Milestone Map for IT Experts
When it comes to charting a path to the career and education you desire, it can be challenging to see where a degree fits into the big picture. For anyone considering an online MBA in information technology, the following view of a life in IT can help paint that picture. Of course, it represents just one path, and yours will be unique.
Builds first PC from scratch at age 13, hooked ever since
Majors in computer science, minors in business administration
Works in tech support at campus’ main computer lab
Networking leads to database developer role at major online retailer
After 5 years, wishes to transition into leadership position
Oversees cloud technology team as IT manager
Earning Your MBA in Information Technology Online
You will find that most online programs have many of the same perks and benefits as those with a physical campus, but you’ll also have the flexibility to fit school around your life. Even online, you’ll be able to network with others (such as your peers and instructors) and have access to career planning and academic advisory services.
Another benefit is that you can complete your coursework anywhere with an internet connection. This means you won’t be paying extra fees such as on-campus residence fees. You also don’t have to worry about commuting, except if you are attending a college or university that does require you to show up on campus for tests or exams.
With an online MBA in information technology, you’ll learn skills that are not only important in the tech industry, but also business management. This includes ethical reasoning, corporate planning, how to make key decisions and how to understand and incorporate diversity within the workforce. In your IT courses, you’ll learn how to manage software and IT departments, information security and telecommunications, just to name a few – all of which are essential in today’s IT world.
Exploring the 3 Main Types of Online MBAs
As you begin your research, you’ll see that there are many programs available for you to choose from. They offer different learning options in order to cater to various students. Here are a few examples of the types of programs that may be offered:
- Part-time (2-5 years)
- Full-time (2 years)
- Executive (2 years or less)
Many business professionals desire better education, but often are unable to allocate the required time and resources needed to pursue a full-time education. This is why part-time MBAs are a great choice, and are offered by various respected institutions. Part-time options often hold classes in the evening or on weekends, allowing students to stick to their normal working schedules while spending their free time attaining an MBA.
Created for students who wish to focus fully on their studies yet demand the convenience of distance learning. A full-time MBA in IT program is typically designed for an average of 20 hours of study, weekly. At this pace, students can expect to finish the program in two years, but often can complete it in less time if they decide to take on more credit hours.
A program designed for seasoned business professionals, this form of MBA focuses on teaching students who are looking to further sharpen their IT skills or don’t have an IT background. This program offers the greatest flexibility when it comes to learning at one’s own pace, and some companies even choose to pay for their employees to earn an EMBA.
Business and IT Courses You Should Expect to Take
There are many things that make one online college or university different from another; however, the classes they offer are generally the same. Here’s a few common courses you can expect to take if you’re working towards an online MBA in information technology.
Technology and Innovation Management
Due to the rapid progress of technological development, business professionals have to be able to keep up with the pace. This course teaches students how to introduce new technologies and products into the world market, the skills of technology sourcing, and how to analyze business and technology trends.
This course focuses on teaching students the basic outline of internet-based infrastructure, strategies and applications related to e-commerce, e-government and e-learning, and the importance of social media and application of online payment options.
A staple in any MBA program, this course teaches students the skills they need in order to succeed at being an effective and capable leader in a management position. Students will learn how to effectively communicate, cooperate, and how to analyze and solve complex problems.
Being successful in the information technology world requires knowledge on how to protect information, whether it is client communication or personal data, financial databases, or working code. This course teaches students on how to safeguard all kinds of data through various technological and applied skills.
Auditing and Financial Accounting
Financial know-how is essential for any student working towards an MBA, and this is also true when it comes to the IT sector. This course teaches students the fundamentals of accounting; how to read, prepare and understand financial statements; and apply costs to decision-making.
How to Find the Ideal Online IT MBA Program
If you’re having trouble zeroing in on exactly which school you want to attend, here are some things to consider that may help.
- Make sure the program will fit with your schedule and help you meet your IT career goals.
- Check academic requirements. For an online MBA in IT, schools often require a candidate hold a bachelor’s degree with a minimum of a 3.0
- Accreditation is important. Ensure that your chosen school is properly accredited so it is recognized by employers in the IT field.
- Do your research – talk to current MBA students or recent graduates to gauge the IT program’s quality.
- Check out what kind of online support you will receive. You should have access to the same networking tools and advisory bodies that are available to on-campus students.
- Learn what types of financial aid you may be eligible to receive, including scholarships, grants and loans.
- Look at overall value. Ensure that the costs of your chosen business school meet your budget and learning expectations.
An Important Note on MBA Accreditation
Accreditation for an online MBA in information technology is extremely important. If the school of choice is not recognized by a respected programmatic or regional accrediting organization, your degree may not be recognized by employers and you may not be able to receive federal aid. Please see our complete guide to accreditation for a comprehensive look at the accreditation process.
Getting Ready for an Information Technology MBA
It’s prudent to begin mapping out a schedule for enrolling in an online MBA in information technology well in advance of your target start date. While every school has their own deadlines, the timetable below provides a general example to follow.
||Time Before Program Start Date
Earn Bachelor’s Degree
Work at an entry level IT job
Take GMAT if required
Apply to the schools of your choice
11 months (Round 1 Admissions)
8 months (Round 2 Admissions)
Complete FAFSA®, apply for and secure financial aid like grants, loans and scholarships
|9 months, or as soon as your accepted
If you’re looking to give yourself an edge when, consider taking some of these actions before applying to an online MBA in information technology:
- Build your own computer and set up a personal server to gain hands-on experience with computer hardware and network security.
- Take IT-focused high school or undergrad classes, such as obtaining a bachelor’s in computer science.
- Enroll in a free programming course from an online educator like Udacity, Coursera, or edX
Possible Careers for Graduates With an MBA in IT
One of the great benefits of an online MBA in information technology is the wide array of career tracks you can embark on after graduation. While an MBA isn’t an absolute requirement for any of the following careers, it does help distinguish candidates from the rest of the field.
Information Systems Manager
Also called IT managers, these individuals help plan, coordinate, and direct various computer and technological-related activities within companies and organizations. They are responsible for helping determine the IT goals of their employers.
Computer Systems Analyst
These IT professionals focus on studying a company’s computer system and then develop software that help the company run more effectively. They are responsible for tying together a company’s business and information technological needs, as they have to be able to understand the needs and limitations of either field. Their positions are often as managers.
Chief Technology Officer
As a member of the executive within a business, the CTO is an expert in business and IT. They are responsible in overseeing and managing a company’s information technology and business computer systems, and also work at the top of the managing chain.
In this role, IT professionals are the keepers and protectors of valuable information. They use specialized software to store and organize data such as financial information and customer records and ensure that data is available to users and secure from unauthorized users.
Information Security Analyst
As experts in the information security field, these professionals have to know the ins and outs, and trends, of internet and networking technology in order to prevent corporate and organizational data from being stolen or leaked through cyber-attacks. They are essentially the protectors of information.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics.
IT Certifications to Complement Your MBA
For business professionals who desire to stand out even further for potential employers in the field, there are a number of information technology-related certifications available for those with an online MBA in IT. Here are a few examples:
Microsoft Certifications (MCSE, MCITP, MCTS)
A must for IT professionals who service Microsoft products, these certifications show employers that the candidate is knowledgeable in a variety of Microsoft platforms. For an MSCE, an individual needs one to two years in network systems, and must pass a test. For MCITP certification, one must pass several tests, and requires two years background in IT. Finally, MCTS certification requires a minimum of two years’ experience in troubleshooting various technologies.
CompTIA (A+ Network+, Security+, Linux+)
For professionals seeking to service more than one operating system, the CompTIA certifications are a great way to show potential employers of your qualifications. A+ certification requires over 400 hours of experience in IT, with the other certifications (Network+, Security+ and Linux+) requiring the candidate to pass a test for each accreditation, with scores of around 720 – 750 on each test out of a score of 900.
Apple (ACSP, ACTC, ACSA)
For companies that exclusively use Apple products, they need professionals with experience with Apple hardware and software. Both accreditations require the passing of tests, which cover basic support skills on these products. Those with network experience can choose to accomplish ACSA certification.
For professionals who desire to specialize in data security, this is a great certification to have. People qualified for this accreditation need to have a minimum of five years of experience in security architecture and design, must pass an exam and then pay an annual renewal fee.
Related MBA Degrees Available Online
Depending on your career objectives, you may want to consider other MBA options similar to that of an MBA in information technology such as:
Online MBA in Finance:
This program gives professionals the knowledge they need to understand investment analysis, mergers and acquisitions, and research and trading – all of which are important if you are interested in working in the financial industry.
Online MBA in Information Systems:
Similar to the MBA in IT, this program offers professionals the necessary knowledge they need to succeed in a business environment that requires professionals with the know-how on information systems – databases, business communication, data exchange, and other technological services, along with an emphasis on management skills.
Online MBA in Entrepreneurship:
A master’s program that is geared towards teaching students the skills they need in order to launch their own business, with many programs offering a specialization within the information technology sector.
Additional Resources for IT Students
If you know you’re going to earn your MBA in information technology, there are few organizations you may want to consider connecting with that offer many valuable resources for their members.
Association of Information Technology Professionals (AITP)
A society of all kinds of professionals within the IT industry. It has a worldwide membership at every level of information technology. The organization aims to help its members network with others, offers career and education opportunities.
Association for Women in Computing
Founded in 1978, it is one of the first professional organizations that advocates for women within the IT sector. It helps provide career growth opportunities and offers educational services.