Are you a good problem solver- or do you like to learn about computer operations and new technology? If so, you can apply for a higher degree to specialize in a range of units related to IT. Information technology programs prepare you for occupations in the fields of computer operations, IT, programming, computer installation/repair, and software applications among others.
A 4-year program results in a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree; but applicants who are interested in the liberal arts as well as sciences can select a Bachelor of Arts (BA) program. BA programs encompass a range of courses including English and communication while BS programs cover topics such as business management, mathematics and information systems with fewer requirements for liberal arts.
Working professionals who want to broaden their careers may want to look at a Master’s degree and select a specific field to focus on. Students with a more general interest in IT can take Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree programs that don’t involve specialization and allow learners to complete a year or two of coursework before settling on a particular degree track.
IT Programs to Choose From
There are several pathways to becoming an IT professional. The following is a list of available information technology programs and what they involve:
· Computer programming
Students are taught a range of computer languages including Java, Visual Basic, C++, and HTML; and how to create different types of computer applications that solve problems. Programming courses also include lessons on the fundamentals of system design and analysis and also the systems development life cycle.
· Web design
Web design covers a number of skills and disciplines in the production and maintenance of websites. The areas of study include web graphic design, user experience design, interface design, authoring, and search engine optimization.
· IT applications
Learn the fundamentals of design, development and management of computer software. Lessons also cover advanced multimedia software and various electronic business applications such as Microsoft Office Suite. Through training and practice, students learn how to create information databases, install applications and design web pages, among other skills.
· Game design
This field draws from several IT disciplines including graphic design, creative writing, and programming. Game designers are taught to take the creative lead in imagining and designing video game worlds.
· Game programming
Game programming has many related disciplines which generally fall under software engineering. The program covers the fundamentals of developing codebases for video games and other related software including game development tools.
· Computer networking
This is an engineering discipline that involves the study and analysis of communication among various computing devices or computer systems that are linked together for the purpose of exchanging information and sharing resources.
Applying for Information Technology Programs
Associate’s Degree in Information Technology:
The program typically lasts two years and includes courses in:
· Computer networks
· Computer programming
· Web technologies
As a student you can select one focus area, such as website development, programming or database administration; and depending on the program or institution you chose, an internship may be required before graduating.
Bachelor’s Degree in Information Technology
Both BA and BS programs take 4 years to complete and normally have a broader range in course requirements than an Associate’s program. Also, BA programs tend to combine IT-based classes with arts and humanities.
The programs cover a variety of IT disciplines including:
· Telecommunications management
· Math and algorithms
· Digital imaging
· Technology and ethics
Students may be required to complete a project toward the end of the program.
Master’s Degree in Information Technology
For a working IT professional, a Master’s degree adds significant value in terms of skills and job promotion. Students are required to select a specific area of study; and completion of the program may require a thesis- but you have the option of choosing a non-thesis program.
The program covers areas such as:
· Business management
· Organizational behavior
· Research methods
· Artificial intelligence
Ph.D. in Information Technology
Doctorate programs are pursued by students and experts who want to focus on research or academia. The coursework involves extensive research and independent study, and a dissertation is required for course completion. Topics include:
· Risk management
· Research methodology
· Human-computer interaction
Why Study Information Technology?
IT appeals to students across the board and for many reasons:
Information technology is at the forefront of innovation and virtually every industry requires some form of IT input. Social networking is one example of IT innovation, and it has changed the way people communicate and interact through technology; and also the way we convey news. The divide between people and location is gradually fading, and with the introduction of cloud computing, organizations are now moving away from old corporate infrastructures to cloud service providers.
Companies such as Oracle, Cisco, and Microsoft offer a range of vendor-specific IT solutions that create opportunities for IT professionals to acquire additional knowledge and provide support within their own organizations. Aside from that, the broadness of information technology programs and courses means that students can work in many different capacities. Some of the more popular IT services are:
· Software development
· IT security
· Cloud computing
· Database administration
· Project management
· Business intelligence
The Role of IT in Business
IT is an integral part of every business. Whether it’s for multinational corporations that use mainframe systems or a small business with a few laptop computers, day-to-day operations require significant contribution from information technology systems. In order to optimize business services and support critical functions, a proper IT infrastructure has to be set up; and this calls for professionals who can recommend these solutions.
IT serves businesses in many different ways. Some examples include:
· Communication: with customers, suppliers, and those within the business organization.
· Data management: instead of storing information in rows of filling cabinets, businesses store important documents in digital copies and back them up through cloud storage- simplifying access and security.
· Customer relationship: CRM systems are designed to capture the way in which customers interact with companies, the goal being to improve future transactions. Customer service calls are made easier because the support representative is able to see what was purchased, shipping information, etc.
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