5 Best Master’s Degrees in Information Technology 2021

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Earning a master’s in information technology (IT) degree positions graduates for exciting careers. Pupils in these programs develop widely applicable technology, leadership, and management skills.

The demand for information technology professionals continues to grow as businesses and organizations adopt more digitally focused platforms. Graduates with a master’s in information technology degrees can pursue careers as computer and information research scientists. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects jobs for these professionals to grow 16% from 2018-2028.

This guide covers important information for prospective master’s in IT students, including common courses and potential careers and salaries for graduates.

Information Technology Master’s Programs

Most full-time students pursuing master’s in IT degrees complete the program in two years or less. Online learners may be able to finish the degree faster than their on-campus peers, depending on the program’s delivery method. Remote learning also allows pupils to save money by avoiding a commute to campus and other expenses students commonly incur while away from home.

Master’s in IT degrees usually require students to complete approximately 30-36 credits. Programs commonly offer specializations in areas like project management, information security and assurance, data management, information insurance, and business intelligence and analytics. Graduates can work in diverse roles, such as computer information systems manager, who earn a median annual salary of $142,530.

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MASTER’S DEGREE IN INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY COURSES

  • Network Defense and Hacking Ethics: This course helps students develop ethical hacking techniques. These skills help IT professionals detect network vulnerabilities and defend systems against malicious attackers. Learners explore topics such as footprinting, scanning and enumeration, and wireless network hacking.
  • Analysis and Design: This course helps pupils acquire methodologies for technology design and system analysis. Students learn to take advantage of new techniques to create more efficient computer systems and increase productivity. Instructors focus on topics such as functional design, system requirements, and displays.
  • Forensics and Computer Investigations: In this class, students develop essential problem-solving skills using forensic analysis techniques. Learners typically use case studies and hands-on projects to learn the best techniques for investigating technology security breaches.
  • Policies for Cybersecurity: Pupils in this course learn how to protect an organization’s assets by following industry-standard cybersecurity policies. The class covers essential topics such as incident response, recovery processes, risk analysis, and access controls. Students also learn how to defend the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of data.
  • Network Administration: This class covers essential network administration practices and provides students with simulated network environments to practice these processes. Learners study topics like user account creation, storage backup techniques, and server management.

COMMON ADMISSION REQUIREMENTS

While admission requirements vary among schools, applicants to master’s in IT degrees usually need to meet minimum undergraduate GPA requirements and submit official transcripts, a personal statement, and letters of recommendation. Applicants may also need to submit GRE scores.

Master’s Degree in Information Technology Career Outlook

Professionals with a master’s in information technology can pursue exciting, high-level jobs in diverse fields. Unlike a bachelor’s degree, which prepares pupils for entry-level positions, master’s degrees present students with upper-level career opportunities and higher wages. Master’s in IT learners develop exceptional organizational, research, customer service, and problem-solving skills, qualifying for managerial and leadership roles in national and multinational companies.

Nearly every type of computer-based system, including mobile software and cloud-based computing, requires trained professionals in information technology for development, service, and maintenance. Popular positions for degree-holders include information technology project manager, chief technology officer, chief information officer, and computer systems analyst.

WHAT JOBS CAN YOU GET WITH AN INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY MASTER’S DEGREE?

Information technology degrees prepare learners for growing and lucrative careers. Many industries require technology-savvy researchers to produce essential data to help them grow their businesses or create more efficient organizations. Read on for a closer look at some popular careers for master’s in information technology degree-holders. Computer and Information Research Scientist

These professionals help design and create new computer technologies. They also work to improve existing technologies. These scientists often create algorithms that can analyze large sets of data to produce useful information for professionals in business, science, medicine, and other fields.

  • Computer and information research scientists


    These professionals help design and create new computer technologies. They also work to improve existing technologies. These scientists often create algorithms that can analyze large sets of data to produce useful information for professionals in business, science, medicine, and other fields. Computer and information research scientists may also search for vulnerabilities in software to prevent intrusions from malicious sources.
    Median Annual Salary: $118,370
    Projected Growth Rate (2018-28): 16%
  • Economist

    Economists work with businesses and research organizations, studying the distribution and production of goods and services. These professionals usually collect relevant data, analyze trends, and evaluate potential economic issues. They use quantitative and qualitative research methods in fields such as health, education, and environmental studies. Some economists focus on business- and finance-related issues that concern exchange rates, interest rates, inflation, and taxes.
    Median Annual Salary: $104,340
    Projected Growth Rate (2018-28): 8%

  • Mathematician or Statistician


    These professionals typically work in government, healthcare, higher education, and research and development organizations. They often work to solve complex problems using scientific theories and techniques. Mathematicians and statisticians use surveys, experiments, opinion polls, and questionnaires to collect data for analysis.
    Median Annual Salary: $88,190
    Projected Growth Rate (2018-28): 30%
  • Survey Researcher


    Survey researchers collect and analyze data in fields like the social sciences, education, health, and government. They often use surveys and interviews to understand how particular groups think about topics such as politics, economics, or culture. Survey researchers also use statistical analysis to make large projections based on smaller sets of information.
    Median Annual Salary: $57,700
    Projected Growth Rate (2018-28): 1%

 

Educational Paths

A master’s degree in IT sets candidates apart in the competitive job market. The degree also positions graduates to earn higher salaries than professionals with only a bachelor’s degree. For example, BLS data indicates that graduates with a bachelor’s degree earn a median annual salary of $56,000, while graduates with a master’s degree earn $68,000.

Researchers found similar trends in related fields. Data from the National Association of Colleges and Employers shows that starting salaries for computer science graduates in 2019 were approximately $14,000 higher for master’s degree-holders than graduates with a only bachelor’s degree.

EXPLORE COMPUTER SCIENCE CAREER PATHS BY DEGREE LEVEL


Frequently Asked Questions


  • HOW MUCH WILL I MAKE STARTING WITH A MASTER'S DEGREE IN INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY?


    Starting salaries vary among employers and depend upon the applicant’s specialization and level of experience. According to PayScale, professionals with master’s in information technology degrees can expect to earn an average salary of $73,000 per year. Information technology managers and network engineers earn $82,000 and $81,000 per year, on average, respectively.

  • WHAT DO YOU NEED TO GET A MASTER'S DEGREE IN INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY?


    Master’s degree-seekers typically need at least a bachelor’s degree. In terms of a financial commitment, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, master’s degree-seekers can expect to spend approximately $18,416 per year on tuition. Prospective information technology students can prepare to pursue a master’s degree by securing financial aid in the form of grants, scholarships, and/or loans.

  • WHAT KINDS OF JOBS CAN YOU GET WITH A MASTER'S DEGREE IN INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY?


    Professionals with a master’s in IT can work in many different exciting and lucrative positions. Some of the more popular roles for degree-holders in this area include computer and information systems manager, chief information officer, data science or analytics manager, chief technology officer, and IT risk manager.

  • WHAT IS THE PREREQUISITE DEGREE FOR A MASTER'S IN INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY?


    Admission requirements vary among colleges and universities. In many cases, a student does not need a specific undergraduate or graduate degree when they apply for a master’s in information technology, but they do usually need at least a regionally accredited bachelor’s degree. However, some admissions departments prefer applicants to possess a bachelor’s in information technology or a related field.

  • WHY GET A MASTER'S DEGREE IN INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY?


    A master’s degree in information technology prepares learners for lucrative, in-demand roles. The National Association of Colleges and Employers reports that master’s degree-holders often earn $14,000-$27,000 more than their bachelor’s degree-holding colleagues.

2021’s Top Five Master’s in IT Programs

This 2021 ranking of the five best master’s in information technology (IT) programs should serve as a guide for aspiring IT professionals. Each program on our ranking holds national or regional accreditation. Some also hold subject-specific accreditation. Academic accreditation verifies that a university meets minimum educational requirements set forth by third-party agencies. Accreditors relevant to this ranking include:

  • Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)
  • Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET)

Our Ranking Methodology

  1. University of Southern Florida
    Location

    Tampa, FL

    Tuition

    $10460

    According to U.S. World & News Report, the University of South Florida is rising quickly in rankings of public universities. This leading research university enrolls nearly 50,000 students and employs over 16,000 faculty members.

    As part of the Department of Computer Science, USF's master of science in information technology gives students a wide-scale understanding of technological, strategic, and operational applications for businesses and organizations. Featured courses include cloud computing for IT, practical cybersecurity, and data mining.

    This master's in IT gives students flexibility in course selection. Upon completion, graduates have the advanced IT and managerial skills needed to reach their career goals.

    Applying to USF

    Aspiring USF students must hold a bachelor's degree in information technology or computer science with a minimum 3.0 GPA in their last two years of undergraduate study. Applicants should also demonstrate minimum GRE scores of 161 quantitative and 150 verbal, a statement of purpose, and three letters of recommendation.

    Program at a Glance

    School Type: Public | Accreditation: SACSCOC, ABET | Tuition: $7,840/year (in state); $15,864/year (out of state) | Required Credits: 30 credits | Delivery Format: Hybrid

  2. California State University, Fullerton
    Location

    Fullerton, CA

    Tuition

    $8274

    Recently ranked the No. 4 public school by U.S. News & World Report, Cal State Fullerton provides an innovative and impactful educational environment for over 41,000 students.

    The College of Business and Economics at CSUF offers a master of science in information technology for professionals who want to increase their knowledge of IT management and data science. This master's in information technology focuses on effective communication through online channels.

    The curriculum features courses such as statistics for data services, principles of business intelligence, and data warehousing and foundations for business intelligence. Upon graduation, students can manage and optimize new and existing technologies, align organizational strategies with technical strategies, and improve business decision-making.

    Applying to CSUF

    Potential graduate students with two years of practical business experience must provide evidence of a 530 GMAT or GRE score. They should also submit a personal essay describing why they would make a good fit for this program. Applicants must pass an in-person or phone interview, as well, to determine their level of technical knowledge and skill for online learning.

    Program at a Glance

    School Type: Public | Accreditation: WSCUC | Tuition: $3,588/semester | Required Credits: 30 credits | Delivery Format: Online (synchronous and asynchronous)

  3. New Jersey Institute of Technology
    Location

    Newark, NJ

    Tuition

    $17855

    Forbes ranks the New Jersey Institute of Technology first in the nation for student economic upward mobility. Along with being an R1 research university with over 11,400 students, NJIT is home to Venturelink, New Jersey's biggest high-growth startup incubator.

    NJIT's master of science in information technology administration and security provides students with the technical and managerial training for leadership roles in businesses and organizations. The curriculum supports this master's in information technology through courses in knowledge management, business research methods, and database administration.

    Applying to NJIT

    Prospective NJIT students must provide proof of an accredited four-year degree, GRE scores, an official transcript showing exceptional academic achievement in this discipline, and a letter of recommendation.

    Program at a Glance

    School Type: Public | Accreditation: MSCHE | Tuition: $20,624/2 semesters (in state); $30,540/2 semesters (out of state) | Required Credits: 30 credits | Delivery Format: On campus

  4. University of Kansas
    Location

    Lawrence, KS

    Tuition

    $18415

    A leading research university with global influence, the University of Kansas provides a transformative educational experience for 28,500 students. Along with its main Lawrence campus, UK features four other campuses in Overland Park, Kansas City, Wichita, and Salina.

    KU's Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science offers a master of science in information technology. This degree gives students an expert understanding of advanced electrical engineering, computer science, and computer engineering, equipping graduates to develop technical innovations for organizations.

    This master's in IT program requires students to choose from three focus areas: cybersecurity, IT product management, and software engineering. With the help of a faculty advisor, each student must create a plan of study including at least one semester of electrical engineering, a computer science colloquium, and a seminar on professional issues.

    Applying to KU

    Applicants must hold an undergraduate degree in computer science, information technology, computer information systems, computer engineering, or any other major. Prospective students should also have completed at least two years of professional work experience in IT.

    Program at a Glance

    School Type: Public | Accreditation: HLC | Tuition: $10,188/year (in state); $24,430/session (out of state) | Required Credits: 31 credits | Delivery Format: On campus

  5. Temple University
    Location

    Philadelphia, PA

    Tuition

    $23192

    Educating about 40,000 students, Temple University is Philadelphia's largest university. Its active research activities earn the university an R1 Carnegie Classification, distinguishing it as one of the most active research institutions in the United States.

    The master of science in information science and technology at Temple features advanced instruction in database technologies, cutting-edge software systems, and simulated real-world data structures. The curriculum covers subjects such as robotics, bioinformatics, wireless sensor networks, and high-performance computing.

    As an added benefit, this master's in information technology encourages interdisciplinary study. The degree allows students to take up to three related graduate courses from other departments.

    Applying to Temple

    Temple's College of Science and Technology applicants must hold a bachelor's degree, preferably in computer science, mathematics, or natural sciences. They should also submit three letters of recommendation, a resume, and a statement of goals.

    Program at a Glance

    School Type: Public | Accreditation: MSCHE | Tuition: $1,159/credit (in state); $1,514/credit (out of state) | Required Credits: 30 credits | Program Length: 5 years or less | Delivery Format: On campus and online

Featured Image: MoMo Productions / DigitalVision / Getty Images

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