By By Lynette F. Cornell, Mass High Tech
Industry demands for a technically trained workforce are causing information technology programs at higher education institutions to grow in popularity, outpacing other academic programs, according to Catherine Kendrick, director of corporate and distance market development at the University of Massachusetts Lowell.
Interest in master’s degree programs for IT has also increased as the pipeline of IT undergraduate students has grown, she said. Other contributing factors to the growth in the continuing education programs are the increasing complexity of technology and the trend for companies toward more selectiveness in their hiring, she said, noting that students pursuing an advanced education are hoping to distinguish themselves in the job market.
Students are increasingly seeking certificates rather than enrolling in a full-time bachelor’s IT program because the certificates provide flexibility for working professionals looking to develop a specific skill or freshen up their skills to position themselves for a promotion. The IT programs drawing the most interest now are in network security, especially in the areas of mobile computing and virtualization. Kendrick said this increased demand is due to the need for system security is industry agnostic and is sought by businesses of all types and sizes. “Everyone is interested in keeping their network secure,” said Kendrick.
Other hot IT programs include digital forensics, security for mobile networks and database management technology. Among industry-specific programs, health IT is seeing a surge of interest with the changes in healthcare and the lack of an electronic records system that is easily usable by healthcare workers, according to UMass Lowell’s provost Ahmed Abdelal. He said it will continue to be a major IT growth area.
Check out the top 30 list of IT programs.