Computer and information technology (IT) careers include network architect, programmer, and computer system administrator. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that IT professionals earn a median $54,760-$122,840 annual salary. Even the lowest-paid workers in IT make more than the U.S. median annual salary.
According to BLS projections, U.S. IT needs in 2019-2029 will vary among related professions. The BLS projects the need for computer and information research scientists to grow 15% during this time. However, they project the computer programming field to decrease 4%. College students should study the job outlooks closely before selecting a career path.
Information technology degrees use different admission requirements, depending on school and degree type. Bachelor's program applicants should possess either a high school diploma or GED certificate. Master's programs may require a minimum undergraduate GPA and one or more recommendation letters.
Our guide answers common questions about information technology degrees. We highlight IT program goals, benefits, and requirements. We provide sample professional organizations and scholarships for students pursuing a degree in information technology.
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IT professionals provide computer support services to companies and organizations. The field encompasses numerous job titles, such as systems administration, WAN engineer, and desktop support engineer.
Workers perform numerous IT services, including software and hardware maintenance. Other specialties include network infrastructure, mobile device management, and cloud computing.
IT allows employees to communicate and work using technology. IT professionals ensure technology performs flawlessly and remains safe from malicious actors, such as hackers.
Information technology degree-holders select from multiple well-paying careers, including computer and information research scientist, computer network architect, and software developer.
Top Information Technology Programs 2021
A metropolitan research university based in Orlando, Florida, UCF offers a bachelor of science in information technology, which students can typically finish within four academic years.
UCF's information technology program rolls out in-depth courses covering the technical skills and innovative techniques required in today's digitally focused workplace. Students of this program must complete 120 credits of coursework, including 52 credits of core requirements. UCF's information technology graduates now work as computer network operators, information security analysts, support technicians, system administrators, and web designers.
Interested applicants must submit all official transcripts of records from regionally accredited institutions, along with their official ACT and/or SAT scores. All prospective students must also complete the online application form and pay a $30 nonrefundable application fee. UCF also strongly encourages applications to write an application essay.
The University of Central Florida is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
Recognized as a preeminent research university in Tallahassee, Florida, FSU offers a bachelor of science in information technology that develops students' innovation and leadership skills.
FSU's information technology degree offers majors in information technology and in information, communication, and technology. Learners can also pursue minors in data analytics, information technology, innovation, and technology and society. FSU's School of Information provides undergraduate students with a full-time professional undergraduate program advisor and an expert group of dedicated peer advisors.
All prospective students of the information technology programs must provide their own laptop computer and meet the hardware and software requirements. Interested applicants must submit their official transcripts of records, scores in the ACT and/or SAT, and an application fee of $30.
Florida State University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
Located in Provo, Utah, BYU offers a bachelor of science in information technology program for students wanting to work as competent professionals in the technology industry.
Students of BYU's information technology program can choose from four emphasis areas, including user experience design, mobile and web development, system and network administration, and the internet of things. BYU requires information technology students to complete a minimum of 120 credit hours of coursework, including a two-semester capstone project in their final academic year.
Transfer students with fewer than 24 graded credits must submit all academic transcripts of records, along with their ACT and/or SAT scores.
Brigham Young University-Provo is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).
A privately endowed research university based in Ithaca, New York, Cornell offers a bachelor of science in information science, systems, and technology (ISST) under the College of Engineering.
Cornell's ISST degree program provides students with extensive courses in information systems engineering, design, and management of complex information systems, computer science, economics, statistics, and social and organizational contexts in transformative information systems. Students complete seven core courses and one primary concentration in data science, interactive technologies, and networks, crowds, or markets.
Cornell may admit transfer students with at least 12 earned credits at another accredited college or university. Application requirements include the Common App application, official transcripts of records, a counselor recommendation, two teacher evaluations, and an $80 application fee. Cornell University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
A fast-rising public university in Tampa, Florida, USF offers a bachelor of science in information technology under the university's Department of Computer Science and Engineering.
USF requires information technology students to complete at least 120 credits of coursework. Learners may focus on programming, databases, networking, human-computer interaction, web systems, or cybersecurity. Through the partnership between the College of Engineering and USF's Career Services Cooperative Education program, information technology students earn internship opportunities in global companies in and outside the country.
Interested applicants must complete an online application form and pay a nonrefundable $30 application fee or submit an application fee waiver. USF also requires prospective students to send all official transcripts of records, along with their official ACT or SAT scores.
The University of South Florida-Main Campus is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
What Are the Goals of an Information Technology Degree?
Aspiring IT professionals earn a bachelor's degree in information technology. The degree differs from computer science in that it focuses primarily on solving problems. However, the similarity between these fields allow graduates with either degree to work as a computer systems analyst or database administrator.
An information technology program may offer one or more specializations, such as digital investigations, network administration, and software analysis and development. All students complete core coursework in information systems fundamentals, networking foundations, and algorithms and logic for computer programming. Typical programs conclude with a capstone course.
Why Get an Information Technology Degree?
An information technology program confers multiple professional and personal benefits. Alumni achieve positive outcomes by maintaining good grades and networking with potential employers well before graduation.
- Higher Salary
- Professionals with an information technology degree earn a median annual salary exceeding the national average. A high salary promotes many positive benefits, such as saving for retirement.
- Growing Job Market
- The BLS projects that IT jobs will grow in number from 2019-2029. These projections suggest that graduates should enter a strong job market.
- Professional Growth
- Workers with a degree in information technology enjoy many avenues for professional growth, including certifications and continuing education courses. Like a master's degree, these opportunities lead to career advancement.
- Personal Satisfaction
- IT workers take great pride in their work. They ensure their company's hardware and software infrastructure works as expected and remains secure.
- Multiple Careers
- An information technology program prepares students for numerous career tracks, such as computer support specialist, computer system administrator, and web developer. Learners work with a college counselor to refine their career goals.
What Are the Requirements for an Information Technology Degree?
Although admission requirements differ by school, bachelor's program applicants need a high school diploma or GED certificate. Other criteria may include professional IT experience or adequate transfer credit. Master's programs may require a bachelor's degree in a STEM field and two years of work experience.
Typical information technology program graduation requirements include a capstone course in the final semester. Students work with a professor to develop an independent project demonstrating their proficiency with different IT topics. Learners produce a project proposal, perform original research, and write a report detailing how their project helps a specific company or organization.
Professional Organizations for Information Technology Students
Information technology students join professional organizations to network with potential employers, sign up for mentor programs, and apply for exclusive scholarship opportunities. Other benefits include professional development resources and a job board. Organizations like those below charge degree-seekers a low annual membership fee.
Association of Women in ComputingFounded in 1978, AWC supports IT and computer science women through networking events, continuing education courses, and mentor programs. Student members who attend their local chapter meetings learn more about the organization's scholarships and sign up for technical seminars. Local chapters also provide members with leadership training and the latest career opportunities.
CompTIACompTIA members earn professional certification and stay current with IT best practices by taking continuing education courses. Resources include IT career tools and guides detailing cybersecurity, networking fundamentals, and workforce development. Student members pay an affordable membership fee and receive a significant discount on all CompTIA products.
Information Systems Security Association InternationalCollege students planning for a cybersecurity career join ISSA International. Learners save approximately 66% on membership fees and enjoy nearly all benefits. These include networking events, savings on IT products and services, and a subscription to ISSA Journal. Prospective student members must take at least nine credits per semester.
Scholarships for Information Technology Students
Even the most affordable online information technology degrees may charge tuition some degree-seekers cannot afford without institutional, departmental, or private financial aid. Instead of turning to loans, prospective and current students should research scholarship opportunities. Many scholarships cater exclusively to future IT professionals, like the examples below.
Who Can Apply: Niche offers this scholarship opportunity monthly to high school seniors and college students at least 18 years old. Learners apply by creating an online account. Niche allows scholarship recipients to use the award for education-related expenses besides tuition.
Who Can Apply: The Foundation for IT Education awards this competitive scholarship to undergraduates with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Other eligibility criteria include attempting at least 12 credits per semester, possessing U.S. citizenship or permanent residency, and demonstrating financial need. Interested students apply January 1 - May 31. Scholarship finalists submit official transcripts.
Who Can Apply: Computer science and IT majors with a minimum 3.0 GPA can apply to the Kevin Jetton Scholarship. The scholarship considers U.S. citizens and permanent residents studying at any accredited U.S. institution. Interested students apply by completing an online form before May 31. Applicants detail their career goals, academic ability, and leadership potential.