Information technology professionals maintain an organization’s software and hardware systems. They make sure a firm’s technology works properly and is updated with the latest advancements. These professionals also work with managers to determine the technological needs and goals of an organization.
The information technology field is growing rapidly due to an increasing reliance on cloud computing and big data storage, and a growing concern for information security across industries. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 13% growth rate in computer and information technology occupations from 2016-2026.
Most computer and information technology professionals hold at least a four-year degree, and many choose to earn their bachelor’s degree in information technology online. Online programs feature the same curricula as an on-campus program, but have more flexibility. This guide covers the careers, salaries, courses, and costs that online information technology students can expect.
Below you will find a list of the best online bachelor’s programs in information technology. Government data for each school was provided by the National Center for Education Statistics. Programs are ranked based on data points, including graduation rate, number of online courses, and tuition cost.
The school profiles below introduce the common courses, requirements, and characteristics that are best for students looking to earn an information technology bachelor’s degree online.
While no degree can guarantee you a particular salary or career path, a bachelor’s in information technology can help you find a high paying job in a rapidly growing field. According to the BLS, computer and information technology workers can earn a median annual salary of $84,580, which is more than double the national median salary for all workers.
When looking for a career, information technology students should consider not only salary, but also job growth potential. The table below provides information on wages and job growth for several IT-focused occupations.
These professionals, often called information technology managers, oversee an organization’s computer systems. They work with managers and executives to determine the technology needs of a firm, and then implement the appropriate hardware and software. Daily responsibilities might include supervising computer professionals, overseeing the installation of new hardware, and exploring possible system upgrades.
Computer network architects, sometimes called network engineers, design and build computer networks that help organizations operate. They create small local area networks and larger wide area networks. These professionals evaluate an organization’s needs and build systems within an office or across many locations. In a typical day, a network engineer might meet with management, upgrade hardware, and research new technologies.
Network and computer systems administrators maintain various types of computer networks and ensure these systems function properly. They make software and hardware upgrades, assess security threats, and fix network issues as they arise. These administrators also add new users to a network and train them to use available software and hardware. They regularly evaluate systems and work to optimize performance.
Database administrators employ specialized softwares to store and organize data for a variety of organizations. They may manage financial information, health records, or shipping information. In a given day, database administrators will import new data, backup existing information, and conduct system tests. They also secure important data by regulating database access.
Information security analysts protect an organization’s computer networks, systems, and data. Day-to-day responsibilities depend largely on the industry and employer. These analysts continuously monitor security threats and take action when they detect a breach. They consistently upgrade security software and conduct tests to identify vulnerabilities in the system.
The following list provides salaries and job growth data for computer and information systems managers in each state. Some states have exceptionally lucrative industries that pay their workers a higher-than-average wage. Other areas lack information technology professionals, which leads to a high worker demand. Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Washington boast high concentrations of computer and information systems managers.
Below you will find courses that students often encounter when earning an online bachelor’s degree in information technology. Each online IT degree has specific course requirements, but most curricula include the same basic classes, such as data management, information systems, and network security. Thoroughly research each school you are considering to find courses, electives, and concentrations.
This course introduces databases and the various ways organizations store, manipulate, assess, and display data. Students may learn to use common data management and analysis tools.
In this course, information technology students learn about algorithms and fundamental programming languages such as C++ and Java. They may learn to develop basic applications, design user interfaces, and debug.
Network security courses cover the need for security in computer systems. Students learn common techniques for identifying vulnerabilities, assessing security threats, and responding to breaches.
This course covers the business side of information technology. Students learn to lead effectively, supervise employees, and apply organizational leadership principles to the information technology field.
In this course, learners study how various organizations utilize information systems. Students learn how information technology is one of the many resources businesses can use to gain a competitive edge.
Students should consider many factors when choosing a bachelor’s program in information technology. Research each school’s accreditation status and consider attending an accredited school. Evaluate each school’s academic offerings and prioritize programs that incorporate interesting electives and concentrations. In addition, take into account that attending a highly reputed school might make it easier to find a job or summer internship. In the section below, answers are provided to some common questions about online information technology programs.
If you plan to enter a specific career after graduation, you might consider focusing your studies in a particular area of information technology. Some common concentrations for information technology students include cybersecurity, database management, and health information technology. If you do not have a particular job in mind, you may prefer to pursue a general studies track.
Most bachelor’s in information technology programs require students to complete about 120 credits. Students usually complete these programs in eight semesters, or four years; however, some students can earn a bachelor’s degree faster by taking advantage of summer courses or by taking extra credits during the school year. In addition, some programs offer an accelerated option for students looking to graduate in under four years.
Some information technology programs require a practicum that allows students to gain workplace experience. For these programs, distance students may work with faculty to find a local organization where they can complete the experiential learning requirement. Most online programs aim to provide distance students with the same experiences and courses as on-campus students.
Yes. Some information technology programs incorporate coursework that prepares students for certification exams. For example, network security courses sometimes prepare students for the CompTIA Security+ certification exam. Many programs include coursework relevant to the Microsoft Certified IT Professional credential. In addition, some programs administer certification exams and include the exam costs in tuition.
Most programs post a list of available electives online. Check courses online and take note of any courses that seem interesting. If you have a particular career in mind, consider taking electives that develop skills relevant to that position. In addition, take into account that some programs allow students to take electives outside of information technology.
Earning a bachelor’s degree tends to be costly, and annual tuition ranges from under $10,000 at public institutions to over $40,000 at private universities. To reduce tuition costs, students should take advantage of scholarships and grants. Students should prioritize scholarships over other forms of financial aid, since they do not have to be paid back. Student loans, on the other hand, can come with high interest rates. Below you will find some scholarships for information technology students.
Through this scholarship program, the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association supports students majoring in STEM fields, including computer systems, cybersecurity, information resource management, and information technology. To qualify, applicants must be sophomores or juniors at an accredited four-year college and must earn a 3.0 GPA or higher. Candidates must submit an official transcript and at least two letters of recommendation from faculty.
The Foundation for IT Education, an organization that promotes research and education in information technology, supports students through several scholarships. The Betty Stevens Frecknall Scholarship is named for a former department of housing and urban development analyst who advocated for equal opportunity in the STEM field. For consideration, applicants must have finished one semester of college, and have a 3.0 GPA at minimum. Candidates must be pursuing a major related to information technology.
Buildium offers a one-time $2,500 scholarship to a female STEM student each semester. Through this scholarship, Buildium aims to increase the number of female leaders in technology companies. For consideration, applicants must submit an essay explaining which female leader at a technology company inspires them the most. In addition, candidates must submit a 1-2 minute video where they answer the question: “What would the Buildium Women in Technology Scholarship mean for your education?”
Palantir Technologies, a software company founded by Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel, has offered the Women in Technology Scholarship since 2010. Through the scholarship, Palantir aims to encourage women to pursue STEM careers in computer science, engineering, and technical studies. The program selects 10 finalists who receive up to $10,000 in grants. Scholarship finalists also receive a free trip to the Palantir headquarters in Palo Alto, where they participate in professional development workshops and meet engineers.
The Powerline Group, a software development and mobile application company, offers scholarships to students majoring in computer science, technology, digital design, or software development. Candidates must be enrolled full-time at an accredited two-year or four-year institution and must demonstrate a high level of academic achievement. The company offers one national scholarship and one for students studying in Long Island, New York. Each recipient receives a $5,000 award.