Georgia Gwinnett College to offer first fully online degree

Pic of Greatzel Unabia at GGC.

Student Greatzel Unabia said the new online degree will eliminate the commute time and allow flexibility, especially for students who have a job outside the classroom. 

Information technology (IT) was not Le Quang "Greatzel" Unabia’s first choice of study when she entered Georgia Gwinnett College (GGC). The student, who was born and raised in the Philippines and emigrated to the U.S. in 2016, originally thought she wanted to pursue psychology. But after one semester, she decided to try another major. She landed in IT with a concentration in software development.

Now a senior, who’s about to graduate next month, Unabia, 25, of Norcross has not looked back. And now, GGC will attract more students like Unabia by offering the IT software development major not only in the classroom but online, beginning summer 2021. It will be the college’s first degree offering that has both a face-to-face option and a fully online option. 

Unabia experienced her first foray into online study when the global pandemic brought courses at GGC, and across the country, from the classroom to the virtual space. She found she liked it. 

“It allows for flexibility with time – especially for students who work,” she said. “It eliminates commuting time. And as someone who gets stressed out driving, it really helps to take away the worry and stress of the commute.”

Dr. Sonal Dekane, interim dean of GGC’s School of Science and Technology, where the program is housed, said that whether GGC students choose to study the curriculum in the classroom or online, they can expect the same level of expertise, rigor and faculty-student engagement. She added that the major is versatile, spanning many areas.

“IT‐software development opportunities are present in almost every field from business to health care, arts and entertainment, education, government, forensics and national security,” she explained. “IT majors graduate from GGC as knowledgeable professionals versed in computer hardware and software, databases, telecommunications, wireless technology and the internet.”

Demand for computer software developers remains robust with the field projected to grow 22% from 2019 to 2029, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The bureau’s Occupational Outlook Handbook indicates the median pay is about $110,000 annually.

That’s good news to Unabia. 

“When I thought about college and the investment of time I put in learning, versus when I graduate and when I get a job, I think technology might be a good choice in terms of the return on my investment,” she said.

GGC’s administration believes the new online offering falls squarely in sync with the college’s mission and vision and will position students for success.

“The IT field is growing exponentially in Georgia and particularly in the Northeast section of the state where GGC is located,” said Dr. George Low, GGC’s senior vice president of academic affairs and provost. “This degree will help us continue to meet the needs of the workforce, while providing a platform for students who prefer remote study.”

Learn more about the online degree at GGC’s website.

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