What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Getting my Master’s in IT Online?

The question of whether to pursue education online has never been more pressing than in the last few years, as high-speed internet has made many of even the best universities provide access to classes that are both world-class and worldwide. But knowing the advantages and disadvantages of what is still a burgeoning option in the pursuit of higher education is an important new part in choosing how you will study for your degree.

Whether the benefits will outweigh the disadvantages of an IT degree pursued online will depend on how much flexibility and in-person study you require. Looking at a government site on jobs outlook — which can provide information on job availability and potential salaries — can also help you determine if work in IT is right for you.


Working from Home / Lack of Moving Costs

One advance in learning that the internet has made more free is the opportunity cost of moving, as well as having to select a university based on a particular campus or city area. Attending school in Athens, Georgia, for example, might provide you with reasonable rents and a plentiful selection of apartments, while attending one of the many colleges in Boston that offer IT curriculums can put you in the league of $1000+ per month for a studio apartment, and a corollary of expensive schooling and living costs. For many students it’s simply a basic question of how much you want to spend to get your degree versus how much you stand to make coming out of school. IT can pay extremely well, and many students will find that they want to maximize their salaries — not devote huge amounts of income to simply paying down debt.With telecommuting to classes, so to speak, those expenses can be placed at the wayside, allowing students to live where they want and how they want. If your town or city offers good rent and flexibility for part-time jobs, your debt load upon graduation could be remarkably improved, making your salary essentially even higher when looked at from a cumulative perspective.

Setting a Schedule that Works for You

Another benefit to the online route for if you’re a potential IT student is the ability to view lectures and do classwork when and how you want to. If you’re hoping to work while going to school, for example, you may find that putting off that lecture until tomorrow morning would greatly help your ability to concentrate on a particularly challenging lecture. Or maybe you’d like to focus on your school work during the day and work a night shift, while many other students are stuck with evening classes if they’re meeting for in-person lectures, allowing by extension for you to get your best concentration in on the school side of things instead of on a draining job. Whichever you choose, a flexible schedule is one of the most attractive qualities to an online degree.

Lack of Face Time with Professors / Students

While the benefits of time flexibility and less debt load (and with interest rates on student loans having just doubled, this should be a major concern to potential IT students) are myriad, it’s also worth noting that there are downsides to an online degree — especially if you’re someone who needs clarification or simply person-to-person support from a professor or from fellow students. Real-time questions in class — the Socratic method — have been a central tenet to education for many years now, and watching a video of a lecture makes it much more difficult to raise points with a professor. Not being able to meet with fellow students for a study group session may also prevent you from getting your full potential from your course.

For these reasons, selecting the right approach to your schooling is of the essence, and a guarantee that you’ll get the most out of your degree for a rewarding career. IT is a booming and rewarding industry, and coming into the field with a strong education is a great way to succeed, and a greater way to learn about your working needs.