Associate of Computer Information Technology: Degree Overview

A degree in computer information technology (IT) can prepare individuals for a wide range of jobs in today's expanding and fast-paced IT industry. A community college or technical school is likely to offer an associate's degree program in computer information technology.

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Associate's Degree in Computer Information Technology

A computer IT associate's degree program, typically a 2-year program, gives students the skills and knowledge needed for careers as computer industry professionals. It offers a wide overview of the computer industry to help students decide which specialization best fits their areas of interest. Computer IT programs may be offered as either Associate of Science or Associate of Applied Science programs.

These programs prepare students for employment in such areas as E-commerce, information technology, software development, application support or network maintenance. Graduates are able to install and upgrade software and hardware, develop computer networks as well as assess the information and computer needs of an organization.

Educational Prerequisites

Associate's degree programs don't usually have prerequisites other than high school diplomas or the equivalent. However, some computer IT programs require applicants to complete college writing or basic learning strategy courses and pass algebra or math competency tests. Students should also be proficient in using computers.

Course Topics

Students complete coursework and gain hands-on experience by spending time in computer labs. Additionally, they may complete externships for real-time experience in the field. Course topics may include:

  • Hardware fundamentals
  • Desktop application maintenance
  • Programming
  • Database management
  • Routing for computer networks

Popular Career Choices

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), demand for those with skills in information technology was expected to grow at a faster-than-average pace from 2012-2022 (www.bls.gov). With experience and on-the-job training, graduates of computer IT associate's degree programs may find employment opportunities in the IT industry; possible job options include:

  • Computer support specialist
  • LAN administrator
  • Computer programmer
  • Cisco support technician

To provide some salary perspective, computer support specialists offering network support earn a median annual salary of $59,090, while those assisting users earn a median of $46,420 per year, states the BLS.

Continuing Education Information

Management positions in the IT fields usually require the completion of bachelor's or master's degree programs in computer-related fields. Candidates may also choose to pursue MBA (Master of Business Administration) programs.

Employers also usually prefer employees with industry certifications, like the ones that computer and software vendors offer to users. Some computer IT programs also prepare students for industry certifications, such as MCP (Microsoft Certified Professional) or CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate).

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