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Department of Applied Computing & Electronics

The University of Montana

Information Technology and Computer Support

Director: Tom Gallagher

AAS Program Description

The Information Technology Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree program prepares students for entry-level technical support positions in the career field of Computing and Information Technology. The program provides students with a well-rounded technical background for computer support. Requirements include coursework in programming, operating systems, networking, PC hardware, data modeling, and web technologies.  Soft skills involving problem-solving, business organization structure, customer service, and writing are emphasized.  All students gain work experience in their field of study through the completion of an internship.  Students are also required to complete an industry certification process and a certification exam.

In working towards completion of the two-year AAS degree, students will complete all course work required for a Ceritficate of Applied Science in Computer Support.  

Information Systems Management Option

The Information Systems Management option emphasizes application development and business process. Students learn to write software using an object-oriented programming paradigm for deployment to the web and the desktop. Relational database design, structured query language (SQL), and the ability to create applications which push and pull information from databases are highlighted. Graduates seek careers as computer support specialists, help desk technicians, web developers, software developers, and database administrators. 

Network Management Option

Network administrator has become a common job title across all career fields. The Network Management option provides students with a background in network administration for supporting users and computing in a networked environment. Coursework in network operating systems, server administration, routers, switches, security, and IP telephony are all embedded in the Network Management option.

The University of Montana is a Cisco Networking Academy, a CompTIA Authorized Academy, and a member of the Microsoft Developers Network Academic Alliance. Opportunities exist for professional certification from Cisco (CCENT/CCNA), Microsoft and Comp TIA (A+, Network+ and Security+).

CAS Program Description

The Certificate of Appied Science in Computer Support is essentially the first year of the IT AAS degree.  Students pursuing their AAS may obtain this credential in the course of completing their degree program. 

Students are accepted into the program autumn and spring terms. Students entering the program should be prepared with basic computing skills (keyboarding, word processing, file management, and Internet applications) and adequate preparation in mathematics (completion of M090 or equivalent placement scores).  Underprepared students should allocate an additional semester to the suggested four semester sequence. Some classes are available online. All students attempt at least one industry certification and complete at least one online course. Academically prepared students can complete the Associate of Applied Science degree and at least one industry certification within two years. All credits earned in the program fulfill partial requirements towards a Bachelor of Applied Science (B.A.S.) degree through The University of Montana. 

Student Outcomes

Upon completion of the program students will:

  • Effectively utilize information technology as a research and productivity tool.
  • Demonstrate proficiency in supporting end-users by designing, installing and maintaining the hardware, software, and networking technologies used in information technology.
  • Identify the societal impact of information technology and apply appropriate best practices for security and safety.
  • Demonstrate the workplace skills of effective communication, problem solving, collaboration, critical thinking, and leadership.
  • Describe the structure of organizations and the information technology resources needed to support it.

Students with an option in Information Systems Management will:

  • Design, develop, and maintain desktop and web-based information systems to support institutions and organizations.

Students with an option in Network Management will:

  • Install, configure, secure, monitor, troubleshoot, and manage networking connectivity technologies; server-based computing systems; and integrated video/voice/data systems.

Related Job Titles

  • Computer Support Specialist
  • Technical Support Specialist
  • Computer Repair Technician
  • Computer System Technician
  • Help-Desk Technician
  • Network Administrator
  • Systems Administrator
  • Database Administrator
  • Application Developer
  • Web Developer

Related Occupations (U.S.D.O.L. Occupations Handbook)

Related Industry Certification Opportunities

  • CompTIA A+ Certified Computer Support Technician
  • CompTIA Network+ Network Professional
  • Cisco Certified Networking Associate
  • Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician
  • Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist
  • Microsoft Certified System Administrator

Further Educational Opportunities

The Computer Support Certificate of Applied Science is a first step for individuals interested in building a technical skill set for a career involving Information Technology. It is part of a laddered credential approach involving a one-year certificate, industry certification, a two-year associate degree, and a four-year baccalaureate degree. All credits completed for the Information Technology A.A.S. degree fulfill partial requirements for a Bachelor of Applied Science (B.A.S.) degree.

Helpful Links:

AAS Advising Documents

IT Advising Checklist

Information Systems Option Suggested Schedule and Prerequisite Flow Chart

Network Management Option Suggested Schedule and Prerequisite Flow Chart

CAS Advising Documents

CS Advising Checklist

CS Prerequisite Flow Chart

Missoula College

Applied Computing & Electronics

Missoula College UM

909 South Avenue West

Missoula, MT 59801

(406) 243-7916

Fax: (406) 243-7899