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Technology degrees have grown in popularity through the years, despite its reputation as a challenging major. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects an 11% growth across all computer and technology occupations from 2019-2029.
Some students obtain technology degrees for the high earning potential and job diversity in the field. Analytical individuals with a knack for problem-solving and a vision for the future can find satisfaction in pursuing technology or computer degrees.
Computer science (CS) and information technology (IT) degrees are the two major tech disciplines. A CS degree covers programming, mathematics, and theory, while IT programs prioritize computer theory through maintenance and practical use. Most tech occupations, such as network architect or software developer, fall into either the IT or CS categories.
This guide delves into the technology degree levels and available concentrations for aspiring tech professionals.
What Is the Field of Technology?
Modern technology includes electronics, computers, and robotics. However, the creation of the first stools in the Stone Age marked the beginnings of technology. This was followed by incredible innovations from the 15th-century Renaissance and the 19th-century Industrial Revolution.
The 1900s welcomed the world of electronics, paving the way for modern technology and computer degrees. In a digital world, technology affects numerous industries, such as agriculture, construction, and retail, providing millions of jobs. A few tech subfields include cybersecurity, software development, and web design.
Most businesses handle sensitive data and manage an online presence, meaning tech graduates may work in different environments. For example, some professionals might work as data analysts for major retail companies, while others partner with local farmers to develop efficient software.
CS and IT professionals typically possess a love for technology, an eye for detail, and sharp analytical skills.
Why Get Computer and Technology Degrees?
The digital movement and the drive to create more efficient systems provide diverse technology jobs in nearly all sectors, including healthcare, finance, and energy.
According to the BLS, the median salary for technology occupations is more than double the national median salary. With a college degree, software developers, computer network architects, and computer information research scientists can earn six-figure salaries.
A 2018 survey by the Partnership on Employment and Accessible Technology found that 63% of companies lack a technology-savvy staff. As part of the digital age, the skills learned in a computer and technology degree are invaluable in any industry sector.
Many individuals imagine what the coming years hold, but technology graduates help design the future. Technology professionals improve current computer systems and create more efficient methods to improve our lives.
As technology evolves, professionals also look to grow their knowledge. Many workers opt for certifications, higher degrees, or continued experience in the field. Career growth often presents higher salaries or more prestigious positions.
Learn more about computer science and IT
Jobs for a Tech Major
Jobs for technology majors vary and often depend on degree level. Some entry-level positions do not require college degrees. For example, companies hiring computer support specialists may accept tech-savvy individuals with high school diplomas or certificates.
For more advanced positions, employers usually expect an applicant to hold at least a bachelor's degree. Some companies may prefer tech professionals, specifically those working in database administration or information security analysis, to hold master's degrees.
Available jobs also depend on your chosen concentration. While technology positions cover all industries, a cybersecurity concentration may provide more options in the financial sector. Likewise, a biotechnology focus can land you a job in the healthcare or environmental industry.
To learn more about in-demand technology careers, explore the links below.
Types of Technology Degrees
Pursuing a college degree requires a significant time and financial commitment. Before enrolling in a technology program, ensure that it offers the right educational path for your professional plans.
Certificates or associate degrees allow graduates to quickly enter the workforce. These shorter programs prepare students for entry-level positions in the tech field.
Individuals looking for higher-paying jobs can consider longer educational pathways, such as bachelor's and master's degrees. Bachelor's and master's programs offer more comprehensive studies but require a larger financial and time commitment.
Explore the requirements and outcomes of various technology programs below.
Technology certificates offer the quickest way to enter the workforce. Students may spend only 6-18 months studying. The requirements vary from 15-27 credits, depending on the technology focus and the institution.
Most certificate programs have no general education requirements, allowing students to focus solely on tech skills. Popular program options include cybersecurity, web design, support specialist, and computer programming certificates.
Numerous working professionals opt for a certificate to facilitate a career change. Likewise, recent high school graduates eager to start their first technology jobs may prefer certificate programs over longer degree options. To accommodate various schedules, institutions offer classes in online, on-campus, and hybrid formats.
While the names look similar, a certificate is not the same as a certification. Students earn certificates after completing academic programs, while certifications involve an assessment by independent organizations to demonstrate skill mastery.
Associate degrees typically require two years of study and 60 credits. Application requirements typically include a high school diploma or equivalent, including certain high school math courses.
Students may choose from four degree types: an associate of science (AS), an associate of arts (AA), an associate of applied science (AAS), or an associate of applied arts (AAA).
An AS prioritizes math and science topics while preparing students to continue their education with a bachelor of science (BS). An AA delivers a broader liberal arts education covering various topics. Graduates from AA programs can continue their education with a bachelor of arts (BA) degree.
Degree-seekers who do not wish to pursue bachelor's degrees may opt for AAA or AAS programs. These degrees mirror the AA and AS options but provide students with the skills to immediately enter the workforce.
Since IT and CS programs include a math foundation, many institutions offer AS or AAS degrees. However, some schools offer an AA in technology.
Similar to an associate degree, students may choose between a BA or BS degree in technology. A BA allows students to explore various subjects, such as humanities, philosophy, and history. A BS degree dives deeper into math and science, requiring more courses in these subjects.
A bachelor's in technology typically takes four years to complete 120 credits. Common courses include programming, database management systems, and web development. Schools may offer BS or BA degrees online, on campus, or as hybrid programs.
Regardless of the format, institutions request high school or previous college transcripts, exam schools, and a general application. Many schools also require an application fee, essays, and recommendation letters.
Most IT and CS positions require a bachelor's degree. Potential occupations include computer programming, network and computer systems administrators, and database administrators.
Students can pursue a master of arts (MA) or master of science (MS) degree. Since a master's degree in technology involves extensive research and specialization in a tech subset, most schools offer MS programs for IT or CS professionals.
Enrollees can also pursue a master of business administration (MBA) degree. While these programs do not directly correlate to technology, many students begin with bachelor's degrees in technology before pursuing MBAs. Candidates with degrees in both fields demonstrate that they can bridge the gap between the business and technology disciplines.
A master's program requires about two years of study or at least 30 credits. Some schools offer accelerated master's degrees in combination with bachelor's programs. MA and MS programs set extensive admission requirements, which vary among institutions.
Typically, prospective graduate students must provide proof of prerequisites, strong GPAs, letters of recommendation, and resumes.
Types of Tech Majors
Earning an information technology or computer science degree provides students with a fundamental exploration of the digital industry. While these general degree programs provide valuable insight into the theories behind technology, some enrollees may wish for more specialized education.
Many students already know their ideal technology jobs. Some plan for cybersecurity positions, while others aim to design software. A tech concentration allows students to focus on one aspect of technology or computer science. Instead of only theory classes, enrollees can take career-specific courses, such as malware analytics, to supplement the general courses.
Unlike a minor, a concentration must be a subset of the student's major. Concentration requirements vary by institution but typically require 12-24 credits. A minor usually requires similar credits in a different field of study.
Colleges do not always require tech concentrations, but students can pursue these specialties to prepare for specific career goals. A general IT or CS degree still delivers skills for many technology positions through foundational courses.
How to Select a Concentration
A tech concentration allows students to develop expertise in specific fields. Graduates may enjoy more job opportunities and higher pay in niche fields. Before choosing a concentration, students should reflect on their abilities, desires, and future goals.
Analyze your strengths and weaknesses to identify your ideal concentration. While certain specialties may pique your interest, some may require skills you may not enjoy. Since a concentration prepares you for specialized tech positions, carefully choose a pathway that matches your strengths.
Consider what excites you about the technology industry. Review the available classes for each concentration and ensure the pathway you choose aligns with your passions and interests.
By matching your concentration to your intended career path, you may increase the chances of landing the job you want.
While technology jobs continue to grow substantially, the BLS projects a negative outlook from 2019-2029 for some concentrations, such as computer programming. By choosing an in-demand specialty, you may encounter more job opportunities after graduation.
Popular Tech Concentrations
The technology field comprises numerous industries and sectors. Available tech concentrations may seem endless, especially as the field continues to grow and evolve. However, many students begin exploring possible specializations within core areas, such as biotechnology, cybersecurity, and programming.
While many schools offer more comprehensive specialization options, the following list provides an overview of common tech concentrations.
Learn more about areas of study in technology
Information Systems Security
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What majors are there for technology?
Common tech majors include cybersecurity, database management, computer science, and data science. Many institutions also offer software application development, data analytics, web development, game design, and information systems programs.
Q. Is a computer science degree worth it?
An encouraging job outlook and attractive salaries make computer science degrees worth the years spent studying. In May 2020, the median annual income for technology workers reached over twice the national median salary.
Q. Are tech majors in demand?
Yes. The BLS projects an 11% employment growth rate for computer and information technology positions from 2019-2029. CompTIA also reported a low 2.4% unemployment rate for IT occupations in May 2021 — less than half the national rate.
Q. What jobs can you get with an information technology degree?
Available jobs for IT graduates vary across numerous fields. Professionals may work as web developers, programmers, information security analysts, network administrators, software developers, and more.
Q. What tech degree pays the most?
Many tech degrees may allow graduates to pursue high-paying jobs. For example, network architects, who typically need a bachelor's degree, earn a median salary of $116,780. A higher degree in the field, such as a master's or Ph.D., can also lead to lucrative positions as computer and information research scientists, earning a median salary of $126,830 as of May 2020.
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