Careers in Information Technology
Information technology is a field that covers a broad scope of processes, but it basically boils down to the management of information using technological devices. All businesses rely on technology to store, exchange, process, and protect the information that helps that organization run. IT professionals will play a part in one or all of these functions. Specific job duties for any IT position will vary based on the size of the company and the particular demands of that specific industry. One day, an IT professional may be working to find the best way to secure private information about customers and the next, he or she may be improving in-house communication by syncing company hardware and software. Information technology professionals figure out the best ways to use technology to help an organization meet its goals.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), IT professionals made a median salary of $69,160 in the year 2010, and while salary and job opportunities will always vary depending on the individual jobseeker and the general state of the economy, the BLS projects a 28% job growth by the year 2020, which is faster than the national average for all occupations.
Required Education for Information Technology
Professionals can enter the information technology industry with an associate degree, a bachelor’s degree, or an advanced degree, and salaries and job opportunities will depend on both the degree held and past IT experience. Those with associate degrees will have access to entry-level positions and are often able to work their way up the ladder as they learn more about processes within specific companies. A bachelor’s degree can secure positions that bring in higher pay right off the bat, and typically require more responsibility or advanced skill sets. Those with master’s degrees or very extensive previous experience may have opportunities to manage entire teams of IT professionals or oversee the IT departments of large companies.
Courses in online information technology programs will be in areas such as basic IT fundamentals, networking server administration, organizational management, systems administration, web development, technical writing, spreadsheets, programming fundamentals, information systems architecture, and network security. Students will prepare themselves to graduate with a full understanding of the common technology systems used by business organizations and how to design and manage systems to meet optimal levels of efficiency.