Are you planning to get an Information Technology (IT) degree? You have come to the right place if you are contemplating between an on-campus and an online IT degree. This article will enlighten you on why and how to pick the best online IT program for you.
Before we proceed, IT is a profession that is continuously growing in demand. Here is a snapshot of the job outlook from 2019 to 2029 from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS):
- Software developers: Median pay of $107,510. Job opportunities to grow by 22%
- Computer network architects: Median pay $112,690 per annum. Job growth of 5%
- Information security analysts: Median pay of $99,730 a year. Job growth of 31%
We hope the three examples above will whet your appetite for an IT degree! Did you notice the high annual median salary and projected job growth rate? They are all growing faster than the average of all jobs in the US.
Most employers prefer to award entry-level IT jobs to IT degree holders. Hence, having a bachelor’s degree in IT will arm you with greater possibilities of getting a job in your preferred IT area.
What to expect in an online IT degree?
Like an on-campus degree, an online IT degree requires 120 credits and takes four years to complete.
You will learn all the fundamentals in programming, IT operations, systems and security, scripting, and general coursework in math, science, and English.
Some colleges offer accelerated online IT degrees where students can graduate earlier than usual. However, an accelerated degree also means accelerated learning and a much heavier schedule!
Online IT degrees may adopt both asynchronous and synchronous modes of delivery. The former means you can view lectures at your own time, while the latter requires your presence live at specific times where you actively participate.
Specializations in an online IT degree
Most online colleges and universities would offer the following concentrations to prepare you for the job market:
- Data analytics
- IT management
- Software development
- Project management
- Software engineering
Do note that not all online colleges will offer all specializations. Therefore, go through the prospectus thoroughly to find the discipline you want or speak to a career expert on a career pathway that best fits you.
Most colleges also require a capstone project where you would propose solutions for real-life IT issues. This project is something you want to do well.
What can you do with an IT degree?
The IT field is so broad and deep – a reflection of just how advanced technology has evolved and the vastness of its application. You could dwell into an area based on interest and personality as shown below:
- Creative persons: Web developer, software developer, system design, or network architect
- People persons: IT consultant or IT support
- Administrator: Network or database administrator
- Researcher: Systems, operations, data, or security analyst.
How to choose the right college?
You can use the following list as a guide when selecting the best online IT program:
- Choose an accredited school (learn more about this here).
- Does the school offer your preferred specialization?
- Pick a college with a lower student to faculty ratio, which means you may have more time with your professors and faculty members.
- Faculty credentials also play a crucial role in your success as technology is continually changing for the better
- Scout for a school that offers lower cost or financial aid for online students.
You would now be more conversant with online IT degrees from the above information and strategies.
Before you go, be assured that employers weigh online and on-campus IT degrees the same. Meaning, your chances of landing a job are equal to an on-campus degree holder. As such, pick an excellent online IT degree from a reputable and accredited college.