The field of information technology is a rapidly growing career field. In many instances, there are more jobs than people to fill them, which means there is potential for high salaries and job security. An accelerated information technology degree program can help you join this lucrative career field.
Graduates with degrees in computer science often start out with an average annual salary of $84,000 (National Association of Colleges and Employers). If the potential of this career field excites you, now may be the time to get a traditional or online degree in information technology.
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Types of Accelerated Information Technology Degrees
The field of information technology has multiple areas that you could focus on. There are 8 different degrees in information technology and 5 other degrees that are closely related to information technology.
While these degrees will likely have overlapping similarities, each one has unique differences as well.
List of Accelerated Information Technology Degrees
- Bachelor’s in Information Technology
- Bachelor’s in Information Technology – Information Management
- Bachelor’s in Information Technology – Information Security and Assurance
- Bachelor’s in Information Technology – Network Administration
- Bachelor’s in Information Technology – Programming and Software Development
- Bachelor’s in Information Technology – Gaming Design
- Bachelor’s in Information Technology – Web Development
Closely Related Majors
- Bachelor’s in Electronics Engineering Technology
- Bachelor’s in Information Systems – Data Networking
- Bachelor’s in Information Systems – Database
Each of these degrees can help prepare you for a long list of different jobs. There is most likely both a degree and a job for you that can help you focus on the aspect of information technology that most excites you.
Accelerated Information Technology Degree Overview
If you love being on top of the latest trends in technology and being part of an everchanging work environment, a degree in information technology may suit you well. The field of information technology is growing at lightning-fast speeds.
Things that didn’t exist 20, or even 5, years ago are now commonplace and in almost every household.
Some of the programs we all use, like Google, Netflix, and Facebook, were created by students or graduates of computer programming degree programs. Information technology has changed life drastically, and a degree in information technology could help put you at the front of a great career.
Your information technology degree program will likely include classes like:
- Object-orientated Programming
- Web Architecture and Development
- Intro to Human-Computer Interactions
- Intro to Graphic Design
- Digital Imaging
- Intro to 3D Graphics
- Interactive Game Development
- Enterprise Systems and Integration
- Web and Mobile Programming
- Client-Side Programming
Classes vary from program to program, but most will include classes similar to the ones listed here. Your specific focus or concentration will further refine your class options.
Accelerated Information Technology Degree Programs
An IT bachelor’s degree online program can help you join the ranks of IT and ensure job security. The following degrees can help prepare you for the IT world in various ways, depending on your specific interests.
While they are generally ranked in order of popularity and career outlook, you should rank them according to your own interests and goals, as each degree here has the potential to introduce you to the IT world in exciting and promising ways.
1. Computer Science
Computer science is one of the most popular IT degrees out there. There are many schools that offer IT bachelor’s degree online programs, making it easy and convenient to earn this degree from your own home.
As the name implies, a degree in computer science can help prepare you to become a computer scientist.
For the most part, an accelerated computer science degree online program can help you learn operational, programming, and coding skills. Advanced math courses are also usually required and essential for the work computer scientists do.
You may also have specialization options, like web development or systems operations, in your computer science degree program.
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With a degree in computer science, you may pursue a variety of high-paying careers, including web and software development.
There is also the option to continue to the graduate level and earn a Ph.D. in Computer Science. Doing so may enable you to become a chief research scientist and invent new, innovative technology for companies.
2. Software Engineering
Companies rely on the health and efficiency of software programs. Software engineers design and develop these programs for companies.
A software engineering program can help you learn an engineering approach to developing software.
You’ll likely learn different approaches, sets of skills, and knowledge in a software engineering program than you would in a computer science program. For example, you may be required to learn electrical engineering components that are integral in the creation of software.
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Many software engineering programs require the completion of a number of hands-on projects. Some of those projects will likely involve working in groups, mimicking the team environment often found in the IT world.
It’s not uncommon for an IT team to have both a software engineer with a degree in software engineering and a software developer with a degree in computer science working side by side. This way, companies can reap the benefits of the varied ways of thinking among these closely related but distinct fields.
3. Information Systems
Information systems and information systems management degree programs can help prepare you to become an administrator of technology.
While engineers design software programs, IT managers maintain and diagnose those programs. They often work with people as much as they work with computers and serve as liaisons within their companies between administrators with jobs outside of technology and employees who work directly with computers.
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Information systems administrators and managers often advise companies about which systems to use and then maintain those systems on a daily basis. As such, this job may be demanding and sometimes stressful because glitches and problems must be identified, diagnosed, and fixed immediately.
This type of career path is often well-suited for those with strong interpersonal skills and advanced knowledge of computer systems.
4. Information Technology
A degree in information technology is probably the most general IT bachelor’s degree that’s included in this list. Many information technology degree programs allow students to specialize in fields that appear on this list (software engineering or computer science, for example).
It’s kind of a jack-of-all-trades degree in the IT world and can be very useful in opening up multiple doors to potential employers because graduates aren’t tied down to any single area within the field.
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Because this degree is wide open to a variety of specializations, you’ll have the opportunity to decide which direction you desire to take later on. This can be beneficial if you know you want to obtain an IT-related degree but aren’t ready to commit to a specific area yet.
With a program in information technology, you’ll likely take your general education and computer requirements and then determine which area you want to specialize in a year or two into your degree.
5. Game Development
This specialized degree is very new to the industry. It is a popular degree right now and often an exciting choice for students seeking a more thrilling position in IT.
As it implies, a game development degree program can help teach you how to design and create video and computer games.
Like software engineers, game development majors must learn the ins and outs of developing software. They must also have artistic skills because they design multiple aspects of digital games. Some programs label this degree as Game Design, emphasizing the design elements.
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Game development students, although already specialized, can learn niche areas of game development, such as virtual game creation and other interactive game modes.
Game development degrees often require a number of foundational courses in software development and information systems, which can help prepare you to enter the more general IT field as well.
Not everyone who works in the IT world has to possess a computer-related degree. In fact, some employers are starting to search for recent graduates with liberal arts or business degrees that accompany their computer skills and knowledge.
Students with general science degrees (Chemistry, Biology, etc.) also often find success in working in IT settings.
Thinking outside of IT online bachelor degrees might help you combine your interests in the IT world with your skills in another field. Having knowledge from a variety of different fields could be valuable during your job search as long as you have experiential and demonstrable knowledge.
If you already hold a bachelor’s degree, you might be eligible for a job in the IT world already.
Like in many sectors, networking is essential in locating and securing new employment opportunities, so it may be wise to look to others for guidance before launching into a whole new degree that you may not need.
Careers with an Accelerated IT Degree
A degree in information technology can help get you a career that offers, according to Forbes, not only some of the best paying jobs but also the healthiest job growth.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that jobs related to computers and information technology will grow by 13% over the next 10 years. That is more than double the average. You are looking at the potential for 531,200 new jobs in the next 10 years.
This is a field that is exploding with opportunities!
And yes, money too. You might not be a millionaire by age 23, but a career in information technology can potentially bring in big bucks.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, some of the average salaries for careers in information technology are:
|Career||Annual Median Salary|
|Computer and Information Research Scientists||$126,830|
|Computer Network Architects||$116,780|
|Information Security Analysts||$103,590|
|Computer Systems Analysts||$93,730|
|Network Systems Administrators||$84,810|
|Computer Support Specialists||$55,510|
The types of jobs available are as numerous as the number of apps for your iPhone. Almost every office has computers, operating systems, and technology in place.
Fields like health care, insurance, development, and gaming may be open to you with a degree in information technology. Business Insider highlights 10 information technology jobs in their list of the top-paying jobs in North America.
Plus, some of these entry-level positions may only require an IT associate’s degree to start off.
Experience will be vital to helping you climb up the ladder, but if you want to get there quicker, you may consider earning an online master’s in information technology or an online PhD in information technology.
Careers in Information Technology
To use a brief analogy, IT is the technological brain of any corporation, business, or organization. Since almost every business relies on technology to operate and function, IT professionals are integral to a business’s success.
The efficiency of an IT team can make or break a company’s profits and reputation.
It’s quite common for a company to employ a large team of IT professionals that work together in various capacities to ensure the technological well-being of their company. Many of these team members probably possess the degrees we’ve listed or similar degrees.
This team usually reports to a CIO (Chief Information Officer) who serves as a team manager and administrator.
Working in the IT world almost always implies working with computers in some capacity. There are sometimes auxiliary positions that don’t involve direct work with computers, but even employees in those positions must usually possess computer knowledge to a certain degree.
If you don’t like or understand computers, the IT world may not be for you. You can still work for an IT company (one that specializes in computers) but in another capacity, such as in a human resources department.
Why Enroll in an Online Accelerated Information Technology Program?
There are three main advantages of taking online accelerated classes.
Don’t Have to Wait to Start!
A large majority of universities that offer accelerated information technology degrees have new start dates each month. There’s no waiting until next semester to start.
Can Finish Faster!
Instead of taking 16 week classes on campus, you may take 8 week classes online. Yes, it will require a lot of your time, but you might be finished with your degree in two years instead of four.
Can Study When and Where You Like!
Taking an online program means you don’t have to commute or move to campus to be in class at a certain time. Many online courses do not require set times to meet, which means you may arrange your schedule how you like and do your schoolwork whenever and wherever you want.
Accelerated online classes are often the most convenient option for getting your degree quickly.
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3 Ways to Accelerate Your Information Technology Degree Even More
These 3 options to accelerate your information technology degree may save you years of schooling.
#1 – Test Out of College Classes (Save 1 Year)
Instead of going to class, you may be able to take a test to get college credit for it. You don’t go to class. You don’t do assignments. You just take the exam.
You can register with the College Level Examination Program (CLEP) to try and earn up to 30 credits by taking exams in the courses you need. You may be able to test out of most of your electives and even a few core classes, like Intro to Information Systems.
If you pass 10 exams for credit, that could be a whole year of class you don’t have to go to. You may grab the study guide, read through it, and then take the exam. As long as you get 50%, you’ll pass and earn the credits.
While many schools accept CLEP exams for credit, it is important to check with your specific program to see what qualifies.
#2 – Get College Credit for Your Life and Work Experience (Save a Full Semester)
Did you know you may be able to get credit for your work and military experience? This would mean, once again, less time in class.
Many universities have programs set up that will allow you to earn credit for your experience through a submitted portfolio. This portfolio usually goes by the name Credit for Prior Learning.
You might earn credit for your experience in:
- Information systems
- Web development
- Network security
Typically, by working with your faculty advisor, you can put together a portfolio detailing your training, experiences, credentials, and references. If your submitted portfolio is approved, you may get credit for the class.
You may also look at the American Council on Education website, where they will have a list of courses or training you may have done through your employer. This list of ACE-recommended credits is recognized by most colleges.
#3 – Stay Continuously Enrolled with the Max Course Load
The average student enrolls in 30 credits each year and takes about 4 years to finish a degree.
Many schools will allow you to take up to 18 credit hours every semester, including in the summer. The beauty of this is that in 12 months, as long as you pass all of your classes, you could have 54 credits. That’s almost two years of college done in one year.
Bonus: Transferring Your Existing College Credits
Did you start a degree and end up not finishing it? That may work out in your favor.
You may be able to transfer your existing college credits into your information technology degree program. As long as your existing credit is from an accredited college and you earned a C in the class, it may count.
Even if your previous classes don’t fit your new degree, you may be able to use your existing credits to fill your electives. That means fewer classes you have to take this time around.
Information Technology Degree Accreditation
It is important to make sure your school is regionally accredited to help ensure that you aren’t wasting your time and money. Accreditation is a sign that your school meets educational standards.
Schools can receive regional accreditation from the following boards:
- Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
- Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
- New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)
- Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
- Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
- WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)
Regional accreditation help to guarantee that you’ll receive a quality education and that other universities and potential employers will recognize the value of your degree.
Financial Aid for an Online Information Technology Degree
Online students can still qualify for many of the same types of financial aid as on-campus students.
You can start by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which will show you the amount of money you are eligible to receive in the form of grants and student loans.
You may then supplement this amount by applying for:
- State funding
- Scholarships from your college and other organizations
- Tuition assistance programs through your employer, if available
Every source of funding can help you get through school quickly without coming away with a huge debt to pay.
What Is a Degree in Information Technology?
Earning a degree in information technology can help you learn how to set up and maintain the computer systems of businesses. These programs typically included classes in computer engineering, database management, and network security.
How Long Does It Take to Get an Information Technology Degree?
If you take classes on campus, earning 15 credits per semester, it typically takes 4 years. You may be able to earn your degree in 18-24 months if you test out of classes, submit a portfolio for prior learning, and take accelerated classes to earn 18 credits per semester, including over the summer.
How Long Does an Accelerated Bachelor’s Degree Take?
Accelerated classes usually last half as long as traditional classes, meaning you might be able to complete your degree in 2 years. You may shave even more time off if you test out of classes, earn credit for prior learning, and take the max course load of 18 credits year-round.
Is an Information Technology Degree Worth It?
Yes, an information technology degree is worth it for many students. The Bureau of Labor Statistics is projecting a 13% job growth in computer and information technology occupations over the next 10 years, which is much faster than the average for all occupations.
Common careers in this field include web developer, computer programmer, database administrator, information security analyst, and software developer.
Earning your degree in information technology could help you open the door to a rewarding and lucrative career!