A degree for IT

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I am considering a career move into the information technology industry, and I have a bachelor’s degree in an unrelated field. Which educational path should I take?
-V.P. Johnson, Atlanta

Most individuals who are entering the information technology field for the first time end up accepting entry-level positions. These require each applicant to have completed specific technical training in some or all of the areas associated with the job function. Corporations often view certification as a reliable and objective way to accurately qualify and quantify your knowledge in a specific discipline. This is not always true of undergraduate or graduate programs because the content of each curriculum will vary among institutions.

You should first identify the IT skill sets that are in greatest demand, decide which path you would like to take, then enroll in a related certification program that is recognized by employers. If after establishing your new career you decide to pursue a management position within IT, an M.B.A. in management information systems would help you achieve this goal.

Roy R. Pressey is president and CEO of Proficient Systems Services Inc., an IT recruiting and consulting firm based in Orlando, Florida.