Find Your Balance: Family, Work & an Online IT Degree

If you are passionate about your career in information technology, a master’s degree may be a practical way to augment your skills. Enrolling in an IT degree program might also show your employer the dedication you have to learning more about your career. The idea of going back to school, though, may seem to be an impossible option when you consider how your schedule already looks with work and family responsibilities. But pursuing an advanced degree doesn’t have to be a burden. Adding another layer of responsibility will definitely be a challenge, but you could be a successful student, employee, spouse and parent if you plan carefully. Here are just a few tips to help you manage your responsibilities as you pursue your degree.

Choose the Right Program

Choosing a program that could fit into your schedule and lifestyle is a good way to pursue a degree and still carry out your family duties. An online program may be more practical than a traditional on-campus program, and some online programs are specifically designed for people who work full-time and may have family obligations.

Keep in mind that choosing to attend a program online does not mean you will evade the challenges that come along with higher education. The coursework is still rigorous, but the flexibility of your courses might afford you more opportunity to maneuver your schedule and responsibilities.  Instead of being locked into a set schedule, you can watch lectures and work on your coursework from anywhere, at any time, as long as you have access to the Internet.

Be Organized

Lack of time may be your biggest obstacle to an online IT degree, and the best way to be more efficient with your time is to be organized. Because you are accountable for more than just you, work with your spouse to make a schedule that can include your respective shifts at work, your children’s regular school hours and any extracurricular activities. Then, write down your study and homework schedule. Make sure to include regular quality time with your spouse and children. Once your schedule is set, commit to sticking to it. Inevitably, minor issues, such as your child’s doctor’s appointment or an evening meeting at work, will force you to deviate from your schedule, but remember the key to managing your time well is to keep to the schedule as much as possible while acknowledging you may need to be flexible. Whenever you need to alter your schedule, be sure not to abandon it all together. Take it all in stride without letting small changes throw off your rhythm.

Communicate with Your Spouse and Children

Communication with your family is critical when you are taking on the extra responsibilities of attending school. You and your spouse need to discuss household chores, such as the grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning and paying bills. You may need to ask your spouse to temporarily take on a few extra duties to keep the household running smoothly while you study hard. Whatever your decision, remain open with each other about needing extra support. If you have children in the house who can help out, make sure to communicate with them as well. Enlist their support with household chores and remind them of your study schedule so they respect your need for peace and quiet.

An information technology degree is something to be proud of. It is a quality degree that can demonstrate your motivation, as well as your understanding of important skills, such as data management, computer programming and maintaining network security. Your work and family duties may make you hesitant to take on the requirements of a graduate degree program, but with hard work you can continue to meet your commitments.