Is an Information Technology Degree Worth It?
By Ashford University Staff
With tech talent in short supply and companies growing increasingly competitive in their pursuit of the best and brightest, you couldn’t pick a better time to work in information technology. Though for some the idea conjures images of glass office towers and rows of workers fixated on their laptop screens, IT is a very broad field that’s incorporated into every business and industry, giving you great flexibility in your job search.
However, a lack of available talent doesn’t mean employers will overlook a lack of qualifications on your resume. Like any industry, education matters, and companies place a premium on workers with a fundamental understanding of information technology – the kind that can only come from a college education.
“Because IT is so broad, it’s important to have a background in all of the different components, hardware, software, and programming languages,” explains Dr. Amjad Alkilani, a lead faculty at Forbes School of Business and Technology® at Ashford University. “Working without a college degree may actually limit your options, because some skills training and a certification may not be enough to satisfy job requirements.”
Is an IT Degree Worth It?
Of all the factors that one considers during college research and an employment search, job security ranks among the most important. Fortunately, the short answer to whether an IT degree is worth it is a resounding yes.
“Companies prefer a degree,” Dr. Alkilani says. “For instance, I may hire you as a website developer, but in 2–3 years, I may shift and decide to focus the business on a mobile app.
“If you have an Information Technology degree, you have a background in mobile applications, and this makes me prefer you.”
If your concern is putting in the time to earn a degree when there is a shortage of tech talent right now, Dr. Alkilani says not to worry. The industry is growing because technology is always changing, and there will always be a demand for qualified, educated workers.
“As a sorting criteria during a hiring search, companies see the degree as a sign that you have that base knowledge,” he says.
Computer and information technology jobs will remain in high demand through at least 2028, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This “faster than average” growth is expected to add about 546,200 to the country’s economy, and the majority of these jobs require a bachelor’s or master’s degree.
What Will I Learn from an Information Technology Degree Program?
Because technology is always evolving, education has to evolve, too. Today’s IT-focused degree programs are designed to give you a foundation of essential tech knowledge, and then build upon that base with the latest skills and ideas that employers value.
“Every few years, or even every couple of months, there are new programming languages to learn,” Dr. Alkilani says. “We focus on the core languages, based on market share and popularity, so we can cover the most relevant, recent tools.”
Much of what you will learn in an IT degree program depends on your field of study. The Forbes School of Business and Technology at Ashford University, for example, offers six degree programs – four bachelor’s degrees and two master’s degrees, all with varying focuses:
- Bachelor of Arts in Business Information Systems
- Bachelor of Science in Computer Software Technology
- Bachelor of Science in Cyber & Data Security Technology
- Bachelor of Science in Information Technology
- Master of Information Systems Management
- Master of Science in Technology Management
Though each program is different, some of the core courses and ideas overlap, according to Dr. Alkilani. Every student enrolled in these IT-related degrees will learn Python and Java programming languages, he says, as well as four essential components of a tech education:
- Programming Concepts
- Object-oriented Programming
- Data Structure
- Database Management Systems
How Long Does it Take to Earn an IT Degree?
There are many factors to consider when committing to a college education. If you are an adult learner returning to school to master new skills, you must determine how much time you can dedicate to your studies, especially if you have to balance school with work and family priorities.
An online university can offer a degree of flexibility that a traditional campus cannot. If you are enrolled in a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree program at the Forbes School of Business and Technology, you will take one course at a time for five or six weeks at a time.
Though the format is structured differently than a traditional college, the degrees are designed to be completed in four years at the bachelor’s-degree level and two years at the master’s-degree level. The course requirements vary by program:
A bachelor’s degree program consists of 120 credits, with core course requirements in areas that include:
- Computer Software Technology
- Cyber & Data Security Technology
- Information Technology
- Technology Management
Additionally, bachelor’s degree-seeking students at the Forbes School of Business and Technology can take emphases courses, which broaden your knowledge and can expand your career options upon graduation. Emphases course concepts include:
- Cognitive Studies
- Environmental Management & Sustainability
- Public Administration
- Public Relations
- Web & Mobile App Technology
A master’s degree program consists of 33 credits for the Master of Information Systems Management program and 36 credits for the Master of Science in Technology Management program, with both consisting of core course requirements in areas that include:
- Information Systems
- Information Systems Management
- Organizational Management
Ashford’s Master of Information Systems Management also includes specialization options that allow you to focus your education on a field that’s important to you. These include:
If you’re ready to pursue a future in a fast-growing field and develop a foundation of essential IT knowledge and skills, contact an Ashford University advisor about Information Technology degrees today.
Written by Ashford University Staff
*Certain degree programs may not be available in all states.