Online master's in information systems and technology
Lead the way with a mastery of digital tools
The rise in automation sparked by technological advancements has increased demand for qualified information systems and technology professionals. Information technology (IT) spending is on track to reach $3.9 trillion globally in 2020. And our reliance on this profession will only continue to skyrocket.
Employers across this sector typically seek candidates with basic information systems and technology skills. However, they are now increasingly looking for prospective employees with more advanced and hybrid tech skill sets.
A forward-thinking graduate degree program can provide a solid foundation while giving you the skills and knowledge you’ll need to complete intricate IT tasks that can’t be replaced by automation tools.
What is a master’s in information systems and technology degree?
A Master of Science in Information Systems and Technology (MSIST) can prepare you with the advanced skills and competencies required for a specialized career in the computer IT sector. This type of degree covers a range of IT topics from software development and programming to data storage and network engineering.
Preparing for an evolving job market
A master’s in information systems and technology can provide you with high-level qualifications that map to advanced roles in information systems and technology. Once you earn your master’s degree, you’ll be entering a rapidly expanding and lucrative job market.
What jobs can you get with a master’s in information systems and technology?
With a master’s in information systems and technology, you can qualify for a variety of roles within and beyond the computer IT industry. The following table shows 10 of the top jobs in information systems and technology, along with the total number of opportunities in 2019, the projected job growth, and the median salary for each:
Total Job Postings, 2019
Projected Change in Employment, 2016-2026
Computer Systems Engineer/Architect
Mobile Applications Developer
As projected, 6 of the 10 job titles will experience about 30.7% employment growth by 2026. This growth rate is significantly higher than the 5% national average across all occupations.
Is a master’s degree required for a career in this field?
A master’s degree is not required in this field. However, employers advertising entry-level jobs (i.e., those requiring less than two years of related work experience) increasingly seek candidates with graduate degrees. For example, in 2019, 40% of all entry-level software developer and engineer jobs required a master’s degree, as did 35% of all computer systems engineer and architect jobs.
A smaller percentage of employers sought master’s degree-holders for network engineer and architect jobs (18%), systems analyst roles (16%), and project management positions (11%). In these types of positions, applicants with an MSIST can more easily stand out from the competition.
Additionally, a master’s degree can result in higher earning potential. Computer systems engineers and architects with only a bachelor’s degree earned $103,000, while their peers with a master’s degree saw higher median earnings of $107,000 per year.
Learning and applying the top skills
Learning and applying the top skills
While completing coursework for your MSIST, you will engage with the theoretical aspects and practical applications of a range of IT and computing methodologies.
While each master’s program will offer a different core course curriculum, you can expect to take classes in subject areas such as:
Application and software development
In many graduate-level information systems and technology programs, you will conclude your studies with a self-driven capstone project in your chosen subject area.
Advanced and hybrid skills
In an ever-changing job market, hybrid skills can help future-proof your career and prepare you for success, even as industries evolve and roles change. While an estimated 42% of jobs have the potential to become automated, this includes only 12% of hybrid jobs.
Hybrid jobs like those in information systems and technology require a combination of skills in the following areas:
Digital tools and technologies
Data and analytics
Businesses and management
If you’re looking to expand your IT interests with practical business skills and other valuable qualifications, a graduate degree can help enrich your knowledge and abilities in the following areas:
Certain soft skills are critical to success in a business environment. For occupations related to information systems and technology, the following skills are in high demand:
Teamwork and collaboration
The professional focus of a master’s degree program can help you develop these skills and apply them toward industry-specific activities. You’ll have the ability to gather, interpret, and visualize information and be prepared to communicate your findings to colleagues and clients.
Specialized technology skills and methodologies
Desirable IT-specific skill sets, competencies, and methodologies that you will encounter during your graduate studies include:
Data lakes and reservoirs
Software quality assurance
Customer relationship management
Programming and software skills
In addition to these IT competencies, you will gain experience in specific programming languages and software tools, such as:
Many schools with master’s degree programs in information systems and technology offer degree concentrations and electives that will help you thrive in either a computer IT niche or another industry that relies on the expertise you’ll be developing.
Possible information systems and technology concentration areas and electives may include:
Data science - with electives in data visualization, statistical analysis, and database management systems
Artificial intelligence - with electives in natural language processing, deep learning, and software robotics
Information security - with electives in data privacy, computer forensics, and risk management
Internet technologies - with electives in web application development, machine learning, and ecommerce
Project management - with electives in business communication, technology entrepreneurship, and project management for IT
Digital media - with electives in game design, computer graphics, and animation
Health care IT - with electives in health informatics, clinical reasoning, and the health care industry
Business intelligence - with electives in market research, data warehousing, and information decision systems
Online vs. on-campus: The balance sheet of what you can learn
Here are some common questions you might be asking while searching for a master’s program in information systems and technology:
In many ways, yes. In an online master’s program in information systems and technology, you will work through a similar curriculum and course content as you would during a campus-based program. However, the content delivery method will be different since you will be taking classes online rather than in person.
If you enroll in an online master’s program in information systems and technology, most if not all of your classes will be hosted online. This means you will participate in synchronous or asynchronous lessons through a digital learning platform. Course materials can include video lectures, reading assignments, quizzes, exams, and discussion boards. The computer-oriented subject matter of the typical information systems and technology curriculum — e.g., programming projects or data analytics assignments — lends itself well to an online format.
Yes. Some universities follow a 100% online format but others offer a blend of online and on-campus learning options. You might complete one or more courses on campus in a hybrid program with the option of finishing up the program online. Some hybrid programs also offer in-person enrichment activities such as professional development events, networking opportunities, and more.
No, “online” will not appear on your diploma. Like any campus-based information systems and technology program, your diploma from an online program will feature the degree and school name as well as other details like your full name and graduation year.
If you choose to study for your MSIST full time, you may be able to complete your studies in about two years. If you’re looking to earn your degree faster, look for universities that offer accelerated study tracks and year-round course offerings.
However, you can take your time in earning your master’s degree by becoming a part-time student. An online degree program can offer a great deal of flexibility if you’re aiming to boost your academic and professional qualifications while continuing to work full time. If you choose this option, you may be able to earn a master’s degree in three or four years.
If you’re eager to immerse yourself in the information systems and technology field, consider joining a professional association or membership organization that relates to your specific interests. Top associations to consider include:
Association for Computing Machinery
Computing Research Association
IEEE Computer Society
National Center for Women & Information Technology
Although participation isn’t typically a job requirement, involvement with a related organization can help you stand out from other job candidates by demonstrating your commitment to the field. It can also provide access to networking events, industry conferences where you can learn about cutting-edge developments, and leadership opportunities — all of which can help you grow.
You have goals. We have a path.
A master’s degree in information systems and technology can prepare you for the challenges and complexities of the workforce — as well as the competitive job market.
As the world’s learning company, we proudly partner with universities to offer a suite of online graduate degrees in information systems and technology. Whatever your career goals, we have a path for you.