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What Can You Do with an IT Degree?

By Tim Stobierski
March 16, 2021

Informational technology is critical to businesses across industries, leading to high demand for IT professionals who can demonstrate expertise in the field. It’s little wonder, then, that IT degree programs have multiplied as more and more people have decided to pursue work in this field. 

But what kind of work, specifically, does earning an IT degree prepare you to do? What job titles and career paths will you be eligible for after earning a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology?

Below, we explore some of the most common jobs for IT professionals and the careers that earning a degree will prepare you for.

What is information technology?

Contrary to popular belief, IT departments don’t only fix broken hardware or install new software; they are complex business units critical to many companies. IT departments can consist of many different team members who each perform a specific role.

For example, if a company collects and leverages large amounts of information, the collection, storage, and security of that data will require specific hardware and software. Therefore, supporting those data efforts will likely require at least one member of the IT department to be skilled in information security. Other IT personnel may support the various technologies that employees need to complete their daily activities. 

Beyond these two examples, there are many others. IT departments are typically diverse groups consisting of individuals that perform three main functions: 

  1. IT Governance: This function oversees the policies and processes that ensure an organization’s systems, architecture, and networks are efficient, effective, and aligned with the business’s needs. These policies often include rules and guidance around employee use of the company’s technology, IT security, and data assurance.
  2. IT Infrastructure: This work involves the set-up and maintenance of all hardware (e.g., company laptops, printers, routers, etc.), software tools, networks, and servers.
  3. IT Operations and Functionality: These professionals perform day-to-day maintenance operations, including tech support, developing, securing, and storing electronic data, overseeing technology applications, and assisting in software management throughout the entire company. 

What can you do with an information technology degree?

In most cases, you will need to earn a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology or a related degree in order to pursue an entry-level role in IT. Many businesses today will only consider hiring an applicant who has earned an undergraduate degree. 

According to Lynda Hodgson, assistant teaching professor of the Information Technology program at Northeastern University, earning your degree is a critical step in gaining and demonstrating your proficiency in the IT field. 

Once you’ve earned your degree, “you can work in just about any industry because there’s always an IT component,” she says.

Common IT Careers

Depending on an organization’s size and industry, IT departments can require a variety of IT roles. Below are some of the most common job titles for which BS in IT graduates will be prepared. 

1. Technical Architect 

Average Annual Salary: $114,682

Technical architects devise a company’s technical blueprint and system architecture. They are also responsible for monitoring performance, developing systems, and structuring IT systems. To succeed in this role, professionals must be highly technical and have a firm understanding of operating systems, development principles, and programming languages. This function may also coordinate with other teams to help manage security, help desk issues, and assets to support the entire IT infrastructure.

2. IT Project Manager

Average Annual Salary: $88,982

IT project managers specialize in shepherding IT, hardware, or software projects from conception to completion. They spend much of their time managing budgets, schedules, and resources. Depending on the organization and the individual project, these individuals may perform technical work or may solely perform a project management role. IT project managers often hold an undergraduate degree in information technology and a master’s degree in project management

3. Database Administrator

Average Annual Salary: $73,696

Database administrators are responsible for ensuring the health and efficacy of an organization’s various databases. Their work can include data storage and processing, security and analysis, and more. 

4. Network Security Specialist

Average Annual Salary: $72,156

A network security specialist is responsible for overseeing and securing a company’s networks from threats such as malware or unauthorized users. They resolve compromised machines or networks, evaluate cybersecurity risks, document security procedures, training, and resolutions, and manage firewalls and tools to detect security threats. They tend to work closely with network administrators and other members of the IT team.

5. Software Developer or Programmer

Average Annual Salary: $71,986

A software developer or programmer brings many IT projects to life. When these professionals create user-facing software, they’re known as frontend developers. When they create software that interacts with servers and networks, but not with individual users, these professionals are known as backend developers. People in these roles need thorough knowledge and experience with programming languages.

6. Business Systems Analyst

Average Annual Salary: $69,674

These individuals liaise between business and IT departments to solve business problems by leveraging technologies. The also help to ensure the successful Business systems analysts review data, set processes and procedures, and identify potential technological improvements. 

7. Network Administrator

Average Annual Salary: $60,292

Network administrators are primarily responsible for ensuring the organization’s computer network is up to date and operating effectively. This work often involves administering an organization’s local area network (LAN) and wide area network (WAN), among other duties. This role is also sometimes known as a systems administrator. 

Taking the First Step Toward Your IT Career

As you can see from the list above, earning your BS in Information Technology (or a related degree) will prepare you for many positions within the IT field. By completing your bachelor’s degree, you can demonstrate proficiency in the required tools, techniques, and frameworks to future employers. 

Earning your degree will also establish a solid base upon which you can build the rest of your career. For example, to pursue more advanced roles, you may need to earn an advanced degree, such as a Master of Science in Informatics or a Master of Science in Cybersecurity. Additionally, prospective employers might require a certification that aligns with a specific job title. In both of these cases, a relevant undergraduate degree is a prerequisite.

Are you interested in pursuing a career in IT? Learn more about the Bachelor of Science in Information Technology at Northeastern University to understand how earning your degree can empower you to reach your career goals.

About Tim Stobierski
Tim Stobierski is a marketing specialist and contributing writer for Northeastern University.