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What is it like to be an information technology major?

Male information technology major explaining an idea to a classmate

By Cooper Nelson

At a glance

  • Cybersecurity, computer networking and database architecture are some of the subjects studied by information technology majors.
  • More than 97,000 students earned computer and information technology degrees in the U.S. in the 2019 to 2020 school year alone.
  • Professionals in computer and math occupations — including information technology — earned an annual salary range between $47,430 and $163,640 as of May 2021, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • Learn more about the undergraduate online information technology degree at University of Phoenix!

Information technology (IT) refers to the use of computers and other devices to generate, process, protect or exchange any form of electronic data. With the way technology permeates every corner of our world, almost all industries require some IT knowledge. That’s why careers for information technology majors are among the most sought after. This field is projected to grow 15% between 2021 and 2031, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). That’s 418,500 openings each year.

As major life decisions go, choosing your college path is one of the most important. This decision can set the trajectory for your entire life — what you do, where you work and even where you live. At the same time, choosing a college major also has immediate implications that are just as important, like course load, professors, hands-on experience and career outlook. In other words, choosing the right major means discovering one that you enjoy both learning about and working in.

If you think a career in information technology might be a good fit, here are some factors for prospective students to understand about becoming an IT major.

Salary ranges are not specific to students or graduates of University of Phoenix. Actual outcomes vary based on multiple factors, including prior work experience, geographic location and other factors specific to the individual. University of Phoenix does not guarantee employment, salary level or career advancement. BLS data is geographically based. Information for a specific state/city can be researched on the BLS website.

What do IT majors study?    

If you’re interested in information technology, you might be wondering what exactly you’ll be studying. You’ll explore the critical thinking behind some of the most common and complex technological decisions of our day. You’ll spend your time digging into hands-on experiences that help make our digital world turn. Information technology majors have a variety of specializations to choose from, which is what makes this degree so popular. More than 97,000 students earned computer and information technology degrees in the U.S. in the 2019 to 2020 school year alone.

Students who decide to join their ranks can study topics such as:

  • Cybersecurity
  • Network administration
  • Programming languages
  • Algorithm design
  • Web and applications development
  • Information systems management
  • Computer applications
  • Computer network management
  • Hardware and software setup
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Animation, video graphics and special effects
  • Computer service
  • Information security

As the world becomes more digitally connected, the diversity of topics and benefits that students gain from this field of study continues to grow. IT majors are the pulse of some of the world’s most fascinating technological advancements.

Benefits of studying information technology 

Studying information technology can provide myriad benefits, including: 

  • Building a diverse resumé with skills-aligned learning. Technology majors learn in-demand skills that can apply to different industries.
  • Discovering the key principles of system analysis. Studying information technology provides the knowledge for implementing effective information systems.
  • Designing cloud infrastructures. IT majors can fill their digital toolboxes with industry best practices that improve cloud and network infrastructures. 
  • Implementing cybersecurity solutions. Information technology majors learn how to resolve and prevent various computer and network security threats. 
  • Developing key database models. IT majors create effective and efficient processes for the storage and retrieval of data.
  • Designing application processes. An IT degree teaches you how to evaluate, design and implement application software.

Acquiring these valuable skills helps IT majors thrive in most job markets. Alongside opportunities to specialize and enhance their skills, that’s part of what makes information technology a strong choice of major and career path for many people.

Further, professionals in all computer and math occupations — including information technology — earned between $47,430 to $163,640 as of May 2021, according to BLS. Actual earnings can vary, depending on factors such as your specialty and level of experience.

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5 popular specialties for IT majors   

Combining technological expertise with business and communications skills, IT majors can work in a variety of industries, including healthcare, business, education and finance. IT majors must explore specializations that help them gain the skills needed to stand out in the tech industry. Let’s take a deeper look at some of the specializations in the highest demand by employers today. 

1. Data analytics 

Data analytics is the practice of evaluating data to help make informed decisions. Since the process can be applied to any industry — as long as businesses collect data, they will always need to analyze it — these IT majors often have very diverse career options. Those looking toward a career in data analytics might consider pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Data Science degree or some kind of IT degree with a related specialization.

2. Security  

Cybersecurity and network security are subareas of IT that focus on protecting data, preventing security breaches, improving regulatory compliance and maintaining a stable business. Data is one of a company’s most valuable resources, which means cyberattacks can be much more common and devastating than the average person might think. Those interested in a career in this field should pursue a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity. As of May 2021, security analysts earned between $61,520 to $165,920, according to BLS.

3. Cloud engineering 

With more employees working remotely and e-commerce on the rise, cloud computing and cloud technology have become the linchpin for business growth. Cloud engineers need to be critical thinkers and problem-solvers, on top of their expertise with SaaS (Software-as-a-Service), IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-Service) and PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service) technologies and solutions.

4. Software development 

Software developers create, design, implement and support three types of software: systems, programming and applications. From programmers to architects, software developers earned between $64,470 to over $168,570 as of May 2021, according to BLS.

In addition to their engineering skills, software developers must be good communicators and passionate team players. Because development also includes support and optimization, software developers also need to be receptive to critical feedback.

5. Network administration  

IT majors who enjoy getting in the trenches with both hardware and software may enjoy a career as a network administrator. Planning, implementing, optimizing — these are all ways network admins keep computer systems running smoothly. Network administrators earned between $49,560 and $130,830 as of May 2021, according to BLS. Along with skills in virtual desktops, software installation and protocol management, network administration relies on IT admins who can troubleshoot problems and support users in a clear, concise and kind manner.

Choosing your major is a very exciting time, but some people also feel stressed and pressured to make a decision quickly. That’s another reason why information technology is one of the most popular college majors. IT majors have so many opportunities to grow in industries like science, business, marketing, education, government, retail, hospitality and more. It can be a rewarding experience that leads to an even more rewarding career.

Information technology degree options at University of Phoenix

Whether you’re seeking to gain a basic understanding of information technology or cybersecurity, or you’re a working professional looking to expand your skill set, University of Phoenix (UOPX) offers online course collections, bachelor’s degrees and master’s degrees. Learn more about undergraduate and graduate online technology degrees from UOPX and start your IT journey today!

  • Bachelor of Science in Information Technology — In this program you'll learn skills including business process, cybersecurity, information systems, operations and systems analysis.
  • Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity — This online program teaches skills such as security policies, network security, cybersecurity and more.
  • Master of Science in Cybersecurity — This online program explores in depth such skills and topics as cybersecurity, security policies and vulnerability.
  • Certified Ethical Hacker Course Collection — This course collection can help you prepare to sit for the EC-Council Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) certification exam. Topics include the phases of ethical hacking, recognizing weaknesses and vulnerabilities of a system, social engineering, IoT threats, risk mitigation and more.
  • Certified Incident Handler Course Collection — This course collection can help you prepare to sit for the EC-Council Certified Incident Handler (ECIH) certification exam. This specialist certification focuses on how to effectively handle security breaches. 
  • Certified Network Defender Course Collection — This course collection can help you prepare to sit for the entry-level EC-Council Certified Network Defender (CND) certification exam. Courses focus on protecting a network from security breaches before they happen.

 

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