Best Information Technology Degrees 2021

Best Information Technology Degrees 2021

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Students pursuing an information technology degree can expect exciting, well-paying career opportunities following graduation.

Information technology (IT) refers to the design, implementation, and maintenance of computer systems and networks for data processing and distribution. Data may include graphics and statistics, along with facts that require analysis, storage, or presentation.

IT professionals need highly developed technical acumen. Advances in the IT field often occur quickly. Information technology professionals undergo continuing training and education to keep up with field developments. IT positions also require strong analytical and critical thinking skills, and these professionals must apply creative problem-solving techniques.

Information technology roles involve close collaboration with peers and management teams. Professionals may also be responsible for specific project segments. The best information technology programs help learners develop the time-management and organizational abilities necessary to succeed in the field.

What is information technology?

Information technology refers to the development and design of computer systems, software, and networks for the purpose of gathering, storing, and analyzing data.

How long does it take to earn an information technology degree?

Bachelor's programs in information technology typically comprise 120 credits. Most full-time students graduate in four years.

What kind of information technology degree can I get?

Schools offer information technology degrees at the associate, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral levels.

What is the difference between information technology and computer science?

Computer science focuses on programming, which involves artificial intelligence, software, and graphics. Information technology deals with the operation and utilization of computer systems and networks.

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Career and Salary Outlook for Information Technology

Graduates of accredited IT programs can qualify for a variety of jobs in the computer sector and other professional fields. Information technology degree-holders often pursue roles in business, healthcare, and finance. Companies and organizations in many fields hire IT professionals as project managers, database administrators, and security analysts.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects jobs in the computer and information technology sector to increase 11% from 2019 to 2029, which translates to more than 530,000 new jobs. This projection, compared to the 4% projected growth rate for all occupations, demonstrates the robust nature of the IT and computer sector. According to the BLS, IT professionals earn an above-average median salary of $88,240 per year.

IT specialists often pursue additional education to expand their career options. Individuals can earn a master's degree or a doctorate in a specialized field such as digital forensics, data analytics, software development, or network administration. Most postgraduate programs take at least 1.5 years to complete. IT professionals can also obtain professional certificates, which generally take less time to complete than degrees. Additional training and advanced credentials can qualify professionals for leadership positions and higher earning potential.

CareersLowest 10%Median Annual SalaryHighest 10%
Computer Support SpecialistsLess than $38,990$63,460More than $106,420

Source: BLS

Accreditation for Information Technology

Educational accreditation attests to the quality and rigor of a school's offerings. Some accrediting agencies accredit entire institutions, while others evaluate specific programs. Nonprofit degree-oriented institutions usually receive regional accreditation, while for-profit sectarian and vocational schools often earn national accreditation. ABET awards accreditation to computer and information technology programs.

Only students at accredited schools can qualify for federal financial aid, including federal grants and scholarships. Many private scholarship programs also require applicants to attend an accredited institution.

Courses in an Information Technology Program

Classes in the best information technology programs help learners develop technical knowledge and soft skills. Students prepare to handle new tasks created by rapid developments and advances in the field. Degree-seekers hone skills in critical thinking, programming, and collaboration. IT curricula often require internships, exams, individual and class projects, and research papers.

The list below includes a few courses common to many of the best information technology programs.

Algorithm Design and Analysis

The course introduces enrollees to advanced design and algorithm analysis techniques. Students develop the skills necessary to perform multifaceted tasks, such as designing efficient algorithms using complex data structures. Enrollees also learn about advanced graph algorithms, methods for routing data through a network, and approximation algorithms.

Computer Architecture

This course explores foundational concepts related to the organization and design of computer systems. Topics include processor design, interrupts, micro-coding, and timing issues. Students also examine parallel techniques that enhance performance, such as pipelining, superscalar execution, and branch prediction. The class culminates with a lab project, which allows learners to demonstrate mastery of design and organization concepts.

Database Management Systems

Enrollees learn how to create, manage, and maintain database systems. Through hands-on training, enrollees learn to design data models and use SQL to interface with multiuser data-management systems. This course introduces the characteristics, classifications, and terminology embedded in various database systems.

Foundations of Networking

Students develop a basic understanding of networking fundamentals. Coursework covers topics such as the Open Systems Interconnection model, transmission control protocols, and wireless local area networks. Learners become familiar with networking devices including routers, switches, and network interface controllers.

Principles of System Analysis and Design

The course explores object-oriented approaches, designer use and system interfaces, and risk and resources management. Learners also examine analysis, model, and evaluation requirements. Students learn about information analysts' roles in various workplace settings. Degree-seekers learn how to analyze, enhance, and safeguard organizations' operations and processes.

IT students often qualify for STEM scholarships from colleges and universities. They can also apply for scholarships from professional associations, private nonprofits, and corporations. Information technology students at the associate, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral levels can qualify for financial aid. Some awards support IT students in certain specialization areas.

Who Can Apply: These awards support full-time undergraduate degree-seekers who are studying computer science or a related field, such as information technology. Applicants must have completed at least one semester of their program and need a minimum 3.0 GPA.

Amount: Varies

Who Can Apply: Morgan Stanley offers this scholarship to minority sophomores and juniors. Applicants must be pursuing an information technology degree at an accredited four-year college or university. Recipients complete a summer internship with the company.

Amount: Up to $10,000

Who Can Apply: This award from Stantec supports undergraduate students pursuing a degree in a STEAM field, an area of science, technology, engineering, arts, or mathematics. Applicants must belong to a historically underrepresented group and demonstrate financial need.

Amount: $1,500-$10,000

Best Information Technology Degrees 2021

The list below ranks the nation's best information technology programs. Factors that influence this ranking include program cost, faculty credentials, specialization options, and financial aid opportunities. The list serves as an excellent starting point for students researching the most affordable information technology programs.

See our rankings methodology page.

  1. Florida State University

    Tallahassee, FL



    Founded in 1851 and based in Tallahassee, Florida, FSU enrolls nearly 44,000 students each year.

    FSU's College of Communication and Information offers a bachelor of science in information technology with two majors, several minors, and a certificate.

    Students may major in information technology or information, communication, and technology. All IT students must complete prerequisite coursework with a C- or above before being admitted into the major program. Prerequisite courses cover psychology, statistics, macroeconomics, precalculus or discrete math, ethics, databases, programming, and object-oriented programming.

    Core coursework involves six credits in foundation work and 30 elective credits in the areas of database management, data science, application development, user-centered design, leadership and management, networking and cybersecurity, and health information technology.

    Florida State University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  2. University of Central Florida

    Orlando, FL



    Founded in 1963 and based in Orlando, Florida, UCF offers more than 230 unique degree programs to over 17,000 enrolled students.

    UCF offers a BS in information technology through its College of Engineering and Computer Science. The four-year program offers rolling application deadlines in spring, summer, and fall semesters.

    The curriculum explores computer network concepts, evaluating network media, protocol, and the standards for local, metropolitan, wide area, and wireless networks. Students learn about frontiers in information technology and system administration and maintenance for an array of servers and applications.

    Applicants to the UCF program must submit SAT or ACT scores, a personal essay, and a completed online application. Students may elect to join the UCF cybersecurity competition team and compete in the National Collegiate Cyberdefense Competition.

    The University of Central Florida is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  3. University of South Florida

    Tampa, FL



    Established in 1956 and based in Tampa, Florida, USF enrolls more than 37,000 undergraduate students and 11,000 graduate students annually.

    USF offers a BS in information technology through its College of Engineering and Department of Computer Science and Engineering. The 120-credit degree program covers programming, databases, networking, human-computer interaction, web systems, and cybersecurity.

    Students gain the fundamental knowledge and expertise to solve computer technology problems and ensure user reliability. For admission into the program's upper-division coursework, students must meet prerequisite requirements with a minimum C grade in discrete mathematics, introductory statistics, conceptual physics, and pre-calculus with algebra and trigonometry.

    The core curriculum entails 87 credits in areas including math and science, general education, basic engineering, and 50 credits in a chosen specialization area. The program also requires nine credits (three courses) in composition and technical writing.

    The University of South Florida is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  4. Florida International University

    Miami, FL



    Established in 1965 and based in Miami, FIU offers more than 300 academic associations, honor and professional societies, cultural organizations, and interest groups to its students.

    FIU's Knight Foundation School of Computing and Information Sciences offers a BS in information technology. The 120-credit program comprises core courses in microcomputer organization, human-computer interaction, computer operating systems, applied computer networking, and website construction and management. Additional courses include computing and network security, intermediate Java, information storage and retrieval, and component-based software development.

    Students also take five electives in an area of their choosing. Options include system administration, application development, security, network administration, and database administration.

    FIU also offers a bachelor of science in information technology with a software track, a bachelor of arts in information technology, and a combined bachelor of science in information technology with a master of science in engineering management pathway.

    Florida International University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  5. Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University

    Tallahassee, FL



    Founded in 1887 and based in Tallahassee, Florida, FAMU enrolls nearly 10,000 students each year.

    FAMU offers a BS in information technology through its Department of Computer and Information Sciences. The program is designed to meet ABET requirements for program accreditation and based on the ACM curriculum guidelines for information technology. This BS in IT features cross-disciplinary IT concentrations.

    Students choose from electives in other disciplines such as health informatics, criminal justice, engineering technology, STEM, business, and education. The 120-credit program requires two concentrations, each entailing 3-4 classes. Students select concentrations in information assurance and security, health information technology, data mining, mobile computing, and web design.

    Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

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