Information Technology Bachelor's Degree: What can you do with this degree?
Information technology, or IT, is a broad field with opportunities at many levels. The typical entry-level for a range of positions, including database administrator, systems analyst, and computer and information systems manager, is the bachelor’s degree.
An IT student at the bachelor's level learns skills such as using client specifications to design information systems, managing complex network or database systems, analyzing impacts of upgrades and system changes, and managing projects. The student may earn a Bachelor of Information Technology or a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology.
Information technology, or IT, is a broad field with opportunities at many levels.
Information Technology Degree Tracks
An IT student may complete a core of required courses plus additional courses relevant to his or her intended career. A single school may offer several IT tracks. Among the options are network administration, security systems, and IT management.
Network administration: This track may include coursework in scripting and programming, network design, and network security challenges.
Security: An IT security track may be interdisciplinary, covering business continuity as well as network security and/ or database security. Concepts include intrusion prevention, access control, encryption, security architecture, and ways to minimize economic impact of technological issues and recover from disaster.
Information technology management: This track may have a strong business component.
The program may include a fundamentals course that provides an introduction the IT discipline as well as an overview of basic technological concepts such as system management; students may learn how information technology relates to other disciplines.
There may be an information systems technology and architecture course that covers concepts such as systems theory, operating systems, peripheral technology, distributed information systems, and interoperability.
A network course will cover concepts such as Wide Area Networks (WAN), Local Area Networks (LAN), and switching and routing.
IT project management coursework will treat both human and technological systems; the student may learn to manage hardware, software, network, and even web development projects.
The student may earn several career-building certifications in conjunction with his or her degree. Certifications signal skill in particular areas such as security, network design and administration, and project management. Certifications will vary depending on the institution as well as the specialization. The following are among the possibilities:
Professional-level certifications typically recommend or require that candidates have work experience while associate-level certifications are within reach of those who pass the required examination. Particulars vary from one certifying organization to the next.
Career-Building Program Options
Many IT programs include a capstone project. This can be an opportunity to work on a substantial project, often as part of a team.
IT professionals may also have internship opportunities. Boeing is among the many major corporations that take on bachelor’s and master’s level internship students (www.boeing.com/careers/college/it-internships.page).
Among the IT career options are network and computer system operator, database administrator, and computer system analyst.
Network and computer systems administrators install and support systems such as WANs and LANs. The Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that they have a critical role in "almost every organization" (http://www.bls.gov/ooh/Computer-and-Information-Technology/Network-and-computer-systems-administrators.htm). The average salary, as of May 2014, was $75,790.
Computer system analysts typically have one foot in the business world and one in the IT world. As the name implies, they analyze how parts work together. They can help businesses understand how upgrades can affect their productivity. They may provide services at various stages, from initial consultation through implementation and testing and on up to training of end users. The BLS reports an average salary of $82,710.
Database administrators ensure data security, create and test modifications, and merge old systems with new ones. Salary is comparable to that of other common IT fields; the BLS reports $80,280.