Which Information Technology degree is best for you?
When you are choosing an Information Technology degree there are a lot of choices. It seems that each school has it’s own version of degree. Some are called information science, computer science, computer information systems, etc. The title doesn’t actually matter, and it seems to be what most people are stuck on. The classes you take matter a lot more than that. If your degree program lacks technical classes than it might make it more difficult for you to get a job later on and I will explain that below.
Simply having that piece of paper doesn’t mean much
Having a 2 or 4 year degree is great as a resume padder. Recruiters and hiring managers will put you above someone of equal experience on paper. You still have to understand the technologies around the job you are applying for. Your understanding of Information Technology concepts must be sound. The people interviewing you are still going to ask technical and soft skill questions to gauge your actual abilities.
What does a good Information Technology degree look like?
In my 2 year program, I had to suffer through general education requirements that I wasn’t interested in. Then when I got to the good stuff in my 4 year program, I was excited. I had three classes in networking, with the first one covering the basics of networking and introducing the terms. My next two classes covered the CCENT and CCNA study guides of routing and switching. I took a class in Microsoft operating systems, and studied the MTA material. There was a class in basic Unix/Linux where we went over what the architectural differences were. I then took an advanced Unix/Linux class learning how to setup Apache and connect machines.
What about scripting?
I also took classes in various programming languages. I took a web design class which covered HTML/XML, and we had to build a full web page to pass the class. There was another class that taught C++ but was about designing programs efficiently. In the Unix/Linux classes we learned BASH scripting, a vital skill. I also had to take a Powershell class, building on the efficient design of the previous class. Currently I am by no means an expert scripter, however taking these classes introduced me to scripting. Learning to read scripts, figure out what they are trying to do, and correcting minor errors in them is a vital entry level skill.
Getting an Information Technology degree is just the beginning for some, and a skipped step for others. It can significantly boost your chances of landing the job if you take the right courses. It is a decision that must be made individually based on your financial ability to pay off tuition. If you don’t get taught the skills in a classroom, you can still learn them on your own. Being self-taught is NOT a disadvantage in the work force if you have the experience and skill set. Certifications can overcome a lack of degree, and any general IT experience can be applied towards any IT job. On the other side of that is this: a degree will not guarantee you a job. No matter what your background, you will always have to work harder at growing your knowledge and skills to get a job, and move up the ladder.