Four Things To Look For In Your Dream IT Program
Majors and degree programs that seemed like a surefire way to land a well-paying job upon graduation can be obsolete a few years later. For adult students looking to make a career change or get a certificate that could enable a promotion at their current job, it can be hard to know what to look for in an IT program.
If you’re looking for a place to continue your technology education, you already know you don’t have time or money to waste. Consider these four factors as you evaluate the schools and programs that could help you land that programming job or promotion you’ve been hoping for.
NUMBER 1: AFFORDABILITY
Whether you’re going back to school or going to college right out of high school, getting your degree is an investment of both time and money. Wherever you choose to go to school, you want to make sure you are getting a good value. Rodd Bullard, associate professor in the Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) Computer Science department. says affordability is a high priority. “Not only do we keep the cost of tuition down, but we don’t charge our students fees for things like transcripts or graduation.”
Ask to see a schedule of fees and tuition before enrolling so you can choose the college that offers you the best value for your money.
NUMBER 2: INTERNSHIPS
As you’re deciding where to continue your education, look for a college that’s an essential part of the community in which it is located. A college with strong community ties is more likely to have professional connections that could help you in your field; ask an admissions counselor about internship possibilities for IT students.
“We make sure our students have the opportunity to participate in internships after their first or second year,” says Bullard. “I had two internships when I was in college and understand first-hand how important that experience is to securing a good job upon graduation.”
NUMBER 3: FLEXIBILITY
Look for a college that offers a variety of class options so you can more easily fit your courses into your schedule. “We offer online classes and on-campus courses at DMACC, and some that are a mixture of the two,” says Kelli Kleindorfer, computer science professor at DMACC. “At our urban campus in particular, where we serve a lot of nontraditional students, we work carefully to ensure our course times are convenient for the students most interested in taking them. One example of that is scheduling courses over the lunch hour and right after work.”
A strong IT education blends theory and applied science to provide the knowledge you need to succeed in your chosen career path. Look for a school that employs adjunct professors, part-time instructors who work in the fields they teach.
“Hiring instructors who can bring current real-life experiences working with the technology and concepts they are teaching students about is one important way that DMACC actively works to ensure its students are well prepared for fulfilling jobs in an industry that’s constantly changing,” says Michelle Ruse, district chair CIX, group leader for CIS Urban Campus.
Choosing the right college to continue your IT education can be a challenge. Keeping these four factors in mind as you conduct your search can help you narrow down your choices to schools that are a good fit, making your selection process a little easier — and your job or promotion prospects brighter.