Is An Information Technology Degree Worth It?

Is An Information Technology Degree Worth It

More and more colleges are offering information technology degrees these days to meet the rising demand for IT professionals.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 11% job growth in computer and information technology occupations over the next ten years. But even then, many students who are contemplating their next academic move ask – is an information technology degree worth it? Information technology is required in virtually every sector of the economy. With a degree in information technology, students will excel in an area of expertise that will further qualify them to work across various industries, from healthcare, government, retail, hospitality to non-profits and the private sector.

It is designed for students who enjoy working with computers and technology and like to discover creative solutions to various computer and network-based issues through critical thinking. Many believe that they can get into the IT field without a college degree. While that may be true for some jobs, earning a degree will help them advance their career in information technology (IT). Most employers look for at least a bachelor’s degree, while others prefer master’s degree holders for senior positions. 

One can obtain knowledge via comprehensive programs and additional certifications, all of which make the career progression fast. Hands-on job experience has great value, but without a degree, salary and growth may be limited. Long story short, an information degree is definitely worth it. With a college degree, one can start in a better position, demand a higher salary, and move up in their careers faster. Students who enroll in a traditional or an online information technology degree will find themselves in a diverse career path that offers endless opportunities. 

Students with a passion for problem-solving, data, and logistics will find many benefits from pursuing an IT degree. An information technology bachelor degree provides hands-on instruction, lectures, and training along with deep theoretical knowledge for students to pursue a successful career. They can take up electives or concentrations to gain industry-specific expertise. If you are still wondering – is an information technology degree worth it – then consider the fact that IT jobs offer better salaries and growth potential than others. While most entry-level roles require a bachelor’s degree in information technology, most companies would expect their mid-and senior-level executives to hold an advanced degree. Therefore, holding an IT degree will definitely help candidates stand out in the crowd. 

Is An Information Technology Degree Worth It

What are the different kinds of IT degrees? 

The exact choice of an IT degree will vary depending on the specific career trajectory of each student. Students can choose a bachelor’s or master’s degree in:

  • Computer Science
  • Information Technology
  • Cybersecurity
  • Data Science
  • Analytics
  • Geospatial Services
  • Informatics
  • Project Management (with a concentration in software development)
  • Business Information Systems
  • Computer Software Technology 
  • Cyber & Data Security Technology
  • Technology Management 

A bachelor’s degree will kickstart a journey in this lucrative field, and many students eventually go on to pursue advanced degrees as well. In fact, with the option of an online information technology degree, students can even choose accelerated programs which allow them to earn both their undergraduate and graduate degrees in a condensed manner. This way, they can earn both an undergraduate and graduate degree in five years (the latter in one year instead of two) to better prepare for an IT career. They can pursue their passion for solving complex technical problems and thinking critically through every project related to computers, networks, and data. 

Is An Information Technology Degree Worth It

What will you learn in an IT degree?

An information technology degree covers a wide range of topics under the banner. These range from technical theory, programming, networking, and computer hardware. Depending on the specific major, students may also learn about database management, computer circuitry, website development, systems analysis, and IT management. Specific topics may include: 

  • Computer Technical Support
  • Hardware and Software
  • Introduction to Networking
  • Networking Security
  • Information Technology Business Management
  • Management of Information Systems
  • Organizational Policy.

Other topics covered in these degrees include the foundations of web design and development, introduction to data communication and networking, introduction to programming and logic, survey of operating systems, computer forensics, and foundations of virtualization and cloud computing.

Specialization options in an information technology bachelor degree may include:

  • Network Administration
  • IT Security
  • System Administration
  • Enterprise Systems
  • International Biometrics
  • IT Management
  • IT Strategy and Innovation
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Computer Science specializations
  • Machine Learning
  • Data Science
  • Human-Computer Interaction (HIC)
  • Cyber Security
  • Video Game Development
  • Cloud Computing

Some of the master’s level specializations include:

  • Data Science
  • Big Data Engineering
  • Data Analyst
  • Big Data Analysis
  • Web Designing
  • Software Development
  • Computer Hardware Engineering And Networking

The above programs help students build their knowledge in the principles of programming, computer networking, database design, and operating systems. They learn to develop, collaborate, communicate and practice real-world technical skills. Graduates become experts in executing cybersecurity measures to protect an organization’s information and data, planning information technology structures for organizations, and supporting end-users in troubleshooting software issues.

Is An Information Technology Degree Worth It

What are the career prospects for IT degree holders?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, IT jobs are on the rise and will continue to grow at an estimated 37% through 2026. It’s one of the fastest-growing occupations with high demand for degree holders, leading to an average annual wage of around $86k. The sector will add approximately 531,200 new jobs in the coming years.

Yes, a degree in information technology is worth it for many students. Common information technology careers in this field include information security analyst, computer programmer, network and computer system administrator, computer support specialist, and computer and information systems manager.

Careers in the field of information technology offer opportunities for advancement. With a bachelor’s degree in IT, you may be qualified for management positions which could include chief information officer, chief technology officer, IT director, and IT security manager.

As far as the type of jobs available, roles like web development, cybersecurity, software development, mobile app development, and help desk support are all possibilities. Average salaries for these positions can reach $83,000 per year, but that is more likely for someone with skills or experience in their background, and maybe even some certifications. The truth is that while a good job in IT can be had without a college degree, it will take someone much longer to achieve career goals and to reach a higher pay grade.

That means an employee may start work as a Help Desk Technician (typically considered an entry-level position that doesn’t require prior knowledge or experience), receive less pay with a salary that tops out at $30,000 per year, and experience high levels of stress. With experience and certifications, a Help Desk Technician might be able to move to a different job and earn a higher salary. With a college degree, on the other hand, employees can start in a position more in line with their skills and education and earn a much higher salary with lots of growth potential during the course of their career.

A number of careers in the field of information technology are expected to see growth in terms of job outlook over the next several years, including computer network architect (5%), computer systems analyst (7%), computer support specialist (8%), and database administrator (10%). Some careers are predicted to grow significantly, which includes positions in software development, growing at a rate of 22%, and information security analysis which is predicted to increase by 31% over the next decade.

IT degree salaries may offer above-average earning potential, with the average salary for information technology positions being more than $41,950 above the average for all occupations. With a degree in information technology, you may be qualified to gain regular employment within an organization or work as an independent information technology consultant for a range of clients. As an IT consultant, you may be responsible for helping clients plan, implement, maintain, and update technology, computers, and information systems within their business.

Is An Information Technology Degree Worth It

What are the various jobs available for IT degree holders?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the demand for IT professionals will continue to rise and jobs in this sector will grow at 37% through 2026. Information technology and its related fields are the fastest-growing fields with some of the highest average salaries today.

A degree in information technology will help students stand out in the competition, give them that added edge and help them grow in their careers. That would answer the question many students have –  is an information technology degree worth it? 

Students can specialize and work in areas ranging from web development, software development, cybersecurity, mobile app development, and help desk support. Average salaries for these positions can be around $83,000 per year. The pay may be higher based on region, industry, or company size.  A professional with specialized skills or hands-on and some certifications under their belts would fare even better. 

A lot of on-campus and online IT degrees offer these additional certifications as a part of the programs. An IT degree is definitely worth it as it helps one achieve career goals faster and reach a higher pay grade. With a college degree, employees can start working in positions that are better aligned with their skills and education. With additional credentials, they can earn higher salaries with lots of growth potential during the course of their career.

Common information technology careers include information security analyst, network and computer system administrator, computer programmer, computer support specialist, cybersecurity expert, computer and information systems manager. All these fields have immense opportunities for advancement. 

With a bachelor’s degree in IT, students can get into entry-level roles with the potential for high growth. Students who pursue advanced studies in the field gain a master’s or post-graduate degree. They may be qualified for management positions, including chief information officer, IT director, chief technology officer, and IT security manager. Careers like computer network architects will see a 5% growth in the next several years; computer systems analysts will see a 7% growth; computer support specialists will see an 8% growth, while database administrators will see a 10% growth. Some other fields will see a higher than average growth; software development is one of them, which will see a whopping 22% growth. The other high-performing field is information security analysis which is slated to increase by 31% over the next decade. Students with IT degrees and specializing in the above will enjoy above-average earning potential. 

With a degree in information technology, you may be qualified to gain regular employment within an organization or work as an independent information technology consultant for a range of clients. As an IT consultant, you may be responsible for helping clients plan, implement, maintain, and update technology, computers, and information systems within their business.

A quick overview of careers and related annual median salaries: 

  • Computer and Information Systems Manager – $151,150
  • Software Developers – $110,140
  • Computer Network Architect – $116,780
  • Information Security Analyst – $103,590
  • Computer Systems Analyst- $93,730
  • Database Administrator – $98,860
  • Computer Programmer – $89,190
  • Web Developer -$77,200
  • Network and Computer Systems Administrator – $84,810
  • Computer Support Specialist – $55,510
  • IT Security Director- $107,000
  • Senior Data Engineer- $129,000
  • Senior IT Program Manager- $76,000
  • Data Analyst- $62,000
  • Data Architect-$108,000
  • Information Research Scientist-$88,000
  • Data Scientist-$113,000
Is An Information Technology Degree Worth It

In Conclusion –  is an information technology degree worth it? 

As we have seen, majoring in information technology offers several promising career pathways. As the average information technology salary is well above the average for all occupations, a career in information technology will provide students with good earning potential. Therefore, earning your bachelor’s degree in information technology is a great choice if you love everything technology. Potential above-average annual salaries and a high rate of job growth over the next decade are additional motivations. 

With tech talent in short supply and increasing demand, this is a great time to consider a career in the information technology industry. Companies are competitive in their pursuit of the best talent and offer the best salaries and benefits to attract them. At the same time, they place a premium on workers with a fundamental understanding of information technology, so students with a degree in information technology would really stand out. This industry’s faster than average growth is expected to add jobs to the country’s economy and help in the growth of indigenous wealth. 

Sources: 

U.S. News & World Report
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Coursera

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