Master’s in Information Technology Program Guide
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Careers in information technology are growing fast, which means trained IT professionals are extremely valuable. These jobs entail high salaries because they are so specialized and in demand, and the proliferation of new technology also ensures they will remain stable. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that IT jobs will grow an astounding 28% by 2026, which far outstrips the national average of 7%. Professionals seeking to further their education can pursue a variety of certification programs or expand their career opportunities by enrolling in IT master's programs.
What are the best information systems and technology programs of 2020? Here are our top 10:
|#1||Carnegie Mellon University Pittsburgh, PA|
|#2||Florida State University Tallahassee, FL|
|#3||University of South Florida Tampa, FL|
|#4||Illinois Institute of Technology Chicago, IL|
|#5||California State University, Fullerton Fullerton, CA|
|#6||Purdue University West Lafayette, IN|
|#7||University of Denver Denver, CO|
|#8||The University of Texas at Dallas Richardson, TX|
|#9||Stevens Institute of Technology Hoboken, NJ|
|#10||George Washington University Washington, DC|
Should I Get a Master's in Information Technology?
Students should consider pursuing a master's in information technology if they have a foundation in the field and an interest in furthering their education. While pursuing information technology degrees, students take intensive classes in areas such as web design, information security, and software development. Networking opportunities with fellow students, instructors, and industry leaders are plentiful, often developing into lasting business connections that may lead to internships or post-graduation employment.
What Can I Do With a Master's in Information Technology?
The information technology field offers many career opportunities. This fluidity allows professionals to use their skills in a variety of settings, and many graduates of master's information technology programs can work independently as contractors, or as in-house employees with companies. Many IT master's degrees feature concentrations that prepare students for specialized career opportunities.
Responsible for designing new approaches to computing, computer and information research scientists find innovative ways to use existing technology. They solve complex problems in computing for business, science, medicine, and other fields.
Median Annual Salary: $114,520*
Software developers develop applications for computers and mobile devices. They also develop underlying systems to control networks or manage devices.
Median Annual Salary: $103,560*
Demand for information security analysts continues to grow as cyberattacks become more common. These professionals are tasked with implementing security measures to protect a company's computer systems and networks.
Median Annual Salary: $95,510*
Computer network architects build data communication networks, wide area networks, intranets, and local area networks. They work with small connections and next-generation networks with cloud infrastructure capabilities.
Median Annual Salary: $104,650*
Job responsibilities of computer systems analysts include reviewing computer systems and procedures and designing solutions to help companies operate more efficiently. They connect business and information technology together by understanding the limitations and needs of both.
Median Annual Salary: $88,270*
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
Best States for Information Technology Professionals
Digital technologies continue to transform and improve the way we live. With new innovations constantly on the horizon, the demand for skilled information technology (IT) professionals keeps rising. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects to see very strong growth in the IT sector between 2016 and 2026, with sharp projected rises in the need for web developers, computer and information research scientists, and information security analysts.
The ongoing emergence of the "internet of things" (IoT) has evolved into a major driver of IT job growth. According to statistics reported in 2017 by Forbes, the value of the global IoT industry will surge by an annual average of 28.5% through 2020, reaching a total of $457 billion by the end of the decade. Between these and other new technological developments, along with the ongoing need to maintain and upgrade legacy technologies and systems, IT professionals remain poised to benefit from robust job opportunities and excellent earning potential.
Some states are better than others when it comes to landing a good IT job. This ranking introduces the top 25 states for IT professionals in 2019 and explains the relative merits each state has to offer skilled IT professionals.
This ranking drew information from the 2018 CompTIA Cyberstates report (this is the main source for all blurbs), which experts widely consider the definitive statistical analysis of the state of the American tech industry. In generating the state rankings, we evaluated four primary factors:
- Number of Established Tech Sector Businesses in the State
- Overall Number of IT Jobs in the State
- Recent Historical IT Sector Employment Growth Trends in the State
- Average Annual Earnings for Tech Professionals in the State
Year-by-year growth in each of these four areas also factored heavily in the rankings.
When considering data like the total numbers of tech companies and working tech professionals based in the state, as well as industry growth trends and average annual earnings, California emerges as the decisive national leader. While the massive earnings of top executives at leading Silicon Valley tech companies skew the numbers to a slight degree, California remains a long way ahead of every other state in terms of average annual earnings. The typical California tech worker made $161,897 in 2017, which is 12.4% higher than the state with the next-highest average salary.
California remains in great shape from an industry fundamentals perspective. The state boasts more than 51,000 tech companies and 1.2 million tech workers, both of which lead the U.S. by wide margins.
Washington made its name in the tech industry as the home of Microsoft, but the Evergreen State is no one-trick pony. More than 14,000 technology companies call Washington home, giving it one of the densest concentrations of industry activity on a per-capita basis. In 2018, Washington also ranked among the top five states nationwide for tech employment, with a 2.9% growth rate. The state’s tech workers also commanded high salaries, with only California outpacing it in terms of mean earnings. Washington IT professionals took home an average of $141,655 in 2017, marking a 15.5% increase since 2011, even after adjusting for inflation.
In recent years, Seattle has mounted a challenge to Silicon Valley’s status as the technology capital of the United States. The city continues to attract large numbers of talented job candidates, and 2017 data showed a 10% annual growth rate for the state’s technology industry.
Massachusetts deserves its reputation as a U.S. tech industry powerhouse. As of 2018, the state housed 16,617 technology companies and posted one of the nation’s largest annual gains in the number of local tech enterprises. Massachusetts also saw a 2% year-over-year increase in its total number of tech workers from 2016 to 2017, and was only ranked behind California and Washington in terms of mean annual wages. The average Massachusetts IT professional collected $138,023 in earnings in 2017, which nearly doubles the average Boston metro area salary.
Massachusetts easily ranks in the top 10 in virtually every metric experts use to analyze the health of a state’s technology industry. It also led the U.S. in the net technology workforce per capita and net technology workforce as a percentage of the state’s total workforce in 2017.
For the 2017 fiscal year, Colorado ranked fourth among states for tech sector contributions to total economic output. That year, Colorado’s tech industry had an economic impact of $43.4 billion, equating to 14% of the Centennial State’s 2017 gross state product (GSP). Virtually every other major industry metric also points to the robust health of Colorado’s tech industry. More than 16,500 technology companies call Colorado home, and the state posted an impressive 2.3% increase in its net tech sector employment from 2016 to 2017. Factor in the average Colorado IT professional’s annual earnings of $110,545, and you have one of the leading tech employment landscapes in the country.
Things look very bright for technology professionals in Oregon. The state’s IT workers earn a mean of $111,871 per year, which puts it in elite company with the relatively small number of states where tech workers average six figures per year. However, the real source of the state’s strength lies in its continued ability to attract new enterprises. In 2018, Oregon ranked second in the U.S. by posting a 1.8% year-over-year increase in the number of technology businesses based in the state. Net tech industry employment has also followed a healthy rise in recent years, including a 2.4% surge from 2016 to 2017. Data from 2018 also shows that the technology industry accounts for more than 11% of all wages earned by Oregon workers.
The nation’s capital serves as a hotbed of technology industry activity thanks in large part to the very dense concentration of high-tech businesses based in Washington, D.C. and its suburbs, especially around Dulles International Airport. In 2017, IT professionals in the District of Columbia earned an average of $120,443 per year. Analysts note that 2017 was an exceptionally strong year for the District of Columbia’s tech industry, as it attracted millions of dollars’ worth of commitments from banking and angel investor groups.
More than 3,600 tech companies already call the District of Columbia home, a remarkable total considering the total population of Washington, D.C. proper sits below 700,000. With the economic impact of the 2017 investment cycle yet to kick in, the District of Columbia appears poised to surge forward as a technology powerhouse.
Parts of Virginia fall within the Dulles Technology Corridor, a dense concentration of tech enterprises clustered in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. Called the "Netplex" and the "Silicon Valley of the East" by various publications, the Dulles Technology Corridor continues to drive Virginia’s booming tech economy. In 2017, the typical Virginia-based IT professional made $114,774, which was one of the highest industry average salaries in the eastern United States. More than 21,000 technology companies call Virginia home, and the tech industry contributes approximately $57.3 billion a year to the state’s economy. That figure represents 12.8% of Virginia’s total economic output.
Virginia also boasts a solid recent track record of attracting new technology companies. From 2011 to 2017, the number of tech enterprises based in the state increased by almost 15%, bringing thousands of new jobs with them. With data security emerging as a major IT issue and so many government agencies in the area, the future of Virginia’s tech industry looks strong.
Though Maryland technically falls outside the Washington, D.C. area’s Dulles Technology Corridor, the state continues to benefit in a big way from the dense concentration of tech industry activity around the nation’s capital. Maryland’s technology industry contributes more to the state’s economy than any other employment sector except government, and data reported in 2018 show that tech-related businesses and occupations employ almost 10% of Maryland’s workforce.
Strong growth trends continue to make Maryland an attractive option for IT professionals. From 2016 to 2017, analysts noted a 20% increase in the number of employment vacancies related to emerging technologies. On a nationwide scale, Maryland holds a very high rank for innovation, and its tech workers make an average of 87% more than a typical private-sector employee in the state. In 2017, the mean annual salary for a Maryland IT professional was $109,964.
According to the Empire State Development bureau, New York ranks third in the U.S. for high-tech employment and second for technology research and development spending. An analysis conducted by CNBC in 2016 also placed New York fourth in the nation for innovation thanks in large part to a strong and capable tech workforce that benefits from the state’s excellent technology education infrastructure.
Alongside these factors, consider that the average New York-based IT professional collected $119,395 in financial compensation in 2017, and the state increased its net technology employment by more than 10,000 jobs. State policies also support strong public-private investment and development partnerships, and a growing number of New York-based colleges and universities offer technology education programs. New York also placed third in the nation in 2018 for the gender balance of its tech workforce, making it a strong option for those seeking equal opportunity.
Illinois continues to post strong showings in several important analytical categories. It ranked in the top 10 in the U.S. for technology job gains from 2012-2017, and for the economic impact of its tech industry. Much of the state’s technology activity centers around the Chicago metro area. In 2017, the average salary earned by Illinois-based IT professionals broke six figures, reaching $100,577. By the end of 2017, nearly 25,000 technology businesses called Illinois home, and the state saw an increase of almost 10% in its net tech industry employment between 2011-2017. On the whole, Illinois enjoys sustained tech industry growth trends that outpace nationwide averages, propelling it into top 10 standing nationally.
New Jersey-based IT professionals command some of the highest earnings in the entire American tech industry. That fact surprises many casual observers, but the reality is that in 2017, the typical New Jersey tech worker made $122,826. Only three states -- California, Washington, and Massachusetts -- had higher average annual tech salaries.
According to the New Jersey Business Action Center (BAC), the Garden State offers several strategic advantages that make it an attractive option to technology companies, including some of the best broadband internet infrastructure in the U.S. and fast enterprise broadband speeds. New Jersey remains a top performer in national conversations about educational excellence, contributing to a well-prepared and knowledgeable workforce with advanced levels of technology literacy. However, its net tech industry employment, as well as the number of tech-related businesses based in the state, seemed to have plateaued in recent years, with moderate growth rates compared to the nation’s top-performing tech hotbeds.
In addition to these general perks, the 2018 CompTIA Cyberstates report had Florida ranked fourth nationwide in net tech industry employment and net technology jobs added in 2017, and second overall in innovation. IT services leads all sectors of the state’s tech industry employment, accounting for more than 113,000 jobs. Year-over-year IT job growth in Florida also took a 4.4% leap forward from 2016-2017, and average IT wages rose to just under $90,000 per year.
The Florida High Tech Corridor anchors the state’s IT and tech industries. Nearly 5,000 IT companies base their operations in this area, which extends across 23 counties in the central part of Florida’s west coast near the Tampa Bay-St. Petersburg metro area.
New Hampshire is another under-the-radar tech destination with a proven recent history of strong industry performance. In 2017, its net tech employment surged to more than 64,000 jobs, marking a healthy 1.4% bump from the previous year. It also serves as the base of more than 4,000 technology sector enterprises, which translates into a high per-capita density rate in a state with a population of just 1.3 million. New Hampshire IT professionals made an average of over $103,000 in 2017, and considering the state’s relatively low cost of living and the total absence of state sales tax and state income tax, New Hampshire is well worth a long look for emerging and established professionals who want to maximize their earning potential.
Utah continues to move up the rankings of the top technology destinations in the United States. A 2017 report published by a leading commercial development firm ranked Provo as the American city with the fastest-growing tech economy. From 2010-2017, Provo saw close to a 65% increase in its technology and IT workforce. Salt Lake City also saw healthy increases in tech sector employment between 2012 and 2017, ranking eighth nationwide among major metropolitan centers.
Utah does lag behind some of the higher-ranked states for average IT salaries, with tech professionals enjoying mean 2017 earnings of $83,591. However, with strong continued growth of the state’s technology economy, experts expect that gap to close at a relatively fast rate in the near future.
The Texas technology industry experienced several major developmental leaps forward during the past few years. The Austin metro area emerged as a particularly popular destination for new and relocating tech businesses. Texas serves as headquarters for about 50 Fortune 500 companies, which has led to a well-developed corporate culture. Several leading employers of IT professionals appear on that Fortune 500 list, vaulting Texas to a national leadership position in the IT-specialized computer systems design sector of the tech industry.
On average, a Texas IT professional earned $106,303 in 2017, which ranked 13th place across the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Texas also welcomed 288 new technology companies in 2017, which is more than any other state in the U.S., except Illinois and Florida. The state’s overall economy also keeps firing on all cylinders, boding well for sustained growth in the years ahead.
Industry fundamentals point to Pennsylvania as a strong tech destination. Its technology industry added more than 4,500 jobs in 2017, with IT professionals earning average salaries of $98,340. Pennsylvania’s technology industry also contributed $46.7 billion in value to the state’s economy in 2017, with cities including Erie, Harrisburg, Lancaster, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh leading the way. Pittsburgh’s continued diversification away from legacy industries toward growing, high-tech alternatives remains one of the most compelling American economic success stories in recent years. Major tech players, including Google, Amazon, and Uber, all have operations based in the city.
With nearly 16,400 tech companies located in the state as of year-end 2017, and with very strong tech industry job growth trends that handily outpace the national average, Pennsylvania deserves its standing as a major player in the American tech industry. It is also home to some of the most technologically advanced colleges in the country, which make valuable contributions to the state’s well-established culture of innovation.
Idaho enjoyed a 2.8% increase in tech industry employment in 2017 that put it in fifth place in the United States. Some forecasters even believe Boise, the state’s largest city, could eclipse its regional status and emerge as a future national technology powerhouse. Initially anchored by the region’s two largest tech companies, Hewlett-Packard and Micron, Idaho’s technology industry grows more diverse with each passing year. More tech companies choose to base their operations in Idaho given the state’s relatively low operating costs and excellent IT talent pool.
Average IT wages dip lower in Idaho than some other states, but it still ranked in the top half of the country for tech salaries. Idaho’s excellent quality of life, beautiful natural surroundings, low crime rate, and outstanding outdoor recreation also give the state some strong intangibles for tech professionals to consider.
Rapid growth continues to reshape North Carolina’s tech economy, which offers IT professionals some of the highest average industry wages in the South. In 2017, the typical North Carolina tech worker made $95,598, and the state also added more than 10,000 technology jobs to its economy. A 2017 report delivered by the N.C. Technology Association noted that North Carolina led the U.S. in both the number of women in its tech workforce and in the job growth rate of IT specializations in its tech sector from 2010-2015.
Charlotte and Raleigh serve as the state’s tech industry epicenters. Both cities enjoy access to colleges and universities, with excellent reputations for technology education, giving North Carolina a prolific talent pipeline that buoys strong continued growth prospects for its tech industry.
Ohio fared well in CompTIA’s 2018 Cyberstates report, finishing in 10th place nationwide in net tech employment, 11th in net tech jobs added, and 15th in technology innovation. Moreover, the IT services sector led the state’s technology industry with 70,520 jobs, marking a healthy 2.2% increase over the previous year. Overall, Ohio’s tech industry has added significant numbers of jobs for five straight years, with IT professionals earning an average annual salary of $82,120 in 2017.
Going forward, Ohio appears poised to continue making gains in the technology industry thanks to a strong talent pool and some of the nation’s lowest operating costs. According to one expert analysis, Ohio-based tech businesses can operate for up to 70% less of what it would cost to run a similar business in California’s Silicon Valley. The cities of Columbus and Cleveland both boast growing analytics and data science industries, and Ohio continues to attract growing numbers of IT services firms.
In 2017, IT services led all sectors of the Minnesota tech industry with 3.6% year-over-year net employment growth. The state offers some of the most competitive tech salaries in the Midwest region, with tech workers earning an average of $97,680 per year in 2017. Minnesota also features a fast-growing digital health sector that continues to attract large numbers of startups. This sector shows promise, as healthcare becomes increasingly digitized and data driven.
A great deal of Minnesota’s tech industry activity clusters around the twin cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul. The prominent property development firm of Cushman & Wakefield ranked Minneapolis-St. Paul 11th in the United States in its 2018 list of innovative metropolitan centers, noting that Minnesota has a deep technology talent pool and a thriving startup culture.
Michigan experienced dramatic technology industry growth in 2017, adding more jobs in the sector than any other state except California and Texas. The increases come as the state’s economy continues to evolve beyond legacy industries like manufacturing. With Michigan’s powerful automotive industry once again firing on all cylinders, and with vehicle manufacturers continuing to automate and digitize many aspects of their operations, demand for skilled IT professionals outpaces the availability of qualified candidates, which has resulted in high wages and fast-rising employment numbers.
In 2017, the typical Michigan IT professional made $92,000, or 78% more than the average statewide wage. Recent trends in net tech industry employment figures also factor prominently in the Michigan success story. Between 2011-2017, the state saw a surge of almost 22% in technology jobs with the IT sector accounting for 14.5% of Michigan’s total tech employment in 2017.
Connecticut’s technology industry contributed $16.2 billion to the state’s economy in 2017, marking a healthy 6.5% of its total economic output. Strengths of Connecticut’s tech industry include high salaries, consistent job growth, and plenty of opportunity. Connecticut’s IT professionals made an average of $109,390 in 2017, outpacing statewide average annual salaries by 64%. The IT services sector also leads the state’s tech industry in net employment, accounting for more than 29,000 of the state’s 140,600 technology workers.
Connecticut has one of the nation’s deepest populations of recent college graduates, along with valuable tax incentives for digital media businesses and a fast-developing hotbed of entrepreneurial innovation based in the city of New Haven. From 2016-2017, Connecticut also saw an impressive 25.8% increase in the number of technology job openings posted in the state.
In the 2018 edition of CompTIA Cyberstates report, Arizona placed 18th in net technology industry employment, 14th in net technology jobs added, and 19th in innovation. Its IT services sector enjoyed particularly strong growth rates in 2017, adding 5% more jobs to reach a total of just under 42,000. The state’s IT professionals also earn an average of 102% more than the typical Arizona worker with mean tech industry salaries reaching $99,960 in 2017.
A strong focus on new technologies figures prominently in Arizona’s relatively high innovation ranking. Arizona ranks among the nation’s leaders in emerging sectors including 3D printing, artificial intelligence, machine learning, self-driving vehicles, and financial technologies. The state’s governmental leadership also continues to encourage new investment and industry development through its comprehensive and generous lineup of technology-friendly policies designed to serve the state’s growing startup community.
Opportunity abounds for IT professionals in Missouri. In 2018, news agencies based in the state published stories detailing Missouri’s critical shortage of IT workers. Soaring demand for skilled IT professionals fueled a stunning 52.4% year-over-year increase in the number of emerging technology job postings in Missouri in 2017. Administrators in the state’s higher education system note that enrollment in IT-related programs continues to eclipse record highs.
Missouri-based IT professionals collected an average of $88,559 in 2017. This lags behind the national average of $112,890, but beats the typical earnings of IT professionals in the eight states that border Missouri. The Show-Me State outpaces its neighbors by almost 10% in this regard, all while hosting more than 203,000 tech industry jobs, including 44,560 IT jobs. Missouri’s IT sector employment grew by 4.9% in 2017, and demand for capable IT professionals shows no signs of slowing down in the immediate future.
Several aspects of Delaware’s technology industry make it an appealing destination for both emerging and established IT professionals. In 2017, Delaware’s IT workers made an average of $101,170, which compares favorably to the top-paying states in the nation after factoring in Delaware’s relatively modest cost of living. Delaware also counted almost 6,000 IT jobs in 2017, and the state’s technology firms have made aggressive investments in emerging blockchain technologies. Many industry analysts believe blockchain technologies will soon emerge as a major driver of growth, which could pay off in a big way for Delaware in the future.
Overall, Delaware-based companies posted 14,790 job openings in 2017 for a net year-over-year increase of 86.6%. While the research and development, testing, and engineering sectors of Delaware’s tech industry contracted in 2017, its IT sector grew by 3.4%.
How to Choose a Master's in Information Technology Program
Pay attention to program length and instructional methods since many institutions offer on-campus and online versions of their degrees. On-campus graduate programs work well for students who need more structured learning environments. For those who have found full-time employment after their bachelor's program, online classes may present a more flexible solution. Online programs usually allow students to take courses part time, which usually lengthens the time required to complete the degree compared to those who study full time.
Consider tuition costs and availability of financial aid as you make your decision. Research specific coursework at each institution to determine if class offerings align with your professional interests.
Accreditation for Master's in Information Technology Programs
Students should pay attention to accreditation when selecting a program. There are two primary forms of accreditation: regional and national. Regional accreditation is more prestigious than national and is applied to four-year public and private nonprofit universities. National accreditation typically applies to for-profit and vocational schools. Regionally accredited programs usually allow credits to be transferred between them, but not between nationally and regionally accredited schools. Accreditation ensures that a school's course offerings meet high standards of academic quality.
Master's in Information Technology Program Admissions
Students should be aware that admissions requirements differ between on-campus and online programs, as on-campus admissions are often less in-depth than online admissions, which can require multiple meetings with admissions counselors before applying.
What Else Can I Expect From a Master's in Information Technology Program?
For students interested in tailoring their degree to their career goals, many master's in information technology programs offer concentrations. Concentrations are geared toward specialized careers within the information technology field. Each institution's tracks vary, so confirm with specific departments before applying that coursework fits your needs.
|Bioengineering||The bioengineering concentration teaches students about the applications of computer science mathematics and engineering to develop methods for solving clinical problems in surgery and medicine. Students focus on computing, biomedical engineering, human physiology, medical information systems, and medical image processing.||Students who pursue this concentration will be able to pursue IT positions within the medical field and can find work as a biomedical engineer.|
|E-Commerce||In the e-commerce concentration, students study telecommunication and online industry. These classes give students the opportunity to work with industry partners for e-commerce career experience, where they will learn to contribute to the growth of online industry.||Students who pursue this concentration can work in marketing, graphic design, multimedia, and search engine optimization.|
|Network Security||Students interested in networking and computer should consider a concentration in network security. They will learn about the networking interfaces, technologies, and digital communication tools that protect against threats to computer security. They will focus on authentication, cryptography, firewalls, and computer forensics.||Students specializing in network security can find employment as digital security analysts or security auditors.|
|Software Development Management||In the software development management concentration, students study the tools necessary to work in software development management. Students will leave the program prepared to develop a small development team and work as a first-line manager of a company.||Students who pursue a concentration in software development management can work as software developers, IT managers, and other related professions.|
|Multimedia||Students interested in building upon the fundamental principles of computer-aided graphic design, A/V production, and web-based commerce can pursue a multimedia concentration. They will study topics like entertainment, streaming media, and e-commerce.||Careers for multimedia students include graphic designers, video producers, and e-commerce professionals.|
Courses in a Master's in Information Technology Program
Master's in information systems degree programs cover topics like website design and information literacy. Each program has their own coursework, which students should review before choosing a school.
Students will study current and emerging information systems in the emerging information technology course. They will learn about the storage, retrieval, and transmission of information.
Computers in education courses approach the use of classroom technology from two angles: hands-on skill development with software and hardware and an ethical, philosophical analysis of technology use.
In an information literacy course, students will learn about the strategies to teach information literacy and digital citizenship. They will study information presentation, record-keeping, and practices for thriving in information-rich environments.
Advanced website design builds upon students' basic web design knowledge, teaching skills in programs like Java, Flash, and CSS. They will also learn about the World Wide Web Consortium accessibility guidelines and how to address the guidelines in web design.
In designing information courses, students learn to organize ideas in multiple media. They explore information encoding in graphics, text, and audio media, taking care to select appropriate media to communicate ideas.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Master's in Information Technology?
The length of individual master of information technology programs varies, but most programs consist of 45 credits. For full-time students, programs typically take 18 months (five terms) to complete. Students enrolled part time will take longer to complete the program. Most programs offer multiple enrollment periods, including summers, and students who take courses over the summer are usually able to finish their degrees more quickly.
How Much Is a Master's in Information Technology?
Different institutions charge different tuition rates: Students who are residents of a school's state are eligible for in-state tuition, while others may be charged out-of-state tuition, which is more costly. Public schools are usually more affordable than private schools. Some programs offer separate rates for online and part-time students.
Beyond tuition, students should consider cost of living in the area near their chosen institution, including housing and transportation costs. Students should also research availability of assistantships and financial aid at any institutions they consider.
Certifications and Licenses a Master's in Information Technology Prepares For
Earned by more than 38,000 people since its creation in 2002, the CISM certification is highly sought-after for professionals in the digital security strategies industry. Individuals must have at least five years of relevant career experience, including three years as a security manager, and must pass an exam.
Created by the International Council of E-Commerce Consultants, ethical hacker certification is designed for auditors, site administrators, and security officers responsible for data and network security. Interested individuals must take an exam to demonstrate their ability to find vulnerabilities in corporate network defenses.
Microsoft offers a host of certifications in several fields, including data management and analytics, cloud platform and infrastructure, and app-building. One of the top-paying information technology certifications, Microsoft's program validates an IT professional's credentials by asking them to pass a lengthy exam.
This credential, offered by ISACA, is for professionals who monitor, audit, and control IT systems. The certification is designed to improve individuals' abilities to manage vulnerabilities within a system and propose updates to company technology processes.
This certification is offered from the International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium. There are over 122,000 CISSP worldwide. To earn certification, individuals must pass an exam and have a minimum of five years of experience in information security. Continuing education is a requirement of maintaining certification.
Resources for Information Technology Graduate Students
Students can access CNET, a website with articles about and reviews of new technology. The site also features a downloadable software library and a selection of relevant podcasts.
InformationWeek features articles on topics like devops, digital infrastructure, and industry-specific examinations of IT. The depth of its resources makes it a valuable website for students and professionals alike.
Search Engine Land
Search Engine Land provides news and information about search engine optimization and marketing for search engines like Google and Bing, including guides specific to mobile and computer optimization.
Professional Organizations in Information Technology
Students pursuing their master's in information technology should consider joining professional organizations, which offer students and professionals the chance to connect with others in the field. Building professional networks can lead to job opportunities. Professional organizations also furnish access to educational tools and development opportunities like seminars.
Association for Information Technology Professionals
AITP serves as the top resource for individuals interested in advancing their technology career. They are the leading association for technology students, educators, and professionals. The organization also keeps members up to date on technology and business trends, strengthening their technical knowledge and skills.
Association of Computer Engineers
A nonprofit organization, ACE promotes computing standards in the IT industry. It couples with the Association of Computer Engineers and Technicians to serve more than 14,000 members.
Association of Software Professionals
An international professional trade association, ASP offers its members discounts on software and development programs run through affiliated companies.
Computer and Communications Industry Association
An organization created for companies in the information technology, internet, computer, and telecommunications industries, CCIA is a nonprofit professional organization that protects and promotes corporate interests.
Association of Independent Information Professionals
The mission of AIIP is to train their members to achieve business success. The organization has more than 400 members in 20 different countries, and joining provides access to active discussions, a mentorship program, and an annual conference.
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