Information technology programs prepare people to design computer systems. Students learn about computer hardware, software, and networking. They learn to create easy-to-use system designs.
A few years ago, a popular skit on the TV show "Saturday Night Live" was Jimmy Fallon's "Nick Burns, Your Company's Computer Guy." The premise of each skit was that employees of a company would run into common computer problems, and you guessed it – Nick Burns, the computer guy, would come fix it. Often he would belittle the employee who accidentally locked up her system or erased a file. Obviously, it's not accurate to stereotype all computer professionals this way. Yet, sometimes people are so afraid of their own computers that they are intimidated by the expertise of the "computer person" in their office. Information technology programs teach students how to "bridge the gap" between computer science and everyday computer users.
In information technology programs, you study general computer science concepts, including learning how computers work, the different operating systems, and network administration. However, most of your courses will focus on the technology behind computer systems. You learn how to design computers and related technology. You also learn how to change existing computers and software to better meet computer user needs. In addition, you take software and hardware engineering courses. You also study the design of the Internet, multimedia (e.g., CD-ROMs, digital video), and databases. Overall, you learn how to solve information technology problems and teach people the best ways to use computer technology.
With a degree in information technology, you often specialize in an aspect of computer technology. You can work as a database or network administrator. Or, you can become a web developer or webmaster. You can even focus on creating new digital multimedia, from creating avant-garde video games to digital photography software to music sharing systems.
Many four-year colleges and universities offer bachelor's degrees in information technology. Some community colleges offer a two-year program that can be transferred to a four-year school. Graduate study in this field is usually through computer science programs, so be sure to check out that program of study. Most people who get graduate degrees in information technology become high-level computer scientists or professors.