Towson University’s Applied Information Technology Program
Keith Beatty, a cyber-security engineer and information assurance expert, decided he needed more education to advance in his career.
“Computer science is a field that demands [that] you stay current, and the only way to do that is to seek out and acquire as much new knowledge as you can,” Beatty says.
Beatty, 61, has seen this firsthand as ambitious, talented peers surpassed many of his colleagues who were unwilling to seek out new approaches to tackling the latest challenges. So he researched his academic options in the area – and then he met an adjunct faculty member from Towson University who suggested that he look into the school’s Applied Information Technology program.
“It was pure serendipity that I met him, and it was a major turning point in my professional career,” Beatty says. “Every course in the program could be directly applied to my work. The people in the program knew exactly what we were doing in the industry and the education was functional to my everyday career.”
The Applied Information Technology program offers a diverse curriculum with specialties including Database Management Systems; Information Security and Assurance; Information Systems Management; Internet Application Development; Networking Technologies; and Software Engineering.
Each specialty is available as a master’s degree – or a student can opt for a post-baccalaureate certificate instead, which can be completed in a year, requires six fewer courses and offers evidence of professional expertise.
“The certification option is a major attraction for the program because it’s essentially a halfway point as a student. You have something to show for your work, and also something you can show to your employer,” Beatty says. “Before I was finished, it had already helped me advance my career.”
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Classes in the Applied Information Technology program are available at University Center in Aberdeen, as well as on Towson University’s home campus on York Road in Towson. For extra convenience, most classes are offered both online and in the classroom.
Full-time Towson University faculty, as well as experts from both the government and private sectors of the information technology community, teach courses in the program.
“Government work, the private sector and academia all have commonalities, but there are some major differences in how each approaches the industry,” says course instructor Glenn Deuchler. “It’s important for us to make sure that our students receive a broad perspective in our program.”
That broad perspective translates into elements that work immediately in professional settings. “AIT certificates and degrees prepare our graduates with a tool kit of creative and innovative approaches to meet technological and social challenges,” says AIT Program Director Darush Davani. “They’ll be highly capable in the application of critical, analytical and problem-solving skills for technological and scientific organizations they work for.”
But it’s not just about the teaching in the classroom. As any professional can tell you, who you know often matters as much as what you know. Towson’s AIT graduate program covers that, too.
“It’s important to give our students a broad network of contacts,” says Deuchler. “Our goal is to give students applicable skills that improve their options in the job market. That includes both what we give them in the classroom and the network they can leverage when looking for better employment.”
With the field of cybersecurity growing and the need for highly-educated professionals growing with it, there are two more reasons for Marylanders to consider the program: the tech corridor and a high number of government jobs in AIT industries. But the skills learned in the AIT program complement a broad range of IT careers and can help carry any professional at any stage of their career to the next level.
“While many of my colleagues are ready for retirement, I’m looking to the next thing,” Beatty explains. “This is a lifelong journey for me.”
Since completing the program in 2010, Beatty has advanced, moving to a new firm where he leverages the skills he learned through the Towson University AIT program. Now he’s enrolled in the university’s doctoral program, where he continues to gain new skills and network with thought-leaders and technicians in the information technology field.
“In my opinion, you never stop learning. This program at Towson University gave me everything I needed and more,” Beatty says. “It served as a way for me to keep pace with my peers, and in many cases, took me beyond.”
Applications for the Applied Information Technology program are accepted on a rolling basis. Courses are offered during fall, spring and summer semesters and graduate assistantship opportunities are available, offering tuition assistance. I95