Online information technology (IT) degrees give students a thorough overview of the structure and function of computers, computer software, networks, and databases. Armed with this knowledge, students can then use their critical thinking skills to troubleshoot hardware and software problems at an organization, implement a sensible database structure, and even set up and sustain wireless networks.
While information technology is a broad-based degree like computer science, IT does not explore computer theory and algorithms to the same extent as a degree program in computer science. IT tends to emphasize learning computer systems to solve technical problems in a workplace setting, and how to most effectively use existing operating systems and software to accomplish workplace goals, while computer science tends to emphasize the design of operating systems and software.
Since IT is such a broad field, students often specialize in specific areas. Common IT specializations include: network administration, web development, and information assurance and security. IT course work explores database systems fundamentals, programming and programming logic, operating systems, systems analysis and design, IT security, and technical decision-making.
Online IT degrees are so broad-based that they can lead to a variety of careers. At the associate degree level, graduates of such programs might pursue careers as computer support specialists, help desk technicians, and programmers, while those with bachelor’s degree will be more eligible for positions as database administrators, computer systems analysts, and network architects. Online graduate degrees in IT can lead to careers in IT consulting, education, research, and management.