Online MBA Programs in Information Technology
The US Department of Labor projects that employment opportunities in information technology will continue to increase as companies move toward digital platforms. IT managers and specialists will continue to be in demand to materialize business and technological goals. The Department of Labor predicts that employment growth in this field will rise as businesses seek solutions to and protection against cyber threats. As cloud computing expands, organizations may shift away from in-house IT departments toward outside establishments focused on computer systems design, hosting, data processing, and related services.
An accredited MBA program in information technology online1 can help give you a distinct advantage as you pursue work in the burgeoning field of IT. If you’re wondering where to begin your search for an online MBA in information technology program, this page offers you tips and resources to assist you on your way.
What is an MBA in Information Technology?
In the past, IT managers focused almost exclusively on computer systems and services. Now, current and aspiring leaders need to understand how their technology interrelates with a company’s overarching business vision. MBA degrees are designed to help computer-oriented professionals learn about this relationship while raising their employability and income potential. Scott Scheible of Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business suggests that IT leaders “need to understand the business and financial implications of their organization’s technical decisions and overall strategy [and they] need the kinds of communication and interpersonal skills associated with building and leading diverse, cross-functional teams.” Scheible maintains that an MBA in information technology can help people obtain these skills2.
An MBA in information technology can help open doors to a vast array of fulfilling, lucrative careers. This degree may equip a person for employment as a systems analyst, network architect, database administrator, security analyst, or research scientist. It also can lead to C-level positions, including chief information officer, chief data officer, and management consultant roles that call for advanced leadership training.
Online MBA in Information Technology Curriculum
An MBA in information technology program is designed to help IT professionals gain a broader perspective of how companies function and the various forces that drive business and revenue. The degree lets people hone soft skills and business skills to help lead progress throughout a company and industry. An MBA with a concentration in information technology teaches you how to communicate effectively with other branches within a firm.
An online MBA in information technology provides an MBA core to cultivate business knowledge and skills as well as specialized advanced training in information technology. Students study project management, database development and management, information and technology management, data mining and analytics, and systems analysis and design. Industry standards and accreditation organizations require that any MBA program must entail similar core competencies. You can expect to see these courses in an accredited online MBA curriculum:
- Information Technology for Management
- Data Management
- Managing Digital Strategy
- Data Visualization
- Enterprise Architecture
A deeper look at some typical course offerings sheds light on the kind of change agent that an MBA in information technology graduate can become:
Advanced Information Technology: This course highlights the fundamentals and practices of the design, analysis, execution, and management of information technology systems. Subjects include information system development methodologies, requirements analysis, systems planning and implementation, project management, software engineering, and database, interface, and process design.
Management of Information Technology: This course introduces students to primary issues behind the successful management of IT in modern enterprises. It comprises: (1) interrelations between organizational structure and processes and adoption of new IT technologies, (2) IT management within the firm, and (3) IT project management focusing on the procedures in designing and executing IT projects. This course uses case studies to introduce real-world best strategies and practices.
Enterprise Resource Planning: This course covers the area where IT meshes with business skills that support business goals. It emphasizes how IT facilitates integration of business and technology process reengineering.
An MBA program naturally has an intense focus on business, so you may expect to see these core courses:
- Management Accounting
- Corporate Finance
- Organizational Behavior
- Managerial Economics
- Decision Analysis
- International Business
- New Venture Management
- Management Consulting
- Competing in Global Markets
- Information Systems Principles
What Unique Career Paths Can I Pursue with an MBA Specializing in Information Technology?
An MBA in information technology can give you an edge over lower-level IT professionals in a constantly changing technological climate. With a solid tech background and business management acumen, you can position yourself for an advanced career in IT management, e-business, digital commerce, and telecommunications. An MBA in information technology program teaches you how to design and oversee processes of IT projects, use e-business and digital commerce tools to meet a company’s business objectives, and bolster cybersecurity. While each position demands much time and focus in a screen-based work environment, the jobs offer starting salaries and advancement opportunities far above the average for other fields.
Computer and Information Research Scientist
Computer and information research scientists develop innovative approaches to computing technology and discover novel uses for current technology. They theorize, research, and create solutions for problems in computing for business, science, medicine, and other sectors. The federal executive branch is the largest employer of these skilled workers. Computer systems design, scientific research and development, colleges and universities, and software publishers have high levels of employment in this occupation as well. This position has other titles such as computer scientist, scientific programmer analyst, and control system computer scientist.
- Analyzing and solving problems related to computer hardware and software
- Scheduling or delegating tasks to meet work goals and priorities
- Applying theoretical expertise to develop or implement new technology
- Consulting with management, users, vendors, and technicians to determine system requirements and computing needs
California, Maryland, Virginia, Texas, and Washington lead the nation in employing computer and information research scientists. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the 2018 median pay for this position was $118,370 annually.
The BLS predicts that demand for this job will grow at 19% because these skilled workers are scarce3.
Computer Network Architect
Computer network architects construct data communication networks such as LANs, WANs, and intranets of all sizes. While most work in-house to build and maintain a company’s proprietary networks, some freelance. The majority are employed in computer systems design services, and a significant portion work for telecommunications carriers. Many also work for employment services, insurance carriers, and in management at companies. This position only requires a bachelor’s degree, but a master’s degree can help you secure a higher salary and more opportunities. Job titles include design engineer, network and security engineer, network analyst, telecommunications analyst, and solutions architect.
- Developing or advising regarding network security features such as firewalls and automated security probes or audits
- Designing disaster recovery plans
- Overseeing network performance and reports to pinpoint problems and inefficiencies
- Cultivating physical, conceptual, or logical network designs
- Coordinating design or network processes with designers of related networks
California, Texas, Florida, Virginia, and New York lead the nation in employing computer network architects. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median annual salary for computer network architects is $109,020 as of April 2019. Demand for this position is expected to grow at 6%4.
Computer and Information Systems Manager
Computer and information systems managers plan, coordinate, or direct activities in information systems, electronic data processing, computer programming, and systems analysis. This position requires at least a bachelor’s degree, but many managers have a master’s degree. The top employers for this occupation are computer system design services, management of companies, software publishers, management, technical, and scientific consulting services, and insurance carriers. Reported job titles include application development director, information systems (IS) director, information technology (IT) director, information technology (IT) manager, technical services manager, and management information systems (MIS) director.
- Directing daily department operations, setting standards, priorities, and deadlines, and analyzing workflow
- Convening with department leaders to engender cooperation and resolve issues
- Reviewing project plans to coordinate activity
- Delegating and reviewing the work of computer-related associates
- Providing technical support
The top states for employment in this position are California, New York, Texas, Massachusetts, and Illinois. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the 2018 median pay for computer and information systems managers was $142,530 annually. Demand for this position is projected to grow at 12%5.
Computer Network Support Specialist
Computer network support specialists test, analyze, and troubleshoot network systems, including LANs, WANs, and intranet systems. They perform routine maintenance so that networks operate with minimal disruptions. Industries that hire the most specialists are computer systems design services, telecommunications, management of companies, data processing and hosting services, and institutes of higher learning. Higher levels of this position require advanced degrees. Job titles include computer network specialist, information technology (IT) consultant, network technical analyst, and systems specialist.
- Backing up network data
- Configuring security settings and access permissions
- Analyzing and reporting potential and actual security breaches
- Documenting network support activities
The states that employ the most network specialists are California, Texas, New York, Florida, and Illinois. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median pay for this occupation was $53,470 as of May 2018. Demand is projected to grow by 11%6.
Chief Technology Officer
Chief technology officers (CTOs) set up an organization’s technical vision and standards and oversee all facets of technological development. They supervise special projects and research and development. CTOs also use technology to bolster the firm’s product offerings and align the firm’s technological structure with business objectives. Many companies prefer candidates who have an MBA in information technology. Computer-related companies are the largest employers of CTOs.
- Monitoring management of all software, hardware, licenses, databases, upkeep, and projections of future needs
- Designing technology strategies to ensure that processes meet requirements for federal, state, and local security and privacy
- Meeting with senior management to guide resource allocation and decision-making
- Providing expertise and leading computer-related departments in daily operations
- Reviewing, comparing, and evaluating technical products and solutions
Payscale.com reports that the average CTO salary is $156,820 yearly. The top locations for CTOs are Massachusetts, California, New York, Washington, California, Georgia, and Illinois The US Bureau of Labor Statistics does not have job outlook data for this occupation, but it is expected to grow to meet the increasing demand for this caliber of leadership7.
Chief Information Officer
Chief information officers link the worlds of technology and business, so they need to be tech-savvy and business-savvy. CIOs convert technical lingo into information that people in other specialties can understand, helping to support high-level decision-making within a company. These workers have the final word on procuring, installing, upgrading, and integrating IT equipment.
- Establishing, coordinating, and analyzing information technology strategies for a company’s services and products
- Overseeing IT teams, employees, and operations
- Communicating with the senior level of a company
- Offering technical and industry expertise to support sales efforts
New York, California, Illinois, Texas, Washington, and Georgia are the leading states in employing CIOs in the US. Payscale.com states that the average yearly salary for CIOs is $156,871. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics does not provide job outlook data for CIOs, but industry experts expect opportunities to grow significantly as businesses increasingly rely on individuals with this skill set8.
Chief Data Officer
Chief data officers oversee functions such as data strategy, quality, and management. They may also manage data analytics and interpret data into valuable information for other senior-level leaders in a firm. This position calls for people who know how to use data in light of business objectives and strategies. The distinction between CDO and CIO is that the CIO is responsible for a company’s technological structure while a CDO is responsible for data quality that feeds the structure. This occupation is expanding in retail, insurance, media, financial services, government, and higher education industries. A CDO is sometimes referred to as chief analytics officer, although some organizations have separate positions.
- Conveying a data vision as a vital component of growth strategy
- Designing data access protocols
- Creating and implementing a central data strategy to grow sales
- Managing data investment, governance, and partnerships
California, New York, and Ohio are the top states in employing CDOs. Payscale.com reports that the average CDO yearly salary is $179,8179. The US Bureau of Statistics does not have any job outlook data for this position, but BizTech predicts that the demand for CDOs will increase with the availability of data to businesses.10
Should I Get an Online MBA in Information Technology?
When considering an MBA in information technology, you need to map out present and future career goals and research the benefits and disadvantages of obtaining the degree considering those goals. It’s quite possible to advance in the IT sector without an MBA, but the degree may help boost your employment potential. Many midsize to large corporations only consider hiring graduates with MBAs for high-level IT positions.
Online MBA in Information Technology vs. Online MBA in Information Systems
An MBA in information technology differs significantly from an online MBA in information systems. Information technology leans more toward the practical workings of technology: software, hardware, computer network systems, and telecommunication. On the other hand, the information systems discipline concentrates more on how business and technology issues intersect. In addition to the core MBA courses, information systems specialization courses generally include these topics:
- Information Systems Strategy
- Data Mining and Analysis
- Knowledge Management
- Decision Support Systems for Managers
Online MBA in Information Technology vs. Master’s in Information Technology
The focus on an MBA in information technology also differs from that of an MS in information technology. The MS degree program homes in on the science of technology rather than on business management principles. A student in an MS in information technology focuses heavily on computer science courses. An MSIT degree is a good option for those with a strong business background who want a deeper understanding of computer information systems.
Are you pursuing a career path in upper management or computer systems?
If you’re interested in overseeing technological processes and meshing them with business goals, an MBA in information technology may equip you for that path. The degree program should give you greater insight into how an organization’s technology and business vision must blend for the success of the venture. However, if you want a position that focuses more on technology, a master’s degree may be your best choice.
Can you commit to the intense course load required of an MBA student?
Whether online or traditional, an MBA program is rigorous and requires an immense time commitment. If you can’t commit several hours each week to focus on studies, this may not be feasible for you at this time. Fortunately, many schools have MBA programs for people who are employed full-time. With discipline and determination, you can do it.
Frequently Asked Questions
When considering any MBA program, there are important questions you should ask to be sure you’re committing to a program designed to help equip you for your chosen career path. Some common questions about MBA programs in information technology are:
Does your desired career require an MBA?
Many IT professionals have found successful, high-level career opportunities with only a bachelor’s degree or industry certifications. However, large enterprises are increasingly placing a preference for candidates with an MBA. These companies are looking for individuals who can apply technology and business skills effortlessly.
Is this the right time to pursue an MBA?
An MBA in information technology can help you advance into upper levels of management or consulting. However, pursuing a degree comes at a significant financial and time expense. This may not be viable if you have demanding current job or personal responsibilities. However, an MBA program in information technology online can accommodate your desire for advanced learning along with your need for time flexibility.
Are online MBA programs always at accredited institutions?
DiscoverBusiness.us 11only lists MBA programs that are nationally accredited with AACSB, ACBSP, or IACBE and a CHEA-recognized body. Online MBA programs vary, but the ones you see here have full accreditation.
Is it better to obtain my MBA in a classroom setting instead of online?
Regularly attending an actual classroom helps many students stay focused on and committed to learning. For those who work full-time or have other mitigating circumstances, an online MBA program in information technology can be an ideal option. Online schooling calls for self-motivation and discipline because you take responsibility for completing tasks on your time. If you are determined and strong in time management, you can successfully achieve an online MBA.
How long does it take to earn an online MBA in information technology?
Online MBA courses offer more flexibility than traditional classroom courses, and the time required depends on how much you are willing and able to allocate. Ideally, you should complete an MBA program within two years. Many institutions offer accelerated MBA programs that can be finished in six to eight weeks, but these generally necessitate a full-time commitment.
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