The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact every aspect of modern-day life, from the way consumers buy their groceries to how employees connect to corporate systems. Learning is no exception.

Since the outbreak, online learning has become more central to people’s lives. And many plan to continue the trend: More than half of American adults who expect to need more education or training post-pandemic say they would do it online, according to an August 2020 survey by the Strada Education Network.

One reason for this rising interest is the overall quality of online education. Recent graduates of programs at online institutions rate the value of their education higher than graduates of other four-year colleges.

Another factor driving a wider acceptance of an online education is timing: Today’s IT professionals are under increasing pressure to find new ways to use technology to minimize the business impact of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Already, an IDG survey reveals that 44% of IT leaders will need to acquire new technology solutions/services to accommodate remote workplaces. Graduate education can expose IT leaders to new and innovative platforms while broadening their understanding of potential use cases for more traditional tools.

Chart: 44% of IT leaders will need to  acquire new technology  solutions/services to  accommodate remote  workplaces (Source: IDG)

Yet not all online education is created equal – and IT pros looking to invest in a program should compare and contrast options carefully. Here’s why the online Master of Information Technology program from Virginia Tech (VT-MIT) is a superior choice for IT leaders. 


The shifting economy continues to pressure even seasoned IT leaders to accelerate their digital transformation initiatives. But projects such as applying machine learning to e-commerce or connecting remote workers to a robust network can require new skills and expertise.

A VT-MIT degree can help experienced IT leaders deepen their knowledge in a particular discipline, from data analytics to software engineering, without impacting project timelines. That’s because working professionals with busy schedules can design their own course loads and build valuable skill sets at their own pace.

Aspiring IT professionals can also enhance the interdisciplinary knowledge they need to succeed in a rapidly changing world. Digital transformation and remote work require new layers of IT infrastructure, enhanced end-user support, and greater cybersecurity measures. A VT-MIT degree can ensure IT leaders develop the necessary strategic leadership skills to manage a challenging IT environment.


For those with mounting professional and personal obligations that may dissuade them from committing to a full master’s degree program, VT-MIT offers 10 new graduate certificates in specialized IT subject areas like big data, business data analytics, and cybersecurity policy. 

Most of the certificates require three courses, meaning students can earn a career-enhancing credential in less than 12 months. In addition to these stand-alone certificates, VT-MIT students may earn a graduate certificate as part of the full degree program to demonstrate expertise in a specialized IT area and increase their marketability.


Whether pursuing a full-time master’s degree to deepen IT expertise or seeking a certificate to boost content knowledge in a specific area, there are many additional reasons why VT-MIT is an ideal choice.

The U.S. News & World Report’s Best Online Programs report ranks Virginia Tech’s MIT degree the nation’s fourth best and No. 3 for veterans. The program blends coursework and offers twelve areas of specialized study for a diverse education. And graduate certificate students can work with an experienced academic advisor to develop a plan of study that best meets their personal and professional goals.

Students also benefit from world-class faculty experienced in translating a robust academic experience to an effective online format. For nearly 20 years, the VT-MIT program has relied on a two-tiered system of master faculty and distance learning instructors who together deliver a superior online classroom experience that encourages peer-to-peer support, faculty-to-student mentoring, and real-time engagement, making VT-MIT a leader in the online education space long before COVID-19 forced other programs to go virtual.


Beyond technology and leadership skills development, there are many reasons to consider a VT-MIT degree or graduate certificate. Students can expect to reap these advantages:

    Students can choose their own timeline and toggle between full- and part-time schedules, depending on employment status and current workload.
    Asynchronous online classes and optional synchronous meetings with the professor allow students to learn anywhere, anytime — ideal for remote workers unsure of when they may return to the office.
    The VT-MIT program was founded in 1999 and transitioned to a fully online model in 2016, so faculty are well-versed in online educational techniques, and courses are constantly refined to meet current subject areas and student needs.
    Students can earn a VT-MIT degree at a universal tuition rate (no residency required) from a well-respected public institution.


Today’s IT professionals must act fast to keep pace with a rapidly evolving IT environment. Experience and specialized IT skills are critical to making the right technology decisions, at the right time.

The truth is, COVID-19 has forever changed the workplace, requiring IT leaders to enhance their marketability while still meeting stringent project deadlines. With the flexibility of an online VT-MIT degree or graduate certificate, IT leaders can strike the perfect balance: earn a respected credential that will help them confront the technological challenges of the 21st century while accommodating new realities.