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What can I do with a phd in information technology?

bbugyi200bbugyi200 Member Posts: 15 ■□□□□□□□□□
Hello All,

I am in the very beginning stages of looking into getting my Bachelor's degree. I think I have decided on an Information Technology degree, as I've been aiming towards a Network Engineer job for quite some time now. I am worried about the type of opportunities I would have 10 years from now though.

I love learning new things about technology. Its why I got into this field in the first place. If I finish my Bachelor's degree in IT what other options would I have to progress my career in the direction of research and technology?

In what direction would I go in if I wanted to pursue my education all the way through to getting my PhD? A PhD in Information Technology? What kind of positions would that open up? Are there other graduates programs which I could look into that I would be qualified for, or qualified for given I take a few prerequisites first?

Thanks for your input everyone! I'm just trying to make sure I not only consider the next 5 years, but also take into account the next 20. I look forward to your thoughts! :)

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    SyliceSylice Member Posts: 100
    With a phd you can teach Information Technology. If thats what you want to do, go for it.
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    IristheangelIristheangel Mod Posts: 4,133 Mod
    Have people call you "Doctor." You can also teach IT but in reality, most universities here in California will allow you to teach with just a MS.
    BS, MS, and CCIE #50931
    Blog: www.network-node.com
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    Danielh22185Danielh22185 Member Posts: 1,195 ■■■■□□□□□□
    If you want a PHD but are interested in Networking I suggest focus those efforts on aiming toward CCIE / related networking subjects instead. I honestly can say I've never met someone with a PHD in information technology. What you would do with that sounds like you could go in many directions but you wouldn't have the specialized skills and would have to go back and obtain those to operate at a high level like you would obtain from High level certs and experience. However I am sure you would posses some high level knowledge that could be applied to a specialized area in time and become an IEEE engineer or something.
    Currently Studying: IE Stuff...kinda...for now...
    My ultimate career goal: To climb to the top of the computer network industry food chain.
    "Winning means you're willing to go longer, work harder, and give more than anyone else." - Vince Lombardi
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    Justin-Justin- Member Posts: 300
    The only career I could think of with a PhD in IT would be an IT professor - but as Iristheangel mentioned, you could even become that with just a Master's.
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    bbugyi200bbugyi200 Member Posts: 15 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Thanks for all of the quick and helpful information everyone! :D

    As a follow up question, is there a difference between a degree in Information Systems and Information Technology? If I get a Bachelor's in Information Technology would it be difficult to then go for a Master's in Information Systems?
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    DoyenDoyen Member Posts: 397 ■■■□□□□□□□
    There are many alternatives for a doctorate besides just academia. Those that pursue a doctorate develop analytical, quantitative, and qualitative skills over the course of their dissertation. You could work in research for a corporation, consulting, start your own business, work for the government, develop application ventures for a business or university, publish works/reports, guest speaker/trainer at meetings, or work on your post doctorate. A CCIE can indeed earn you some money, but also keep in mind that you have to renew it every 2 years. This is typically done by taking the written exam again, the most update version...which may require studying newer information. However, once earned, you will always have your doctorate.
    Goals for 2016: [] VCP 5.5: ICM (recertifying) , [ ] VMware VCA-NV, [ ] 640-911 DCICN, [ ] 640-916 DCICT, [ ] CCNA: Data Center, [ ] CISSP (Associate), [ ] 300-101 ROUTE, [ ] 300-115 SWITCH, [ ] 300-135 TSHOOT, [ ] CCNP: Route & Switch, [ ] CEHv8, [ ] LX0-103, [ ] LX0-104
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    bbugyi200bbugyi200 Member Posts: 15 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Doyen wrote: »
    There are many alternatives for a doctorate besides just academia. Those that pursue a doctorate develop analytical, quantitative, and qualitative skills over the course of their dissertation. You could work in research for a corporation, consulting, start your own business, work for the government, develop application ventures for a business or university, publish works/reports, guest speaker/trainer at meetings, or work on your post doctorate. A CCIE can indeed earn you some money, but also keep in mind that you have to renew it every 2 years. This is typically done by taking the written exam again, the most update version...which may require studying newer information. However, once earned, you will always have your doctorate.

    Thanks for the answer Doyen!

    My main concern with going for my undergraduates in Information Technology is my ability to advance my formal education from there if desired. What kind of graduate programs can I look into as possibilities? Do I have flexible options or am I limited to only Information Technology graduate programs? What about Information Systems graduate programs? Are they similar enough fields to make a seamless transition?

    The reason I ask this is that I understand that it is a relatively simple thing to switch from a undergraduates in Mathamatics (for example) to a graduates program in Computer Engineering, given how similar the requirements in those fields can be.. Does the Information Technology field offer the same types of opportunities?
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    Danielm7Danielm7 Member Posts: 2,310 ■■■■■■■■□□
    bbugyi200 wrote: »
    Do I have flexible options or am I limited to only Information Technology graduate programs? What about Information Systems graduate programs? Are they similar enough fields to make a seamless transition?

    Every program in every school is different. IT and IS can be the same thing in some schools, completely different in another. I've worked at companies that thought IT was everything that involved a computer, others called IS the business analysts, and yet another where IS were the programmers and IT were the systems/networking people. Look at the programs at the school you are interested in and see what most closely lines up with your future goals. I think being part way through a BS and likely have no experience in actual IT employment yet you're far, far away from even considering a need for a PHd.

    Figure out what interests you, then you can gear your future studies towards that. I don't think you'd ever find a job that requires a PHd outside of very high level research and maybe teaching, although everyone here says you don't need anything above an MS for that. I've only known one person locally who did anything close to that and they were working on their PHd in robotics and artificial intelligence in a local ivy league school, it's a far cry from IT and he was in his 30s, still constantly studying and writing and had never held a job outside of academia.
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    da_vatoda_vato Member Posts: 445
    I believe you are thinking along the right lines. You are trying to future proof your efforts now and I see no harm in that. 10 years ago I did the same and went for a CS undergrad, I now work in Information Security. The transition was seemless, easy and most importantly, relevant.

    You are a ways off from a doctoral degree but there is no harm in setting yourself up for that path and planning towards it. In your other post you said the magic words that leads me to believe you will achieve this goal "dreams of Computer Science Research."

    The thing about school is you have to strike while it is hot. In other words do as much as you can while you're still interested and have the time. Life has a funny way of getting in the way of our dreams and few of us continue to pursue them after running into these obstacles. From what I have seen around the R&D realm, your pay will not jump significantly from a masters to a Ph.D, most of these credential holders did it because they love their perspective field.
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    Ryuksapple84Ryuksapple84 Member Posts: 183
    I agree, but IMHO you should still have a BA.

    CCIE+BA=Awesomeness.
    Eating humble pie.
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    DoyenDoyen Member Posts: 397 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Danielm7 is correct about the IT and IS programs being different from college to college. He offers great advice that colleges typically show their program curriculum on their website and you can see if the programs meet your goals. As for your concern about the transition process, as long as you have a degree in a relevant field, you should be fine. On most cases after viewing your transcripts, they will allow admittance to their program if you take the appropriate prerequisites courses. Depending on the program they are offering, this is usually a math, science, programming language, or fundamental course.

    I too have ambitions for a doctorate and I have been reviewing a lot of programs & their requirements. However, it has occurred to me from instructors and advisers that I should focus on the now. I should aim for some experience in the field and a masters program as well. Have your doctorate as a goal and take smaller steps to see if it will fulfill that purpose. Yes, there are programs that allow you to enroll after your undergrad to a terminal or professional degree, keep in mind that the program is in depth & long.

    As da_vato stated, make sure that you will still have ambition and passion for the work before you commit to that. Studies have shown that only 50% of those that start the program actually finish. This could be for a number of reasons (funds, advising, dissertation, or research), but if you lack the passion for the material during those years, you will lose the interest to finish. It’s not just motivation as well, but also realizing that a doctorate degree program is vastly different from a masters program. Remember that these doctorate courses are not just about learning known topics (if any), but how to devise a theory/thesis to a known issue followed by conducting and writing scholarly research for a solution…which can take years. Most core classes and electives are there to help you decide or add to your dissertation research.

    Anyway, getting back to the point, the transition is not difficult between programs after you research the curriculum. You can go on the path that a friend of mine took back in 2003 when we graduated with an associates degree. She took an accelerated (or university transfer) BS in computer science within 2.5 years (2006), then went for her MS of IT within 2 years (2008 ), and then her PhD in IS: Management (don’t recall the exact name of the management type off the top of my head, but probably technology) in just under 6 years (late 2013). She is currently doing her post doctorate at UMUC. You can use that as template for transitioning programs if you like. I just wanted to emphasize to you that doctorate programs are not easy and we had to convince her to finish it twice. It is not just the material and research, but the passion in the field and the motivation to finish. Most of the time you are “on your own” with a advising committee while teaching (reduced or paid tuition).

    The last advice that I can offer you when deciding on a doctorate program is make sure that the program will offer you a masters degree along the way of pursuing your doctorate. That way, if you should quit the program, you will have something to walk away with. Of course, this if you are considering applying from a bachelors degree or, at least, a masters in the doctoral program you didn't complete.
    Goals for 2016: [] VCP 5.5: ICM (recertifying) , [ ] VMware VCA-NV, [ ] 640-911 DCICN, [ ] 640-916 DCICT, [ ] CCNA: Data Center, [ ] CISSP (Associate), [ ] 300-101 ROUTE, [ ] 300-115 SWITCH, [ ] 300-135 TSHOOT, [ ] CCNP: Route & Switch, [ ] CEHv8, [ ] LX0-103, [ ] LX0-104
    Future Goals: WGU MSISA or Capital Technology Univerisity MSCIS Degree Program
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    UnixGuyUnixGuy Mod Posts: 4,567 Mod
    PhD in IT...or even better a PhD in CS will get you a job in academia doing R&D and teaching...or a job at Google. If you love learning and can dedicate the next 7 years to doing that (which is not bad in my opinion seeing that the first few yrs of any career you will get paid a low salary anyway), then go for it. Do it if you love learning, research, and teaching.
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    NightShade03NightShade03 Member Posts: 1,383 ■■■■■■■□□□
    I also wanted to throw out the comment that many people going into the "Big Data" or Data Science will find that they need a PhD. The ironic part with this is that having a PhD in a non-IT related field might be even more helpful. Math, Bio, and Physics all provide strong research and quantitative skills which can be applied to a data scientists role.

    Other career tracks already mentioned include academia/teaching, authoring papers/books, and consulting.
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    UnixGuyUnixGuy Mod Posts: 4,567 Mod
    .... The ironic part with this is that having a PhD in a non-IT related field might be even more helpful. Math, Bio, and Physics all provide strong research and quantitative skills which can be applied to a data scientists role.

    Other career tracks already mentioned include academia/teaching, authoring papers/books, and consulting.


    +1 true.. There's growth in some new fields, like Bioinformatics...etc
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