Sociology and Information Technology

I have mentioned to several people that I have applied for the Master of Science in Information Technology recently. ALL of them have asked one of two questions: 1. Why are you leaving sociology? 2. Are you leaving sociology?

The answers to these questions are: 1. I’m not, 2. No.

To make this make more sense, I’m going to give a little background on how I have arrived at my current decision. A few weeks ago I received a message from a prior instructor who taught my Principles of Human-Computer Interaction course, announcing and inviting me to take a special topics course being offered during the Spring 2013 semester on the topic of “Tangible Computing”. The course is in the human-computer interaction concentration track, which is an area that interests me. To decide whether or not I was going to take the course I began doing some research into what the course applies to. In doing my preliminary research I came across the degree plan for the Master of Science in Information Technology. I discovered that I have already completed 6 credit hours in the program and would have only to take 1 more course in the HCI concentration (which can be fulfilled by Tangible Computing) and 4 other courses, the equivalent to one semester. I decided, upon consultation with the HCI lab director, that the program would be a good fit for me and that completing the degree should not be a problem given the requirements of my active program (Sociology).

So, my plan as it stands is to continue working on the Master of Arts in Sociology as a full time student, taking Master of Science in Information Technology courses as a part time student along the way. Once I have completed the sociology curriculum and defended my thesis I will work full time on the Master of Science in Information Technology until it is complete (should be about 1 semester). There is no thesis or project requirement for the Master of Science in Information Technology degree, so therefore it will be completed as soon as I have completed all of the requirements.

Why am I doing this? First of all, I hate letting credits go to waste. Second, this really interests me a lot. Finally, I would like to be able to find a decent job that isn’t in academia in the event that such jobs continue to dissolve. I think the best thing about doing this is the potential to bridge multiple areas of interest for me. HCI and Sociology together will let me bridge my interests in computer science, psychology (via cognition), sociology (social psyc, social networks, sociology of culture/tech & knowledge) and arts (sociology of culture, computer aided design).