The Best Online Information Technology Degrees
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Online IT Degrees
An online IT degree prepares students for information technology jobs as computer network analysts, computer programmers, database administrators, and software developers.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), IT professionals with a bachelor's degree make a median salary of $83,510-$122,840 annually. Furthermore, the BLS projects that certain positions in the field — including computer and information systems managers — will grow by as much as 10% between 2019 and 2029.
Most entry-level information technology jobs require an IT degree. A bachelor's degree provides essential skills in programming, analysis, web design, and database administration. Furthermore, many colleges and universities offer IT programs online. Distance learners can earn their information technology degrees while keeping their full-time jobs, thanks to flexible class schedules, self-paced study, and online resources.
What Is Information Technology?
IT careers often combine aspects of computer engineering and business. Information technology professionals handle computer-related tasks — such as programming, systems analysis, security, or development — within a business setting. Some information technology jobs, like IT manager, require additional business skills, including communication, personnel oversight, and emotional intelligence.
IT careers require employees to sit at desks and use computers for the majority of the day.
Most IT professionals work in an office, though some may work remotely from home. IT careers require employees to sit at desks and use computers for the majority of the day. These workers must understand how to both collaborate with others and accomplish projects on their own.
Graduates with an online bachelor of information technology use several types of technology in their work, including routers, adapters, network drivers, and computer programming languages. In general, IT professionals create and repair computer systems, maintain networks, run security analyses, and develop software. Job expectations, work settings, and salaries vary with each information technology position.
Featured Online IT Schools
What Is an Online Bachelor's in Information Technology Degree?
An online IT degree typically requires 120 credits and teaches the fundamentals of programming, computer systems, and cybersecurity. At the bachelor's level, courses cover topics like cross-platform technology, computing as a service, IT operations, and scripting. Coursework usually includes general requirements as well, especially in math, English, science, and history.
Online information technology degrees often offer concentrations in the following areas:
- Business management
- Data analytics
- Project management
- Software development
- IT management
These specialized tracks allow students to better prepare for their future careers. Nevertheless, some graduates may not enter the workforce right away, as a bachelor's degree in IT online also prepares students for further education. Graduate degrees open additional doors in the field and allow students to pursue research or teaching positions at postsecondary institutions.
How Long Does It Take to Get an Online Bachelor's in Information Technology?
Most students complete an online bachelor's degree in information technology in four years, but colleges usually offer several additional options.
- Part-time study: Working students often reduce their per-semester online information technology course loads, meaning they take the same courses, but spread out over time. This can add months or years to graduation time, but is easier to balance with a busy work or personal schedule.
- Accelerated study: Some online IT programs offer an accelerated course of study in which students take more courses per semester and finish their degrees more quickly.
- Synchronous/asynchronous study: Some online programs deliver coursework synchronously, requiring attendance in online classrooms at specific times. Other programs deliver coursework asynchronously, meaning that students can complete assignments at their convenience, so long as they still meet project deadlines.
You can learn more about information technology degrees here.
The Best Online Bachelor of Information Technology Degree Programs
Online Bachelor's in Information Technology Programs Ranking Guidelines
We selected these online IT degrees based on the quality of the program, the types of courses offered, faculty statistics, previous rankings, awards, and reputation, including the school's reputation for effectively providing online degree programs specifically.
The motto of TheBestSchools.org is Finding the best school for you. Here is how we do it:
The value of any ranking list of schools and/or degree programs depends on having a methodologically sound assessment of each school’s/program’s characteristics, especially insofar as these can be objectively measured. A college or university is a complex entity, with numerous factors to consider, and distilling these down to the place where meaningful comparisons can be made to form a defensible ranking list becomes part science and part art.
To meet this challenge—and thereby provide you with the most useful and insightful educational rankings on the Internet — TheBestSchools.org formulates our rankings based on five informational categories (six, when considering online schools). The major metrics and qualities for which we rank are these (with expanded, detailed considerations and weights listed):
1. Academic excellence based on a school’s curriculum generally or within the selected discipline [weight = 25%]
- Weighs school against known leading schools in that discipline
- Weighs number of core curricula listed as advanced courses within that discipline and compares against introductory courses
- Weighs school’s curriculum against known knowledge needs of major employers in that discipline
- Considers number and types of specializations offered within that discipline
- Considers faculty expertise in that discipline
- Considers range of electives within that discipline
- Considers quality of online environment offered to students (if applicable), particularly within that discipline
2. Strength of faculty scholarship [weight = 25%]
- Considers education background of the faculty
- Considers years of faculty experience both inside and outside of academia.
- Considers faculty membership and leadership within relevant, prominent associations
- Considers academic papers published by faculty in relevant, prominent periodicals
- Considers awards and recognitions given to faculty members from prominent organizations and from other sources
3. Reputation [weight = 20%]
- Considers a school’s reputation among academic peers and employers regarding the following:
- “Freshness” of academic knowledge
- Adaptability to changes in employment sectors
- Suitability of graduates for the workplace
4. Financial aid [weight = 10%]
- Mandatory: Requires full accreditation from an agency endorsed by the U.S. Department of Education and listed on the federal register to accept student federal financial aid
- Considers range of school-sponsored financial aid such as scholarships and grants
5. Range of degree programs [weight = 20%]
- Considers range of degree levels: associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral and professional
- Considers range of degree subjects offered, such as art & design, computers & technology, education & teaching, criminal justice, and business
6. Strength of online instruction methodology (if applicable) [weight = 25%; subtract 5% from each of the above for online schools/programs]
Considers the following of the online classes:
- Types of online technology used to deliver content
- Pedagogy style: asynchronous, synchronous, or both (depending on the degree)
- Extent and quality of the online, community learning environment, including options for communication, interactivity, and collaboration between students and also between students and instructors
- Variety, breadth, and depth of coursework, and its support, including project options and online tutoring
Considers the following of instructors:
- Extent of training for teaching within an online learning environment
- Amount of timely, consistent feedback to students
- Extent of collaboration with prospective employers to ensure suitability of instructional materials for achieving desired skills
- Ratio to number of students in a class
- Number and quality of internships in a student’s geographical area for applicable degrees
Because students tend to review a variety of information when choosing a school, the weight a student gives any one criterion will vary. For instance, it’s not enough to offer a carefully constructed ranking of great schools if many are too expensive or too difficult to get into.
To better serve the needs of prospective students, we are therefore increasingly offering filters that help you better use our rankings to find the schools that match your specific needs. These supplement our ranking criteria and include:
- Public or private status
- Acceptance rate
- Retention rate
- Graduation rate
- ACT/SAT requirements
- Cost in-state / out of state
- Undergrad, grad, or both offered
Get the best rankings here AND get them to suit your personal needs. That’s TheBestSchools.org advantage!
If you have any questions about our ranking methodology, please contact us.
Citations: For a broader account of our ranking methodology, especially as it relates to TheBestSchools.org's underlying educational philosophy and, in other ranking articles, looks beyond academic excellence (as here) to such factors as return on investment or incidental benefit, see our article "Ranking Methodology: How We Rank Schools at TBS." Reputation of schools and degree programs can at least in part be gauged through the school or department's publishing activity, citations, and desirability. At TheBestSchools.org, we keep track of such social and peer validation: "Making Sense of College Rankings." For nuts-and-bolts information about colleges and universities, we look to the National Center for Education Statistics and especially its College Navigator. Insofar as salary and inflation data are relevant to a ranking, we look to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Finally, nothing beats contacting schools and degree programs directly, which our researchers often do, with the result that all the entries in this article should be considered as belonging to this citation!
Information Technology Jobs
Online information technology degrees prepare graduates for careers in technology, business, and education, including the following positions:
|Median Salary: $122,840||Projected Job Growth: 15%|
Data scientist handle the flow of information for a business or organization. Also known as data analysts or data engineers, these professionals collect and organize information into a format that non-data specialists within the company can use. Data scientists play a critical role in decision-making by providing the information that managers need to determine the future direction of the organization.
These professionals also solve complex computer problems, improve software systems, invent new computer languages or tools, and synthesize data and information. Data scientists should become comfortable presenting their findings to peers and superiors alike.
|Median Salary: $90,920||Projected Job Growth: 7%|
Computer systems analysts work to maximize efficiency within an organization's computer systems. These systems architects must find a balance between information technology solutions and business concerns. They work with IT professionals and non-technical personnel, incorporating the needs and abilities of a variety of employees into the network's functionality.
Professionals in this field research new technologies, prepare cost-benefit analyses, implement new systems, configure hardware and software, and train users on company computer systems. Some computer systems analysts also write instruction manuals for their systems, which requires excellent communication and critical thinking skills.
What Is an IT Manager?
IT managers oversee information technology departments for businesses, organizations, and schools. They act as a go-between for IT personnel and non-technical professionals. IT managers split their time between overseeing computer-related tasks and managing people. They need strong communication, organization, and critical thinking skills.
IT managers set computer-related goals for their organizations and work to meet them. They oversee the implementation of new computer systems and software; safeguard company computers and documents; direct other IT professionals; and deliver presentations, progress reports, and suggestions to top executives.
Information Technology Manager Certifications
There are a variety of certifications available to information technology professionals, allowing them to specialize their skills and advance their careers. They are usually offered through professional organizations or by software companies. The following are among the most common certifications for IT professionals:
- Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)
- Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC)
- Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)
- Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)
- Certified IT Architect Professional (CITA-P)
- Cisco Certified Internet Expert (CCIE)
- CompTIA Project+ Certification
- ITIL Expert Certification
- Microsoft Certified Solution Developer (MCSD)
- Oracle Certified DBA Professional (OCP)
- Project Management Professional (PMP)
- Six Sigma Green Belt or Black Belt Certification
Frequently Asked Questions About Degrees in Information Technology
What Is Information Technology?
Information technology is the creation, maintenance, security, and administration of computer systems. Software engineers, developers, and security analysts all fall under the umbrella of IT professionals.
What Is a Degree in Information Technology?
An IT degree teaches programming, networking, computer hardware and software, and database management. These skills prepare students for information technology jobs.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Degree in Information Technology?
A bachelor of information technology typically takes four years to complete. Students in an online, accelerated program may finish in 2-3 years.
What Jobs Can I Get With a Degree in Information Technology?
An online information technology degree opens the door to many careers, including computer network architect, computer systems analyst, computer programmer, and IT security analyst.
What Is the Best Online College for IT?
The answer is different for each student. You should consider several factors when choosing an IT school, like program length, concentration options, and tuition cost. You can find more information in the IT program ranking below.
What Is an IT Manager?
IT managers oversee all computer-related tasks within a company, setting IT goals, implementing new technology, and overseeing IT-related personnel decisions.
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