Information technology (IT) bucks that trend, as one of the fastest-growing professional fields in the country today. A master's degree has been shown to improve students' chances of securing an IT position with a high return on investment (ROI).
What do I mean by a high ROI? My students express the following three hopes for their careers. They want a 1) job that complements their knowledge, skills and experience, 2) a well-paid job, and 3) job security with a long-term career path. Fortunately, the booming IT industry addresses all three expectations, as the following statistics prove.
[ Cloud jobs are no pie in the sky. Read Cloud Jobs: 7 Million In 3 Years, IDC Says. ]
-- The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 1.4 million IT job openings by 2018, a growth rate of more than 22%.
-- Base salaries for IT jobs are expected to increase 5.3% in 2013, according to Robert Half International's Technology 2013 Salary Guide.
-- The unemployment rate for people with graduate degrees is 3% compared with a 5% unemployment rate for those with a bachelor's degree.
What if you majored in a non-IT field as an undergraduate, but you'd like to break into this industry? Or what if you've started your career in a tech field, but want to move up the corporate ladder? Obtaining a master's degree that is known for a high return on investment is one of the best ways to move into or upward in this quickly changing industry.
Below are three of the most marketable IT-focused master's degrees for 2013, which are available at a handful of top universities nationwide:
Master of Science in Business Analytics (MS-BA)
The Harvard Business Review says business analysts or data scientists have the "sexiest job of the 21st century." The explosion of big data, cloud computing and mobile/social platforms has led to strong hiring demand in this field. MS-BA degree programs are usually accelerated master's programs (sometimes just nine months long) that prepare students to be at the forefront of data-driven analysis, strategic decision-making and business-process optimization. Business-analyst positions are available at a range of organizations, including Fortune 500 companies, government organizations, small businesses and nonprofits.
Who should try for this degree? Recent undergraduates with a quantitative background. A science, technology, business, engineering or math undergraduate degree is recommended.