What Should I Look For in an Information Technology (IT) Degree Program?

There are many reasons that motivate students to pursue a degree program in information technology (IT), ranging from a desire for job security and flexibility to a passion for computers and programming. Degrees in this field can offer a lot of opportunity to motivated students as long as they develop core skills through a strong academic program and build as much experience as possible. The coursework required for an IT degree varies significantly depending on the school, so students should take the time to ensure that their selected program provides the foundational knowledge they need for a successful career.

Related resource: Top 10 IT Degrees Online (Bachelor’s)

Options and Opportunities in Programming

There is a lot more to IT than programming, but it is still a foundational skill used by professionals on a daily basis. This means that students should look for programs that include a healthy amount of core programming courses as well as plenty of options for building on them. The sheer number of languages makes it difficult to master them all as a student, or even as a working professional, so students usually prioritize those related to jobs or industries they are interested in. Java, Python, and C are just a few of the many options available.

Cybersecurity Issues

Information can be just as valuable as physical property, especially when it includes sensitive or personal data. As more of this information gains exposure to the internet, cybersecurity has become a key concern for many businesses and individuals alike. Since security is layered into virtually all aspects of computers and IT systems, students need to at least have a basic understanding of key concepts. Cybersecurity can also be a promising career choice, with strong job growth projections and an average salary of over $100,000, according to Forbes.

Development and Operations

It’s no secret that software development is a fundamental skill for many professionals in the computer sciences, but there’s more to development and operations than coding. This term describes the processes and framework surrounding the creation of digital products. Courses in development and operations help students understand business, management and communications concepts that could influence their daily work. These classes also provide an opportunity for students to gain skills outside of the technical knowledge they focus on throughout most of their program.

Information Systems and Networking

Students should also look for IT programs that include at least some classes focusing on systems, networking and internet of things (IOT). Integrated information systems are a common sight in business environments and are becoming more popular with general users as well. There are also plenty of professional opportunities for qualified experts in systems administration, management, and development.

It may take time to research the specifics of a degree program, but the reward is worth the effort. IT is a fast-paced, technical discipline that is in a constant state of development, so professionals need to have a strong foundation of education and experience to seize the opportunities available to them. Finding an information technology degree program with the right core skills is a critical first step in building a successful career in the field.