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Best Online Master’s Degrees in: Information Technology

Editor’s Picks: Online Schools for Information Technology

Value
Johns Hopkins University offers the best online information technology master’s degree program for value. Johns Hopkins University has an 8.7% annual return on investment without financial aid, and an 11.2% return on investment with financial aid, according to PayScale.com.

Flexibility
Colorado Technical University wins best master’s degree for flexibility in information technology. Colorado Technical University provides 24/7 technical support, archived class lessons, and a smartphone app. My Unique Student Experience (M.U.S.E.) allows students to connect with faculty and peers, and access class materials and online training applications wherever they have an Internet connection.

Career Support
Virginia Tech wins for best career support in an information technology online master’s degree program. Virginia Tech provides a list of program graduate profiles and their employers. Students may access career services during and after graduation to look up salary information and check out career source information, or access in-depth job search, resume, and reference tips.

Financial Support
According to the Online Education Database, Colorado Technical University provides 96% of its students with financial aid. For this gesture towards helping a large number of students afford their college tuition, Colorado Technical University is awarded the best online information technology master’s degree for financial support.

Technology/Tech Support
Johns Hopkins University is the best school for technology and tech support in an online information technology master’s degree program. Ranked No. 1 by U.S. News & World Report for student services and technology, Johns Hopkins University offers 24/7 live tech support and provides service on a 256k Internet connection. Students may also utilize smartphone applications and both live and recorded videos and audio lectures.

Student Engagement/Activities
Southern Polytechnic State University is the best school for student engagement and activities due to its range of student organizations available to online students. Southern Polytechnic State University has extended its community online with national and professional organizations capable of connecting through OrgSync. U.S. News & World Report lists Southern Polytechnic State University as No. 1 for student engagement and accreditation.

Disability Support
Arizona State University’s Disability Resource Center helps students who document disabilities. Arizona State University’s online environment is accessible for all students, and provides equipment and necessary accommodations for students who require the Disability Resource Center’s services. Arizona State University wins the best disability support services in an online information technology master’s degree program.

Library and Research Support

Arizona State University wins the best library and research support for an online master’s degree program in information technology for its Library One Search tool that allows students to search for books, journal articles, and streaming media through one search tool. Subject librarians are accessible through Arizona State University’s library website.

Learning Support
Penn State provides timely professor response, live tutoring, and discussion boards, as well as other collaborative tools for student interaction. Penn State’s information science program has been designated a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security, according to its website. For all of these reasons, we name it the best online information technology master’s degree program for learning support.

Faculty Credentials/Qualifications
Pace University’s faculty all have at least two years of online teaching experience with required online instruction training provided by the school. U.S. News & World Report ranks Pace University No. 3 for faculty credentials and training, but it wins our award for best faculty credentials and qualifications for an online master’s degree program in information technology.

Faculty Accessibility and Involvement
Colorado State University is the best online master’s program in information technology for faculty accessibility and involvement. Colorado State University’s instructors respond to student e-mails and questions within 12 hours and offer 40 hours of office time per week. Eight instructors teach online-accessible courses full-time, and faculty track student log-in and accessibility through RamCT Blackboard.

Alumni Engagement
Penn State has the largest alumni association in the world, with more than 164,000 members. Offering the first year of alumni association membership free after graduation, the Penn State Alumni Association allows members access to volunteer opportunities, friendships, and professional networking opportunities through LionLink. We award Penn State the best alumni engagement for an online master’s degree program in information technology.

Prior Learning Options
North Carolina allows transferrable credit for military training and examination. Graduate transfer students may be eligible for graduate credit hours, according to North Carolina A&T’s graduate transfer website. North Carolina A&T is the winner of best online information technology master’s degree for prior learning options.

New Online Student Orientation

Colorado State University’s RamCT Blackboard orientation course provides students with the opportunity to become familiarized with online course operation before the start of their degree course work. Students may learn how discussion groups will operate, and how assignments, course material, and exams will be implemented. Colorado State University is our winner for the best online information technology master’s degree new student orientation.

Explore a Master’s Degree in Information Technology

Information technology is a subfield of engineering which involves the use of computers and other technological devices to store and share information. This can include specialties such as information security, networking, project management, enterprise architecture, and health informatics. Online master’s degree programs in information technology seek to equip students with the technical skills and business knowledge they need to work in a variety of industries. Given the widespread use of computers and electronic data in the modern workplace, information technology graduates have a very favorable job outlook. Potential career paths could include computer and information systems management, computer systems analysis, database administration, and computer network architecture, to name a few possibilities.

Online students have the option to continue to gain valuable work experience as they pursue their master’s degree either full or part time. The typical time to completion for this type of program is one to two years. However, the number of courses a student elects to take each term, any applicable transfer credits brought in, and whether or not a student remains continuously enrolled at the school can all influence how long it will take for a student to finish their degree.

Class Curriculum

Students enrolled in this type of program should expect a mixture of theoretical and practical instruction. Foundational courses will cover topics such as database management, business process management, systems development, and technical communications. In addition, many programs will also incorporate classes in leadership, ethics, and business to help prepare graduates for careers in management positions. Some examples of courses that may be offered include:

  • Information Technology Management. This survey course will explore the role of information systems in the larger scheme of business organizations. Topics of discussion will focus on improving work practices and strategy.
  • Business, Ethics, and Society. This type of course is designed to prepare students for leadership positions by exploring the ethical, social, and business aspects of management decisions. The course will also cover topics such as global business ethics and social justice.
  • Security in the Digital Age. Students will learn about the planning, control, and security of e-commerce systems. This includes electronic payment systems, risk management, control systems, encryption, security measures, behavioral aspects, and assurance methods.

Information technology students can expect assignments such as situational problem sets, computer lab exercises, and written reports. In addition, group projects and presentations may be required. Since this type of program will focus on practical applications in the workplace, students should be prepared to complete a variety of hands-on assignments such as networking, systems analysis, or database administration projects.

Building a Career

Those who earn an online master’s degree in information technology have the technical, analytical, and leadership skills to pursue management positions in the field. This could include positions as computer systems analysts, database administrators, computer network architects, or information systems managers. With the transition of almost all businesses to electronic records and digital communication, information technology graduates face a favorable job outlook.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the demand for computer and information systems managers is expected to increase by 18% from 2010 to 2020. This is faster than the predicted growth of 14% for all occupations. The demand for database administrators is expected to grow by 31% over the same time period, the BLS noted. The median annual wage for computer and information systems managers in 2010 was $115,780. This was $73,490 for data base administrators and $77,740 for computer systems analysts. However, please keep in mind, these statistics may not reflect actual starting salaries or job openings, which can be influenced by location, level of experience, education, the industry and type of employer, and the general job market.

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