Information technology is a natural fit with an online education. Nothing proves to an employer how much technological knowledge, comfort and discipline a prospective employee has like earning an entire degree online. Many universities, from online institutions like Drexel University to established physical campuses like Northeastern University, offer online college degrees in IT. Here’s what to find out before choosing a school.
Is This an Accredited Online University?
“Diploma mills”, where a student can receive a degree for little or no work, have given online degrees a bad name. Valuable online college degrees come from an accredited university, one that has been reviewed by an approved accrediting agency. “If the school has not been properly reviewed, your diploma could be meaningless in the eyes of potential employers,” advises the US News and World Report in an October 16, 2006 article. Check out online colleges through the Council for Higher Education Accreditation Database to make sure they’re legitimate.
Is this College Degree Available Completely Online?
Some universities, such as Drexel or Cappella, operate their degree programs completely online. But other colleges offer online components while still requiring students to spend some time on campus. Northeastern University, for example, has two versions of a software project management course. One is totally virtual, the other requires one campus class a week, plus online work. Review the program requirements thoroughly, especially if the college is far away.
How Does This Information Technology Program Work?
There are two methods of completing the coursework required for an online degree in IT:
- In asynchronous learning, students complete coursework, participate in lectures and work in groups whenever they want, as long as deadlines are met. Most academic institutions deliver online IT programs this way.
- In synchronous learning, students and the instructor gather at a set time through live chat or video conference. This method is not as common, although some online colleges, such as Strayer University in Washington DC, offer remote classes in real time.
- Most students will earn their IT degrees through a combination of synchronous and asynchronous learning. Some students may want an on-campus component to their studies – some online universities, such as the University of Phoenix, offer a combination of remote and campus-based learning, but space is usually limited.
Different online colleges offer a variety of bachelor online degrees in the field of Information Technology. Students can choose to earn the following:
- Bachelor of Science in Information Technology
- Bachelor of Science in Software Architecture
- Bachelor of Science in Project Management (Information Technology)
- IT Masters and Doctorates – Choosing a Specialty
Some students, especially those currently working in the IT field who want to advance their career and earn more money, may want to pursue a masters or doctorate in information technology. There are many high-paying opportunities in the private and public sectors for students who earn an online post-graduate degree in the following disciplines:
- Information Assurance
- Information Systems
- Earning IT College Degrees at Online Universities
Earning an online degree in IT is a great way to demonstrate one’s discipline and technological savvy. When choosing an online university, ensure the school has proper accreditation and find out how the school provides its online courses — whether it just sets deadlines or whether students are required to meet virtually in real time. Some schools also offer students the opportunity to attend some classes on campus. There are many bachelor degrees available, but ambitious IT students, or IT professionals who want to move to better positions, can also choose from post-graduate degrees in several IT fields.