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What is Computer Information Technology?

Computer information technology degree programs are offered at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. At the undergraduate level, students can pursue a Bachelor's degree in CIT. This four-year program provides comprehensive instruction in a variety of computing topics such as software engineering, database systems, operating systems, networks, and information security. It also provides an understanding of business principles and communication skills necessary for success in the IT field. Additionally, many schools offer minors or concentrations within their CIT program, such as network design or IT management, and you can also choose to attend computer science schools that offer many more options in information technology degrees.

At the graduate level, computer information technology degree programs include master's degrees and PhDs. A master’s degree typically takes two years to complete and focuses on more advanced topics including scientific computing algorithms, artificial intelligence theory, computer architecture design, and cloud computing technologies. On the other hand, a PhD requires three to five years of study beyond a master’s program to gain expertise in an area of research related to CIT, such as distributed systems or data mining techniques. Many universities also offer specialized certificates that cover specific areas of study, such as computer security or web development technologies, which can be taken alongside other studies or independently on their own. Students interested in colleges and universities that offer information technology degrees in Illinois, you might want to consider attending Illinois Tech, DePaul University, Illinois State University, Loyola University Chicago, and more. Make sure you review the best information technology schools when looking for degrees in Illinois.

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Online Information Technology Education in Illinois

Computer information technology encompasses a wide variety of disciplines related to computing and information systems such as software engineering, computer networks, database design and administration, security, and even forensics. These professionals are often responsible for setting up, maintaining, and troubleshooting various types of computer networks and programs.

Computer information technology professionals require extensive technical knowledge and expertise gained from both theoretical studies in the classroom, as well as hands-on experience working with technology. To become successful in CIT, specialized knowledge is essential not only in computing but also in related areas such as mathematics, engineering, or business law.

The general tasks that define a Computer Information Technology Professional include developing, testing, designing, and deploying computer software and hardware systems; evaluating user needs; problem-solving issues; managing data warehouses; creating trouble-shooting strategies; writing instruction manuals; developing policies and standards regarding the use of information technologies within an organization; analyzing system performance; studying trends in information technology to recognize potential cyber-threats or other opportunities to improve efficiency; and implementing new technologies into existing hardware or software settings. Additionally, CIT professionals must be able to effectively communicate with non-technical coworkers on how to use IT systems in order to bring out the best performance for an organization. This requires them to possess excellent communication skills along with technical aptitude.

Online Associate Degree in Information Technology (AS)

An associate degree in information technology offers an in-depth, but short, program of study for those interested in developing their computer skills and knowledge. This type of degree is typically offered through a community college or technical school and provides students with the foundational knowledge to pursue entry-level IT roles or to continue their studies at the baccalaureate level.

Coursework requirements vary between institutions but generally provide students with a well-rounded education to pursue further certifications such as CompTIA A+, Network+, Microsoft Certified

Professional (MCP), or Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA). Classes may include topics such as operating systems, networking fundamentals, programming languages, database design and management, system analysis and design, web development, security fundamentals, and ethics. Additionally, many programs offer hands-on experience through labs where students can gain practical knowledge in software installation and troubleshooting. The degree usually takes two years of full-time study to complete depending on the institution’s curriculum requirements.

Online Bachelors Degree in Information Technology (BS)

Information technology (IT) bachelor’s degrees are designed to provide a comprehensive understanding of the computer systems, software and networks used by businesses and organizations. These programs typically combine technical skills with knowledge in business management, data analysis, and communication. Students may also have the opportunity to specialize in areas such as web development, game programming, or information security.

At the bachelor's level, CIT programs often require students to complete both general coursework in computer science concepts and more specific classes related to their chosen field. Common topics include operating systems, database administration, network security, software engineering, and system design. Depending on the program, students can learn programming languages such as Java, C++, or HTML/CSS. They may also take courses in project management and analytics so they can develop an understanding of how technology solutions fit into organizational strategies. In addition to classroom learning experiences, many CIT programs feature internships or other experiential learning opportunities that allow students to gain practical experience working with real-world technologies in professional settings.

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Online Masters Degree in Information Technology (MS)

A masters in information technology (IT) can provide students with a deeper understanding of the technology and engineering principles that power the modern-day technological landscape and can prepare them to take on more advanced roles in the field. In addition to learning about the core concepts, students can gain specialized knowledge in fields such as computer architecture, software development, systems analysis, security protocols, and databases. Through coursework and hands-on experience, graduates will be prepared for highly sought after positions in information technology management or development.

The curriculum of a master’s program may include classes such as data structures and algorithms, software engineering principles, operating system design, and administration. Students may also take classes focused on specific areas of CIT including web technologies, mobile computing, or programming languages like Java or Python. Many programs also offer internships for practical experience in industry settings. A master’s degree also often includes a research component where students are expected to complete a project relevant to their specialization area. Graduates from these programs are well-prepared for leadership roles throughout the IT field.

Online PhD Degree in Computer Information Technology (PhD)

Information technology PhD programs provide students with the skills and knowledge needed to design, develop, troubleshoot, and maintain computer networks and architectures, but they also prepare them for much higher-level roles in the field, including academic and research positions. With a PhD in this field, students gain an advanced level of expertise in developing software solutions that are used in businesses and organizations. During their studies, they learn how to manage and analyze data as well as create secure networks for online communications. In addition to courses specific to their major, students also complete courses in mathematics and statistics which help them understand the technical aspects of computer information technology systems.

Graduates with a PhD in computer information technology can pursue research-oriented jobs or teaching positions with universities. They may also be employed by government agencies or large corporations that need experts specializing in software development or network security. Many graduates join consulting firms offering IT services for companies looking for ways to improve their digital infrastructures. Job prospects are generally favorable for those who have completed a doctoral program due to the high demand for professionals with higher-level expertise within this industry.

Online Information Technology Certifications

Information technology and computer science certifications are an important part of nearly all IT career paths. Certifications provide knowledge and skills to those interested in pursuing a career in IT, as well as demonstrate proficiency in various areas of the industry. There are many types of certifications available for individuals to pursue such as CompTIA A+, Network+ and Security+, Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE), Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA), Amazon Web Services Certification, and more. Most certifications require continuing education to maintain them after being obtained, so staying up to date with technology is essential for any IT professional. Additionally, many employers prefer that their staff members carry specific certifications or training from accredited institutions when considering candidates for open positions. With proper dedication and commitment to obtaining the correct certification, individuals can increase their marketability and land rewarding jobs within the computer information technology field.

Become a Computer Information Technology Professional in Illinois

The field of computer information technology (CIT) is a highly competitive one. It requires an individual with the right combination of knowledge, skills, and experience to get ahead in this technologically advanced world. Therefore, it’s no surprise that the number of people considering a career in CIT or related fields is increasing. If you are one of those individuals interested in developing a career in computer information technology, here are some steps you should take to become a successful professional.

  • Step 1: Develop Your Technical Skills

    Aspiring computer professionals must have basic technical skills related to software development and hardware engineering. This includes programming languages such as Python, java, and C++; web development tools such as HTML; and scripting languages like PHP and JavaScript. You should also have some understanding of networking concepts like IP addresses and DNS lookup tables. Additionally, it is important to learn how to use popular industry standard tools such as Microsoft Office Suite and Adobe Creative Cloud applications. You can learn more about these subjects through self-education, but a degree will ensure that employers know exactly what you have learned and that you are skilled in all the required foundational knowledge they expect employees to know.

  • Step 2: Gain Industry Experience

    Experience is essential if you want to make it big in the IT industry. An internship or work-study opportunity can provide invaluable insight into what goes on behind the scenes of a business’s operations — from the nuts and bolts of computer repair to the larger picture of how IT systems support organizational goals. During your experience working within an organization, try out different tasks or roles that are related to CIT including system administration, database management, and coding/development tasks — whatever interests you most.

  • Step 3: Stay Up to Date with Current Technology Trends

    Staying knowledgeable on emerging technologies in the field is essential for staying relevant in your work today, especially since deep knowledge on diverse topics broadens your area of expertise which makes you more valuable as an employee (or contractor). You can read online publications related to technology news or attend conferences regularly so that you can stay on top of trends happening around you – this will ultimately make you more likely to spot potential opportunities when they arise in future projects or job prospects.

  • Step 4: Earn Professional Certifications

    If your career aspirations include obtaining leadership roles as IT manager or project leader, then professional certifications may be required for advancement beyond entry-level positions. You can pursue certifications from organizations like CISCO or CompTIA that cover multiple technology topics including hardware installation and maintenance, hardware security threats/data protection systems, design/planning and maintenance, cloud computing mobile device management, etc. All these certifications can give current employers increased confidence in their chosen hire while also helping them easily identify qualified professionals based on their credentials during any future job search process where credentials play an important role.

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What Can I Do with a Bachelor's in Computer Information Technology?

With a Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Technology, graduates can pursue a career in the computer industry as software developers, systems analysts, or network engineers. A bachelor’s degree provides students with the skills required to analyze and design sophisticated computer hardware and software applications. Graduates may also specialize in areas such as health information technology, web development, or business intelligence, among others. In addition to technical positions, those with this degree qualify for jobs related to customer service and support. These roles involve providing assistance on computer-related issues to customers both over the phone and in person. Such positions require strong communication skills combined with problem solving capabilities. CIT graduates can also use their degree to move into management roles within IT departments of corporations or government agencies. Depending on the company, they may be expected to possess additional qualifications such as project management certifications or experience leading teams of engineers and designers.

Potential Careers for Computer Information Technology Graduates

  • Computer Hardware Engineer:

    Computer hardware engineers are responsible for designing, constructing, and maintaining the systems that computer networks are based on. They design and construct physical components such as keyboards and other input devices, chipsets, servers, motherboards, memory cards, memory modules, and power supplies. Additionally, these professionals may be involved in the development of new technologies to make them more efficient or give them additional features.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • Bachelor’s degree in computer engineering, computer science or related field
    • Experience working with computer hardware, software and networks
    • Analytical and troubleshooting skills
    • Ability to work independently and as part

    Estimated Salary

    • The median annual wage for computer hardware engineers in the US in 2021 was $128,170
    • The mean annual wage for computer hardware engineers in Illinois is $112,160
  • Web and Digital Interface Designer:

    These professionals are responsible for designing the visual appearance and user experience of web and digital products.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • Proven work experience as a UI/UX Designer or similar role
    • Portfolio of design projects
    • Knowledge of wireframe tools (InVision, Sketch, etc.)
    • Up-to-date knowledge of design

    Estimated Salary

    • The median annual wage for web developers and digital designers in the US in 2021 was $78,300
    • The mean annual wage for web and digital interface designers in Illinois is $63,370
  • Software Quality Assurance Analysts and Testers:

    Software quality assurance (SQA) is the process of ensuring that all software meets both industry standards and target business objectives. It deals with the implementation of activities intended to ensure that a product or service meets predetermined specifications, and the validation of activities necessary for creating a process capable of consistently producing those results. As businesses become more reliant on technology, software quality assurance analysts and testers play an important role by keeping critical components working properly.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • Bachelor’s degree in computer science or related field
    • At least two years of experience in software testing or a related field
    • Knowledge of software development processes and methodologies
    • Proficiency in automated testing tools

    Estimated Salary

    • The median annual wage for software developers, quality assurance analysts, and testers in the US in 2021 was $109,020
    • The mean annual wage for software quality assurance analysts and testers in Illinois is $91,670
  • Database Architect:

    A database architect is a professional who designs and implements relational databases for businesses. They analyze the business needs of an organization, create models to store data, design the database structure, develop views to access needed information, write scripts to automate regular maintenance operations, and refine the effectiveness of existing databases. Becoming a qualified database architect requires training in software development and technology platforms like Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server and MySQL.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • Bachelor's degree or equivalent experience in computer science, information systems, or related field
    • 5+ years of experience in database design and development
    • Demonstrated knowledge of SQL, PL/SQL, Oracle, MySQL, or other relational databases
    • Excellent problem-solving skills and attention to detail

    Estimated Salary

    • The median annual wage for database administrators and architects in the US in 2021 was $101,000
    • The mean annual wage for database architects in Illinois is $110,530
  • Information Security Analyst:

    An information security analyst is a member of the IT department responsible for keeping company data safe from malicious actors. Contrary to popular belief, this job does not require a high school diploma or certification. In fact, many people with only a bachelor’s degree in information technology (IT) can be successful in this profession.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • Bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity, information systems or related field
    • 2+ years of experience in the field of information security
    • Knowledge of security principles and technologies such as firewalls, encryption, authentication, access control, vulnerability assessment and incident response
    • Understanding of security standards

    Estimated Salary

    • The median annual wage for information security analysts in the US in 2021 was $102,600
    • The mean annual wage for information security analysts in Illinois is $112,830
  • Web Developer:

    UI developers, or user interface developers, are the cornerstone of any digital product or service. They are responsible for creating and developing the software that allows users to interact with different technologies. UI development plays an essential role in providing an optimal experience for users and potential customers, directing their attention to elements using intuitive and visually pleasing navigational paths.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • Bachelor’s degree in web development or related field
    • 5+ years of experience with web or mobile application development
    • Proficiency in HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and responsive design principles
    • Strong understanding of user experience design principles
    • Excellent communication and collaboration skills

    Estimated Salary

    • The mean annual wage for web and digital interface designers in the US in 2021 was $95,460
    • The mean annual wage for web and digital interface designers in Illinois is $63,370
  • Network Analyst:

    Network analysts identify potential threats to an organization’s computer or IT systems by using various methods of data analysis. With assessing risk being a major part of their job description, they should have in-depth knowledge of firewalls, encryption technologies, intrusion detection systems (IDS/IPS), advanced persistent threat (APT) protection measures, antivirus software functions, access control lists (ACL) implementations, and incident response procedures. They must be able to think outside the box when it comes to finding new solutions to complex problems that occur in secured networks.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • Bachelor’s degree in computer science or related field
    • 3+ years of experience in a Network Analyst role
    • Knowledge of networking protocols such as TCP/IP, DNS, DHCP, etc.
    • Expertise in troubleshooting and resolving

    Estimated Salary

    • The mean annual wage for computer systems analysts in the US in 2021 was $102,210
    • The mean annual wage for computer systems analysts in Illinois is $95,170
  • Chief Executives:

    A chief executive officer is a senior executive responsible for overall management, strategic direction, and leadership of an organization.

    Necessary Requirements:

    Estimated Salary

    • The mean annual wage for chief executives in the US in 2021 was $213,020
    • The mean annual wage for chief executives in Illinois is $244,390

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