Online PhD in IT Degree Information Guide

PhDinIT follows industry developments as they related to getting a PhD in Information Technology. According to the Information Technology Association of America (ITAA), information technology is “the study, design, development, application, implementation, support or management of computer-based information systems, particularly software applications and computer hardware.” The Internet Security (IS) and Computer Science fields are closely related to the IT industry. The PhD in IT is the highest degree awarded in this subject, and readies graduates for positions teaching in academia or doing research within the field.

Those working in IT learn about software, hardware, applications, installation, and design elements of computers. The objective is learning how computers and applications work and applying these tools to a business environment. It involves problem solving, learning how to integrate systems that meet the client’s needs, and designing and maintaining networking systems.

Northcentral University
DBA in Computer Sci.

Northcentral University -- Northcentral University's DBA in Applied Computer Science prepares students to take on executive roles in information technology through advanced education in the information technology field. Coursework combines leadership principles with the latest technology, and emphasizes the intersection of management principles with emerging media, as well as database management and troubleshooting.

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Walden University
PhD in I.S. Mgmt
DBA in I.S. Mgmt

Walden University -- Walden University's PhD in Information Systems Management and the DBA in Information Systems Management help students manage information, get the most value from investments in organizational systems, learn about e-commerce, security management and risk assessment, and system design. Students also learn to manage people effectively to create a positive and energetic working environment.

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A PhD in IT Defined

Information technology (IT) is one of the fastest growing industries globally. As technology progresses, those working in IT are essential for every industry. Those with a PhD in IT are sought after by major firms to update data systems and stay on top of the latest IT trends for networking and developing new unique programs. Security is also playing a significant part in the IT field. A PhD in IT puts you on the cusp of top job opportunities in; you’re learning how to apply the latest computer skills and applications to IT, which is a vital role for corporations.

Do I Need a PhD in IT?

For those looking to work in top paying positions in IT, a PhD in the field is an ideal way to develop that level of career. The field is becoming more competitive, so an advanced degree will help you stand out. While there are many positions to go around, not all of these positions are high paying jobs; there are many entry level positions for those working in IT. Those pursing a PhD already often have limited real world work experience, but are still eligible for top IT positions because of their knowledge and education. This is a career where education counts most, even over work experience. While you do need a master’s degree to enter a PhD program, having limited work experience is acceptable. If you are looking to become a top IT specialist working for the government or high profile companies, a PhD in IT is the way to reach those goals.

What are the Requirements for a PhD in IT Program?

You need a master’s degree in IT, business science, or computer science for any PhD IT program. This is the norm for both traditional programs and online degree programs. There is no way to enter a reputable PhD in IT program without one of these master’s degrees. If you come across an online program that claims you do not need a master’s to enter these (or any) PhD program, then that is a sign of a questionable learning institution. The accreditation of your school for any IT or computer science degree is integral and not something to be taken lightly. To apply for a PhD in IT program, you also need to complete the Graduate Records Examination (GRE) for IT students. This is a standardized test required by most schools and must be taken prior to the PhD application process, as your scores are included in the application. You will also need a letter of recommendation for most PhD programs, as well as you transcripts from any degree programs you’ve participated in.

How Long Will It Take Me to Complete a PhD in IT?

A PhD in IT program consists of 72 credit hours, which takes about three years for most candidates to complete, since many students work full time during their PhD program. This is typically, though not always, divided into three sections for a PhD in IT. These hours are divided among coursework, research, and preparing and arguing a dissertation. During the first two years of the program, students are expected to take a certain number of coursework hours, though this number varies by school. The last two years, a student focuses on a dissertation, although it is common for additional classroom credits to be completed during this time. In an online PhD in IT program, the layout of the course work and dissertation may vary from that of a traditional school; for online PhD programs, many students go to school part time during the first two years as they complete course work.

Learn About Online PhD in IT Programs

Online PhD programs are a rapidly growing area of online degrees. Because many PhD candidates work full time or are returning to complete a degree after joining the work force, online PhDs offer the flexibility that cannot be matched by a traditional program. The first two years of a PhD program often include much time spent in the classroom. Adults working full time may not be able to stop working or arrange their school schedule around work hours, but an online PhD programs allows you to take on as many hours as you can handle while maintaining a full or part time job. Many PhD candidates are returning students and may have to adjust to classes, studying, and organization and research skills to defend their dissertation. A PhD program conducted online gives disciplined students the autonomy to complete their PhD at their own pace.

How Do I Learn if My Online School is Accredited?

In the beginning stages of applying to a PhD program, you will likely have a meeting with an academic advisor. This advisor will be able to tell you if the school and in particular, that program, is accredited. It should be noted that not all programs at online schools are accredited. You should ask how long this PhD program has been accredited, how experienced the professors are with conducting online courses, and what student resources are available for the online degree. You should be sure that you are applying to a reputable and accredited PhD program.

Is an Online PhD in IT Degree Acceptable?

Online PhD degrees are becoming acceptable by private employers and the government. As long as the PhD program you participate in is from an accredited source, you will not have an issue proving your diploma to employers. Employers are most concerned with having the right person for the job, including a certain level of education, but in many cases the source of this education is not a factor. As long as it is an accredited source, you will be able to compete for top employment opportunities and prove yourself in the work place. Online PhD programs for IT focus on the same fundamental components of a traditional PhD program, but do so in a manner that’s accessible and convenient for busy students.

What Are the Differences Between Online and Traditional PhD Programs?

The main difference lies in the first two years of the program, when you’re working on coursework. Because the latter parts of a PhD program are independent work for a dissertation and research, it is not much different from a traditional program. The first two years are when you’re completing course hours and spend much of the time on research and in the classroom. This differs for students in an online PhD program because they are able to conduct all coursework from home on their own time. Students have a syllabus and must keep up with class work, but do not have to report to a classroom on a regular basis. For online PhD programs that are an extension of a traditional school, students may be required to attend an orientation at the beginning of the program.

How to Plan an Online PhD Degree Program

If you are new to online degree programs, you may wonder how to plan your courses. All legitimate online degree programs give you access to an academic advisor; if the school has a traditional campus, you will be able to meet with this advisor to discuss courses and what best suits your schedule. Other online schools may have academic advisors available via live chat and over the phone. An academic advisor is essential to successfully planning your PhD program and coursework because he or she knows the prerequisites and has experience with candidates from different lifestyles. How many hours you can commit to depends on your work and family schedule and any other responsibilities you may have. An academic advisor will show you how to take these things into account when designing a schedule that sets you up for success within your PhD program.

Will I Need Additional Certification After Receiving My PhD in IT?

For most positions, you will not need any additional certification to work after receiving your PhD in IT. For IT positions with the military or government, you will need security clearance. This is done for you by the government, usually after you have been hired for the position. One of the easiest ways to receive security clearance is to enroll in the military, as security clearance is one of the first things granted to those enlisted. Because of your education, you will likely be bumped immediately to the top of the list for security clearance. You will be required to work in IT for the military for a certain number of years, which can be as little as one and as many as five, but after that you will still have security clearance for any job. You can go on to work for the FBI or CIA in IT for security, which is a major area for growth. Positions such as these are also available at Fortune 500 companies who are willing to pay top dollar for educated, knowledgeable IT experts.

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