Associate Degree in BIT: No Programming Skills Required

A rewarding career in Information Technology (IT) isn’t limited to being a computer programmer or web developer. If that surprises you, you’re not alone.

Many people assume you have to know programming languages and be a “coder” to score a coveted IT position. Programming and developer roles are just one part of the broader professional landscape of IT. Today, employers also hire tech-savvy individuals with a big-picture understanding of how technology makes businesses run. These employees might work in the IT area — but, more likely, they work on the business side and interact with their IT department counterparts.

A simplified way of looking at the two IT-focused areas is this:

  • Back-office technologists work on computer applications and computer hardware. Their workdays are filled with programming responsibilities or supporting the company’s mainframe, mobile applications and desktop computers.
  • Front-office technologists spend their time using “enterprise applications” — software programs, such as Microsoft Word and PowerPoint, or working on information technology-focused initiatives used by the company’s employees or customers.
Tech Jobs That Don’t Require Coding Skills

If you’re curious to know which IT jobs don’t involve the alphabet soup of programming languages (C++, HTML and the like), here are three front-office roles and their typical responsibilities:

  • Digital projects coordinator – Facilitates the communication and execution of various digital initiatives and programs (e.g., website updates and online advertising campaigns).
  • Information specialist – Manages secure files and data, helps coordinate various processing systems and interfaces with departments company-wide (for example, IT, operations, customer service, legal, etc.).
  • Technology coordinator – Works with various aspects of a company’s technology infrastructure, such as assisting end-users with problems, working on the telecommunications or customer service systems.
IT Degree is a Difference-Maker

Both experience and education will play a role in your IT career, whether you work in the front or back office. While it’s possible to get a job without a two- or four-year degree, IT is a competitive field. An employer often sifts through hundreds of resumes for one open position. A degree in IT helps you stand out from the pack of applicants with no formal education under their belts.

Working toward a degree captures a hiring manager’s attention, too. When your resume includes a “BIT degree in progress” bullet point, you show you’re making education a priority. This sends a strong signal of your desire for an IT career.

Business Information Technology Defined

If you’re interested in a back-office IT role, you’ll find several leading IT training programs at University of Cincinnati Online (UCO). If you prefer the business side of IT (that’s our best guess since you’re reading this article), you’ll want to explore our online Associate of Applied Business in Business IT (BIT) degree.

If you’re new to the term “business information technology,” it’s the study of how contemporary businesses use data and information in their operations. Students in UCO’s BIT degree learn about project management and company-wide software applications, how to grow their communication, critical thinking, analysis and problem-solving skills and more.

The BIT program is completed fully online — meaning there’s no on-campus requirement. This is a great option for students who need to juggle education with family and work demands and want to get their associate degree in IT as quickly as possible.

Meet UCO’s BIT Program Coordinator
Michelle Estes Headshot
Michelle Estes, Program Coordinator for UCO’s Business Information Technology two-year online degree program.

Michelle Estes is the Program Coordinator for our BIT associate degree program. She joined the University in 2019 as an adjunct instructor and became the BIT program lead in the fall of 2020.

Michelle is one of the BIT program instructors, so she gets to know many of the students in the program. In the coordinator role, Michelle oversees the staffing of the courses and works with UCO’s instructional design area to build the best, most engaging curriculum. She meets twice a year with advisory committee members — local and regional businesspeople outside the University. These VIP partners help us meet our goal of equipping graduates with the education and skills they need to successfully work on the business side of IT.

Diverse Ages, Backgrounds of Students

Michelle says there is no typical student who enters the BIT program. “Our students are of all different ages, and their backgrounds are also diverse,” Michelle says. “Some of the students join the program right after high school, others served in the military, and some are working toward their degree while they’re in between jobs.”

UCO’s students come from all over the U.S., with a concentration on the Ohio and East Coast regions. “What they have in common,” Michelle says, “is to get a high-quality, online education from a respected university and their interest in IT.”

UCO Difference: Leader in Online Education

Not surprisingly, Michelle is a big fan of the online aspect of the BIT program and regularly hears how much the students love it, as well. “I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard students say that there’s no way they could complete an associate degree if it was not offered online for them,” Michelle says.

Students choose when to enroll in the program — spring, summer or fall — and complete their degree in two years if they study full-time. (UCO welcomes students who want to attend part-time, too.) For those who want to continue their studies, their associate degree credits can be easily transferred to a bachelor’s degree program. Upon graduation, UCO’s career services team steps in to give students advice on how to find their ideal IT job.

BIT Course Curriculum

BIT ImageThe associate degree program’s courses are led by faculty with direct IT industry experience. Two of the BIT courses can really increase the skillset of our students to a different level. Michelle shared two of their capstone classes Project Management Applications and Fundamentals of Data Visualization. “Our project management course helps students develop skills that are highly sought after by employers,” Michelle says. “The data visualization course focuses on the presentation of information, including chart types and how to acquire and process data, going far beyond Excel’s capabilities.”

Another aspect of the program BIT students enjoy is using the Cirrus learning environment, provided by Paradigm Education Solutions. Because the environment is cloud-based, students can access their textbooks and coursework on most any digital device. This means they can easily shift from studying on a laptop computer to other devices such as a  Mac or Chromebook. They also benefit from gaining deep experience in the applications used in virtually every office, including the Microsoft Office 365 suite and the use of several collaboration platforms for sharing files, video conferencing, and online messaging with other students. “I call it a win/win,” Michelle says. “At UCO, students grow their expertise of many of the application of the programs that are used in the workplace, taking their understanding of these indispensable programs to an expert skill level.”

Take the Next Step in Your IT Career

Now that you know more about what it could mean to have a career in IT, are you ready to explore our online BIT degree?

Connect with an advisor or call our associate degree specialists’ team at 833-556-4428. They’ll help you customize the curriculum to fit your schedule, interests and how quickly you want to complete your degree.

We’re ready to help you build the IT career of your dreams — so reach out to us today.

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