Feeling Stuck? Reboot Your IT Career with a Master’s Degree

Working in Information Technology is fast-paced and challenging. From systems issues to constrained resources to user demands to increased security concerns, it’s a never-a-dull-moment environment, whether you work in corporate America, for a nonprofit or in healthcare, government or education.

Even if the work is challenging and generally fulfilling, you can still feel stuck in your career as an IT professional. You have options, of course, including lobbying for a higher-paying role or looking outside your organization for a new IT position. But there’s an option you might not have considered that can do wonders for your career, your future — and your overall outlook.

Benefits of a Master of Science in IT Degree

A proactive way to reboot and recharge your IT career is by heading back to school to get a master’s degree. This may be something you considered before and put to the side. Or it could be a new idea you want to explore.

If you’re ready to consider the possibilities, we’re glad you found this article.

When you choose to study for an advanced degree, you realize some benefits right away, such as:

  • You start to imagine the opportunities this new endeavor holds as you begin the process of vetting universities. The exploration process takes time, but it can be fun.
  • You send a powerful message to your employer that you’re interested in advancing your career. This public commitment fuels your momentum, and besides, it’s good for your employer to know your plans!
  • You get the opportunity to add the fact you’re pursuing the degree on your LinkedIn profile and on your resume — and that differentiator sets you apart.

Once you complete the Master of Science in IT (MSIT) degree — and that could be in about two years — you experience even more benefits. And we’ll talk about those shortly. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

First, you need to pick an MSIT program that’s right for you.

UC Online MSIT Program

The University of Cincinnati’s online Master of Science in Informational Technology (MSIT) degree is a well-known, leading program. Ranked #10 in the country by U.S. News & World Report, our program welcomes students from across the Cincinnati metropolitan area and Ohio and across the country and internationally, too.

Here’s what one of our students, Andrew, says about the program:

“I’ve been extremely pleased with my experience so far in the MSIT program here at the University of Cincinnati. The professors have been responsive and available when I’ve needed help and have designed their courses in ways that encourage online interaction among students. I’m excited to continue my studies and get my degree!”

Studying online for our MSIT degree, while you work full-time and juggle family and life demands, is a great option. You get all the benefits of a traditional, on-campus degree without having to give up your day job, as “they” say — along with our educators’ and staff’s commitment to your success. (If the idea of an online degree program is new to you, you’ll want to read 6 Hidden Benefits To Earning Your Degree Online.)

Our MSIT curriculum includes nine hours of core courses, 15 hours of electives and six hours for the program capstone or thesis. Students get exposure to a wide variety of technology areas that are at the forefront today.

The University of Cincinnati’s MSIT program includes these classes:

  • Machine Learning and Data Mining for IT focuses on using applied methods and software tools to discover hidden patterns or identify anomalies in the data generated in modern IT networks.
  • Technologies for Mobile Applications covers the technologies, devices, operating systems and tools of mobile applications, as well as the mobile industry. You will use tools to create apps for different mobile devices, including smartphones and tablets.
  • Games for Learning & Simulation introduces you to the use of games to influence learning and simulation, analyzing case studies and using game technologies to apply learning theories to develop games for educational and simulation purposes.
  • Enterprise Security and Forensics provides you with the advanced concepts needed to establish network security strategies to ensure adequate protection for your organization’s environment and yet provides accessibility for its community.

Cutting-Edge Cybersecurity Curriculum

In addition to the security and forensics course, MSIT program students will benefit from the University of Cincinnati’s distinction of being one of only a few institutions nationwide to have National Security Agency-sponsored National Centers of Academic Excellence in both cyber defense and cyber operations.

Chengcheng Li, an associate professor at our School of Information Technology, works with MSIT program students. He says the university received several grants from the National Security Agency (NSA), National Science Foundation and Ohio state government to support its highly regarded cybersecurity education program.

Our university is also home to the Ohio Cyber Range, a virtual environment where you can learn about cybersecurity and practice defending networks against threats of all kinds.

“We know cybersecurity is a growing field that offers vast job opportunities,” says Li. “We value our NSA connection, offer curriculum that’s aligned with them and encourage our students to attend NSA-sponsored career fairs.”

Opportunity for Higher Pay with an MSIT Degree

Earning an MSIT degree will be an investment of your time and energy. It will be a financial commitment for you, too. It’s natural to hope for a boost in pay, once you have your degree in-hand. While there are no guarantees what individual employers will do to acknowledge the master’s degree achievement, you can still use it as a leverage point with your manager.

The MSIT degree will hold cachet with future employers, too. First, it shows your commitment to the IT industry. It also shows your perseverance in making the degree become a reality as you continued to work.

It’s reassuring to know that completing a master’s degree does hold the potential for higher pay. In studies from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics — one from 2015, one from 2018 — the average difference between a person with a bachelor’s and a master’s degree (of any degree type) was about 18%.

Our Essential Guide to the Highest Paying IT Careers is packed with information that includes average salaries for crucial IT roles, specialfocus areas and leading employers in the field, if you’d like to learn more.

What Will You Do with Your MSIT Degree?

We hear from IT professionals who graduate from our MSIT program that earning the degree opens new doors for them. Sometimes it’s a promotion at work into a new or more challenging role, such as being a team lead or manager. Other times, it’s a more generous bump at your annual compensation review. And sometimes, an MSIT degree helps our graduates successfully leave one job and take on a new role elsewhere that offers more opportunity and more pay.

What you do with your MSIT degree will be up to you. For now, why not view our program’s admission requirements and the full curriculum? Then, when you’re ready to take the next step, connect with one of our advisors. Or call us today at 833-556-7600.

We look forward to meeting you!

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