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Online IT Degree Programs
A student searching for a path into the information technology (IT) field has numerous options to consider: campus-based or online learning? Bachelor’s degree or master’s degree? This in-depth guide sheds light on IT degree programs, coursework, and more, to help students and aspiring professionals make smart, informed decisions.
ONLINE LEARNING IT BASICS
Each information technology degree level is offered in three different learning modes. Campus-based programs are traditional classroom-based options, requiring students to spend in-person time with classmates and professors. Papers and projects are submitted in-person. Online programs offer a schedule-friendly option, allowing students to “attend” classes whenever, and from wherever, it is most convenient for them. Students might be required to chat or videoconference with professors and classmates. Assignments are submitted online through a course management system or email. Finally, there are hybrid programs, which are a mix of online and campus learning. Much of the coursework is completed and submitted online, but some courses and/or requirements must be completed on campus.
ONLINE IT DEGREES IN DEPTH
An online degree in information technology teaches students how to design, implement, and administer information solutions and processes for seamless communication and data sharing, while still offering flexibility and convenience to students. Online learners receive a solid foundation of knowledge in the field, covering areas such as networks, information technology fundamentals, databases, information security, software development, and operating systems.
SYNCHRONOUS VERSUS ASYNCHRONOUS
Online information technology programs are administered in two formats: synchronous (real-time) and asynchronous (self-paced). Real-time programs focus around a schedule set by the professor. Students must view lectures, chat, collaborate, and turn in coursework at predetermined times. Self-paced programs, on the other hand, give more freedom to the individual student, allowing the learning schedule to go at the pace of the learner. Coursework, reading, tests, and assignment due dates all take place at the convenience of the student.
Most online degree programs have requirements for the minimum level of accepted technology. This usually includes a computer, word processing software, an Internet connection, and an up-to-date web browser. Within the information technology world, however, there may be additional requirements. For instance, online information technology students may need access to a faster computer, specific programs for software development, and tools for working with computer hardware. Contact an administrator for details on the necessary technology and equipment.
Student Profile #1 – Leslie
Leslie enjoys information technology, but was unsure of how much education she really needed before starting her career. Her associate degree gave her foundational principles and encouraged her to follow-up her to pursue a bachelor’s degree in the field.
ONLINE ASSOCIATE DEGREE IN INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY (2 YEARS)
A two-year associate degree in information technology is a solid educational base. Year one offers comprehensive knowledge in general education subjects such as English and math, while creating a base in computer networking and database management. Year two completes the training through exploration of system administration and digital media. The following chart outlines the two-year information technology degree by semester:
First Semester (Freshman)
Student Profile #3 – Robert
Robert’s online bachelor’s degree in information technology came to an end just as he was beginning to find his passion. He built upon his extensive knowledge by entering a master’s program. He was able to dive more deeply into information technology and find a well-paying position doing what he loved.
Master s Degrees in Information Technology
For those who wish to continue beyond a bachelor’s degree in information technology, a master’s degree and another two years of coursework await. An online master’s degree is a much more specialized experience, and students often choose between two tracks as they continue on. Career-minded individuals tend to choose a non-thesis track, where their degrees culminate in comprehensive tests or projects. For those who wish to pursue a doctoral degree, the thesis option is ideal.
The variance between degree programs makes it difficult to list a specific curriculum for information technology at the graduate degree level, but the following is an example of potential core classes:
Master s Program Core Courses
- Associate of Arts in Information Technology with a concentration in Cisco Networking
- Associate of Arts in Information Technology with a concentration in Health Care IT
- Associate of Arts in Information Technology with a concentration in Web Administration
- Associate of Arts with a concentration in Information Technology
- Associate of Arts with a Concentration in Information Technology/Database Development
- Associate of Arts with a concentration in Information Technology/Information Technology Support
- Associate of Arts with a concentration in Information Technology/Networking
- Associate of Arts with a concentration in Information Technology/Programming
- Associate of Arts with a concentration in Information Technology/Web Design
- Bachelor of Science in Information Technology with a concentration in Advanced Networking
- Bachelor of Science in Information Technology with a concentration in Business Systems Analysis
- Bachelor of Science in Information Technology with a concentration in Information Management
- Bachelor of Science in Information Technology with a concentration in Information Systems Security
- Bachelor of Science in Information Technology with a concentration in Mobile Development
- Bachelor of Science in Information Technology with a concentration in Multimedia and Visual Communication
- Bachelor of Science in Information Technology with a concentration in Networking and Telecommunications
- Bachelor of Science in Information Technology with a concentration in Software Engineering
- Bachelor of Science in Information Technology with a concentration in Web Development