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How to know if it's time to earn a master's degree in IT

Female information technology student earning a master's degree in IT at home

At a glance

Computers, smartphones and other forms of technology are important to many people and companies today. The subsequent dependency on technology creates a demand for information technology (IT) professionals. In fact, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the employment rate in information technology is projected to increase by 15% between 2021 and 2031. 


Why earning a master's degree in information technology can be valuable

A bachelor’s degree in IT is a great foundation, but it may get you only so far. Earning a master’s degree in information technology, on the other hand, can help graduates enhance their existing career prospects, because it provides opportunities to gain a more advanced skill set within the field.

Having a master’s degree can also give a potential employer confidence that you have in-depth knowledge of and dedication to the field. For example, when hiring managers see a master’s degree on a job application, it’s a good indicator that the applicant has not only studied at a more advanced level but that he or she is also committed to growing within the profession.

If you already have a job as an IT professional, earning a master’s degree may help you advance within your organization by showing management your commitment to learning and growing. It also shows that you’re not just interested in getting paid more — you also want to learn more about your field to improve your work.

Below are some additional benefits of earning a master’s degree in IT.

Improved salary potential

IT professionals with an information technology degree at a graduate level can earn more than those with a bachelor’s degree

According to BLS, computer and information systems managers earned between $95,220 to $208,000 annually in May 2021. BLS also reported that the top-earning industries for these workers were information services; finance and insurance; and computer systems design.

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IT student studying on desktop computer

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

Enhanced opportunities

A bachelor’s and master’s degree in IT may help with job placement since employers are generally looking for highly skilled workers with the latest knowledge and training. In fact, a recent study found that over 70% of Apple’s and Google’s job postings for IT roles required applicants to hold a relevant degree.

Many companies, meanwhile, see value in continuing education programs that give existing employees access to new technologies, skills and knowledge. Master’s degree programs often accomplish all those things. For example, a Master of Science in Information Technology offers several avenues to build your knowledge of new technologies and desired skills.

In the end, an advanced degree can offer a competitive advantage to those beginning or continuing their careers.

Professional relevance

The ever-changing landscape of information technology makes it important for professionals to keep up with the latest trends and technologies. A master’s degree can help IT professionals keep their skills relevant, which can be attractive to potential employers looking to deploy cutting-edge technologies and methods. 

Development of management skills

One reason people pursue an information degree at the master’s level is that it bridges the gap between client needs and technical applications. A master’s in IT can provide the necessary tools for using technology to problem-solve and optimize processes. However, it’s important to note that IT goes beyond simply supporting a business and its goals. IT is often fully integrated into business strategy. Leaders with IT experience are now needed in various roles throughout a company, including in the C-suite.

Since successful IT projects require workers’ input at all levels, from technicians to project managers, having strong project management skills is essential. A master’s IT degree with built-in leadership training can help you build the necessary project management skills for leading a team through complex challenges.

Knowing how to manage yourself and other team members can help you get your work done quickly without sacrificing quality or effectiveness — which means less time spent doing busy work and more time innovating!

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Infographic of magnifying glass "in-search-of IT"

In Search of: IT skills

How to decide if a master's degree in IT is right for you

Before enrolling in an IT master’s program, consider your career goals. Are you interested in pursuing a management position? Do you want to work for a large company or start your own business? Are you looking for opportunities in research and development? Do specific industries interest you?

Next, consider your current job situation. If you already have a job, does your employer offer tuition reimbursement? Is there room for advancement with the company? Does management encourage employees to pursue higher education?

Other important considerations include whether you can afford to return to school and if you’re willing to make the necessary time commitment. Before enrolling in an IT master’s program, it’s important to consider the pros and cons carefully. Here are some questions prospective students should ask themselves before enrolling:

  • Will I be able to pay off my student loans?
  • How much time will I have to devote to the program?
  • Do I have other obligations to work around, like family or professional commitments?
  • Can I handle the demands of an advanced academic program?
  • Do I have a clear idea of what I want to do with my master’s degree?
  • Do I want to continue working full time while I pursue my degree?
  • What is my budget?

When selecting an information technology master’s program, do your research. Look at the school’s accreditation status, see what kind of experience the faculty members have and check out the curriculum. Also, consider how often the program updates its courses with new computing technology and industry standards.

Ultimately, whether you pursue a master’s degree in IT is up to you. As with most fields, success in the IT industry depends heavily on an applicant’s experience, abilities and credentials. 

Earn a master's degree in technology at University of Phoenix

If you’re curious to learn more about an online master’s degree in technology, University of Phoenix offers a variety of flexible programs.

  • Master of Information Systems Develop skills to manage information systems and emerge as a real leader in the field of information technology. This master’s program can prepare students for careers as information system directors and managers.
  • Master of Science in Data Science – From database design to strategic planning for large-scale data systems, this program covers skills that form the cornerstone of advanced work in IT.
  • Master of Science in Cybersecurity – As information technology continues to advance, so too do the threats posed by hacks and data breaches. In this program, students develop the skills necessary to protect data systems from the danger of bad actors.

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