What IT Program Should I Study?

A degree may open the door to a variety of opportunities and diverse career paths. The degree programs offered at AIU will not necessarily lead to the featured careers. This collection of articles is intended to help inform and guide you through the process of determining which level of degree and types of certifications align with your desired career path.

Being “a jack of all trades but master of none” can be helpful when approaching many diverse tasks, but that approach doesn't always cut it when you're pursuing IT career paths. Many careers, especially those in information technology, require high levels of sophistication and specialization, so the more you have to offer in one specific area, the better. The objective is to choose an IT degree program specialization that best fits your goals and interests.

Once you've got it figured out and you've decided to pursue an IT degree program, you can take classes directly related to your field of interest, and work to prepare for the real world by sharpening your knowledge and skills in the exact areas in which you want to work. You can begin by exploring four popular types of IT degree programs and specializations below.

Digital Investigations

The Sherlock Holmes-style detectives of the modern era, digital forensics professionals work closely with police officers and traditional detectives to solve cyber- and web-related crimes.1

Bringing together traditional incident response and digital forensics, skilled digital investigators are especially valuable to organizations who use cloud computing because when hackers threaten these systems, it's increasingly difficult to get to the root of the problem since there's no ownership or access to the physical servers and multiple databases can be on the same platform.2 It takes a special eye to spot discrepancies and irregularities.

People who love solving puzzles by taking data, reconstructing it and analyzing potential risks should be a great fit for the computer forensics specialization.

Information Assurance and Security

Safeguarding people and organizations from hackers stealing their personal data, credit card numbers and hard-earned money is something corporations, governments and others take seriously, as is the ability to safeguard their own proprietary information. Given the projected high demand for professionals trained in cybersecurity, it's not surprising that this is a high-growth field. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the projected growth rate for information security analyst jobs is 28% through 2026.3 This impressive growth means that a degree in information assurance and security could continue to become more and more desirable.

Network Administration

If a company's computer systems shut down, even for only an hour, things can get chaotic quickly. Communication across internal servers is lost, there's no data access for people to continue doing their jobs, customer contact information can't be accessed, and internal needs can't be processed.

Network and computer systems administrators are the sturdy, reliable backbone of the IT industry who keep things running smoothly and allow everyone else in a company to do their jobs efficiently and without issues. They ensure the day-to-day maintenance, operations and upkeep of computer systems, whether they're on localized servers or in the cloud. This means implementing maintenance and updates on all hardware, software and system resources to keep problems at bay, as well as running analyses to diagnose and solve inefficiencies.4

The projected demand for IT employees continues to be positive as organizations invest in new technologies and expand their networks,4 which is a great reason to work toward a network administration degree.

Software Analysis and Development

Software developers, engineers and programmers are the creative minds behind the technology people use every day, including business software, data entry interfaces, mobile applications and more.

Programmers write the code that makes the software work and ensure that the software is functioning properly.5 Meanwhile, software developers create the structure for apps and computer programs. They're the source of creativity for how different features and functions work together. Software development employment is projected to grow by 24% through 2026.6 A software development degree can be a great way to prepare to pursue opportunities in this exciting field.

Earn an IT Degree with American InterContinental University

With the accelerating pace of technology, IT looks to be a key part of the global economy for a long time. If you’d like to learn more about information technology degree programs, you can request information at American InterContinental University.

Are you interested in studying information technology? Learn more about IT degrees at AIU.

1. “Forensic Science Technicians.” Occupational Outlook Handbook. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved from: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/forensic-science-technicians.htm (Visited 3/17/19).
2. “Cloud Computing: another Digital Forensics Challenge.” Forensic Magazine. Retrieved from: https://www.forensicmag.com/article/2009/10/cloud-computing-another-digital-forensic-challenge (Visited 3/17/19).
3. “Information Security Analysts.” Occupational Outlook Handbook. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved from: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/information-security-analysts.htm (Visited 3/17/19). This data represents national figures and is not based on school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary.
4. “Network and Computer Systems Administrators.” Occupational Outlook Handbook. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved from: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/network-and-computer-systems-administrators.htm (Visited 3/17/19).
5. “Computer Programmers.” Occupational Outlook Handbook. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved from: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/computer-programmers.htm (Visited 3/17/19).
6. “Software Developers.” Occupational Outlook Handbook. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved from: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/software-developers.htm (Visited 3/17/19). This data represents national figures and is not based on school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary.

AIU cannot guarantee employment or salary. For important information about the educational debt, earnings and completion rates of students who attended these programs, go to www.aiuniv.edu/disclosures.
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