Are you willing to do what it takes to earn an IT degree? Information technology is a booming field in which degree holders can pick and choose among interesting, well-paying jobs that interest them. This kind of specialty degree will continue to be popular throughout the 2020’s as more corporations hire tech-savvy grads who understand the inner workings of automation, computer infrastructure, web development, database security, and more. You should begin your quest by learning about the steps that most people take to earn their diplomas in this lucrative field. In addition to a standardized set of preliminaries, you’ll need to research particular institutions, apply for acceptance, get your financial situation in order, study diligently, and stay in close contact with an adviser until you graduate. Here’s more about each step of the process.
Take Care of Preliminaries
There are three preliminaries. First, graduate from high school or earn a GED diploma. Next, try to obtain at least one computer certification, like Cisco or Microsoft. You can usually complete a short cert course in a few weeks of online work. Finally, work as an intern or paid employee at a tech firm, preferably on the help desk or at another entry-level position. The certification and work experience are not necessary but will make you immensely more attractive to admissions offices of colleges to which you apply.
Research Schools that Interest You
You can start this step anytime you want. Become familiar with what’s out there in terms of IT programs. Learn which ones are top-ranked and within your academic and financial reach. Narrow your list of prospective institutions down to three or four.
Apply to Degree Programs
Take time to fill out the detailed application forms for each school that ended up on your short list. Even if they’re not all equal in your eyes, it helps to avoid pinning all your hopes on one school. With three or four applications going out, you stand a better chance of receiving acceptance to at least one program.
Get Financing in Order
Once you accept an offer, consider taking out a private student loan without a co-signer. Lenders will look at your credit scores, employment history, current income, the kind of program you’ve chosen, the cost of attendance, and other factors. Once you are approved, you’ll be able to cover some or all of your education expenses and begin building a credit history in your own name.
Build Strong Study Habits
Tech degrees call for serious amounts of study time. Be ready to deal with the work load by making a detailed daily schedule that allows enough time to stay ahead of the academic curve for the entire degree program. If you stick to the plan, your study habits will become ingrained within a few months.
Get Advice from Your Academic Counselor
If you want to stay informed about the job market and details about different majors you can choose after your first year, set regular sessions with your academic counselor. These professionals can help you stay the course and assist with any challenges you face along the way.