Information Systems Degree

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What is Information Systems?

Information systems is the area of study and practice that is responsible for the construction and maintenance of storage for electronic and computer systems. Individuals in this field typically work with or for large clients to develop large and secure databases that allow for the safe storage of sensitive information. Security in this field is very important, as leaks or unwanted access can cause negative repercussions.

The information systems college degree program is a popular college degree program that continues to gain momentum over time.  With heavy demand from employers in the public and private sector, colleges continue to add classroom-based curriculum and online courses to support this growth.  At many colleges and universities, the information systems degree track can be used interchangeable with the following list of alternatives or adjacent programs:

  • Computer Information Systems (CIS)
  • Information Systems (IS)
  • Management Information Systems (MIS)
  • Business Information Systems (BIS)

While each of these degree titles offers a similar core set of classes to information systems, the emphasis bends more towards business applications & enterprise solutions.  Given the proclivity for more real-world, higher level business solutions, an information systems professional will often work closely with an organizations management team or executive team to address macro issues.  These initiatives cascade to project managers and programming professionals to support these high-level decisions.

What is the Difference Between Computer Information Systems and Computer Science?

Computer science is a discipline involving both information and computation.  A computer scientist will provide granular solutions to effectively solve issues through coding and have an intimate understanding of operating systems.   In other words, a computer science major asks how a problem or issue can be resolved programmatically.  On the other hand, computer information systems professionals ask what type of technology needs to be utilized to solve a business problem or how to best resolve a business impediment with technology.  Given the nature of CIS and emphasis on technology to solve business critical issues, as such these professionals are tasked with different responsibilities with varying expectations.  Computer information systems college degree holders are often involved in strategic planning and higher level management meetings whereas computer scientists are deep into data and programming.  While interrelated, computer science is different from computer information systems and vice versa.

Education and School Requirements in CIS

Students wishing to study information systems will generally pursue at minimum a bachelor's degree in this or a related degree. Students will be exposed to a large number of topics related to computers, security, hardware and software systems, and how to provide and restrict access for clients. Advanced knowledge of computers allows for more complex systems, which in turn should better ensure the ability to construct secure systems.

A curriculum may include:

  • Networking
  • Database Software
  • Security and Internal Systems
  • Access and Information Hierarchy
  • Computer Science

Schools that provide current facilities and curriculum are of a higher quality for potential information systems specialists due to the need to remain ahead of the curve when it comes to system construction and security. Schools that provide practical education should be on the top of the list because they provide an early look into the type of work that must be performed in order to successfully operate in the field.

Top Online Information Systems Degrees

Online college degrees or distance learning programs are the fastest growing segment in higher educations.  As such, colleges and universities continue to evolve to meet the ever-changing demands of the workplace and keep up with a student’s academic proclivities.  Online learning provides students with flexibility, independence, autonomy, and quality academics that fit well for certain students.  Earning a college degree online in information systems has never been easier to launch.  Below you will find a number of programs to choose from and begin collecting information.  Programs range from certificate programs in information systems up through doctorate degrees in computer information systems.  Each has pros and cons in terms of time commitments, resources, and qualifications that need to be understood by students and working professionals.  Creating your priority list and reading our Complete Guide to the College Admissions Process will help you think about college in a holistic way & help ease anxiety over the unknown.

Online Schools Other Students Requested Information From:

Employment Opportunities for CIS Majors

Large companies maintain internal servers and systems which hold sensitive information. This is true of companies in many areas, regardless of the type of business. As a result the need for professionals to create and maintain secure internal storage systems is high, and increasing. When considering entering this field, professionals should expect large growth when over the next decade, especially as technology, both in terms of hardware and software, becomes more and more complex.

The BLS estimates the job growth for information systems professionals will be an astounding 21% through 2024 which is three times the national job growth forecast for all occupations in the United States.  The CIS industry is estimated to add some 118,000 jobs through this same reporting period with heavy growth in cloud computing, cybersecurity, and mobile networks.

What Jobs Can You Get with an Information Systems Degree?

There are a number of different jobs available to information systems college graduates that you may be interested in learning more about.  While the list below is focused on job titles, CIS professionals find themselves in every sector of commerce from non-profit organizations to public hospitals.  Below is a list of jobs you can get with an information systems college degree:

Top States for Computer Information Systems Analysts Jobs

  • California       75,750
  • Texas               58,680
  • New York       38,220
  • Illinois            29,390
  • Ohio                27,200

Top Paying Computer Information Systems Analysts States

  1. New Jersey                   $102,310
  2. California                      $101,440
  3. District of Columbia    $101,240
  4. Virginia                          $98,470
  5. New York                       $98,090

Top Employers for Computer Information Systems Professionals

  • Software and Technology Companies             168,610
  • Business Management & Consulting Firms    53,310
  • Insurance Carriers                                               28,950
  • Science & Technology Organizations               23,880
  • State Government Agencies                               20,650

Additional Resources for CIS Majors

Organizations and associations may prove beneficial to graduates and working professions in CIS.  Top ranked associations include the Association for Information Systems (AIS), Information Systems Security Association (ISSA), and the International Association for CIS (IACIS).  Members receive research articles, learning opportunities, and professional networking to help advance the careers of member partners.

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Related Areas of Study

Career Summary: Information systems Major




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