Online degree programs in technology at the associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels are sought by students because the majority of technology careers require employees with some college experience, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Advanced degrees, such as master’s and doctoral degrees, may change one’s income prospects. For example, BLS figures demonstrate that computer and information research scientists, a field that requires a professional or doctoral degree, earned a median pay of $100,660 in 2010, while computer support specialists, a field requiring an associate degree or less, earned a median income of $46,260 in the same year. But overall, online bachelors degree programs appear to be the most commonly required for entry-level careers in the technology field, according to this BLS data.
Technology degrees are popular among degree earners. Majors in computer and information science made the list of Top 10 College Majors named by the Princeton Review. In this major, students learn computer troubleshooting skills and study courses like software and Web engineering, programming languages, operating systems, networking and more. Meanwhile, topping the 2008 list of the Most Lucrative College Majors named by Forbes are majors in computer engineering. Students seek a computer engineering degree to not only work their way up the career ladder, but to study a fascinating blend of computer science and electrical engineering with courses in circuit theory, electronic circuits, and various courses in computer architecture.
The Online Technology Degree Program Experience
In online college degree programs in technology programs, students receive focused instruction in areas like networking, computer systems analysis, computer issue diagnosis, computer systems security, software engineering, and Web development, among many other topics. One common technology degree course is database management. Such a course will equip students to manage and organize corporate data in a way that is user-friendly and easily accessible by everyone in the company. Skills like this are in demand at companies across the nation as they become increasingly globalized, with teams all over the world needing access to company databases.
Typical online course requirements in an online technology degree program will consist of required readings, class discussions, lecture observations or reading, projects, quizzes, and tests. At the advanced levels, complex projects are required; for instance, at the master’s level, some programs require the completion of a capstone or thesis project, while nearly all doctoral programs require students to complete a dissertation. Internships at all levels are common as well. These allow students to jump into the area of the technology field that most interests them and gain real-world professional experience with computer systems and technology.
Online vs. Campus for Technology Degree Programs
When students consider an online technology degree, the benefits and drawbacks of both an online degree and traditional degree must be taken into account. In the case of traditional technology degree programs, students may find that the programs are inflexible, making it more difficult to both work and attend school. But a benefit of this type of education, on the other hand, includes inherent face-to-face interaction with students’ peers and teachers; this means that students have the chance to network while receiving their education. A second benefit is traditional programs is that because there is this interaction, feedback on students’ performance from instructors, as well as responses from other students and instructors, are immediate.
By contrast, the benefits of an online education may outweigh the drawbacks for many busy adults. One major drawback of an online education is the isolation students may experience from the lack of peer and teacher interaction; however, some online programs recently began implementing video chat into their curriculum, allowing for convenient interaction among students and their teachers. A major benefit of an online education is that because students can work and get their education concurrently, they can immediately begin applying their new knowledge and skills on the job; this allows them to potentially get ahead of their peers and better retain information they’ve learned. For instance, information technology professionals can begin applying the advanced skills they learn in their related online masters degree programs on the job, as they acquire those skills. In addition, online students use the latest online technologies on an everyday basis, thus making the utilization of these technologies a second nature skill-set to them; this acquired skill-set will be highly useful in their future careers and set them apart from their peers.