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Overview

Information Technology is the term for the transmission of information by computers—something everyone does these days, from teenagers chatting online to huge corporations performing major business transactions. Computers are a vital part of our personal and professional lives, and specialists in the field of Information Technology grow more important every day.

Information Technology covers the entire spectrum of computer-based information, and if you undertake study in this field, you’ll learn about it all. First of all, you’ll learn about computer hardware and software. You’ll learn how to view and send information by computer, and how to adapt, control, and improve the experiences had by computer users. You’ll also learn how to create and modify the very systems that transmit the information—and how to best distribute that information to the target audience.

Though you’ll learn theories about information and information distribution, most of your work will be hands-on—getting practical experience with the computer systems that you may someday oversee or improve. Your studies will touch on many different computer-related fields such as programming, designing, and engineering. The internet—a main source of information—is constantly growing and changing, and you’ll learn about web-based computer applications, the fundamentals of e-commerce, and the importance of web security. Ethical issues will also be part of your studies. Finally, you’ll learn how Information Technology affects business and society, and how it can and should be best utilized.

Degree Information

A M.S. in Information Technology (I.T.) or Information Technology and Management (I.T.M.) is one option for students. The program generally takes about one year and prepares students for various careers in Information Technology. A M.S. in I.T. can also lead to a Ph.D. in another computer-related field, or to a Ph.D. with significant research possibilities in the field of Information Technology itself.

Questions to Ask Yourself When Choosing a Degree Program

  • What sort of research have the faculty been involved with?
  • What about the graduate students? Do their projects interest me?
  • Will my own research ideas fit with the general "theme" of the program, if there is one?
  • What sorts of careers do graduates of the program pursue? Is the program known for graduating a lot of database administrators, for example?
  • How helpful is the program in job-placement after graduation?
  • How connected is the program to business and industry? Can I make good connections?

Career Overview

Many graduates of programs in Information Technology go on to work with databases of various kinds. They become database analysts and administrators, who oversee the development and use of databases in small and large corporations alike. Database administrators and analysts are responsible for organizing and monitoring the flow of information within an organization.

Information Technology graduates often use their computer skills to become hardware or software engineers, designing and building more powerful and user-friendly computers and computer systems and more useful computer applications. Some I.T. grads become help-desk technicians or PC support specialists, lending their expertise to trouble-shoot in a company or via telephone.

Information Technology graduates can also use their skills to develop multimedia content for the Web, manage internet usage within a corporation, and manage a company’s local computer networks. Bottom line: Information Technologists are needed in every facet of the computer world, from development to improvement to management.

Career/Licensing Requirements

Information Technology specialists who decide to become database administrators sometimes choose to become certified, such as Certified Oracle Database Administrators, but certification is not required in the field.

Information Technologists who choose to focus on networking might need to become certified in specific hardware or software applications—they might be a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer, a Cisco Certified Internetworking Expert, or a Certified NetWare Engineer. The Help Desk Institute also offers certification to those graduates hoping to receive certification to practice general computer support. More specific certifications for help desk technicians are also available.

Salary Information

There are many possible career paths for Information Technology specialists, so a good estimate for a starting salary is difficult to make. It’s reasonable to estimate a starting salary of $40,000-$59,000, though this can vary widely depending on location and type of job.

Related Links

Information Technology Association of America
The Information Technology Association of America offers information such as industry statistics and information on technology-related jobs to help Information Technology professionals.

Library and Information Technology Association
The Library and Information Technology Association website provides a link to its quarterly journal, Information Technololgy and Libraries.

Association of Information Technology Professionals
The Association of Information Technology Professionals provides information, education, and peer support for IT professionals in government, industry, and academia.




SAMPLE CURRICULUM

  • Information Technology For Business

  • Computer Programming (Such As Java And C++)

  • Designing E-Commerce Applications

  • Digital Media Design

  • Internet Technologies

  • Multimedia Authoring

  • Networking

  • Structuring Data For The Web

  • Video Game Production

  • Web Development

  • Web-Based Data Applications