8 Essential Degrees for IT Professionals

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IT ProfessionalsAs modern businesses rely more and more on digital tech, IT professionals must be proficient in a wider variety of knowledge and skills in order to provide adequate assistance.

A bachelor’s degree in information technology might get you a job, but you will need more nuanced experience in other branches of the technology tree in order to excel. Here are eight other degrees to help you find and keep a career in IT.

1. Information Systems

Valuable IT is much more than knowing how to turn a computer off and on again; the technology of a business is a complex system, and not every aspect of that system is wholly computer-based. In fact, a company’s non-IT employees are integral members of the technology machine. An information systems degree helps an IT professional understand and aid every element of the system, and thus it often includes courses in diverse subjects, such as:

  • Social science
  • Information theory
  • Information technology
  • Management

2. Information Assurance

More and more companies are ditching their filing cabinets in favor of digital storage, but keeping precious data online can be dangerous. Enter: the information assurance degree. IT professionals who have a background in information assurance are skilled in protecting digital data from hackers and thieves.

Considering that the biggest news stories of the past few years have concerned major breaches of corporate networks (Sony, Home Depot, Target, Ashley Madison, etc.) maintaining a strong security force within the IT department is crucial to business survival.

3. Web Development

The Web has fundamentally changed how consumers shop; research shows that more than 81 percent of shoppers investigate potential purchases online before laying down any money, and economists estimate that $243 billion in retail sales comes from online shopping. Thus, companies are becoming more reliant on their IT workers to build and maintain attractive, conversion-driving websites.

A Web development degree prepares a professional to oversee every step of the development process, from hiring contractors to using industry software to managing teams. Some programs even include instruction on application development and graphic design.

4. Database Administration

Unlike other IT professionals, database administrators have specific roles within a company; unbothered by more ordinary IT tasks, database administrators focus intently on an organization’s database: the place where any piece of business information lives and thrives. Databases take quite a lot of work to install and maintain; their architecture must be precise to help non-IT workers function at peak efficiency. A degree in database administration will teach eager tech-enthusiasts the ins and outs of databases, to include:

  • Operating systems
  • Programming languages
  • Computer architecture
  • Networking
  • Web servers

5. Network Engineering

Network EngineerNot many people realize that computer networks have been around almost since the first computers — though initially, networks were uncomplicated and incredibly expensive. Today, almost anyone can set up a basic network in their own home, but business networks require a more complex, organized network to function properly.

Network engineers are trained to design and support networks that non-IT employees can use with ease. At times, these networks may even connect to others outside an organization to allow seamless communication and cooperation.

6. System Administration

Also called network system administration, this field is largely responsible for the maintenance of the networks that skilled engineers create and implement. System administrators tend to focus on the security aspects of networks, which are perhaps the most exposed aspect of a company’s technology system. Students of system administration study potential security gaps in different operating systems and database systems, and they thoroughly understand the details of modern digital communications.

7. Software Engineering

While other degree programs on this list specifically prepare students for employment in an IT team (whether inside an organization or outside as independent contractors), software engineering provides students the knowledge and skill necessary to create outstanding computer software, which isn’t necessary essential to IT function. However, with the increase in popularity of marketing apps and security programs, software engineers are highly desired by companies in basically every industry.

8. Computer Engineering

A combination of electrical engineering and computer science, computer engineering instructs tech-minded students about the mechanical aspects of building and maintaining digital systems. The interrelation between hardware and software can cause many problems, and computer engineers are often called upon to construct computer systems that can efficiently handle the stress of everyday business. Computer engineering degrees are tough and highly technical, requiring students to delve into topics such as:

  • Circuits
  • Microelectronics
  • Logic design
  • Signal processing
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