Computer Information Technology Degrees: Master & Online Course Info

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What kind of job can you get with a master's degree in computer information technology? Find out degree program requirements, online options and info on courses and computer information technology programs.
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Studying Computer Information Technology: Master's Degree at a Glance

Computer information technology is a field that is closely related to computer science and information science. When you enter a degree program in computer information technology, you'll study computer networking and communications, Web technologies and database management. As you gain theoretical and technical knowledge, you may hone in on a subject of particular interest in the field and attain specialized expertise.

Graduates work in a variety of fields, including business, education, and information technology. You may find yourself pursuing a career as a Web developer, data communications analyst or IT manager. In a society that relies more and more on computers and technology, there are many careers with have bright futures that put your computer information technology skills to use. For example, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted a 22% increase in job openings for computer systems analysts from 2010-2020 (www.bls.gov).

Master's
Who is this degree for? Students who wish to pursue high-paying IT careers or prepare for doctoral studies
Common Career Paths (with approximate median salary) - Computer Systems Analyst ($79,000)*
- Computer and Information Systems Manager ($118,000)*
- Information Security Analyst ($78,000)*
- Network and Computer Systems Administrator ($71,000)*
- Database Administrator ($75,000)*
Time to Completion 1-2 years of full-time study
Common Graduation Requirements - Core courses in computer information technology topics
- Specialization electives
- Master's thesis or directed project
Prerequisites - Bachelor's degree in a related field
- Computer and programming coursework taken at the undergraduate level
- GRE scores
Online Availability Yes

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2011 figures).


Master's in Computer Information Technology

Whether you are a student looking to increase your computer information technology knowledge or a professional already working in the field seeking to advance your career, a master's degree program in computer information technology may be a good way to achieve your goals. You'll build foundational knowledge through your core courses, followed by specialized learning from your electives. Some schools may offer thesis and non-thesis options, while others may require you to complete a supervised project towards the end of your studies.

Admission requirements tend to vary between schools. You'll usually need to have your GRE scores for admission, although some schools will waive GRE requirements if you have a specific undergraduate degree. You'll need to have a bachelor's degree in a computer-related field; otherwise you'll need to take additional courses or complete a certificate program before you can be admitted.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • A graduate degree may be needed to compete for management-level computer systems and IT positions
  • May be useful in a number of growing job fields (the BLS estimated that database administrators would see a 31% increase in jobs between 2010 and 2020)*
  • Full-time and part-time programs are available, making this program more accessible to working professionals

Cons

  • Some master's degree programs may require prior knowledge in the field and may not permit enrollment until competence in these areas is acquired
  • A master's degree is not required for many jobs in the field; bachelor's degree holders will have the same opportunities as master's degree holders for most non-management positions
  • You'd spend 5-6 years in school (bachelor's plus a master's) and have to find a way to pay for it
  • An MBA may be preferred for some positions

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Common Courses and Requirements

Core courses usually cover computer programming languages, data networks, e-commerce, multimedia and information security, which are designed to give you general knowledge of information technology and its applications. Many programs allow you to choose a specialization track; your options may include software engineering, project management, database administration and network administration. You might also have the option to take some business courses, depending on which electives your school offers for your master's program. Here is a sample of courses you may be able to choose from:

  • Network security
  • Data mining techniques
  • Information privacy and ethics
  • Web design technologies
  • Social networking
  • E-business
  • Bioinformatics

Additionally, some programs may require you to complete a master's thesis or a comprehensive project. Take note that some courses taken at the undergraduate level might fulfill some of the core requirements at the graduate level, which may reduce the amount of time needed to complete a master's program.

Online Degree Options

Online master's degree programs in computer information technology are available and typically offer the same courses as campus-based programs. These programs may be offered completely online or in a hybrid format that requires on-campus coursework in combination with online coursework. Hybrid programs are more common and allow students to take advantage of resources located at the school. Online programs in computer information technology prepare you for the same careers as traditional programs.

Getting Ahead with This Degree

Computer information technology is always evolving, so keeping up with the newest innovations is a great way to stay current in the field. As your career progresses, you may find that obtaining a certification from a product vendor or software company like Microsoft or Cisco may be a huge benefit. There are certifications for software programs, programming languages and technology systems, so you'll want to see which one would fit your job the best before pursuing it.

Another way that you can stand out with this degree is to take business courses during your studies. You may be involved with many business aspects while working in this field, and completing additional business courses might give you an advantage when seeking a job. The BLS mentioned that computer systems analysts, information security analysts and computer systems managers typically have taken some business courses during their postsecondary studies. Some master's degree programs allow you to take courses in business and communications through your elective choices.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. Purdue University Global

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MSM in Information Technology
      • Master: Information Technology
      • Master: Information Technology - Project Management
      • Master: IT/Information Security and Assurance
      • MS in Information Technology - Business Intelligence and Analytics
  • Online Programs Available
    2. Grand Canyon University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Bridge to the M.S. in Information Technology Management
      • M.S. in Information Technology Management
      • M.S. in Instructional Technology
      • Master of Science in Cyber Security
      • Master of Science in Cyber Security (Bridge)
  • Online Programs Available
    3. Herzing University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MBA Dual Concentration: Healthcare Management and Technology Management
      • MBA Dual Concentration: Accounting and Technology Management
      • MBA Dual Concentration: Human Resources and Technology Management
      • MBA Dual Concentration: Public Safety Leadership and Technology Management
  • Online Programs Available
    4. Colorado State University Global

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Graduate Specialization - Information Technology
      • Master - Information Technology Management
  • Online Programs Available
    5. Brenau University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Science in Organizational Leadership-Cybersecurity Management
      • Masters in Business Administration - Cybersecurity Management
  • Campus and Online Programs
    6. Full Sail University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Science - Business Intelligence
  • Online Programs Available
    7. Regent University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • M.S. in Cybersecurity - Cybersecurity Policy
      • M.A. in Law - Cybersecurity Law
      • M.A. in National Security Studies - Cybersecurity Policy
      • M.S. in Cybersecurity - Cybersecurity Management
      • M.S. in Business Analytics
  • Campus and Online Programs
    8. Louisiana State University Shreveport

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Business Administration - Data Analytics Concentration
      • Master of Business Administration - Data Analytics Specialization
  • Online Programs Available
    9. The George Washington University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Arts in Education and Human Development in Educational Technology Leadership
  • Online Programs Available
    10. Georgetown University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Masters of Professional Studies in Technology Management

Featured Schools

Purdue University Global

  • MSM in Information Technology
  • Master: Information Technology
  • Master: Information Technology - Project Management

Which subject are you interested in?

Grand Canyon University

  • Bridge to the M.S. in Information Technology Management
  • M.S. in Information Technology Management
  • M.S. in Instructional Technology

What is your highest level of education?

Herzing University

  • MBA Dual Concentration: Healthcare Management and Technology Management
  • MBA Dual Concentration: Accounting and Technology Management
  • MBA Dual Concentration: Human Resources and Technology Management

What is your highest level of education?

Colorado State University Global

  • Graduate Specialization - Information Technology
  • Master - Information Technology Management

What is your highest level of education?

Brenau University

  • Master of Science in Organizational Leadership-Cybersecurity Management
  • Masters in Business Administration - Cybersecurity Management

What is your highest level of education completed?

Full Sail University

  • Master of Science - Business Intelligence

What is your highest level of education?

Regent University

  • M.S. in Cybersecurity - Cybersecurity Policy
  • M.A. in Law - Cybersecurity Law
  • M.A. in National Security Studies - Cybersecurity Policy

What is your highest level of education completed?

Louisiana State University Shreveport

  • Master of Business Administration - Data Analytics Concentration
  • Master of Business Administration - Data Analytics Specialization

What is your highest level of education completed?