What kind of schooling do I need to start a career in IT?

If you are considering a career in Information Technology, also known as IT, you will need to understand what education options are available. Because the IT field covers a wide range of specialties, there are quite a few options available for your IT schooling.

To avoid any wasted time or money, narrow down your career choices to something as specific as possible. The IT field is vast and you may or may not need a higher degree depending on what career you desire. You may not even need a degree at all. Some IT jobs require a special certification rather than a Bachelors degree. If you are completely unsure about what career you want to pursue, it may be wise to speak to a career counselor at your local state or community college.

While most jobs in the IT field will require you to have a college degree, there are several ways to achieve this goal. A traditional 4-year Bachelor of Science degree is something that can be found at the majority of state and city universities. If you are just beginning your education and desire a traditional college experience, look at the colleges you are most interested in attending and determine if they offer a degree program in Computer Science, Network Technology or Computer Engineering. These degree programs offer a wide range of subjects covering the IT field and are a good place to begin especially if you are not yet certain exactly what type of IT career you wish to pursue.

For those that wish to complete a degree more quickly while working full-time, there are a great number of options available to help you start your career in IT in less than 4 years. IT schools such as the University of Phoenix and ITT Tech both offer flexible and accelerated programs in IT education. Students have the option to earn their degrees online or in the classroom. This kind of IT education will often have a higher cost of tuition, but the trade-off is that you’ll earn your degree faster and be able to begin your career sooner.

Because training in IT is in such high demand these days, most community colleges offer degree and certification programs as well. Community colleges overall cost much less than four-year colleges or specialty IT schools. If cost is a major factor in your choice, consider first checking out your local community college. At the very least, you can earn yourself an Associate of Science degree in Computer Science or Network Technology. Community colleges also offer a wide range of IT certificates.

The IT field is constantly changing and growing, and this is the main reason why many employers require certifications. Network + and CCNA are two certification courses worth looking into. CCNA is the Cisco Certified Network Associate and Network + covers Linux and Networking, among other things. These certificates are highly desirable as they are the proof that you are up-to-date on the latest in IT training and technology. When looking for an IT course at a community college, it would be wise to consider completing these IT certifications if they are offered.

With so many options to choose from, you can begin your career in IT with the education that fits your needs, your time-frame, your skills, and your budget.

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