Information technology (IT) is the use of computer hardware, software, electronics, telecommunications equipment, and other technology to collect, store, deliver, and process data for personal or business purposes. IT is a practical engineering discipline that prepares students to oversee the various computer needs of organizations, such as selecting and installing products for a company, teaching employees how to use them, and repairing computer problems. At the doctorate level, students will take advanced courses in information technology and perform many hours of in-depth research within the field. This rigorous program is designed for students and professionals who already have a master’s degree in information technology and are ready to engage in a high-level learning experience.

Why a Doctorate Degree?

The doctorate degree is the pinnacle of academic achievement for information technology and many other disciplines. Advanced course work and independent research helps students gain expertise in IT and other specialty areas. It’s this higher level of training and personal contributions to the field that make doctoral students incredibly valuable employees. If you want to take your IT knowledge and skills to the next level and pursue advanced leadership positions, you should consider earning the online PhD in information technology.

Getting Into a Doctorate Degree Program

Admission requirements to a doctoral degree program vary from school to school. In addition to having intelligence, patience, and a strong curiosity, PhD applicants also need to have the following educational requirements:

  • Bachelor and/or master’s degree from an accredited institution
  • Minimum required GPA
  • Passing score on the GMAT, GRE and/or qualifying exams
  • Completion of prerequisite course work/work experience

Inside an Information Technology Doctorate Degree Program

Depending on your individual program, course load, and pace, information technology PhD programs online can take anywhere from 10 weeks to three years. Some common courses students can expect to take include: information technology research and practice, special topics in information technology, quantitative research techniques, survey research methodology, and design science research methods. Some doctorate programs require students to take a consulting practice seminar or a teaching practice seminar in IT to get hands-on experience and apply their skills to an area of interest.

Throughout the PhD program, students will work closely with faculty members and conduct original research that will be used in a dissertation/thesis. After completing all required courses, PhD students will be required to take a doctoral comprehensive exam to measure their competency and readiness to teach undergraduate classes in their field. Generally, schools have PhD committees to assess the students’ overall exam performance, proficiency, and academic research.

What’s Next for Information Technology Doctorate Degree Holders?

Graduates of the information technology PhD program are prepared to do several different jobs in academia, private industry, government, and other fields. A common route for many doctorate degree holders is to become postsecondary teachers in information technology or a related subject. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of postsecondary teachers is predicted to grow 17% by 2020 because of rising enrollment rates at higher education institutions. In addition to having good employment prospects, postsecondary teachers also have favorable salaries. In 2012, postsecondary teachers made an average annual salary of $77,500. A non-academic career option is to become a computer and information research scientist. According to the 2010 BLS report, employment of computer and information research scientists is expected to increase 19% by 2020. Computer and information research scientists generally make favorable salaries because of the nature of the work and their level of expertise. In 2012, these professionals made an average annual salary of $103,670, according to the BLS.