Boosting The ROI Of Your IT Degree - InformationWeek
Government // Leadership
03:49 PM
Michael Goul
Michael Goul

Boosting The ROI Of Your IT Degree

A technology-focused master's degree can be the key to a better job.

20 Top Masters Degrees For Big Data Analytics Professionals
20 Top Masters Degrees For Big Data Analytics Professionals
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Unemployment across America remains a major concern for today's college graduates. Although the percentage of unemployed college graduates has dropped over the past three years, the change is negligible, with the rate still hovering at 14%, according to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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.

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