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What is it like to be an information technology major?

Michael Feder

Written by Michael Feder

Kathryn Uhles

Reviewed by Kathryn Uhles, MIS, MSP, Dean, College of Business and IT

Male information technology major explaining an idea to a classmate

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 from 2022 to 2032, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) by about 377,500 openings each year.

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. BLS Occupational Employment Projections, 2022-2032 is published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This data reflects BLS’ projections of national (not local) conditions. These data points are not specific to University of Phoenix students or graduates.

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.

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 an annual salary range between $51,850 and $176,760, with a median wage of $104,200, as of May 2023, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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 2023, security analysts earned between $69,210 to $182,370, with a median wage of $120,360, 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 $77,020 to over $208,620, with a median salary of $132,270, as of May 2023, 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 $58,680 and $148,710, with a median wage of $95,360, as of May 2023, 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.
Headshot of Michael Feder

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

A graduate of Johns Hopkins University and its Writing Seminars program and winner of the Stephen A. Dixon Literary Prize, Michael Feder brings an eye for detail and a passion for research to every article he writes. His academic and professional background includes experience in marketing, content development, script writing and SEO. Today, he works as a multimedia specialist at University of Phoenix where he covers a variety of topics ranging from healthcare to IT.

Headshot of Kathryn Uhles

ABOUT THE REVIEWER

Currently Dean of the College of Business and Information Technology, Kathryn Uhles has served University of Phoenix in a variety of roles since 2006. Prior to joining University of Phoenix, Kathryn taught fifth grade to underprivileged youth in Phoenix.

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This article has been vetted by University of Phoenix's editorial advisory committee. 
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