Is Getting My Masters in IT Worth It?

Information Technology (IT) covers a wide range of careers. These careers can generally be divided into four categories: computer programming; computer design; computer management and other computer services. Different degree levels are required for entry level positions and for advancement. Attaining an advanced degree and professional certifications are common prerequisites for management level positions. 

Difference in Degrees

Those in computer programming and computer design are labeled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) with such titles as Web Developers, Software Developers, Computer Network Architects and Information Security Analysts. A bachelor’s degree is common for entry level positions in those areas.

Among the titles that distinguish management positions, or those that carry more responsibility, are Computer Systems Administrators and Database Administrators. Master’s degrees and experience are common requirements within these job descriptions.

Other computer services often refer to positions that can be filled with associate degree earners. These personnel are support technicians or specialists who support the IT administrators and developers. They may also be the support personnel for people who need help with problems on their home computers.

Benefits of Earning a Master’s Degree

National Center for Education Statistics ( reported that 37,677 associate degrees were conferred and 43,072 candidates earned bachelor degrees in computer and information sciences in 2010 – 2011. Only 19,446 master degrees were earned in the same category. The outlook for increases in employment levels as predicted by the BLS range from an average of 20% for the broad computer category to 31% for Computer Systems Administrators and Database Administrators. The lower number of degree earners and high prediction of job openings show a strong stance for those with the desire and aptitude to earn a Master’s degree.

As level of education increases so does the annual mean salary. Database Administrators can expect salaries upwards of $100,000. The annual mean salary for the broad list of computer positions is around $80,000 for those with a bachelor’s degree and about $42,000 for those with an associate degree as reported by the BLS. The US News Top Ten Jobs places Database Administrator in the #6 position. Forbes also filled their #6 spot with Computer Systems Administrators. The cost of earning a Master’s will be quickly offset with the increased salary. Companies may include tuition, or partial tuition reimbursement as part of their benefits packages. Accepting a position with a company that does offer tuition reimbursement may be a wise career choice. Internships are another perk that will prove advantageous to those seriously deliberating career advancement.

Salary and job prospects are important considerations; however, job satisfaction and contentment have to be contemplated. If you are a person who likes to see the big picture and has the ability to direct a workforce toward a common goal, then earning a Master’s degree for advancement will be a wise career choice.  Looking for the best schools?  Check out the top ranked schools.