Is a Masters Degree in Information Technology Worth It? [2020 Guide]

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Is a master’s degree in information technology worth it? While every student will have a different answer to this question, it’s certainly a degree that can open doors for you in the IT industry.

Is a Masters Degree in Information Technology Worth It

Since it can be obtained online, it’s also a flexible option for busy people who plan on juggling work, school, family, and other responsibilities.

Is a Masters Degree in Information Technology Worth It?

Software Developers working in the office

Yes, a master’s degree in information technology is worth it for many students. With an average salary of $88,240 per year and 11% job growth (Bureau of Labor Statistics), an IT master’s degree can help you launch a career in many different tech and science-related fields.

Common IT careers include computer scientist, software developer, database administrator, information security analyst, and computer support specialist.

A master’s in information technology can be obtained in several ways. The most straightforward is a Master of Science in Information Technology, but you can also look into similar degrees like a Master of Science in Internet Systems, or a Master of Science in Information Management.

You can also specialize in information technology as a concentration area for other degrees. For example, you might pursue a Master of Computer Science or a Master of Applied Data Science with a focus in IT. There are even Master of Business Administration (MBA) programs with IT specialties.

As for the subjects that you’ll learn, it depends on what you want to study. Common courses include topics like data analytics, network administration, software development, online information systems, and the management of IT resources.

If you’re specializing, you might be offered subjects like “Introduction to Computer Forensics” or “Cybersecurity Infrastructure.”

If you don’t have a pre-existing background in IT, you’ll need to take the fundamentals. You might be considered a “conditional” or “pre-candidacy” master’s student until you meet these requirements.

After you graduate, a master’s in IT can provide a wide range of career options. These can include everything from traditional coding and programming jobs to out-of-the-box jobs such as web development and video game design.

How to Decide Whether a Masters Degree in Information Technology is Right for You

Masters Degree in Information Technology student studying online at home

It isn’t easy to earn an information technology masters, so before you enroll, make sure that the degree program aligns with your particular skills and career goals.

Here are just a few statements that can apply to successful IT students:

1. You’re good with computers.

This might sound like a no-brainer, but some people are attracted to information technology careers for the money or the job security, and they struggle with the more technical side of things.

You’ll likely need to be comfortable with computers to truly excel in IT. You’ll also need to be comfortable teaching yourself new skills or systems whenever they appear. It’s a fast-moving industry where people are always engineering upgrades, breakthroughs, and software alternatives, so you will be continually learning.

2. You want a tech-based career with a human element.

Computer and Information Systems Manager working in data center

Information technology jobs have a lot in common with computer science and data science jobs, but one of their main differences is the fact that they have a human component as well.

You aren’t just stuck in a room and staring at a laptop all day. Depending on your job, you might collaborate with engineers, report things to executives, troubleshoot problems with customers, or supervise new tech installations for company employees.

3. You want a master’s degree to take the next step in your education or career.

As businesses become reliant on digital systems, there’s higher demand for computer and technology specialists, and this leads to more competition for jobs.

A bachelor’s degree has become the minimum for many entry-level IT positions. To stand out, you might need an advanced degree like a master’s or even a doctorate. This is especially true if you have your eye on a managerial career.

Top 5 Things You Can Do with a Masters Degree in Information Technology

Computer and Information Systems Manager checking her laptop

There are so many things that you can do with an IT masters degree that a full list would go on for pages and pages. Instead, let’s take a look at five of the most common jobs for high-level IT grads.

1. Computer and Information Systems Managers

Also called information technology managers, this is a career for senior professionals who have the education and experience to act in a supervisory capacity over others.

Their job duties might include everything from developing new IT strategies to analyzing the costs, risks and performances of existing programs. It’s one of the highest-paying jobs in the industry where the top earners can take home more than $208,000 per year.

2. Information Security Analyst

Information Security Analysts working together

Security is a booming specialty in the field of IT. As more companies turn to things like cloud computing, they need increasingly sophisticated methods of protecting their data.

The job of an information security analyst is to monitor and manage a company’s networks, databases and digital archives to ensure that their information is never compromised by hacks or just plain old-fashioned errors.

3. Web or Software Developer

Software Developers working together on a project

These are two distinct jobs with their own skill sets and salary ranges, but since they have similar job duties, it’s okay to lump them together for the purpose of career discussion.

Both web and software development will require a touch of creativity to go along with tech-based knowledge. You can find work in fun, dynamic fields like marketing and advertising in addition to traditional fields like corporate finance.

If you’re looking to utilize your IT knowledge in a visionary kind of way, web or software development could be a viable option for you.

4. Computer Support Specialist

Computer Support Specialist working in an office

This is what a lot of people think of when they hear the words information technology. If you have a master’s degree, however, you might be able to move out of the call center and into a corner office.

Senior computer support specialists can have high-paying jobs where they troubleshoot problems for entire departments or companies as opposed to individual customers.

5. Computer and Information Research Scientist

Computer and Information Research Scientist working on his computer

Another information technology career that can reach six figures, a computer scientist is a highly skilled professional that works with databases, networks, servers, and software programs. They can even have specialties in things like robotics.

If you’re interested in a science or research-based career like this, you might be able to find job opportunities everywhere from tech companies to the federal government.

Master’s Degree in Information Technology Alternatives

Software Developers working on a project

If you aren’t entirely sold on a Master of Science in Information Technology, there are a number of alternatives that you can pursue.

  • Master’s in Computer Science. This is a broad-ranging degree with specializations that can include everything from cybersecurity to software engineering. You can also specialize in information technology.
  • Master’s in Data Analytics. Data analytics is the backbone of many information-centric careers, including information technology.
  • Master’s in Business Administration. If you have an interest in business, you might find more applications for a general business degree than a concentrated IT degree.

These are just a few of the options that you might see in college catalogues. There are many more, including master’s degrees in topics like technology, information management, information science, and business intelligence.

Information Technology Careers & Salaries

Information Technology Careers & Salaries

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the field of computer and information technology has an average salary of $88,240 per year.

However, this is a broad look at the field that doesn’t account for IT specialists with advanced degrees, and it doesn’t explore the many different jobs that are available to IT grads:

Careers Average Median Salaries
Computer and Information Systems Manager $146,360
Computer and Information Research Scientist $122,840
Computer Network Architect $112,690
Software Developer $107,510
Information Security Analyst $99,730
Database Administrator $93,750
Computer Systems Analyst $90,920
Computer Programmer $86,550
Network and Computer Systems Administrator $83,510
Web Developer $73,760
Computer Support Specialist $54,760

For the most accurate information technology salary information, look up the full pay ranges of the jobs that you’re considering. There can be quite the difference between the lowest and highest earners in the field.

For example, while the average salary for IT managers is $146,360 per year, their full salary range is $87,480 to $208,000 per year.

Getting Your Masters Degree in Information Technology Online

Masters Degree in Information Technology student studying in a cafe

A master’s in information technology can be the first step to a brighter future in IT. Not only can it help you distinguish yourself in an increasingly competitive field, but thanks to its high earning potential and ever-growing job wheel, it can be one of the most lucrative choices for a person who’s passionate about computers.

Start reaching out to universities and asking about their information technology programs. You don’t have to make any commitments right away. Just inquire about the different options that they have and see what’s out there for IT enthusiasts.

James Chen
James Chen