Although you might not need a university degree to get ahead in the tech industry, evidence suggests that job applicants with a degree in computing or IT have a much broader choice of employment opportunities.
In fact, research shows that demand for Computer Systems graduates has risen by 512% since the start of the pandemic, while Information Systems graduates saw an even higher increase in relevant jobs ads at 626%.
A university degree doesn’t only allow applicants to find the tech job of their dreams – it also helps secure a higher salary in a sector where pay varies significantly between roles. It can also be seen as a lifetime investment. according to Danny Aldridge, co-founder of recruitment website Check-a-Salary, who says that “studying a STEM subject is likely to lead to higher levels of pay throughout a career”.
Like many significant investments, a university degree is a costly expenditure. With most courses at English universities starting at a hefty £9,000 a year, it’s no surprise that not everyone wants to dedicate three years of their life – and £27,000 – for a job they haven’t even started yet. After all, many young people are now more openly considering apprenticeships as an alternative to a university degree, while others are opting for intense, specialised online courses – especially in areas such as coding or UX design.
However, if you’re still convinced about investing in a prestigious BSc (or equivalent), you should ensure that you choose the right degree for your plans. Here, we list some of the best tech majors you should consider to futureproof your career.
Bachelor’s in computer science
As you would probably imagine, a degree in computer science focuses on a number of subjects such as mathematics, programming, and computer theory. The courses that are available in this degree might include algorithms, computation, programming principles, and data structures.
Luckily for computer science majors, the options are nearly limitless. This is because a degree in this field can take you to a number of different careers, ranging from a network architect to a computer programmer.
Moreover, a degree in computer science enables you to look further than the IT industry. Your skills will be sought after in government organizations, the healthcare industry, and many more.
Career paths for computer science graduates:
Bachelor’s in information technology
If you graduate from college with a degree in information technology then there are many opportunities that await you.
With a degree in this field, kick off your IT career by maintaining and setting up networks, a key skill that lots of organizations across all industries require. An information technology bachelor's degree can also lead you to work as a database administrator, programmer or computer systems analyst.
During an information technology degree, your coursework is bound to cover all aspects of information systems and information technology. Classes such as database concepts, Windows server networking, and business systems development will help you build a solid foundation in IT fundamentals.
Career paths for information technology graduates:
- Database administrators often have a degree in information technology. In this occupation, you can expect to earn a median annual salary of $93,750. The BLS projects job opportunities for database administrators to grow 9% by 2028.
- Computer support specialists engage in troubleshooting and problem solving while earning a median annual salary of $54,760. Job opportunities are on the rise too, as the BLS projects them to grow 10% by 2028.
- Information technology managers supervise IT teams. While it may take time to land a management position, IT managers earn an average of $85,253 per year, according to Glassdoor. This type of position enables you to work in multiple industries too, further expanding your opportunities.
Bachelor’s in data science
Data scientists are certainly in demand - even Glassdoor ranks this job as the third-best career in the U.S. The BLS also has plenty of good things to say, especially as it predicts a 27.9% rise in employment in the sector by 2026.
To explore this satisfying and fast-growing career path, it might be a good idea to consider a bachelor's degree in data science.
In this field, data scientists are needed in virtually every industry, meaning there are plenty of opportunities outside of tech. However, if working in the technology sector is essential for you, then you don't need to worry as there are lots of technology companies recruiting data scientists too.
Career paths for data science graduates:
- Data scientists earn an average salary of $113,309 per year, per Glassdoor. Companies such as Facebook, Microsoft and IBM are always hunting for experienced data scientists.
- Data architects bring in an average of $108,278 per year and can work in many industries. This flexibility makes this a great career choice if you want an IT job but aren’t interested in working for a tech company.
- Data engineers are responsible for building and maintaining data pipelines and earn an average annual salary of $102,864.
Choose a degree program based on your career interests
The majors listed above are just some of the many IT-focused degrees offered at colleges and universities in the US. There’s a number of other degrees and certifications to help you in your IT career too.
Before jumping into a career in IT, determine what type of tech job you’d like to pursue. Knowing your desired career path will put you in a better position to choose a degree program to match your career aspirations.
Once you've decided on a degree program, select an accredited school that offers the degree program you want.
In the end, there are various ways to break into the IT industry and pursuing a degree is just one.
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