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How to Become an IT Specialist

August 20, 2018

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Career in Information Technology

Though information technology specialists are well-paid and in high demand, breaking into the tech industry can be daunting. With all of the different devices and programs available in modern society, it can be challenging for aspiring IT professionals to know which material to focus their attention on, much less where to obtain their training. While many still choose to jumpstart their IT careers with traditional bachelor’s degrees, more and more students are choosing to complete their education through self-study, certificate programs, and associate degrees. Read on to learn about the pros and cons of each course of study.


Most universities offer 4-year degrees in computer science and information technology. Such programs provide students with a comprehensive overview of computer science and complex problem-solving. However, these programs require students to complete an extensive number of courses unrelated to their profession, making them costly and time-consuming. Furthermore, at universities, even relevant curriculum typically revolves more around theories than practical skills. For these reasons, many aspiring IT professionals seek alternative methods of education.


Printed manuals and online tutorials are a cost-effective way for motivated students to learn the fundamentals of information technology. Because these resources are self-directed, they are also a desirable option for students with busy schedules, as well as those who are interested in learning a very specific set of skills. But while learning a technical skill may prepare students for certification, it does not provide them with the background they need to be proficient in the field. More so, self-study simply does not work well for everyone. Even highly focused and intelligent students can struggle with self-study as it is difficult to master an intricate subject without the guidance of an experienced professional.

Alternative Programs

A sensible balance between university education and self-study, certificates and associate degrees equip students with a team of knowledgeable mentors without the investment of four – or more – years of time and tuition. At the Career College of Northern Nevada, for instance, most full-time students can complete an Associate of Occupational Studies in Information Technology in just 18 months. Upon completion of the program, students are eligible to sit in for A+, CISCO, VMware, and EMC2 certification at the campus’ PearsonVue-certified testing center.

Taking the Next Step

The transition to a career in IT can be stressful, but it’s a transition that yields favorable results in the end. Information technology is a growing field with high earning potential. While most jobs can expect a 5 – 8% increase in growth over a ten-year period, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects positions in computer networking and technology to grow by 12% between 2018 and 2028. In addition, Glassdoor reports the average salary for information technology specialists to be $62,329 per year, again much greater than the national mean salary of $50,620. Thus, if you are compelled to study information technology, you are only a few steps away from a stable and lucrative career. Contact us at 775-241-4445 or complete the form at the bottom of this page to learn more about how you can best achieve your educational and professional goals.