An information technology (IT) degree is an educational degree offered at the associate, bachelor, master, and PhD levels. For those wanting a career in the IT field, the most common requirement is a bachelor’s degree. A foundation of mathematics, science, and engineering is combined with coursework such as data management, data structures, numerical analysis, and programming languages to prepare students for a professional IT job. While multiple majors are provided within the IT umbrella, the most popular chosen majors are information systems and computer science.
In this definition...
Where to get an IT degree
Because there are thousands of IT degree programs, choosing a well-ranked, accredited program will help prospective students secure an IT job after graduation. Popular IT programs include:
- Southern New Hampshire University: B.S. in information technologies
- Purdue University Global: B.S. in information technology
- Capella University: B.S. in information technology (ABET-accredited)
- Colorado State University Global: B.S. in Information Technology (Online Degree)
- Western Governors University (WGU): B.S. in Information Technology (Online Degree)
- Arizona State University: B.S. in Information Technology (Online Degree)
- American Public University: B.S. in Information Technology (Online Degree)
IT vs. computer science degree
The IT and computer science fields have a lot of overlap in skills and duties, but the labels should not be used interchangeably when referring to degree programs. Choosing between an IT or computer science degree will not only affect the coursework of the program but also the jobs one is qualified for after graduation.
The primary difference between the two is the stage at which one is involved with the development and application of new technologies. A computer scientist typically creates new technologies and enhances or upgrades existing technologies. Information technologists will apply these innovations to real-world scenarios such as business and consumer applications.
Common courses to earn a bachelor’s degree in IT includes:
- IT Operations Management
- Infrastructure and Hardware
- Enterprise Application Support
Common courses to earn a bachelor’s degree in computer science include:
- Mobile Application Development
- Introduction to Business Intelligence
- Advanced Cloud Computing Technologies
What to expect from an IT degree
While researching information technology bachelor programs, confirm the school accreditation for the degree versus a certification from the school you wish to attend. Many IT bachelor’s degree programs do not require any prerequisites, yet different colleges may require a standard GPA requirement to declare in that degree major.
Most IT degrees are designed under a standard 4 years or a minimum of 120 or 125 credit hours of required coursework completion to graduate. Countless colleges now offer courses that allow you to choose between a traditional 4-year program or an accelerated 2-year program that is attended either entirely online, on-campus, or a hybrid of both to meet your study needs. The cost to acquire a Bachelor’s in IT can range from $18,000 to $68,000 depending on multiple factors such as in-state tuition versus out-of-state tuition and private versus public colleges.
Many IT Degrees also offer the opportunity to specialize in industry career paths such as:
- Network Administration
- Web Analytics & Development
- Information Systems Management
Students can also seek multiple industry certifications alongside their degree. These programs include certifications from global industry certificates such as CCNA, CISSP, CCNP, CompTIA Network+, PMP, and CompTIA Security+.
Common IT jobs
Top careers that often require an IT degree include:
- Information Technology Architect
- information Technology (IT) Trainer
- Information Technology Specialist
- Information Technology (IT) Manager
- Information Technology (IT) Supervisor
- Information Technology (IT) Director
Other jobs that can be pursued with an IT degree include:
- Software Developer
- IT Consultant
- Computer Forensic Analyst
- Computer Network Architect
- IT Business Analyst
This article was reviewed and updated in February 2022 by Amanda Scheldt.