IT is a rapidly growing field in which you can find numerous careers to suit your needs. Whether you are interested in providing technical support, becoming an expert in e-commerce, building skills as a webmaster or programming software – to name just a few possibilities – you will be able to find a job in this exciting field. The first step towards a career in the IT industry is to get a IT degree in the area that is of most interest to you. There are various degree options including two-year and four-year programs, various environments, including on-campus and online, and various institutions, including universities and vocational training schools from which to choose.
Before you enroll in a IT degree program, the most important first step is to do plenty of research. Be sure to choose the right type of schooling for your learning needs and a school that has the type of program that interests you. IT is a specialized industry, so you should enroll in a program that will give you the specific knowledge to enter into a specific field. To help you in this crucial first step, read on for some tips and advice for choosing a computer science program that best suits your goals and needs.
The four main things to consider when choosing a computer science degree program are education level, personal commitment level, specialized programs and admission requirements. You should decide how many years you want to spend studying in your field, whether or not you will continue to be committed to that time of study, what sort of specialized area you want to study, and what the college or school requires of students interested in admission.
Here is a brief breakdown of the types of schools that are available:
- Vocational training schools: These schools are typically two-year programs. These programs focus heavily on hands-on, on-the-job type skill sets, meaning this schooling is less about academics and more about developing the skills you will need quickly.
- Two- to four-year colleges: These programs focus on practical skills that you will be required to know on the job with a few theoretical courses thrown into the mix.
- Four- to five-year universities: These programs switch the focus from practical application of skills to theoretical information and knowledge. While these programs do take more time, this knowledge will give you better chances of moving up the career ladder faster. Practical skills are still taught in these programs, but they mainly focus on the big picture view of the computer science field as a whole.
When choosing how much time you want to commit to achieving your computer science degree, you should be aware of the various levels of education available and on which rung of the career ladder you can expect to be placed with that degree.
Degree options include:
- Associates Degree: This is a two-year degree and will qualify graduates for entry-level positions in tech support, software quality assurance jobs and application software development companies. Many associates degrees are designed for students intending to go forward and get a bachelors degree, so if you are interested in getting your feet wet in the field, an associate’s degree might be the right choice, allowing you to either graduate with your two-year degree or continue going to school for another two years if you decide to pursue a bachelors degree.
- Bachelors Degree: This level opens up more career opportunities to graduates. You will likely be able to find jobs such as a systems software engineer, a network administrator or an applications software engineer, to name a just a few. You will also be qualified to work in numerous industries, depending on your specialization.
- Masters Degree: If you have a bachelor’s degree, you can go on to the next level with a master’s degree. These programs are best for students interested in developing more expertise in a specialization and for those interested in upper-level positions, such as management. You do not necessarily have to have a bachelor’s degree in computer science in order to move to the master’s level. If you have another type of bachelor’s degree and are interested in getting a masters degree in computer science, check with the school’s requirements to see if your degree will qualify.
- Doctoral Degree: This level is for students who want to be involved in research, such as performance issues, or involved in cutting edge technology, such as artificial intelligence and voice recognition software. This is also the level to achieve for people who are interested in teaching computer science, particularly if you want to teach at the university level.