VT-MIT program advances tech skills of working professionals
May 22, 2020
“The VT-MIT program delivers flexibility without sacrificing quality,” explained Yiyang Ma, the laboratory strategic sourcing lead for USAID Global Health Supply Chain Program and a recent program graduate. “I attribute this to the strong and responsive staff and faculty members.”
Established in 1999, the Virginia Tech Master of Information Technology program, or VT-MIT, was created when the Commonwealth of Virginia asked Virginia Tech to develop a program that would further advance the skills of the state’s technology workforce without sacrificing the workforce to full-time education. Originally an in-person program, VT-MIT moved fully online to expand its mission of helping working professionals gain the skills they need to succeed in a rapidly changing world. Today, more than 1,000 VT-MIT alumni, students, and faculty members are engaged at the forefront of engineering, computer science, and business to confront and conquer the technological challenges of the 21st century.
“I've developed a much deeper understanding of the myriad of technical challenges businesses face, including how to fully utilize emerging technologies to their advantage,” said Susanne Tedrick, a cloud tech specialist for IBM and current student in the program. “It's given me a bit more credibility when holding client and team conversations, and I believe it will continue to do so as I complete the program.”
The VT-MIT program is a 100% online program designed for working professionals. Lectures by VT-MIT faculty are streamed to students’ desktops at any time, with extensive notes and transcripts accompanying and enhancing each lecture. For students interested in a more interactive educational experience, synchronous Zoom sessions are held in real-time, usually one evening per week for each course.
“Given my busy life, I knew I needed an online program,” explained Elise Elam, an attorney and mother of three. “As life often goes, there was always some curveball thrown at me, wrecking my ‘perfect’ plans. But the flexibility of the program allowed me to focus on school when I was able to and focus on other things – work and family – when I needed to.”
Elam graduate from the program in the fall of 2019, and soon after accepted a position as an associate attorney in the Digital Asset and Data Management Practice Group at Baker Hostetler. “My goal was to become a cybersecurity attorney with a focus on breach incident response,” she added.
“Not only did I accomplish that, but I doubled my salary.”
Students of the VT-MIT program have the option to choose from 11 different areas of specialization, known as modules, to complement foundation courses. These modules provide flexibility by allowing students to take courses from multiple modules to customize the program. Modules on specializations such as analytics and business intelligence, cybersecurity, health information technology, and networking, among others, are offered. Students can complete up to three different modules before graduation.
For students in the Greater Washington, D.C. area, the program can also be paired with Virginia Tech’s MBA program. Students interested in earning dual degrees would start the VT-MIT degree and plan their 11 courses (33 credit hours) to include up to five courses (15 elective credit hours) from among the Business Information Technology, Accounting and Information Systems, or Management course offerings. Once the VT-MIT program is completed, the student would then enroll in the MBA program and complete an additional 12 courses to complete the MBA degree.
VT-MIT students also have the opportunity to earn one of six graduate certificates as part of their master's degree program. Graduate certificates such as database management, software development, and health information technology are either core or elective offerings within the VT-MIT program and count toward the full degree.
“The most valuable knowledge I gained was that of applying technology to solve health care and business problems,” explained Ma. “Specific skills learned include software engineering and development, as well as health care technology.”
He continued, “For the former, I completed four programming courses, which made up the software development graduate certificate, as well as a database class, and a security class. For the latter, I took two artificial intelligence classes, two health care technology courses, and one technology leadership course.”
For those that do not wish to commit to a full master’s degree program, a graduate certificate will allow working professionals to jump right in and, usually within a year, earn a recognized credential that will translate into greater content knowledge in a specific area.
“I chose the VT-MIT program for its flexibility – in both course and program selection as well as time commitment,” explained Tedrick. “The program allows you to customize a degree plan in areas that are of interest and importance to you. Since classes are 100% online, I can attend class and complete coursework at any time.
“All of this is backed by the wonderful academic reputation and resources that Virginia Tech has to offer.”
For more information on the VT-MIT program, please visit vtmit.vt.edu.
- Written by Jeremy Norman