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ASU launches new degree program in information technology

March 13, 2013

Students interested in computer science will have even more degree options at ASU when the College of Technology and Innovation (CTI) rolls out both a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degree in information technology (IT) this fall.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that jobs in the information technology sector are among the fastest growing occupations between 2010 and 2020 and are projected to grow by 22 percent. CTI is responding to the growth opportunity by introducing a program that prepares IT students for collaborative problem-solving and insight into industry best practices.

The new IT degree is a flexible, project-driven program focused on computerized acquisition, modeling, representation and retrieval of digital data and documents. The program features a structure that all CTI majors adhere to, which calls for students to work on relevant hands-on projects during each semester and eventually work with an external customer on an authentic practice-based problem related to information technology.

“We have infused the CTI project-based teaching model and industry collaboration to create a different kind of IT curriculum,” said Mitzi Montoya, vice provost and dean of CTI. “When our students graduate, they won’t just have the technical knowledge, but they will have industry experience and achievements.”

Students can choose from three focus areas: design and construction of Web applications; security administration of computer and network systems; and video game design and construction. Students can begin taking classes this fall.

Currently, the college offers a degree in software engineering, but Montoya says the IT program will offer a more specialized application of computer technology. The IT degrees will prepare students for careers in industry, education or government, and students can expect to develop the ability to conceptualize, organize and realize information technology projects that meet the needs of users within an organizational or societal context.

“The IT industry will experience tremendous change in the coming years, driven by our ability to apply technology to every important aspect of our daily lives – health care, energy, entertainment and education,” said Gordon Wishon, chief information officer for ASU. “You can choose to be swept along by these changes or, with a degree from CTI, you can choose to be a part of creating this new world.”

CTI’s new IT program also offers a pathway for community college students who graduate with an associate's degree in IT and want to pursue a bachelor’s degree in the same field, providing even more opportunities for employment.

IT graduates will be prepared for a variety of occupations from large or midsized corporations to small startups. Career opportunities include computer systems and information security analysts, web developers, computer network architects and database administrators.

Contributor: Sydney B. Donadlson, College of Technology and Innovation