Sometimes there’s no way getting around not having a college degree. If you want to be a doctor, lawyer, or accountant, it’s mandatory. One of the appealing factors about IT, however, is that you don’t need a degree to be successful. Certifications and experience are what count in IT.
That said, it can be a good idea to earn a degree. It proves that you’re committed, disciplined, and love to learn. But what if your university or college doesn’t offer a computer science degree or IT-related classes? We asked some of our trainers about which degrees translate well to an IT career. You might be surprised by their answers.
Several trainers recommended pursuing business-related degrees such as finance and accounting, because it’s important to be able to see and understand the business side of a company or organization.
“An MIS (Management Information Systems) degree straddles the gap between computer basics and business basics,” said Ben Finkel. “The two are closely related in many situations, so it’s good to have that kind of broad knowledge.”
Ben also suggested that pursuing an MBA (Master of Business Administration). According to the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences, IT pros who have an MBA earn 46 percent more than those who have just a bachelor’s degree.
Both Anthony Sequeira and Chris Ward stressed the importance of developing soft skills. Anthony said that being able to communicate effectively is especially crucial if you want to advance your IT career.
“An understanding of really any kind of soft skills such as management, leadership, etc. is good,” Chris added. “A degree in that kind of stuff is always conducive to you having success in any field.”
Along the same lines, Garth Schulte suggested getting a degree in psychology. He said that often IT pros are viewed as homebodies who keep their heads down, but that it’s important for them to be more outgoing.
“You need to be able to relate to people,” Garth said. “By understanding people and how they relate to things such as technology, it will help you bridge the gap between IT and other departments.”
No matter what degree you choose to pursue, it’s never a bad idea to pursue a degree that enables you to try new things and stretch your mind. IT is always changing and requires you to be able to adapt quickly. Here’s trainer Brian Alderman’s take:
“Really, anything that allows you to be creative is a safe bet,” he said. “You want to be interested in it enough that you start thinking outside of the box.”
Are you an IT pro with a degree that’s not CS- or IT-related? How has YOUR degree helped your IT career?