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How to earn a bachelor’s degree in information technology at home

At a glance

  • About 75% of undergraduate students were enrolled in at least one remote course in fall 2020, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
  • Some online information technology programs still allow students to gain real-world experience through practicum and internship components.
  • There are online degree programs in information technology at the associate, bachelor’s and master’s degree levels.
  • Want to advance your skill set in information technology? Learn more about technology degree programs at University of Phoenix!

Pursuing a degree in information technology (IT) has become more accessible in recent years, thanks to the growth of online learning. About 75% of undergraduate students were enrolled in at least one remote course in fall 2020, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. The pandemic and the availability of more online degree programs explain that figure.

Earning a bachelor’s degree in IT online can take four years, though some programs may offer accelerated options that allow students to finish in less time. Students will generally take computer programming, networking and database management courses during these degree programs.

While each online program is different, most require students to complete coursework and participate in discussion boards or other forms of asynchronous communication. Some programs also include a practicum or an internship, allowing students to gain real-world experience in the field.

Earning your degree online

Completing your degree in IT online is a great way to gain the skills and knowledge you need for a successful career in the field. The right program will offer courses that can be completed from home. It will offer flexible scheduling options that make studying and completing coursework around your other commitments easy.

Another option is a certificate program. These programs can give you a more focused education in a specific area of IT and can often be completed in less time than a degree.

Requirements for a bachelor’s degree in information technology

Students must complete relevant coursework over a number of credit hours to earn a bachelor’s degree in information technology. This may include classes in computer science, programming and mathematics. Additionally, students must take exams to demonstrate their knowledge and skills in the field. 

The credit hours it takes to earn a bachelor’s degree in IT vary depending on the institution, but it typically takes four years of full-time study. Students pursuing a degree in IT often have to maintain a rigorous schedule, as the coursework can be demanding. However, those who are dedicated and put in the effort can find great success in the field of information technology.

Students typically need a high school diploma or equivalent to be admitted into a bachelor’s degree program in information technology. Some programs also require students to take entrance exams, such as the SAT or ACT. (University of Phoenix does not. Click here for admissions requirements.) In addition, most programs set a minimum GPA requirement for admission. 

To help pay for school, students can apply for scholarships and financial aid within the institution or from independent sources to help pay for their degrees. Many scholarships and financial aid options are available, so students should research carefully to find the best fit for them.

5 steps to making a financial plan for your education

Popular degree programs

Computer Science

With a bachelor’s degree in computer science, you’ll learn to 

  • Design a minimum viable product from scratch and present it effectively
  • Analyze complex computing problems involving algorithms and data structures 
  • Apply principles of computer science such as logic programming, cloud computing and artificial intelligence 
  • Evaluate software development techniques such as unit testing frameworks for medium complexity projects

Core courses in the computer science bachelor’s degree program include:

This course teaches all the core concepts of computer science, including computational thinking, information abstraction, computing hardware and data processing.

  • WEB/240: Web Design Fundamentals
    This course introduces tools and techniques for web development. To create websites, you’ll learn basic hypertext markup language (HTML), scripting and presentation technologies for creating websites.
  • PRG/420: Java™ Programming I
    This course is an introduction to Java programming. You’ll learn about Java variables, branches and loops, data arrays and more. 

Cybersecurity

With a cybersecurity degree, you’ll learn how to apply mathematics and science in the cyber domain. You will also determine computing requirements needed for solving common technical problems across various industries. Of the information technology programs, this type has an emphasis on cybersecurity careers as well.

Core courses in the cybersecurity bachelor’s degree program include:

  • CYB/100: Cyber Domain
    In this course, you’ll learn about the discipline of securing computer information and communications systems, networks, infrastructures and assets, and how to protect them against damage, unauthorized use, modification or exploitation.
  • CYB/110: Foundations of Security
    This course aims to provide you with a fundamental understanding of how computer and network security threats, such as identity theft or fraud, work. You will also learn about hackers’ various social engineering attacks to access personal information.
  • CYB/135: Object-Oriented Security Scripting
    This course covers various topics, including modules, files, searching and sorting algorithms, recursion and plotting. You’ll apply this knowledge as an introduction to basic forensic investigation.

Data Science

A data science degree covers programming, statistical analysis, mathematical modeling, machine learning and probability theory. The analytics-oriented coursework is designed to teach you to analyze large datasets and develop an understanding of how businesses can use this information.

Core courses in the data science bachelor’s degree program include:

This course provides an introduction to the field of data analytics. You’ll learn foundational principles and practices, including data exploration, modeling and visualization.

This course provides a basic understanding of programming development, including problem-solving skills needed for business information systems. You’ll also learn about functional decomposition, control types, data types and more.

This course teaches the most popular data programming languages: Python, Java and Ruby. You’ll gain high-level knowledge of programming languages and their applicability to database design, development and management.

Information Technology

Information technology programs typically focuses on the study of computer science and mathematics. An information technology degree’s curriculum often includes programming, networking, cloud computing, data structures and algorithms, operating systems, project management and database management.

Core courses in the information technology bachelor’s degree program include:

  • CYB/205: Infrastructure Administration
    This course compares and analyzes security administration for traditional physical infrastructures and evolving cloud infrastructures.
  • NTC/362: Fundamentals of Networking
    This course teaches the fundamentals of telecommunications and networking technologies directly relevant to telecommunications.
  • DAT/305: Data Structures for Problem Solving
    In this course, you’ll learn about the different data structures used in business intelligence and how they’re implemented. You will also develop skills to identify what kind of structure is stored on deployed enterprise information systems to allow more efficient access.

What can you do with an information technology degree? Careers, tips and more

Types of information technology degrees

Students can pursue a few different information technology degrees, each with its own benefits and career paths.

Associate of Arts

An associate degree program can help build foundational skills within a specific discipline. Though they do not go into the same detail as a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree program, associate degree programs can generally be completed faster and at a lower cost. This makes them an attractive option for those looking to get essential information technology skills quickly before joining the workforce.

Bachelor of Science

One of the most common types of IT degrees is the Bachelor of Science in Information Technology, which provides students with a broad overview of the field. This degree can lead to a career in various IT-related fields, such as systems administration, network engineering or software development.

Master of Science

Finally, there is the Master of Information Systems (MIS) program, which is one of the more advanced information technology programs. It can help build the skills necessary for a career in management or directorship, such as project management. With a master’s degree, you can use your knowledge of programming languages and software applications to design, develop and manage information systems.

What is online learning like?

Though an increasingly popular method of study, online learning may be unfamiliar for many used to traditional, in-person learning. The virtual distance between the teacher and other classmates, as well as the flexible schedule, can be difficult to adapt to.

That being said, the many positives of online learning can make it the perfect choice as an educational path. Here are some important things to keep in mind so that you can succeed in your online bachelor’s program (or any other online program for that matter).

Benefits of online learning

There are a few benefits that students enjoy when they decide on an online course of study.

First of all, there’s flexibility. Many students have to balance their family and work lives while pursuing their degree. Students in traditional, in-person classroom settings can find it difficult to fit their education into an already busy schedule. Class times are generally set and mandatory, which can cause conflict with other parts of a student’s life.

Online learning, on the other hand, offers a more flexible education. Students can often choose when and how they study, allowing them to build their education into their lives with minimal disruption. In addition, the time saved by eliminating the commute to a physical campus leaves more time for other activities, such as taking care of the family or pursuing a career.

On top of this flexibility, there is the accessibility of online learning. Instead of expensive physical textbooks, students can access their course materials online with only an internet connection. Students can reach out to their instructors online with questions and find mutually convenient times to dive deeper into class questions or crack a difficult problem.

How to succeed in online learning

There are a few ways you can better prepare yourself to succeed in online learning so that you can develop important skills to carry into your career.

1.     Eliminate distractions

One of the greatest strengths of online learning is that it can be done at home. That fact makes it also one of online learning’s potential weaknesses. It’s important for online learners to create space in their home or office without the noise, video games and socializing that can make it difficult to focus on the task at hand.

2.     Stay organized

When you learn at home, there are not as many forces to keep you accountable to study hard and consistently. You won’t have a teacher watching over your shoulder to make sure you are focusing on your work. It will be up to you to stay on task. Two ways to do that are keeping a calendar or using a project management tool.

3.     Communicate!

You’re not alone in your online education. Though they may be halfway across the country, your instructors, tutors and counselors are there for your benefit. If you’re feeling confused or overwhelmed in class it can be prudent to reach out to your support network for help. It may be just the thing to push you past a challenging subject and toward successfully completing your degree.

4.     Stay motivated!

Without the in-person interactions of a traditional degree program, it’s easy to feel you’re on your own. When setbacks happen, it can be difficult to stay motivated and push through until the end.

Sharing your experience with family and friends can be a great way to stay motivated and get people cheering you on as you complete your degree. Another great way to stay motivated is to keep a journal. Listing out what you’ve learned in your degree program can provide a day-by-day report of your progress.

In Search Of: IT skills

Earn a technology degree online from University of Phoenix

University of Phoenix (UOPX) offers 19 technology degrees that align to 63 occupations and certificate options that allow students to specialize their education in the areas of cybersecurity, software development and cyber network defense. Want to learn more about technology degree programs from UOPX? Here are some available bachelor’s degree options:

  • Bachelor of Science in Computer Science – Students develop the foundational knowledge of IT that can prepare them for roles as application developers, computer consultants and more.
  • Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity – Develop your skills to protect business technology from outside intrusion. Students learn risk assessment and computer infrastructure skills to work as IT systems security analysts and other cybersecurity roles.
  • Bachelor of Science in Data Science – Data is a valuable resource for businesses in a number of industries, and students in this degree program learn many powerful methods of utilizing it. From database analyst to research scientist, the roles this degree can prepare you for can have a big impact.
  • Bachelor of Science in Information Technology Students will learn how to take their experience and education in IT further with new skills in systems analysis, business processes, cybersecurity and more. 

The University also offers associate degrees and master’s degrees. For more information, visit phoenix.edu/degrees/technology