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What is Computer Systems Technology?
Computer systems technology is a field of study within management information systems (MIS) and information technology (IT) that is focused on the following components:
- Computer Programming
- Application Design
- Designing Networks & Network Systems
- Developing and Building Networks
A computer system technology professional will need to balance systems connectivity and network integration knowledge with software and hardware expertise. Computer systems technology is an ever-expanding field given the rapid evolution of technology and shortening life cycle for personal electronic devices. Churning devices and software applications will keep systems techs on their toes for decades to come.
Top Degrees in Computer Systems Technology
Students looking to earn a degree in computer systems technology (CST) have a broad range of options. From certificate programs to undergraduate degrees, a number of accredited colleges and universities offer degree pathways. In addition to traditional classroom-based courses, several colleges now offer online degrees in computer systems technology.
To help you decipher which program is best for you, we have assembled an overview of degrees and resources on this portal. Simply find the programs that fit you best and request information from top colleges as you navigate your way towards a decision on schools.
Certificate Programs in Computer Systems Technology
Classroom-based and online certificates in computer systems technology are intended to provide students with the basics. From foundational technical knowledge to hands-on learning opportunities, students will have a firm footing to begin a robust career in CST.
Typical CST certificate programs will last about a year while others are more involved and stretch into a two-year program. For part time students, you can expect the plan to be elongated as a function of your course load. Certificate holders can expect to launch a career in a variety of industries in a variety of entry-level positions.
Associate Degree in Computer Systems Technology
Online associate degrees in CST are typically found in a course catalog listed as an Associate of Applied Science or AAS degree. Associate degrees are most frequently created to be completed in 2-years’ time. An associate degree extends the scope of study when compared to a certificate or diploma program. More specifically, an AAS degree will meld core classes with liberal arts courses to provide a well-rounded education.
General education classes will vary by school but typically include math, history, statistics, economics, psychology, sociology, and communications. Meanwhile, core classes will be designed to help students understand the technological basics required of CST’s along with key problem-solving skills. Classes may include: hardware systems, networking basics, software solutions, basics of computer programming, internet tools, database management tools, Linux basics, client server programming, systems analysis and design.
Bachelor Degree in Computer Systems Technology
Online bachelor degrees in CST will be conferred as a Bachelor of Science (BS) or a Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS). A bachelor’s degree will take most full-time students 4-years to complete while part-time students will take longer. Both the BAS and BS degrees will meld general education courses with upper level technical concepts. Core courses you may find in a bachelor’s degree program in CST will include a combination of the following types of topics:
- Network Troubleshooting
- Managing Systems and Networks
- Hardware Support
- Server Management
- Software Essentials
- Networking Basics
- Router and Switching
- Wireless Networking
- WAN/LAN Technology
- Mobile Computing
- Cloud Computing
- System Design and Development
CST Educational Requirements
Academic requirements for CST students will be science-rich and math heavy in the first two years of the program. The back-half of a CST bachelor's degree will have more electives and computer-based classes. Classes you can expect to see in a CST degree include the following examples:
- Business Management
- Mathematics & Computational Math
- Computer Programming
- Information Technology
- Systems Networking
- Computer Science
- Systems Analysis
- Computer Engineering
- Computer Networking
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Employment & CST Careers
Jobs in CST or computer systems technology can take graduates into disparate industries. Exceptional job opportunities exist for CST majors in field such as national franchising, application development firms, technology start-ups, higher education, retail outlets, and government agencies. In addition, a computer systems technology major can parlay the core skills into similar fields with overlapping professional requirements. A sample of similar jobs a CST graduate may choose to consider are web developer, research scientist, software developer, information research scientist, systems architect, computer network architect, network administrator, computer support specialist, database administrator, and computer programmer.
Computer Systems Salary & Job Outlook
The technology industry is poised for rapid growth in the coming decade. National surveys published by the BLS and US Department of Labor indicate exceptional growth in this sector. Specifically, the employment growth for a computer systems analyst is expected to rise 21% and an 11% increase for database administrators. The national average for all jobs is expected to be 6% making both a exceptionally rapid growth sector.
Additional Resources in Computer Systems Technology
For additional information about the CST industry, check out the following international associations and organizations. Non-profit organizations and associations such as these specialize in the advancement of professionals in this industry through targeted training opportunities, unique resources, and networking with other like-minded specialists in the industry.