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Four IT Program Areas Linked To Growing Career Fields

Four IT Program Areas Linked To Growing Career Fields

Computer technology was a curiosity 25 years ago, but now, with more than 75% of American homes wired to the Internet[i] and more than half a billion personal computers in use around the world[ii], it’s part of the way we do business. As businesses continue to invest in new IT systems and upgrade old ones, IT service providers will be needed to implement and maintain networks and equipment.

As a result, while the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects job openings across the economy to have a 7-13% average rate of growth at the national level through 2018[iii] (local job markets will vary), IT-related occupations are expected to grow faster than the average rate.

Prospective IT students looking for a field of study to specialize in should consider the following program areas that teach skills applicable to a number of potential career paths that are expected to expand in the next ten years.

Database Administration

What it is: Database administration is the development, implementation, and maintenance of data structures for organizations and businesses of all sizes. Databases include both the physical machines on which data is stored, and the way it is arranged, backed up, and accessed on those machines.

Database administration duties include developing an organizational system for data, configuring database management software, overseeing integration of new data into the system, controlling access privileges, and maintaining security of data on the system.

Training: Those who want to compete for entry-level positions in database administration should hold a bachelor’s degree.

IT Degree Programs To Consider: Bachelor degree programs in Data Management, Information Systems Management, or Information Technology. Those who already hold a bachelor degree can gain advanced skills in a Master degree program focused on Information Systems Management, Enterprise Information Systems, Data Management, or Computer Science.

Growth: 20% nationally through 2018. [iv]

Web Development

What it is: Web development is the technical side of creating content and applications for the Internet. In web development, coding and middleware are employed to set up information structures, integrate databases, create pages, and secure data.

Web development can also take into account some web design skills, which focuses on aesthetic, rather than functional, aspects of websites.

Training: A bachelor degree is recommended in order to compete for entry-level positions in this field.

IT Degree Programs To Consider: Bachelor degree programs in Information Technology will teach web development skills, although a degree that specializes or majors in web development may help students gain specialized competencies.

Growth: 30% nationally through 2018, as part of the overall “Computer Network, Systems, and Database Administrators” category[v].

Network Administration

What it is: Network administration is the development, implementation, and maintenance of computer and telecommunications networks for large and small businesses and organizations.

Functions performed by network administration may include setting up LAN and WAN systems, installing hardware, configuring software, controlling network access privileges, and ensuring network security precautions are in place and regularly updated.

Training: Those seeking entry-level positions should have a bachelor degree, although some employers may recruit candidates with a relevant associate degree and work experience.

IT Degree Programs To Consider: Bachelor degree programs in Networking and Computer Technology, Network Management, Network Administration, or Information Technology. Those who already hold a bachelor degree can gain advanced skills in a Master degree program focused on Information Systems Management, Network Management, Data Management, or Computer Science.

Growth: 23% nationally through 2018. [vi]

Software Application Development

What it is: Software application development involves designing and creating new software and modifying existing software for specific client needs. Software applications are developed with programming languages such as C, C++, Python, and Java.

Applications can be developed for desktop users or web use, but an increasingly popular area is mobile application development for smartphones and tablet computers.

Training: A bachelor degree is helpful to compete for entry-level positions.

IT Degree Programs To Consider: Bachelor degree programs that specialize in Software Analysis and Development, Software Engineering, Computer Engineering, or Computer Science.

Growth: 34% nationally through 2018. [vii]



[iii] Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition, Key Phrases In The Handbook, http://www.bls.gov/oco/oco20016.htm (visited January 12, 2012).

[iv] Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition, Computer Network, Systems, and Database Administrators, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos305.htm (visited January 10, 2012).

[v] Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition, Computer Network, Systems, and Database Administrators, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos305.htm (visited January 10, 2012).

[vi] Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition, Computer Network, Systems, and Database Administrators, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos305.htm (visited January 10, 2012).

[vii] Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition, Computer Software Engineers and Computer Programmers , on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos303.htm (visited January 10, 2012).