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Bachelor of Science
Find something you love to do
That you’ve turned the page suggests that information technology is something you could love to do. It’s likely, though, that you’re not sure. After all, a huge field like IT is too big for someone to love all of it. Almost nobody does just “information technology” – not for a long time now. They do websites, or databases, or networks, or information security, or application development, or… you get the idea. There are a lot of “specialties” in IT… and they keep increasing along with the technology and its uses in our world.
Let’s glance at a few of them: Databases - This is where the “gold” is kept. The real wealth of our world, more and more, is data and the information it can produce. Database experts build our repositories – our banks – for this wealth, and help to keep it safe, while assisting its use for legitimate purposes. Networking - Network designers and specialists build and maintain the highways of our information systems – the links that tie them together and allow huge volumes of data and information to move from one place to another – on a local, national and international scale. Information Security - Where data flows from one place to another, and even where it just sits in the vault, it must be guarded and protected. Without being sure of our data and who can get to it, we have nothing. IT security experts guard the vaults and the highways, matching wits with those who would rob or corrupt this essential resource. System Administration - The huge number of interconnected systems and servers that handle our data must be managed and continually updated. System administrators are the “wranglers” who keep this high-tech “herd” moving in the right direction and monitor its health and efficiency.
Web Design - If databases are where the data is kept, and networks are how it flows, then websites are how users – you, me, everyone – access and generate it. Web designers are as much artists as they are technologists. They must take how people interact with computers into account in their designs, while creating a website that is both emotionally pleasing to look at and use, but also efficient and effective. Applications Development - Without applications, a computer (and all the databases and networks behind it) is a useless hunk of silicon, plastic and metal. Applications make the computer useful to human beings. In fact, all the other software and hardware is there for the sole purpose of supporting the applications. The responsibility for making the computer “real” to users rests on the shoulders of applications developers. Mobile App Development - When the smartphone burst upon the world, it split applications development, creating a whole new IT specialty. The “computer that fits in your hand” needs its own applications – ones that adapt to and enable a mobile lifestyle. Great opportunities are out there! These are just a few of the specialties... and the great thing is that more are coming. As our world changes, and new technologies are developed, people who love to work with those technologies will be needed in increasing numbers. Plenty of places to find something you love.
Technology doesn’t stand still. It never has. What’s brand new today will be “old hat” tomorrow. How do you prepare for a professional world like that? What do you need to survive and prosper? First, a solid grounding in IT principles. A true understanding of the machine that makes it all possible – the computer. A comprehension of the structures “under the hood” that make it all work. Other people just see the ”special effects” – you know what goes into making them. The core courses of the BSIT (Bachelor of Science in Information Technology) provide: Two courses in “down on the bare metal” computing. These courses – one in IT concepts and the other in computer organization – focus on demystifying the machine that is so critical to our modern world. To the public, the computer is a “magic black box” that has a tremendous impact on their lives. Today’s IT professional must understand what’s “under the hood” – just as a NASCAR driver must understand not just how to drive his car, but how it works, in order to get the most out of it. Two courses in databases – how to control and use the vaults where data is stored, and make it available to applications by which people put data into systems and receive information from them. Three courses in programming languages and design – the skills you learn here will enable to you become the master of data, able to take data and create new information. An in-depth course in networking with hands-on lab experiences – learn how the flow of data and information is controlled to ensure it goes where we need it to go… and get practice in doing it yourself. The principles you learn in this course will apply far into the future. A course in how humans interact with computers – here’s where you learn to put the two worlds together. It’s not just how computers work – it’s how people work as well.
A course in data structures – learn how to organize data and information into structures where they can be most effectively and efficiently used. Choosing the appropriate data structure can make the difference between an application that runs like an Olympic athlete and one that runs like molasses. A course in operating systems – here you learn how operating systems software works – not just the what and how, but the why. The understanding taught in this course applies to all operating systems – not just today’s but tomorrow’s as well. A course in software engineering – how are the applications that run today’s world developed, modified and superseded? Like a highway, you can’t build an application and expect it to last forever. It must be maintained and, eventually, replaced in a never-ending cycle. Two courses to boost communications skills – everyone needs to be able to communicate with others… and in IT this is doubly important as you will often be writing or speaking to people who do not have your technical background. Being able to put across your ideas clearly and persuasively can be as essential to your success as your technical knowledge.
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Finding someone to pay you to do wh at you love starts long before gradua tion. In choosing your elective courses, you have already begun that process. While employers typically expect that a new hire will learn to specialize “on the job,” our elective courses give you a head start that makes you stand out from the moment your resume arrives in the mailbox of your future employer. Throughout your time at USF, the department’s mentoring program will give you an opportunity to interact with a faculty member assigned to provide guidance to you in aiming toward your future. Your mentor can give advice on how to network, find project and internship opportunities, and tailor your degree program to your target employer. USF student chapters of professional organizations are a great source of practical knowledge about job searches and finding someone who wants to pay you to do what you love. Make a real connection with a potential employer – participate in a dynamite internship in the real world. This is a great opportunity for you to learn who today’s IT employers are seeking… and to impress at least one of those employers with what you can do! Getting close to graduation, USF Career Services can assist you in many ways, including their Career Express and Job Shop services. They can help you find that employer who is eager to pay you for doing what you love.
Michael Alls, IT major: “I was originally concerned that an online program would not provide much interaction between student and faculty, but I found that I was able to communicate with advisors and professors as if I was attending classes on campus! I highly recommend this program to anyone that is seeking to get into the field of computers. I know that it greatly prepared me for my current occupation as a Programmer Analyst with FedEx, a position I got through a contact I made in an IT Senior Seminar colloquium.”
Joseph Behman, IT major: “If you’re a new college student with love for technology, the USF IT program is a major to consider. The program offers online classes that are designed to give the maximum learning experience, with the convenience of flexible time scheduling. The teachers are always helpful, and communication is your key to success. Finally, employers are looking for IT professionals, giving you an edge in the job market. The USF Career Fair will bring some of the biggest companies to the campus, which will help you land a very well-paying job.”
James Cherven, IT major: “The online mode opens an entire dimension of professional opportunities because the location of an internship or job offer is no longer a limitation. My professors have all gone out of their way to make any means of communication available to me and my classmates. Most are available by at least email, phone, and chat but often through other channels as well. My correspondence has always received prompt replies with great concern for my needs and questions.”
Rafael A. Perez, PhD USF College of Engineering Professor & Associate Dean for Academics: “The IT program is a great way for students to prepare for a fulfilling and high paying career. We have structured the program to maximize the flexibility for the student by offering courses online. I am proud to have the IT program in the College of Engineering as a third undergraduate degree option in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering.”
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