With the rapid growth in the computer and technology sectors[i], busy working IT professionals might find it convenient to enroll in Online Technology Graduate Degree Programs. Having your finger on the pulse of all things digital, you know that educational technology brings course material to life, and many distance-learning programs are interactive enough to keep students motivated. If you are someone who either needs to refresh your current computer technology skill-sets or are hoping to get a leg up in a competitive marketplace, earning an online graduate degree in Technology might make perfect sense.
In terms of length, online Technology Graduate Degree Programs may be comparable to campus programs: 2 years for a Masters Degree, 3-7 years for a doctorate. In terms of pre requisites, these may vary between learning institutions and level of education you are seeking. Usual rule of thumb is that for masters programs you would need a Bachelor’s degree – either in a related field or in the field of graduate study, and for a doctorate degree, the Masters is a requisite. Always check specifics with your prospective graduate schools.
Some colleges and universities have both campus and online formats, so you may be receiving the same curriculum, although different delivery system. While online graduate programs in Technology typically do not require on-campus class meetings, some do require students to attend an orientation. Others may have hybrid courses that are a combination of classroom learning with a web environment for uploading projects and assignments, or they may have scheduled live teleconferencing. So what ‘should’ you look for in an online graduate degree in Technology?
Be aware of how your
program is delivered: Certainly for the employed or otherwise occupied grad student, e-learning presents the chance to schedule study at convenient times. Especially when the delivery is asynchronous – meaning classes are pre taped and recorded as opposed to live-streaming. On the other hand, if you live far from a graduate school, you might not mind a synchronous delivery, because you are still able to earn your degree and the web component is facilitating this.
If student engagement is important to you, look for Online Technology Graduate Programs that promote student participation, online interaction with professors and classmates (via discussion boards, web chats etc.)
Look for a program where the faculty credentials mirror the campus programs and that the professors are trained in the online genre. This might go hand in hand with program and institution accreditation. (ABET is the accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, AACSB accredits business schools)
Read peer reviews and try to look into whether e-learners get the same strong support structures (learning assistance, career guidance and financial aid resources) commensurate with quality campus-based Computer Technology programs.
If all this is in place, and you yourself have reliable Internet and self-motivation, an online graduate degree in Technology might help you keep abreast of emerging technologies, rapidly changing customer expectations and ever-evolving business needs.
FACT: According to ONet, 59% of Computer and Information Research Scientist hold a Masters degree.[ii]
In general, graduate degrees in computer and tech related fields are offered as online graduate certificates, doctorate and master’s degrees. Some programs are more computer systems and computer science oriented. Typically the Master of Business Administration or Doctor of Business Administration tracks are geared to students seeking a more business-oriented IT program. Reflecting on what sector you aspire to work in is helpful – whether in private enterprise, government, business consulting, education or research and development. For instance, if you are a computer scientist hoping to work with biomedical applications, it may be helpful to take some biology courses.
Review the GradSchools.com directory to determine your academic path then click through to browse availability in the appropriate program level. You may need to open a few windows in your browser and make sure to request information from the prospective graduate school. Many universities have unique programs with combined areas of study, and curriculums vary. This is where your expert analytic skills come in!
Some of the listings you might encounter for distance-learning may include: Post Bachelor’s Certificate in Geographic Information Systems, Doctor of Philosophy in Business Administration –Management Information Systems, MS in Business Intelligence, Master of Science in Library and Information Science, and MS in Cyber security.
Do you have an undergraduate degree and are looking into professional development via a post-bachelor’s grad certificate? Or are you ready to look into a masters or doctorate program? If so, distance learning might facilitate continuing education for you. Remember that your transcript does not ususally indicate how your earned a degree, and web learning is becoming more and more mainstream. Typically considered a convenient and flexible way to learn, Online Technology Graduate Degree Programs warrant some consideration!
Sources: [i] bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/home.htm | aacsb.edu/accreditation/accredited-members | abet.org | bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/computer-and-information-research-scientists.htm | [ii] onetonline.org/link/summary/15-1111.00