CompTIA Network+ is ideal for IT professionals aiming to grasp fundamental networking principles. Covering topics such as network protocols, infrastructure, troubleshooting, and security, it prepares individuals for roles in network administration and support. The certification is recognized for its relevance in various networking environments.

4. CompTIA Security+

Emphasizing cybersecurity skills, CompTIA Security+ is designed for IT professionals seeking to establish or enhance their cybersecurity expertise. Covering areas like network security, compliance, threats, vulnerabilities, and access control, it serves as a valuable stepping stone for more advanced cybersecurity certifications. The certification is widely acknowledged in the industry.

5. Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)

CEH is a professional certification validating individuals’ skills in ethical hacking, penetration testing, and identifying vulnerabilities in computer systems, networks, and applications to strengthen cybersecurity defenses.

6. Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA)

CCNA is a widely recognized certification that confirms a person’s ability to install, configure, manage, and troubleshoot small to medium-sized networks, covering a broad range of networking topics using Cisco technologies.

7. AWS Certified Solutions Architect (Professional)

This certification is designed for experienced cloud professionals, showcasing advanced skills in designing and deploying scalable, highly available, and fault-tolerant systems on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) platform.

8. Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP)

CCSP is a globally recognized certification for cloud security, validating expertise in designing, managing, and securing data, applications, and infrastructure in cloud environments.

9. Certified Data Professional (CDP)

CDP certification signifies proficiency in data management, encompassing skills related to data architecture, data modeling, database design, and other aspects of the data lifecycle.

10. Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)

CISA is a certification for information systems auditing, attesting to an individual’s competence in assessing and ensuring the effectiveness of information systems controls, governance, and compliance.

The lines between information technology and computer science are often blurred. These fields may have some overlap, but they are actually focused on different areas of tech. To understand which degree is a better fit for you, let’s compare some key aspects of each degree:

1. Focus and Purpose

   – Computer Science (CS): CS is more theoretical and focuses on the principles of computation, algorithms, data structures, and the design and development of software. It provides a strong foundation in programming and problem-solving skills. CS is often considered the more rigorous and mathematically oriented discipline.

   – Information Technology (IT): IT, on the other hand, is more applied and practical. It deals with the use of computer systems to manage and process information. IT professionals often work on the implementation, maintenance, and support of computer systems, networks, and databases.

2. Course Content

   – Computer Science (CS): CS programs typically include courses in algorithms, data structures, software engineering, artificial intelligence, computer architecture, and theory of computation.

   – Information Technology (IT): IT programs cover a broader range of topics, including networking, database management, cybersecurity, systems analysis, and IT project management.

3. Programming vs. Application

   – Computer Science (CS): CS majors are expected to have a deep understanding of programming languages and are often involved in creating new software, algorithms, and solving complex computational problems.

   – Information Technology (IT): IT professionals are more focused on implementing and managing existing technologies and applications. They may work on configuring networks, maintaining databases, and ensuring the overall functionality of IT systems.

4. Career Paths

   – Computer Science (CS): CS graduates are well-suited for roles in software development, computer programming, data science, artificial intelligence, and research.

   – Information Technology (IT): IT graduates often find careers in network administration, system administration, cybersecurity, database management, and IT support.

5. Mathematics Requirement

   – Computer Science (CS): CS programs often have more extensive mathematics requirements, including courses in discrete mathematics, calculus, and linear algebra.

   – Information Technology (IT): While some IT programs may include mathematics courses, the requirements are generally less intensive compared to CS.

In summary, if you are more interested in the theoretical foundations of computing and enjoy programming and problem-solving at a deep level, a degree in computer science might be the right choice. If you are more interested in the practical application of technology, managing systems, and ensuring their smooth operation, then a degree in information technology may be more suitable. It’s also worth considering your long-term career goals and the specific job roles you find most appealing within the tech industry.

Online degrees are more accepted than ever and now is the best time to earn your degree online! Pursuing an IT degree online allows you to study through internet-based platforms rather than attending a traditional brick-and-mortar institution. The online format offers convenience, allowing flexibility in study schedules and access to a plethora of digital resources and interactive forums. 

Students can specialize in specific IT domains and engage with a global network of peers. Online programs often prove more cost-effective, and learners can progress at their own pace with guidance from experienced instructors. Also, the syllabus will be the same as what your on-campus counterparts will be learning and your degree will make no mention of the fact that you studied online. 

Choosing online learning means taking charge of your education and tailoring it to fit your schedule. Going virtual encourages you to be more independent and self-reliant. Even though you might not interact with peers as much, there are still ways to connect meaningfully through online forums and collaborative tools.

Sure, on-campus students have easy access to physical resources like labs and libraries. However, online students can tap into virtual labs and digital databases, creating an enriching learning experience. It really comes down to what works for you, your preferences, and your lifestyle.

Think about the trade-offs – if you go for online learning, you might miss the physical buzz of campus life, clubs, and events. But, on the flip side, you get to focus on working solo, sharpening your ability to stand on your own. At the end of the day, both online and on-campus options have their upsides for growing academically, and it’s all about finding what suits your learning style and goals.

Following up your bachelor’s degree in IT with a master’s can offer you many opportunities to take your career to the next level with more opportunities and benefits. Some of these include:

1. Specialized Expertise

A master’s program provides an opportunity to specialize in a specific area of IT, such as cybersecurity, data science, or artificial intelligence, allowing for in-depth knowledge and expertise.

2. Advanced Skills Development

Master’s programs often include advanced coursework, hands-on projects, and research opportunities, enabling individuals to develop advanced technical and analytical skills essential for complex IT roles.

3. Higher Earning Potential

On average, individuals with a master’s degree tend to earn higher salaries than those with only a bachelor’s degree, reflecting the added value and expertise gained through advanced education.

4. Increased Employability

Employers often value candidates with advanced degrees, viewing them as having a higher level of commitment, expertise, and a broader understanding of industry trends.

5. Leadership and Management Skills

Many master’s programs incorporate courses on leadership, project management, and strategic planning, preparing individuals for leadership roles within IT teams and organizations.

6. Career Advancement

A master’s degree can open doors to higher-level positions, promotions, and increased responsibilities within an organization, providing a pathway for career advancement.

By pursuing a master’s degree in IT, you can gain a competitive edge in the job market, deepen your expertise, and position yourself for long-term success and impact in the ever-evolving field of information technology. This investment in advanced education opens doors to specialized knowledge, leadership opportunities, and higher earning potential, providing a pathway to elevate your career to new heights. 

Your information technology degree can land you many jobs. Depending on your areas of interest and specialization, you can choose from a variety of careers.

Here are some common careers you can get with your degree in IT:

1. Network Architect

Network architects design and implement computer networks for organizations. Tasks include planning network layouts, evaluating hardware and software, and ensuring network security. A bachelor’s degree in computer science, information technology, or a related field is typically required, with some roles preferring a master’s degree for advanced positions. The average base salary for network architects is $125,783.

2. Computer Systems Analyst

Computer systems analysts evaluate an organization’s computer systems and procedures to design effective solutions. Their tasks include analyzing user requirements, recommending system improvements, and coordinating system upgrades. A bachelor’s degree in computer science, information technology, or a related field is common, and employers may prefer candidates with business knowledge. The average total pay for a computer systems analyst is $124,671 per year.

3. Information Security Analyst

Information security analysts protect an organization’s computer systems and networks from cyber threats. They conduct security assessments, implement security measures, and respond to security incidents. A bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity, information assurance, or a related field is typical, with some employers requiring relevant certifications such as Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP). The average total pay for an Information Security Analyst is $121,689 per year

4. Network Administrator

Network administrators manage and maintain an organization’s computer networks. Their tasks include configuring network devices, troubleshooting connectivity issues, and implementing security measures. A bachelor’s degree in network administration, information technology, or a related field is common, along with relevant certifications such as Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA). The average salary for a network administrator is $78,096 per year.

5. IT Support Specialist

IT support specialists provide technical assistance to end-users, resolving hardware and software issues. Their tasks include troubleshooting problems, installing software, and assisting with system upgrades. A bachelor’s degree in information technology, computer science, or a related field is common, but some positions may only require relevant certifications or an associate degree. The average total pay for an IT support specialist is $60,218 per year.

6. IT Consultant

IT consultants offer expert advice on technology strategies and solutions to businesses. Tasks include assessing IT needs, recommending improvements, and providing guidance on technology adoption. A bachelor’s or master’s degree in information technology, business administration, or a related field is common, along with relevant industry certifications. The average total pay for an IT consultant is $101,793 per year.

7. IT Project Manager

IT project managers plan, execute, and oversee IT projects, ensuring they are completed on time and within budget. Tasks include defining project goals, managing resources, and coordinating project teams. A bachelor’s degree in project management, information technology, or a related field is common, and some positions may require a master’s degree or Project Management Professional (PMP) certification. The average salary for an IT project manager is $99,484 per year.

8. Cloud Solutions Architect

Cloud solutions architects design and implement cloud-based solutions for organizations. Tasks include assessing cloud requirements, designing architecture, and ensuring scalability and security. A bachelor’s or master’s degree in cloud computing, information technology, or a related field is typical, along with certifications from cloud service providers like AWS Certified Solutions Architect. The average total pay for a cloud solution architect is $150,541 per year.

These roles highlight the breadth of opportunities within the field of information technology, and while education requirements vary, a strong foundation in IT concepts and continuous professional development are often essential.

Related: What Can You Do With An Information Technology Degree

Pursuing an Information Technology (IT) degree opens doors to a multitude of job options in our technology-driven world. Beyond the abundant job prospects, the continuous evolution within IT fosters a sense of intellectual curiosity, ensuring your journey in this dynamic field is fulfilling and ever-engaging. As technology remains integral to our daily lives, your IT degree not only provides you with a versatile skill set but also positions you to be at the forefront of innovations.

Is a degree in IT worth it?

Yes, a degree in information technology (IT) is highly valuable. IT degrees provide a strong foundation in technology, computer systems, and problem-solving skills, which are in high demand across industries. The versatility of IT roles and the continuous growth in the technology sector make an IT degree a worthwhile investment for those looking to pursue dynamic and rewarding careers. Additionally, many employers prefer candidates with formal education in IT, which can enhance job opportunities and earning potential.

What are the challenges of getting a degree in IT?

While pursuing a degree in IT can be rewarding, it comes with its own set of challenges. One common challenge is the rapid pace of technological advancements, which require students to stay updated with the latest trends and technologies. The coursework can be rigorous, involving complex programming languages, system configurations, and cybersecurity concepts. Balancing theoretical knowledge with hands-on practical skills can also be demanding. Additionally, the field’s ever-evolving nature may require constant learning and adaptation, making continuous professional development crucial for success in IT careers.