Best Information Technology colleges in the U.S. 2022

Written by Katy Mcwhirter
Updated by Matt Cates

Information technology (IT) majors study a broad range of technology topics, including website development and management, networking, security fundamentals, managerial economics, computer programming, digital media publishing, application development, information systems, and databases. IT is an intense program that focuses on the design of technological information systems, including computing systems, which is why it's imperative that students have strong math, computer, quantitative, and problem-solving skills. Certification is not necessarily required for IT positions but is often preferred since it illustrates ongoing knowledge of the industry.

The IT industry is the largest of any computer-related industry. IT workers maintain networks, create new software, and ensure information security. Custom computer programming services and computer systems design services are the two sub-industries that account for almost 90 percent of all IT services employment. IT workers in those areas write, test, and modify the software; provide support to clients after new software has been introduced, and plan and design computer systems. However, IT graduates are qualified to work in other areas including data management, software installation, and disaster recovery services. Employment and output in the computer systems design and related services industry are expected to continuously grow at a rapid pace as firms and individual consumers continue to increase their use of information technology services.

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Best Information Technology colleges in the U.S. for 2022

Cornell University
Ithaca, NY

Cornell University has a range of bachelor’s and master’s programs in information technology that prepare students to enter the workforce with a relevant skillset and foundational knowledge in the sector. Students often take classes in data management and internet connectivity to name a few.

Carnegie Mellon offers students small, intimate programs in the field of information technology. Graduates from this program often take advantage of their large and prestigious alumni network to tap into job opportunities worldwide.

Image by @dp_photos_ny

Columbia University, situated in the heart of New York City, is an excellent place for students to get an education in information technology. Students can enroll in classes like software development and internet security, and have access to award-winning faculty that want to help their students succeed.

University of California-San Diego offers 1 Information Technology degree programs. It's a very large, public, four-year university in a large city. In 2020, 42 Information Technology students graduated with students earning 42 Bachelor's degrees.

The University of Washington is a great place for students to seek degrees in information technology. Given the wide range of professional opportunities in the Seattle metro for tech-centric roles, a degree in information technology can be a great stepping stone for students interested in landing roles at top firms like Amazon, Boeing, and Microsoft.

New York University
New York, NY

New York University is a top school for prospective applicants interested in a degree in information technology. Given the location of this institution, many graduates seek roles in the information technology sector locally in New York City, which is one of the largest job markets in the country.

The University of Virginia continues to rank among the top public universities in the nation, and their information technology program continues to produce competitive graduates that leave school with tangible skills that are relevant in this sector. Students can take a range of classes like software development and coding to learn more about the ways in which computer programs and hardware function in tandem.

Brigham Young University offers 2 Information Technology degree programs. It's a very large, private not-for-profit, four-year university in a midsize city. In 2020, 38 Information Technology students graduated with students earning 35 Bachelor's degrees, and 3 Master's degrees.

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute facilities associate and bachelor’s level degree programs for students in their IT department, and has programs that include large lectures and intimate lab time for students to learn theory and practical skills.

Purdue University-Main Campus
West Lafayette, IN
Image by Diego Delso

Purdue University is a great place for high school graduates and working professionals interested in getting a degree in information technology. Students can choose from bachelor’s programs that last up to four years, and graduate programs that offer added academic research opportunities and collaboration with faculty members.

As part of the Purdue University system, PG is a public, online institution serving approximately 30,000 students. Just like campus students, remote learners enjoy access to its online certificate and degree programs in information technology. Students choose from bachelor of science degrees in information technology, cybersecurity, analytics, and more. The school also offers an associate of applied science in information technology and several related certificate programs. 

Find local colleges with Information Technology majors in the U.S.

What is Information Technology?

From software development to computer systems support, information and computer technologies play an essential role in business, education, and our everyday lives. By earning an IT degree online, you can develop in-demand tech skills for an exciting and lucrative career in several major industries. 

Information technology prepares students to become independent operators in the computer and internet technology sector. Degrees in IT continue to grow in popularity as demand for graduates with these skills grows. Depending on the level of interest in rigorous academic programs, students can choose between two-year associate programs, all the way to doctorate programs that can last up to six years. Most programs require students to take courses like data management, computer assemblies, and network connectivity.

If you’re looking for a high paying career path, you’re in the right place. Online IT degrees can prepare you for high-earning careers in as little as two years. If you have a creative eye, you’ll be happy to hear that web designers may only need a two-year associate degree and can make a median annual salary of $77,200 per year. Comparatively, master’s degree-holders in the same industry stand to make six-figure salaries! For the more analytical students, computer information research scientists earn about $126,830 per year.

The good news is that you can earn an IT degree online without having to set foot on a college campus. This is especially helpful for working adults and parents who want to pursue a flexible degree around other life obligations. Read on to learn more about some of the best IT degrees online for 2022.

 

Information Technology Degree Overview

Data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that the number of IT professionals has increased by tenfold in the last 50 years. These workers now represent nearly 3% of the American workforce, and positions are expected to continue expanding over the coming years.

Individuals with a passion for problem-solving, teamwork, and technical advancement can find much to keep them busy in the world of information technology. Pursuing a degree in this field can lead to well-paying jobs and plenty of room for advancement. Keep reading to learn what it takes to become an IT professional, how to find the best degree programs, and where to seek support while in school and beyond.

IT Vs. Computer Science

As learners weigh their higher education options, some may wonder whether a computer science or information technology degree best serves their interests and career goals. While both of these programs focus on technology, differences exist.

At a rudimentary level, information technology focuses more on skills surrounding technology installation, maintenance, and improvement. Simply put, IT is more about keeping up with existing technology rather than designing and building new tools. Conversely, computer science concerns itself more with innovation. Professionals in this sphere take more math and programming language classes, giving them the skills needed to design and develop new hardware and software.

While many IT professionals work as part of larger teams, computer science graduates often have the choice of working with others or existing in a more solo capacity. 

Courses in IT Degree Programs

The coursework offered in IT programs vary by individual school, but many have some overlap. As students look at prospective programs, some of the common classes they may encounter include:

  • Introduction to Cybersecurity
  • Computer and Network Security
  • Ethical Hacking and Defense Networks
  • Database Concepts
  • Computer Systems
  • Digital Forensics
  • Systems Analysis and Design
  • Project Management

Skills Learned in a Degree of IT Degree Program

IT degrees impart many important skills that today’s employers look for in potential recruits. The best programs hire faculty members with professional experience who understand what hiring managers want and design curricula to meet those needs.

Some of the hard skills commonly required of IT professionals include:

  • Cloud computing and security
  • Integration architecture (e.g., Salesforce and Cisco)
  • Metadata design
  • Web services security
  • Information architecture
  • Data analytics

In addition to skills focused on IT exclusively, many employers also look for new hires with a wide-ranging set of soft skills. Some of these can include:

  • Problem-solving
  • Teamwork
  • Effective communication
  • Flexibility
  • Leadership
  • Dependability

Students who enroll in an information technology degree program take classes on how computers and technology function in tandem to send, receive, and also store data. Given the digital nature of our world today, IT specialists can be found in almost every sector of the economy, and are critical to the ongoing functionality of computer systems in businesses, hospitals, and in the federal government. 

Getting a degree in information technology is an excellent choice for students who already possess strong skills in reasoning and mathematics. Graduates can pursue a career in tech or work as an IT specialist for any for-profit or non-profit entity. These degrees also provide graduates a chance to work remotely, which can provide added flexibility and work-life balance for those interested in a conducive work schedule.

Certificate in Information Technology

There are many certificate programs available for students in IT that condense information about coding languages, software, and hardware maintenance. Certificates can be a viable way to boost your resume after graduation, and impart marketable skills that are relevant in the industry.

Associate Degree in Information Technology

Students that would like to enroll in short, fast-paced degree programs often choose Associate in Information Technology programs that provide students with the foundational knowledge needed to graduate with a competitive skill-set. For students interested in pursuing their associate online, these programs can allow for added flexibility in schedule, and asynchronous lectures that can be viewed at your leisure.

Common IT Associate Degrees

  • Associate of science in information technology
  • Associate of applied science in computer information technology
  • Associate of science in information technology security

 

Bachelor's Degree in Information Technology

Many students that enroll in school immediately after high school choose bachelor’s programs that often last four years and include large lecture-style classes and general education requirements. Students begin by taking the entry-level coursework and may choose to specialize in a particular aspect of IT such as network security or server management.

IT Bachelor’s Degrees

  • Bachelor of science in information science
  • Bachelor of applied science in information technology
  • Bachelor of science in software engineering

Master's Degree in Information Technology

The field of information technology continues to grow as businesses and organizations worldwide operate and communicate on digital platforms. An online master’s degree in information technology (IT) prepares graduates to enter the workforce with marketable skills that help businesses manage networks, internet security, and web-based communications. 

Professionals with an online master’s in information technology provide ongoing support to companies and perform a variety of roles to maintain computer-based systems, databases, and local area networks. As more industries adopt digital technology, the demand for educated professionals with secondary degrees in the field of information technology could quickly increase. 

An online master’s degree in information technology typically takes between 1-2 years to complete. It’s always helpful to consider in-person and online offerings to find the right program that fits your schedule. 

Future applicants should also consider admissions requirements, costs, and areas of specialization to be sure that the program they choose fits their career goals and schedule. 

Pros And Cons Of Master’s Degree In Information Technology

Time, cost, and job placement are all key factors to consider when applying for a master’s program. Compared to a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science, a Master of Science in Information Technology allows students to qualify for higher-level administrative positions and higher pay. Given the flexibility offered with an online master’s program, professionals have the opportunity to complete their degree without taking time from their day job.

Coursework In Information Technology Master’s Programs

Many of the courses offered in information technology programs align with industry standards. Classes like Database Design, Network Security, and Systems Analysis prepare students to help understand a variety of roles in the industry. Courses often include topics like cybersecurity, big data, data analytics, and software development. 

As a prerequisite to many of these classes, general knowledge of computer science and hardware can help students prepare for masters-level coursework. 

Course About the Course
Database Design This class explores the hardware and software needed to assemble and maintain a database for business or personal use. 
Network Security In this course, students study risk factors associated with computer network security, and how to best protect networks from security breaches or hacking. 
Systems Analysis Systems analysis classes teach the functionality of the computer and IT systems to help students understand how to assess and troubleshoot issues. 
Foundations of Web Design This course serves as an intro to web development and code to help students learn how to create landing pages and websites. 

Skills Learned In A Master’s in Information Technology 

With a master’s degree in information technology, graduates are prepared to hold a variety of roles in the industry. Programs build skills such as:

  • Communication
  • Data analytics
  • Observation
  • Troubleshooting
  • Diagnostics
  • Assemblies

How Long Does It Take To Get A Master’s Degree In Information Technology?

Some IT graduate programs take one year to complete, while others take up to two years. Most programs usually require 30 credit hours, including electives and the capstone project.

Factors that impact the length of a degree program include:

  • Prior education (Bachelor’s in Computer Science preferred)
  • Accelerated course availability
  • Synchronous vs asynchronous learning
  • Part-time vs. full-time course loads

Common IT Master’s Degrees

  • Master of science in information technology
  • Master of science in data analytics and information systems management
  • Master of business information management and systems

Master’s in Information Technology Degree Specializations

When exploring specializations for the field of information technology, first get familiar with the options. Depending on the type of workplace that you’re interested in operating in, you might select a common specialization such as:

  • Systems Management
  • Data Security
  • Cybersecurity
  • Web Development and Design
  • Healthcare
  • Network Configuration

Information Technology vs Computer Science

There are distinct differences between computer science and information technology master’s programs that have lasting financial and employment implications. A graduate with a master’s in IT learns the business applications of computer and network management

Alternatively, individuals with a master’s in computer science are employed to develop code and write software. Over the last decade, jobs in computer science have expanded rapidly as web-based platforms and apps proliferate. In comparison, the job outlook for information technology is projected to increase even more as businesses expand their online operations. 

Admissions Requirements 

The first step to applying to any program is to check the admissions requirements to confirm the prerequisite experience needed to qualify. Most information technology programs require:

  • Proof of completion of a 4-year bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution
  • Minimum GPA requirements – These vary depending on the program but start at 3.0+
  • Official Transcript
  • GRE test score 
  • Application fee
  • Letter of Intent
  • Two letters of recommendation 

It is always smart to submit applications to schools with varying rates of acceptance. You should also diversify your application list and include schools with high and low rates of admission.  

Paying For A Master’s Program In Information technology

The cost of an online master’s degree in information technology varies depending on a variety of factors. In-state tuition tends to be much less than out-of-state, so be sure to apply to programs locally if cost is a determining factor. 

Colleges, universities, and organizations offer scholarships that are merit or need-based that can help minimize the financial impact of going to school. Online programs can be more cost-effective and accessible than in-person programs, providing applicants with options depending on their prior obligations. Some online programs also extend in-state tuition rates to all students regardless of where they live.

Doctoral Degree in Information Technology

Doctorate-level IT programs are tailored for students interested in the academic research side of IT, and will often pair students with faculty members to facilitate mentorship opportunities outside of the classroom. PhD students often complete a dissertation before they graduate, which can help them when applying to jobs after they graduate.

Common IT Doctoral Degrees

  • Doctor of philosophy in information technology
  • Doctor of information technology
  • Doctor of philosophy in technology management

Certification and Licensure in Information Technology

While no IT positions currently require licensure, many employers favor job candidates who bring information technology certifications with them. Because the field of IT moves and changes so rapidly, earning industry certifications signals that professionals have continued interest and passion for the discipline. Many different providers offer IT certification, including CompTIA and Google.

What Can I Do with a Degree in Information Technology?

Graduates with an online degree in information technology can apply to a wide range of positions once they graduate. IT managers can make up to $150,000 annually, while computer support specialists gross around $50,000. Many positions allow for hybrid or fully-remote work environments that can be conducive for anyone's schedule.

The 10 Fastest-Growing Computer Science Jobs

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook, computer and information technology jobs are projected to grow 13% through 2030. That’s considerably higher than the average for all other types of employment. In fact, BLS expects over half a million new computer and IT-related openings by the end of this decade.

Although projections are not foolproof guarantees of work, these numbers offer a very exciting outlook. That’s why we’ve put together a list of the top 10 career paths for students and career-changers who are ready to enter the fast-paced world of computer science! 

1. Computer and Information Research Scientists

Filling roles across a broad spectrum of business and organizational sectors, computer and information research scientists dive deep into the various computing problems their employers face. These vital team members must then find or develop innovative solutions using current and emerging technology. This is a fantastic career option for students who want to work behind the scenes on the cutting edge of the CS field, but it may not be suitable for people who love being in the center of the action. 

Computer and Information Research Scientist Expected Growth Rate:

This field is expected to grow 22% through 2030. The median annual salary is $126,830, with the lowest 10% of earners still making ~$72,210 or less and the top 10% raking in over $194,430.

The most common sectors of employment for this career are:

  • Federal government
  • Computer systems design 
  • Research and development
  • Software publishers
  • Colleges and universities

Computer and Information Research Scientist Education:

Most computer and information research scientists hold at least a master’s in computer science, Computer Engineering, or Information Systems. Additional specialized training may be required for certain positions. 

Computer and Information Research Scientist Job Duties: 

Their work can involve studying the IT needs and requirements of users, running experiments, creating new languages, and designing or improving systems to incorporate data science and machine learning. They may work in various specialties, such as programming or robotics. As research scientists, they’re also responsible for publishing and presenting their results. 

2. Computer Network Architect

Computer network architects create data communication networks serving users within an organization. Network types may include local or wide area networks as well as Intranets. This is a strong choice for workers with these traits and skills:

  • Analytical
  • Detail-oriented
  • Leadership skills
  • Organized

Computer Network Architects Expected Growth Rate:

BLS predicts a 5% job growth for this field through 2030, which is near the national average. The median annual salary is $116,780, with the lowest 10% of earners making under $67,190 and the top 10% bringing home over $175,570. 

Common sectors of employment for this career are:

  • Company management 
  • Computer systems design 
  • Educational institutions
  • Insurance carriers 
  • Telecommunications

Computer Network Architect Education:

Most Computer Network Architects hold a bachelor’s or higher in computer science, engineering, or information systems. They may also be required to complete specific certifications, depending on employer requirements. 

Computer Network Architect Job Duties: 

Architects need to understand their employer’s business plan to build, maintain, and upgrade the correct network configuration. They must also review information security requirements and integrate new technologies, such as cloud infrastructure, as needed.

3. Computer Programmers

Computer Programmers write the code that apps and software programs run on. They work closely with developers and engineers to review the necessary functionality needed for the final project. However, programmers often work alone and sometimes even remotely. 

For some types of workers, this is a great benefit, but others might prefer to actively work within the dynamics of a group. 

Computer Programmer Expected Growth Rate:

Unlike the previous computer science careers, computer programmer jobs are expected to decline 10% through 2029. However, BLS notes that workers with degrees and knowledge of the latest programming tools have the best prospects. The median annual salary is $89,190, with the lowest 10% of earners making under $51,440 and the top 10% earning over $146,050. 

You can find programmers working in sectors such as:

  • Computer systems design 
  • Finance and insurance
  • Manufacturing
  • Software publishers
  • Self-employment

Computer Programmer Education:

Many computer programmers finish their Bachelor’s in Computer and Information Systems, Computer Science, or even Math. They may be required to complete continuing education classes or vendor-specific certifications, depending on employer requirements. Other programmers have launched into the programming field through non-traditional methods, like coding boot camps. There are many ways to become a programmer.

Computer Programmer Job Duties: 

Programmers use models and flowcharts to map out how their program is going to operate. They’re also responsible for screening code for mistakes and testing programs for bugs to ensure proper functioning before a product hits the market. 

4. Computer Support Specialists

Computer Support Specialists help users with direct tech support for any problematic issues. This is done in-person, over chat, email or phone, or remotely by using software to log into the affected users’ system. Workers in this field may enjoy helping others, but it does require strong customer service skills — plus a lot of patience and tact sometimes. 

Computer Support Specialist Expected Growth Rate:

Computer Support Specialist jobs are predicted to grow 9% through 2030. The median annual salary is $65,450, with the lowest 10% earning under $40,620 while the top 10% can fetch over $110,450.  

Computer Support Specialists are used in a wide range of settings, including:

  • Companies and enterprises
  • Data processing and hosting
  • Educational institutions
  • Finance and insurance
  • Governmental agencies
  • Software publishers
  • Telecommunications

Computer Support Specialist Education:

Computer support specialists can often get started without a bachelor’s as long as they have sufficient computer-related skills or courses under their belt. However, many employers prefer to hire workers with an associate or bachelor’s degree. There could be vendor-specific training needed, as well. 

Computer Support Specialist Job Duties: 

Computer support specialists have many responsibilities, including the following:

  • Provide direct IT support
  • Perform maintenance, testing, and troubleshooting on networks
  • Ensure important files are regularly backed up 
  • Other IT tasks to assist network and computer systems administrators

5. Computer Systems Analysts

Computer systems analysts review and improve their employers’ computer systems and processes. Also known as systems architects, they work between business and IT and collaborate closely with an organization’s leadership.

This can be a busy and demanding job, requiring strong project management skills to move up, plus the ability to communicate successfully between leadership and IT teams. 

Computer Systems Analyst Expected Growth Rate:

Employment opportunities for Computer Systems Analysts are anticipated to rise 7% through 2030. The median annual salary is $93,730, with a range of under $56,510 for the lowest 10% of earners up to more than $152,060 for the top 10%. 

Typical sectors of employment include:

  • Companies and enterprises
  • Computer systems design 
  • Finance and insurance
  • Governmental agencies
  • Information services

Computer Systems Analyst Education:

A degree isn’t always necessary for a computer systems analyst, but most do complete a Bachelor’s in Computer and Information Technology. Some major in a non-IT field, such as math or liberal arts, but they take enough relevant classes to qualify for the position they want. Advanced positions require graduate-level degrees, such as a Master’s in Business Administration with a focus on information systems. 

Computer Systems Analyst Job Duties: 

Computer systems analysts have many duties:

  • Staying on top of new technologies
  • Estimating costs for upgrades
  • Overseeing projects
  • Partnering with related IT staff to plan and achieve overall objectives 

6. Database Administrators

Database Administrators (DBAs) work with complex software programs to save and organize organizational data, including information about customers and financial transactions. DBA roles vary greatly because job requirements depend on the sector, such as health, education, or business. Thus there may be a need for continual learning for those who move from one sector to another during the span of their career. 

Database Administrator Expected Growth Rate:

Jobs in this career should grow by 8% through 2030, according to BLS. The median annual salary is $98,860, with the lowest 10% bringing in less than $54,070 and the top earners getting in excess of $155,660. 

The most common sectors of employment for database administrators are:

  • Computer systems designers
  • Educational institutions
  • Private companies 
  • Insurance carriers 
  • Data processing and hosting services

Database Administrator Education:

Database Administrators generally complete a bachelor’s in a field related to computers or information systems. In certain cases, they need a graduate degree, with specific education and training in data or database management. Vendor-specific certification is often needed, as well. 

Database Administrator Job Duties: 

DBA encompass a wide scope of responsibilities, and here are a few:

  • Ensuring information security
  • Preventing data loss
  • Enabling proper and timely user access
  • Merge previous databases with new ones while making sure appropriate permission levels are maintained 

7. Information Security Analysts

Information Security Analyst Expected Growth Rate:

Jobs for Information Security Analysts are expected to grow an incredible 33% through 2030, in part due to the ever-growing threat of hackers. The median annual salary is $103,590, but pay ranges from the lowest 10% making $60,060 to the highest 10% reaching over $163,300.

Common employment sectors are:

  • Computer systems designers
  • Finance and insurance
  • Private companies 
  • Information, administrative, and support services

Information Security Analyst Education:

Information Security Analysts typically have at least a bachelor’s degree in a field of study such as computer science, programming, or information assurance. Employers may prefer or require certifications such as the Certified Information Systems Security Professional

Information Security Analyst Job Duties: 

Information security analysts have a lot of responsibilities, including but not limited to the following:

  • Scan for signs of breaches
  • Conduct investigations
  • Examine findings
  • Enact solutions to prevent future exploitation of vulnerabilities
  • Run penetration testing (i.e. simulated attacks
  • Educate users on best practices and oversee recovery in the aftermath of a serious breach

8. Network and Computer Systems Administrators

Network and Computer Systems Administrators maintain organizational networks and fulfill several other routine duties. They may deal with users and other IT staff, help Network Architects, and liaison with management to procure updates. It’s a busy and critical job requiring plenty of multitasking and problem-solving skills! 

Network and Computer Systems Administrator Expected Growth Rate:

Network and Computer Systems Administrator jobs will experience 5% growth through 2030. As part of the broader IT sector, that outlook is subject to impact by ever-changing technologies and the ways organizations choose to adopt them. The median annual salary is $84,810, with the lowest 10% earning under $52,830 while the top 10% can make $134,970 and up.

Employment sectors for this career include:

  • Computer systems designers
  • Educational institutions
  • Finance and insurance
  • Private companies 
  • Information services

Network and Computer Systems Administrator Education:

Network and Computer Systems Administrators can find work with only an associate degree or certification, but a Bachelor’s in Computer or Information Science will open more doors. Vendor-specific certifications are a fairly common requirement. Advanced degrees can also pave the way for promotions to management positions and jobs like computer network architect.

Network and Computer Systems Administrator Job Duties: 

Network and computer systems administrators have full schedules, ensuring all network hardware and software are operating safely and smoothly. They recommend and help implement updates or oversee repairs and perform routine duties such as adding personnel to the network and training them on procedures. They may also be tasked with managing servers, mobile devices, or telecom equipment. 

9. Software Developers

Software Developers analyze client requirements to create programs capable of performing specific tasks on designated systems. These programs may be used in-house only or released for sale or as free to the public. Developers collaborate closely with peers and team members to ensure the final product works as expected. They may experience pressure, especially if there’s a tight deadline or a hard problem to solve, but overall job satisfaction is high. U.S. News & World Report ranked Software Developer as the #1 Best Technology Job! 

Software Developer Expected Growth Rate with source:

This field is expected to grow 22% through 2030. The median annual salary is $110,140 but ranges from $65,210 for the lowest 10% of earners to more than $170,100 for that upper echelon in the top 10%.

Some of the most common sectors to find software developers are:

  • Computer systems design  
  • Manufacturing
  • Software publishers
  • Private companies 
  • Insurance carriers 

Software Developer Education:

Software Developers require a bachelor’s in a field related to computer science or information technology, engineering, or math. Programming language courses are recommended, and internships are a popular way to gain experience.

Software Developer Job Duties: 

Software developers not only help to create and maintain programs, but they’re responsible for testing them through a rigorous quality assurance process. They also thoroughly document all work so they and others will have meticulous references for future work, including upgrades. This career field is often broken into sub-categories: application software development, software engineering, and systems software development. 

10. Web Developers and Digital Designers

Digital Designers are creatives who develop the layout and navigation for a website so that it is attractive, functional, and user-friendly. Web Developers, aka Front End Developers, are programmers who use these designs as maps to build and manage websites. While there may be an overlap of duties, each role does have different skill requirements. 

When working together, designers and developers can have a lot of fun but may need to learn when to defer to each others’ judgment. 

Web Developer and Digital Designer Expected Growth Rate:

This field is expected to grow 13% through 2030, which is twice as fast as the average for all careers. The median annual salary is $77,200, with the lowest 10% earning about $40,750 or less and the top 10% earning over $146,430. Education and training may play a big role in that salary difference. 

Popular employment sectors for web developers and digital designers include:

  • Advertising and public relations
  • Computer systems design 
  • Private companies
  • Publishing 
  • Scientific and technical consulting 
  • Self-employment

Web Developer and Digital Designer Education:

Web developers and digital designers can find entry-level work without a bachelor’s degree, but as mentioned, a degree can make a difference in income potential. 

For developers, a bachelor’s in fields like programming or computer science can also give job-seekers an edge, helping them potentially find jobs faster. For designers, a creative degree related to web, digital design, or graphic arts may be very useful. 

Web Developer and Digital Designer Job Duties: 

Web developers and digital designers have generally different duties, but there are a few in common:

  • Code using common programming languages
  • Meet with clients or management to discuss projects and scope
  • Collaborate with other team members to determine how to integrate the capabilities, graphics, and audio a program needs
  • Build prototypes
  • Test applications to ensure functionality

Earning an Online Information Technology Degree

Whether a learner plans to secure an associate, bachelor’s, or master’s degree in IT, plenty of online options exist to help them meet individual needs around academia, cost, and career outcomes. The following sections answer common questions about the process.

Pros and Cons of Online IT Degree Programs

Pros Cons
Students who want to try out the IT field to see if it’s a good fit can find many fulfilling jobs after completing a two-year associate degree rather than moving straight into a bachelor’s program. Because information technology changes so rapidly and every few years new systems and tools enter the field, professionals who want to stay relevant must continue to learn throughout their careers.
Jobs for professionals with IT degrees are projected to continue growing across the coming decade, leading to many opportunities to find challenging and fulfilling work. Jobs in IT can be stressful, especially when working in client-facing roles. When customers call with technical issues, they are often irritated by the issue and can be impatient with those trying to help them.
Myriad certification programs provide the opportunity to continue building skills and moving into more senior-level roles without pursuing a full degree. Working in IT often means working with professionals spread across the world, especially if employed by a multinational company. This can lead to inhospitable working hours when trying to plan meetings and get work done with colleagues.
Completing a bachelor’s degree in IT provides the qualifications needed to pursue a master’s degree in information technology.

How Long Does it Take to Get an Online IT Degree?

The amount of time a degree seeker spends enrolled in an online IT degree will vary based on several factors. Those who previously completed some general education courses at a community college can often transfer these to their new school, leading to a quicker graduation date. 

While full-time learners with no previous higher education experience can expect to graduate in approximately four years, their part-time counterparts will need more time. These students usually graduate within 5-6 years of enrolling. 

Some schools also offer accelerated online IT degrees for motivated degree seekers who want to get their careers started quickly. Timelines will vary based on the individual school, but many institutions now offer programs that can be completed in 30-36 months.

  • Undergraduate certificate: Depending on the program, you can earn an undergraduate certificate online in 6-12 months. The good news is that the credits you earn in these programs might transfer toward an associate or bachelor’s degree in IT, saving you time and money down the road.
  • Associate degree: IT associate degrees often take full-time students two years to complete. If you have transfer credits from a certificate program, it could take less time, but two years is the average.
  • Bachelor’s degree: Full-time students typically finish a bachelor’s IT degree online in four years while part-time learners may need up to six years to complete their degree. Transfer credits from a certificate or associate degree program may help expedite the process.
  • Master’s degree: An online master’s degree in IT usually takes full-time students two years to complete. Incoming master’s students are typically not eligible to transfer undergraduate-level credits toward this graduate degree and must complete a full master’s program.
  • Doctoral degree: Some IT programs allow you to earn a master’s degree en route to the doctorate. In other cases, a master’s degree may be required to apply. Depending on your program requirements and level of education, full-time students can expect to spend 3-5 years completing a PhD or DIT. Because doctoral programs require so much time and energy over a long period of time, most programs require students to be enrolled as full-time students.

Choosing the Best Online Degree in IT

With so many online IT degrees now available, students must remember that not all are created equally. Choosing the best program means researching several different options, comparing the pros and cons of each, and making an informed decision.

Online Bachelor’s Degree in Information Technology

An online bachelor’s degree in information technology provides the qualifications and skills needed to take up various engaging and important roles within the world of IT. Because every industry imaginable — in both public and private spheres — relies on information technology to function smoothly, graduates can find roles in countless interesting work settings. 

Online vs. On Campus Degrees

Because an IT degree focuses mainly on topics that translate well to internet learning, many schools now offer partially and fully online programs in addition to traditional campus-based options. 

For many students, especially those with busy schedules outside school, online programs provide the flexibility they need to succeed. Studying online also means avoiding the commute to campus multiple times per week. That said, some learners still prefer in-person learning since it offers a more consistent schedule and more opportunities to interact with peers and professors.

How Long Do Online Courses Take To Complete?

The amount of time students spend completing their online IT courses will depend on the school they choose to attend and how it offers classes. Many schools stick to the traditional semester-based schedule that covers 16 weeks of studies. While some classes stretch across this entire time frame, other schools may provide shorter classes that allow for multiple sessions within a semester.

Learners enrolled in an accelerated online IT program may frequently come across this model. Some institutions provide a learn-at-your-own-pace method that allows students to notify professors when they feel ready to take final exams and complete culminating assignments.

Applying to Online IT Degree Programs

Applying to an online IT program requires applicants to pull together required documentation, narrow down the schools they plan to apply to, and submit all information before the deadline. The following section goes into more detail.

Admission Requirements for Degree of IT Programs

Admission requirements for an online IT degree will vary based on the school a student decides to attend, but most set similar mandates for enrollment. Common components include:

  • Essays: Most universities provide several essay questions for students to answer. These help admissions professionals get a better sense of applicants and what they hope to accomplish in college and beyond.
  • Standardized Test Scores: Many universities require prospective learners to submit ACT/SAT scores. This provides an opportunity to see how prepared students are for the rigors of higher education.
  • Letters of Recommendation: Typically gathered from individuals who can speak to academia and work ethic, these letters help admissions professionals determine a student’s suitability for postsecondary education.
  • Official Transcripts: Schools require transcripts from any secondary and postsecondary institutions previously attended to ensure learners are prepared for the rigors of that institution.

Paying for an Online Degree in IT

The cost of degrees continues to rise each year, making it important for cost-conscious learners to understand how much they will spend earning an IT qualification. Many students decide to pursue financial support via scholarships, grants, fellowships, and federal student loans. Loans should be the last option, as other forms of financial aid do not require repayment.

Several factors can influence how much students pay for their education, making it important to thoroughly research options before signing on for any program. Learners looking to reduce their costs often decide to attend a public college in their state. Some online IT programs also allow degree seekers to pay in-state tuition regardless of their location. Students can often bypass campus-based fees such as facility usage, meal plans, and parking passes by enrolling in a distance learning program. They will still need to purchase textbooks and supplies.

 

Information Technology Career and Salary Overview

Information technology permeates every corner of our world these days, making professionals with the skills and training needed to solve complex information technology problems indispensable. Many jobs exist for professionals with credentials ranging from a two-year associate degree to an advanced master’s degree

An IT degree online is one of the best ways to prepare for a career in a computer or information technology-focused role. Depending on your education, you’ll be able to find employment in several career paths:

  • Systems analyst
  • Network administrator
  • Web or software developer
  • IT security specialist
  • Much more 

Many IT students develop a specialty in a particular area of the field and hone in on specific careers paths. You may be able to develop these specialized skills within your degree program or through additional skill-oriented certifications, such as Cisco certified internetwork expert (CCIE), project management professional (PMP), or certified ethical hacker (CEH).

Professionals with doctoral degrees in information technology typically pursue careers in research or education. Most colleges and universities prefer applicants for professorships to possess a doctorate. The same goes for research institutions. 

What is the Expected Salary of Someone with an IT Degree?

Information technology is one of the higher paying industries you could choose from. Of course, the level of IT degree that you earn will affect your career options and earning potential when you graduate. Professionals with a master’s degree in information technology possess a more specialized skill set and typically qualify for higher-paying jobs. 

Computer and information research scientists, for example, usually need a master’s degree. However, according to BLS, the top 10% of earners in this area of the field make a median annual wage of $194,430, which may make the extra two years of schooling worth it.

Some of the top-earning bachelor’s degree-holders in the IT field work as computer network architects. These professionals often make about $116,780 per year, and BLS states the top 10% in this area can make about $175,570 per year.

Associate IT degrees take less time to complete than the above degrees and help learners develop a strong foundation in the field. While these professionals typically earn less per year, they still manage to earn a salary that’s almost double the national median wage for all other occupations. Web developers and digital designers with an associate degree still earn a median annual wage of $77,200.

Information Technology Job Projections

The job outlook for IT professionals is promising. Those working in popular career paths like computer and information research scientists, computer and information systems managers, and computer support specialists can expect much faster than average job growth. 

BLS projects a 31% growth in available positions for information security analysts by 2029. That’s almost eight times faster than the average projected growth for all other occupations in the U.S. Bear in mind that even though information technology careers show promise for healthy growth, it is not guaranteed. 

Potential Career Paths with an Information Technology Degree Online

Each school’s degree program will have particular strengths based on its faculty members’ expertise and the school’s access to resources. In this way, all IT programs are a little bit different. Many programs, however, will offer you the chance to specialize in a particular area of the information technology field that will help dictate your career path.

You can expect both bachelor’s and master’s in IT degrees online to offer specializations in areas like information security, business intelligence and analytics, data management, and project management. There are also programs today that offer concentrations in data science, game design and development, and cloud computing. 

Upon graduation, your career prospects will rely on what particular skills you’ve developed and your specialty area. If you studied cloud computing, for example, you’ll qualify these types of 

  • Computer systems manager
  • Computer network architect
  • Cloud administrator. 

IT degree-holders who studied information security can seek out these roles:

  • Database administrator
  • Computer security specialist
  • Computer systems administrators
  • Many more
Career Salary Projected Job Growth (2020-2030) About the Position
Software Developers $110,140 22% Whether working in-house or in a freelance capacity, software developers create the applications businesses, governments, schools, and individuals use every day to accomplish critical tasks. They develop apps based on client needs, build them out, test for bugs, and create updates.
Web Developers $77,200 13% Web developers spend their days creating and maintaining websites. They design the back-end mechanics that make the site perform properly and the front-end components that make it visually appealing and easy to navigate.
Computer Programmers $89,190 -10% These professionals are responsible for writing and testing the codes that allow software and applications to run. They typically need to be fluent in several coding languages, including Java and C++. 
Computer and Information Systems Managers $151,150 11% These high-paid professionals use their experience and skills to oversee the IT needs of their organizations. Working with other senior-level staff, they identify improvement areas, oversee new tech installations, and manage budgets for IT upgrades.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

IT Career Resources

  • Association of Computer Engineers/Association of Computer Engineers and TechniciansACE-ACET serves professionals working in a variety of computer engineering positions by providing legal support, business referrals, insurance, accounting services, and many other benefits.
  • CompTIACompTIA offers both professional and student memberships for individuals looking for access to scholarships, local chapters, events, workforce communities, awards, and discounted products.
  • IEEE Computer SocietyIn existence for more than 75 years, this premier membership association provides access to skills training, industry news, networking, leadership training, and Computer Magazine.
  • Information Systems Security Association InternationalISSA supports members across the globe by providing career support, local chapters, certifications, industry research, and both in-person and online events.
  • International Association of IT Asset ManagersWhether living in Arizona or Antarctica, IAITAM provides services of benefit. Members can take advantage of certifications, advanced training, and student resources.
  • ABET: ABET is an ISO 9001 certified organization that accredits higher education institutions with programs in engineering, computer science, and technology. ABET provides continuing education, networking opportunities, and monthly publications that recognize members’ achievements. 

  • AITP :This membership-based organization provides students and professionals in the information technology sector with educational and networking opportunities. They offer credentialing services, training, and scholarships to members to further their careers in the field. 

  • ISSA: The Information Systems Security Association is a nonprofit organization that offers career coaching, networking, and continuing education for professionals in the information security field. This group also works to influence legislation to improve the security of the digital world. 

Information Technology FAQ

  • Can I get an IT degree online?

    • Yes, you can easily earn an IT degree online from a wide variety of colleges and universities. Many schools now provide these degrees in formats that mean you never need to visit campus to graduate.
  • What jobs can you get with an IT degree?

    • IT degrees lead to several fulfilling and well-paying positions in myriad industries. Whether your interests lean towards software development, network design and maintenance, data analysis, or information systems management, you can find these roles and more.

  • Which IT degree should I get?

    • Which IT degree you should get depends on where you are in your career. If you’re just starting out, an associate degree allows you to test the waters. Bachelor’s degrees qualify graduates for many entry-level roles, while a master’s degree can help you take on an advanced position.

  • How do I get an online IT degree?

    • Earning an online IT degree is very similar to earning one in person; you simply don’t need to visit campus. You will still attend lectures, work on group projects, take exams, and submit assignments — all from the comfort of your home. Due to the online nature, you will need a trustworthy computer and a strong internet connection to succeed.

  • Can I get an IT degree online?

    • Yes. Many schools offer IT degree programs 100% online. If you prefer attending campus occasionally, there are also hybrid programs available

  • Is an online IT degree worth it?

    • Yes. With so many high-paying jobs in this field, there is a good chance you’ll receive a healthy return on your educational investment.

  • What is a career in information technology?
    • Students that pursue a career in information technology learn how computer hardware and software work together. The information technology sector provides a range of high-paying professional roles in healthcare, finance, and higher education.
  • How long does it take to earn an IT degree? 

    • Associate and master’s IT degrees online typically take full-time learners about two years to finish. A bachelor’s degree in information technology often requires four years of full-time study while doctorate degrees can take up to five years to complete.

  • How much does an online IT degree cost?

    • The total cost of your education depends on which IT degree you pursue, how long it takes you to finish, and how much financial aid you’ve obtained. The Imagine America Foundation reports that the annual cost of IT degrees is $4,000-$30,000.

  • Which IT jobs are in demand?

    • BLS reports that some of the fastest growing careers in this field include information security analyst, computer systems analyst, computer and information research scientist, and database administrator. All show strong job outlooks that are growing much faster than the national average.

  • Are IT jobs good?
    • Professionals in the IT sector have an average income of around $87,870, and given the availability of online programs and certificates, the IT industry has many opportunities for advancement for students and working professionals interested in furthering their careers.
  • Do online master’s degrees look bad?

    • Due to the web-based nature of the IT sector, pursuing an online degree is a competitive alternative to in-person education, and typically does not limit students that pursue this format. 

  • Is an online master’s degree worth it?

    • Professionals with a master’s degree in information technology can expect their industry, future job opportunities, and salaries to grow rapidly in the coming years. 

  • What can I do with a master’s degree in IT?

    • With a master’s in information technology, graduates can hold a variety of roles including systems analysts, in-house IT specialists, and database administrators. 

  • What is the best master’s degree in IT? 
    • There is not a “best” or “worst” career track in the IT field – graduates can expect a range of job opportunities and competitive salaries regardless of their specialization.   

  • Which IT field is best for the future?
    • There are many career options for students in the IT sector, some of which include roles like video game designer, network administrator, or web developer.
  • What are the fastest-growing computer jobs?

    • Some of the fastest-growing computer jobs in the industry are:
      – Computer and information research scientist
      – Software developer
      – Information security analyst
      – Database administrator
      – Mobile application developer
      – Software engineer
      – Computer systems analyst
      – Video game designer

  • What are the fastest-growing jobs in technology?

    • These are some of the fastest-growing jobs in technology right now:
      – Computer and information research scientist
      – Software developer
      – Information security analyst
      – Database administrator

      – Data engineering
  • Which IT jobs pay the most?

    • Big data engineering is in very high demand these days, and big data engineers are being paid the highest salary of all high-paying IT jobs as of 2021.

  • Which fields of computer science are in high demand?

    • Here are some of the fields currently in high demand:
      – Artificial intelligence and machine learning
      – Data science
      – Virtual reality
      – Back end development
      – Front end development
      – UX/UI design

  • Which IT field is best for the future?

    • As the tech industry shifts its focus to the field of automation, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning is the best field to focus on for the future.

  • Which IT degree makes the most money?

    • A Bachelor of Science in Computer Science is the hottest degree for grads looking to enter high-paying IT careers.

  • What is the easiest computer science job?

    • While none of them are easy, developers, web designers, software testers, technical support, and technical sales may be some of the easier computer science jobs out there.

  • How do I get my first computer science job?

    • The best way to get hired is to be qualified through sufficient education and training, and then be able to demonstrate your qualifications to employers via a solid resume and strong interview. Many employers will also give candidates a coding or programming test in addition to the interview, so make sure your skills are up to date.

List of all Information Technology colleges in the U.S.

School Average Tuition Student Teacher Ratio Enrolled Students
Cornell University Logo Cornell University Ithaca, NY
5/5
13 : 1 23,620
Carnegie Mellon University Logo Carnegie Mellon University Pittsburgh, PA
5/5
11 : 1 13,519
Columbia University in the City of New York Logo Columbia University in the City of New York New York, NY
5/5
19 : 1 30,135
University of California-San Diego Logo University of California-San Diego La Jolla, CA
3/5
27 : 1 39,576
University of Washington-Seattle Campus Logo University of Washington-Seattle Campus Seattle, WA
3/5
23 : 1 48,149

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