Start an IT Career: Get an Information Technology Degree Online

information technology career professional

By Sarah Stevenson

In order for workplaces to keep up with technological trends like social media and software-as-a-service, protect their data with the latest and most powerful cybersecurity—or just keep their computer systems running—they need IT specialists to get the job done. Are you convinced yet?

If so, an information technology degree online from an accredited program can give you a jump start.

Read on for information about some of the most popular and fastest-growing IT careers, and how you can get there with an information technology degree online.

Entry-Level Careers

Computer Support Specialist 

Job Description: Computer support specialists are also known as help desk technicians or, more plainly, tech support. Whether they work with computer systems in a business environment or directly for an IT company, they provide invaluable technical assistance to individuals and organizations who need help resolving problems with their computers or networks.

Training Required: Usually, some college is necessary to become a computer support technician—the most common prerequisite is an associate's degree or certification, though some jobs require a bachelor's degree. Numerous schools offer an information technology degree online at the associate's or bachelor's level in preparation for a tech support career.

Computer Programmer

Job Description:  Computer programmers write code using programming languages like C++ or Python, with the end result of creating a software program. They often work closely with software engineers in order to do so, and may also be involved in updating, repairing or debugging the code in computer programs.

Training Required: Although many programming jobs require a bachelor's degree, some entry-level positions are accessible with a certificate, a diploma or a 2-year information technology degree. Online degrees in programming may be generalized, or they may focus on a specific area like game programming.

Careers with a Bachelor's Degree

Software Engineer 

Job Description: Software engineering jobs are among the most numerous and fastest-growing IT occupations, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Software engineers may focus on designing and maintaining entire computer systems, or they may concentrate on developing software applications. Growth areas include applications for mobile technology, cybersecurity software, and software systems for specialized purposes such as electronic health records.

Training Required: Software engineers usually possess a bachelor's degree in computer science, software engineering or information systems. Advanced positions may require a master's degree.

Systems Analyst 

Job Description: Systems analysts design and manage computer systems in a variety of businesses and organizations, from manufacturing to insurance to technology companies. Systems analysts may help build these systems by choosing hardware and software, or they may help implement, fine-tune and troubleshoot a system already in place.

Training Required: Generally, systems analysts need a bachelor's degree in computer science, information systems or management information systems (MIS), all commonly available subject areas for an information technology degree online.

Network Administrator 

Job Description: A network administrator is responsible for LANs, Internet and intranet systems, and other networks within an organization. After a network architect designs and sets up the networks a company needs, the network administrator helps install and maintain additional network hardware or software, and troubleshoots network-related problems that may come up.

Training Required: An information technology degree online in computer science or management information systems can help prepare you for network administration; most jobs demand a bachelor's degree.

Managerial Careers

Computer/Information Systems Manager 

Job Description: Managers in the IT field are responsible for implementing and supervising an entire organization's technological systems. This includes directing personnel, coordinating systems design and network development, and determining long-term technology strategy.

Training Required: Although a bachelor's degree in management information systems or a related field is often enough to enter a managerial position, a master of business administration (MBA) degree may be desirable. Many business schools offer a management-focused information technology degree, online or through an on-campus program.

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics