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IT Major: Guide to Degrees, Jobs & Careers

it major

Today, advanced technology and IT systems are integral to so many companies' basic ongoing operations, and the demand for computer and information technology jobs is expected to grow faster than the national average from 2014-2024.1 Yet the various ways these systems are used across different industries creates the need for very different roles within IT departments. For that same reason, an IT major doesn't necessarily cover the same things for every student.

If you're trying to decide what type of IT degree to pursue, we've broken down some of the main options (and differences) below, along with the possible career paths such degrees may make available.

IT vs. Computer Science Degrees

While different schools may offer variations on each, the two main degrees for students looking to work with computer and information systems are bachelor's degrees in IT or computer science. A Bachelor of Science in Information Technology (BSIT) degree focuses on the practical, hands-on daily challenges of keeping a company's IT systems running smoothly. A computer science degree prepares one for more coding-intensive positions, writing and testing new software and applications and designing computer hardware. For this reason, an IT major will involve a stronger focus on business management, communication and information systems, and there may be a lower mathematics requirement.

A BSIT degree may also be offered with specific concentrations or areas of specialization to provide students a stronger focus on a particular area within the field. Types of specialized IT degrees may include network administration, IT security, software development, project management and digital investigations.

IT Jobs and Career Paths

So what exactly can you do with an information technology degree? Since the field is so broad and demand is generally high across many positions, it largely depends on the specific type of work you want to do. For example, do you want to help employees at a company troubleshoot and solve technology problems, keep systems running smoothly during heavy-use periods or work with upper management to plan for future needs?

The following are some of the main IT jobs and careers you can pursue with a degree:

  • IT Support Specialist – Support positions can range from working at a company's IT help desk to providing maintenance and technical support for network administrators. Because these positions provide a good general view of many areas of IT (and frequently only require an associate's degree rather than the bachelor's required for most other jobs on this list), they can act as stepping stones to a future career.2

  • Network Administrator – Network administrators manage the ongoing operations of IT systems (sometimes their job duties overlap with systems administrators). This may involve installing new hardware, troubleshooting, or conduction maintenance to ensure proper functionality.3

  • Systems Analyst – Analysts help assess and evaluate a company's existing IT systems, either generally or at a specific level. They then communicate their findings to upper management along with recommendations for improvements and meeting future needs.4

  • IT Manager – Information technology managers typically oversee an IT department, working with senior management to ensure all technical systems are ready to meet the company's current and future goals.5

  • IT Security Analyst – Security analysts install and implement technology and protocols for preventing cyber attacks on a company's information systems. This may also involve training other employees in computer security and investigating ongoing or successful hacking attempts.6

  • Software Developer – Software developers build and update applications both for customers and for internal company use. They may work with network architects and administrators, as well as a company's chief information officer, to determine the best ways for new software to meet current and future needs.7

  • IT Project Management – Like standard project managers, those working in an IT-specific role help plan and execute major changes to a company's information system. This may include upgrades and installation of new technology, as well as smaller ongoing maintenance projects.5


Ready to learn more? Explore online IT degrees at AIU.


1. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, "Computer and Information Technology Occupations," on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/home.htm (visited May 04, 2016).

2. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, "Computer Support Specialists," on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/computer-support-specialists.htm (visited May 04, 2016).

3. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, "Network and Computer Systems Administrators," on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/network-and-computer-systems-administrators.htm (visited May 04, 2016).

4. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, "Computer Systems Analysts," on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/computer-systems-analysts.htm (visited May 04, 2016).

5. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, "Computer and Information Systems Managers," on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/computer-and-information-systems-managers.htm (visited May 04, 2016).

6. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, "Information Security Analysts," on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/information-security-analysts.htm (visited May 04, 2016).

7. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, "Software Developers," on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/software-developers.htm (visited May 04, 2016).

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