So you’re sitting at your day job, dreaming about your escape plan . . . And then your boss walks in, hands you another assignment, and the cycle continues!
Sound familiar? If so, a career change might be in order.
A new career sounds incredibly intimidating, but it might be more in reach than you think thanks to a growing number of online bachelor’s degrees in the field of information technology, a field that is experiencing rapid growth and unprecedented demand for professionals who can navigate this complex and ever-changing landscape.
What kind of online information technology degree should you get?
Common concentrations in information technology degree programs include cybersecurity, software and application development, and web design.
If you want to work with large enterprises to keep data safe, consider a program in cybersecurity. These programs teach skills like secure programming, network defense, and security risk management. Cybersecurity professionals also develop the communications and planning skills necessary to defend their organizations against social engineering attacks.
Software and application development focuses on the skills necessary to build applications for both computers and mobile devices. These courses teach programming languages like C++ and Python, enabling students to create functional applications for business or personal use.
Web design degrees look at the specific challenges of building content for the web. In these courses, expect to learn about user experience, using databases to support web services, and visually appealing design for desktop and mobile.
What can you do with an online bachelor’s in information technology degree?
IT professionals work as analysts, developers, or administrators. The full job title will usually indicate which systems or services they oversee, such as web developer or network administrator.
Developer – Developers are responsible for the creation of the programs and websites used by the general public, or the underlying systems that allow those to exist. They make sure code runs smoothly, and also often play a role in visual design of the site or app.
Analyst – Analysts look at the systems and measures already in place in an organization, such as its IT implementations or network security. They then implement improvements that make the organization safer or more efficient.
Administrator – Administrators oversee and maintain IT systems, such as databases or local networks. They also often set policy on how these systems can be accessed.
How much money do people make with an online bachelor’s in information technology degree?
Positions and pay scales within information technology vary significantly, with some professionals making slightly more than $50,000 per year and others breaking $100,000. Highly-paid positions in the field include computer network architects, who draw a median salary of $109,020 per year, and information security analysts, whose median salary in 2018 sat at $98,350. Web developers and computer support specialists, meanwhile, made between $50,000 and $70,000 per year.
New positions in computer science and information technology open every day. Most professions within the field are growing at a rate well ahead of the national average, with some showing projected growth of nearly 30 percent over the next decade.
What are the best online bachelor’s degrees in information technology?
Looking for the best value in information technology degree programs? These rankings can help. Using data from U.S. News & World Report and Payscale.com, the rankings consider a mix of each school’s academic quality, affordability, and student satisfaction. Schools that score highly are those with qualified faculty, reasonable tuition and fees, and solid graduation rates for their online bachelor’s in information technology programs. You can look at these schools with confidence in their ability to prepare you for the job at fair annual prices.
Penn State remains one of the industry leaders in online education in a wide variety of areas. It was one of the original pioneers in distance education, and it continues its success in this arena year after year. For students looking for training in information technology, Penn State World Campus offers a Bachelor of Science in Information Sciences and Technology.
The degree is appropriate for those who are currently employed in IT, have an associate degree, and want to continue their education; are currently employed in other professional or preprofessional positions and wish to expand their employment opportunities; are already employed in IT and want to enter a bachelor’s degree program but have no previous credits toward an IT degree; or simply want to change careers and do not have an IT background. The program offers two optional areas of concentration:
Integration and Application
Information Systems: Design and Development
The faculty for the program come from a diverse number of backgrounds, including computer science, engineering, psychology, chemistry, artificial intelligence, and more. Penn State’s program is academically rigorous yet career focused, so students can rest assured that they will be well prepared for the next step in their respective careers.
Arizona State University, another pioneer and leader in online post-secondary education, offers a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology. Students will be prepared to design, select, implement, and administer computer-based information solutions to a wide variety of real-world problems.
Students will acquire a number of highly valuable skills, including the ability to create network architectures within a secure infrastructure, configure and administer complex computer and database systems, and design and process interactive information management solutions, including big data applications. Needless to say, ASU grads will be well prepared to face just about any challenge their careers might throw at them. Students will select a primary focus area from some of the following specializations:
Network Security and Administration
The curriculum at ASU emphasizes project development and problem solving. Each semester, students will create a project-based solution to a complex information technology problem and present their work. The last two semesters of the program are devoted to developing and demonstrating a practical solution to a large, complex problem in the field.
Oregon State University offers a unique program for students interested in transitioning into information technology but have already earned a B.A. or B.S. in another field. Through its School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, it offers an online degree program that introduces programming fundamentals, software engineering, computer systems and networking, mobile and web development, and user interfaces.
Students are able to merge their previous undergraduate degree with computer science skills in OSU’s program in order to expand their career possibilities in a quick and efficient manner. The skills students will acquire are transferable to any number of professions, including medicine, business, and entertainment. Some of the highlight classes are:
Defense Against the Dark Arts
Mobile and Cloud Software Development
The program offers one-year, two-year, three-year, or four-year track options. Students can choose which option best suits their background and needs. The intense, one-year track is for those who can be full-time students online, and it is designed specifically as a post-baccalaureate program that features only the required courses for computer science.
California Baptist University offers an online Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Technology. It is designed to provide students with problem-solving skills so that they will be able to respond to whatever real-world problems they might face in their careers. The program is also designed to be a comprehensive computer science and information technology degree, so students will be able to perform a number of practical tasks.
Students will also come to appreciate the role computer information technology plays in organizations and be able to address the unique technology needs of companies and organizations. Coursework will introduce students to Internet applications, databases, and networking applications, as well as programming, project management, and computer security. More specifically, classes will include:
Legal and Ethical Practices in Informational Technology
System Analysis and Design
Computer and Network Security
Students will also acquire an outstanding technology foundation in several additional areas, including building skills in strategy, innovative problem-solving, and critical thinking relevant to today’s global technology environment. Both traditional and emerging technological developments are addressed in the program, so students can be confident that they will be prepared to deal with problems old and new.
Colorado State University-Global Campus has made great strides in online education in recent years, and its Bachelor of Science in Information Technology is no exception. The program prepares students not just in programming and computer science but also in real-life situations that will require students to apply their technical knowledge.
This curriculum will give students a firm footing in basic computing, storage, and networking devices and then proceed to develop proficiency in emerging and innovative technologies that will lead to certification exams and increased value on the job market. Through a unique partnership with CompTIA, students will be well poised for a number of certification exams, such as:
Graduates have experienced excellent placement records in recent years thanks in part to CSU-Global’s emphasis on not only technical education but also practical application, such as IT troubleshooting, software and hardware service and repair, teamwork skills, business know-how, network design and administration, database design and development, operating systems, software and web application development, and IT security.
The University of Florida, located in Gainesville, Florida, offers an online Bachelor of Science in Computer Science that is highly interdisciplinary in character. The degree is administered through the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, so students have considerable freedom to explore additional interests during the course of their program. The program is designed to open as many doors as possible to students in a career field that is growing and changing by the day.
Graduates will be well prepared to serve the computer and information technology needs of virtually any industry, from financial companies to insurance, health care, security and many more. Depending on their career objectives, skills, and strengths, students will have the ability to tailor their program to their interests. The program is offered entirely online, and local students can complete traditional on-campus courses as part of their degree if they wish. Classes include:
Data Structures and Algorithm
Digital Logic and Computer Systems
Application of Discrete Structures
The skills students will acquire in Florida’s program are not necessarily limited to traditional programming occupations. Examples of occupations some graduates have filled include but are not limited to the following: business intelligence analyst, computer programmer, computer systems analyst, database administrator, information security analyst, information systems manager, network systems administrator, software applications developer, and more.
Daytona State College has developed a national reputation for excellence in computer science education in recent years, and its online Bachelor of Science in Information Technology is no exception. Students in Daytona’s program can expect to be well prepared for technical positions in the fields of information systems management, information technology, network security, digital forensics, and computer programming.
Mathematical and scientific principles form the foundation of Daytona’s program, and specifically how those principles relate to engineering technology applications and technical solutions to real-world problems. Topics covered in the curriculum include some of the following areas:
Computer Network Design and Maintenance
Information Assurance and Security
The program encourages a broad understanding of processes that support the development, delivery, management, and security of information systems. Furthermore, students will develop a broad understanding of the key principles and practices of engineering technology, the written and oral communications skills, and the ability to work with others to apply these skills and knowledge to the design, implementation, and maintenance of systems.
Loyola University of Chicago offers a focused and highly technical Bachelor of Arts in Information Technology that will appeal to career-oriented individuals looking for professional credentialing in the field. It offers training in skills such as Java programming, object-oriented software development, networks and telecommunications, web development, and database management.
Students do not need to have a comprehensive background in computer science or information technology to enroll in the program, but they can expect to graduate with marketable skills that will enable them to master the rapid development of computer technologies. It is ideal both for students who plan to begin new careers or reinvent current ones. Examples of coursework in the program include:
Software Development for Mobile Devices
Social, Legal, and Ethical Issues in Computing
LUC’s program also offers an expedited completion option known as FASTRACK, which is designed for those interested in leadership roles in information technology. This program offers accelerated eight-week courses that allow students to complete their degree more quickly than a traditional semester system. Students can complete their degree entirely online or take classes on campus if they live in the Chicago or surrounding area. Online students benefit from the same professors on-campus students learn from.
The University of Nebraska System, one of the country’s leading public institutions of higher education in a variety of disciplines, offers a Bachelor of General Studies in Information Technology through the Omaha campus. The University of Nebraska System has a long history of excellence in distance education, and it has continued to perfect its offerings through highly interactive courses taught by world-class faculty members.
This degree offers training in areas such as programming, data management, and networking. Students can expect to acquire basic technology and computing skills that will be useful to employers in virtually every conceivable industry. Some of the courses students can expect to encounter in Omaha’s program include:
Applications and Technology
Programming on the Internet
File Structures for Information Systems
Business Data Communications
This degree is ideal for students who enjoy using their technical, managerial, and business skills to analyze problems and develop ideas for solutions. Students in the online Information Technology program will learn to identify emerging technologies to help their businesses succeed in a global environment.
The University of Central Florida is a national leader in online education, and it prides itself on its affordability in addition to its quality of programs. UCF offers an online Bachelor of Applied Science in Information Technology designed to serve students who desire to advance personally or professionally.
The program is geared toward non-traditional students, whether that be simply distance learners or adult learners and working professionals who wish to either start a new career or further an existing one. General skills students can expect to acquire in the program include management and communication, with emphasis on developing skills in critical thinking, problem solving and decision making. Courses include:
Applied Systems Analysis
Wide Area Networks
Computer and Network Security
Local Area Network Technology
The curriculum consists of core courses in ethics, management, and communication in addition to information technology training. Applicants to the information technology concentration should ordinarily hold an associate’s degree in computer science or a related field or at least three previous courses in the areas of computer applications, computer networking, computer programming, internet technologies, or their equivalent.
Regent University, located in Virginia Beach, Virginia, is a powerhouse in online education. It offers extensive options in online information technology education, and its Bachelor of Science in Information Systems Technology (IST) with a General concentration will appeal to the majority of students seeking undergraduate training in the area.
The degree is offered fully online, but it is also offered on campus, and students in the area can opt to complete courses in the classroom as well. Students will learn to use technology and manage information in ways that organizations require, as well as tools to ensure that technology functions are designed well and are working securely, reliably, and efficiently. Common careers for IT grads include:
Network or Systems Administration
Information Technology & Assurance
The General concentration also includes coursework in business, which several programs on our list have recognized is crucial to technology professionals in the twenty-first century as the gap between technology and commerce continues to close. Students will also acquire the technical and organizational expertise to design, develop, and manage complex information systems in addition to learning how to ensure the information technology dimensions of organizations are working securely, reliably, and efficiently.
The University of Minnesota is another national leader in public higher education. Minnesota offers an online Bachelor of Science in Information Technology Management that prepares students for technology, networking, and information management in a wide variety of careers, such as business, finance, telecommunication, government, and education.
Minnesota’s program is another one that offers a combination of training in both technology and business education. Common careers for graduates of Minnesota’s program include information network administrator, webmaster, systems engineer or analyst, applications developer, technology project manager, and information systems manager. Courses in the program include but are not limited to:
Introduction to Management Information Systems
Networking Standards and Protocols
Database Management Systems
The program requires 120 credit hours, and approximately 55 of those must be in the area of Information Technology Management. Students can expect to find their skills useful in a number of settings, such as private businesses and industries, corporate IT departments, education, financial institutions, and federal, state, and local government agencies. In addition to the above occupations, graduates could also work as chief information officers or applications support specialists.
Oregon Tech offers an online Bachelor of Science in Information Technology that provides a challenging, state-of-the-art education for those interested in learning the dynamic and growing field of information technology. The program recognizes that the information technology field is varied and interdisciplinary.
This curriculum offers training in core business disciplines, such as analytical skills and problem solving; business organization and management; project management; and leadership, teams, and communications. Students can also expect to receive training in some of the following areas:
Systems Analysis and Design
Web Page Design and Development
Oregon Tech’s program is an intentionally highly technical program that will appeal to both first-time college students and working adults who already have some existing college credit. The program has a lenient transfer credit policy, so students stand a good chance of being able to count previous education toward their IT degree. The format of the program is designed to fit the lifestyles of both working adults and full-time students.
The name University of Maryland University College should be familiar to anyone who has spent any time researching online education. It has established itself as a leader in the field and its reputation continues to increase. UMUC offers an online Bachelor of Science in Information Systems Management designed to appeal to those who are looking to move into a management position and bridge the gap between an organization’s functional users and technical developers.
The program recognizes that information systems management is a critical part of the strategic decision-making process in virtually all of today’s public and private organizations, and thus like many other programs on our list, it offers training in both information technology and business management. The program’s curriculum was developed in consultation with chief information officers and other high-level IT professionals to help students prepare for a career as an:
Information Systems Manager or Supervisor
IT Project Manager
Information Assurance Manager
Students can also pursue the program as a minor area of study. Coursework in the program will teach students to conceptualize, implement, and manage high-quality, secure information systems. The curriculum, which is kept updated, relevant, and accurate with input from IT employers, focuses on the methods, concepts, and practical applications of information systems in the workplace.
The University of Massachusetts offers an online Bachelor’s in Information Technology through its Lowell campus. It is a contemporary and relevant program designed to prepare students for the widest possible array of career options in the industry. The degree is available entirely online, but local students can opt to take on-campus courses as well or a mixture of both.
Coursework in the program emphasizes both breadth and depth and include such topics as programming, networking, database management, website design, multimedia, Java programming, web development, Linux / UNIX systems administration, network security, and relational database concepts. Additional courses in the program include:
Project-Based Information Systems
Students in the online program benefit from the same courses, faculty, resources, and curriculum as on-campus and traditional students. Thus working professionals and mid-career students can pursue their degree with confidence that they are receiving a world-class education.
Central Washington University has two online options for students interested in information technology: a Bachelor of Science or a Bachelor of Applied Science in Information Technology and Administrative Management. Both degrees are designed to prepare students for information technology, administrative management, or retail management and technology careers. Both degrees can be earned entirely online, and both are highly practical by design.
Students may enter the program from any previous associate’s or bachelor’s degree, and CWU accepts ITT transfer credits toward their Bachelor’s programs. The program can be completed entirely online. Core coursework in the program includes networking, web, information management, and human-centered skills. CWU also offers six different minors and certificate programs, many of which can be completed online as well. The program offers several areas of specialization, including:
Retail Management and Technology
Students in the program will acquire training in the detection, protection, and recovery from attacks to an organization’s information assets. Career prospects for graduates of CWU’s program include security engineer, security analyst, information security analyst, network security engineer, information assurance engineer, security administrator, and information technology security analyst.
Northeastern University, located in Boston, Massachusetts, offers an online Bachelor of Science in Information Technology program through its College of Professional Studies that trains students in the areas of the analysis, applied design, development, implementation, and management of information technology systems.
Coursework in the program addresses a wide variety of areas, including programming for traditional, Web, and mobile applications, and for networking, database, and information security. The program also places an emphasis on business and management training skills so that graduates will be well prepared to face real-world workplace challenges. Courses in the program include:
Operating Systems Concepts
End User Data Analysis Tools
Technology and Applications of Discrete Mathematics
The program offers several concentration areas so that students can specialize their degrees according to their individual interests. Examples of particular skills include applications development, Web and multimedia design, systems and network administration, database administration, and business analysis. Job prospects in information technology are excellent, with areas such as computer network systems, cyber security, and database administration being leading specializations.
The University of Denver, a private institution in Denver, Colorado, offers an online Bachelor of Arts in Information Technology through its University College, which caters to nontraditional and adult learners. Students will receive training in systems analysis and design, networking, and web design and programming.
The program is open to students who are interested in entering the information technology field for the first time as well as mid-career individuals who desire to refine their skills or pursue a new avenue in their profession. The program is offered completely online, but it is also available on campus as well, and working students can take advantage of evening classes. Courses in the program include:
Systems Analysis and Design
Programming and Data Structures
Network & Internet Fundamentals
Denver’s University College also offers a Master’s program in Information and Communications Technology, and students who complete the Bachelor’s program and are interested in furthering their education will be well prepared for Denver’s graduate program.
LeTourneau University, a private nondenominational Christian university in Longview, Texas, offers a Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems. It provides students with both analytical and specifically technological skills. The program prepares students well to enter a fast-paced marketplace.
Students will acquire training in broad-based computer information systems support and will also be able to identify and execute particular organization goals through computer information systems planning, design, development, integration and evaluation. Students will also gain an appreciation of best industry practices, management, working with stakeholders, and security concerns. Areas of concentration for the degree include:
Programming for Information Systems
Operating Systems or Web Development
Particular skills students will have the opportunity to develop in LeTourneau’s program include computer system design, software publishing, data processing, hosting, network security, and more. The program is available entirely online, and students in the area can also complete coursework on campus. The course schedule is flexible, and many classes can be completed in as little as five weeks.
George Mason University offers a robust online Bachelor of Science in Information Technology that focuses on the technical side of the profession, such as applying information technology to support business processes, exercising problem solving abilities, and developing communication skills.
Students will be well prepared to fill virtually any role in the industry in a wide variety of settings. Students who are academically inclined will also be well prepared for graduate study, whether that be through George Mason’s own graduate program or that of a different institution. Topics covered in the program include such areas as information security, information systems, telecommunications, and other related IT fields. More specifically, coursework includes:
Object-Oriented Techniques for IT Problem Solving
Systems Analysis and Design
The majority of courses in Mason’s program can be completed entirely online. Students are advised to confirm with the program administrators which ones are eligible for distance education. Areas of concentration in the program include Database Technology and Programming, Health Information Technology, Information Security, Network and Telecommunications, and Web Development and Multimedia.
The University of Illinois Springfield has been offering online programs at various levels in a wide variety disciplines for years, so it has extensive experience in distance education. UIS offers a Bachelor of Science in Information Systems Security, which is designed to provide students with a strong foundation in computer science and related disciplines.
This degree provides students with experience in mastering problem-solving skills relevant to the business, scientific, and public sectors. The program places a particular emphasis on information security, including the design and implementation of secure systems, security assessment, and computer security ethics. Relevant career tracks for this particular program include:
Network and Computer Administration
The program can be completed entirely online but also on campus as well for students who happen to be local, and it has received national recognition as a partner in the NSF Center for Systems Security and Information Assurance. Its curriculum has been additionally certified by the Committee of National Security Systems and the National Security Agency and has received recognition by a number of other national bodies.
Walden University offers an online Bachelor of Science in Information Technology for students who are interested in integrating information technology with business and management. Students are equipped with both technical skills and an understanding of basic management and organizational concepts.
The program emphasizes teamwork, real-world challenges, and problem solving. Walden’s program is one of the few online programs accredited by ABET, the internationally recognized accreditor for college and university programs in applied science, computing, engineering, and engineering technology. Students can thus be confident in the quality of education they receive through this program, and potential employers will recognize the assurance the accreditation provides. The degree incorporates concentrations such as:
Cyber Security and Forensics
Networking and Operations
Walden has furthermore been designated by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education. Students should also be able to demonstrate sensitivity to the impact of technology on the individual, the organization, and society as an information technology professional.
The University of North Texas, located in Denton, Texas, offers a Bachelor of Science in Information Science, which prepares students in areas such as information organization, information architecture, information seeking and use, health informatics, knowledge management, digital content and digital curation, and information systems.
The degree is designed to offer training in the multiple skills needed to navigate the intersections between information, people, and technology, including social media, security, privacy, digital divide, information literacy, open access, digital curation, and more. Students are able to customize their degree at UNT through various concentrations or through selecting a minor area of study or certificate in an allied field. Examples of coursework include:
Information Retrieval Systems
Metadata and Networked Information
Data Modeling and Warehousing
Students can choose how to pursue their degree—while an entirely online option is available, on-campus courses are available as well, and students can mix the two delivery modes if they are able. Faculty members possess extensive training and experience in the field and maintain membership in a variety of societies and associations, such as the iSchools consortium, the American Library Association, the American Society for Information Science and Technology, and the Knowledge & Information Professional Association.
Colorado Tech has positioned itself as a major player in online education in recent years, offering a variety of undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs in technical and other fields. CTU offers an online Bachelor of Science in Information Technology, which is designed for career-oriented individuals who are also critical thinkers.
The program is designed to be rigorous and thorough, and students in the program come from a wide variety of backgrounds, including aspiring professionals, career switchers, and mid-career professionals looking for the next step in their careers. Core courses include:
Colorado Tech offers some of the most variety in their program through several different programs distributed among two primary areas: Cyber Security and Information Technology. Both programs also emphasizes the “soft skills” necessary to perform in leadership capacities and also communicate with upper-level management.
Drexel University, a private institution with three campuses in the Philadelphia area, offers an accredited online Bachelor’s in Computing and Security Technology program that focuses on educating professionals in a variety of corporate, government, and non-profit organizations for critical roles in computer system administration and computing security.
The program is practical in nature, and it emphasizes how computing concepts apply to real-world experience. The program caters primarily to those who currently work in information technology and are looking to enhance their careers or pursue continuing education. Working adults from other areas can also complete the program if they have either an associate’s degree or completed the equivalent of two years of college coursework. Core courses for the program include:
Public Key Infrastructure Technology
Disaster Recovery and Continuity Planning
Information Technology Security Systems Audits
Students who have completed IT certifications such as A+, Oracle 9i DBA, Windows 2008+, CCNA, or related areas might be eligible to earn credit toward their degree. The program is available fully online, and it is organized into four 10-week quarters per year, which means students can complete more courses in a shorter period of time. The program offers two concentrations in Computing Security or Computing Technology.
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