Individuals studying computer information systems can acquire skills in a variety of subject areas, such as web design, programming, and systems analysis. They can then apply those skills in a career or future coursework in the subject. Students in these degree programs typically work toward a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in computer information systems. Full-time students usually earn their degree in four years.
Online bachelor's degree in computer information systems: coursework and overview
While seeking their degree, students take a number of courses both inside and outside of the computer information systems discipline. Although courses offered vary by school, there are several common requirements. Below are some examples, with topics that students may encounter:
Computer Information Systems Degree Courses
- Web Design: Courses aim to teach students how to create functional and interactive websites using Hypertext Markup Language (HTML). Classes often show how to add graphics to web pages.
- Advanced Database Systems: Students can apply and deepen their understanding of concepts examined in introductory database classes. Potential areas of discussion include data warehousing and developing database systems.
- Project Management: Students consider useful project management techniques, often reviewing project planning and scheduling. Depending on the school, individuals may be able to take an applied project management class in computer information systems.
- Information Systems Design: Students explore tools and techniques in developing computer information systems. Courses may specifically discuss object-oriented design.
- Systems Analysis: Classes investigate a variety of methodologies in systems analysis and generally examine feasibility analysis, data modeling, and the systems development life cycle.
Courses Outside of the Computer Information Systems Degree
- Statistics: Students can learn how to calculate and analyze a variety of statistical concepts, typically including probability and confidence intervals.
- Discrete Math: Students working toward their computer information systems degree are often required to take a discrete mathematics class. Topics of study include set theory, counting, Boolean algebra, and graph theory.
- Business Ethics: Courses explore major decision-making bases and examples of ethical issues in business environments. Some schools also offer a specialized course in computer ethics.
Potential careers for individuals with a bachelor's degree in computer information systems
A bachelor's degree program offers the chance to learn skills that could be pertinent and applicable to several careers. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), some positions call for work experience in a related field. Possible career paths toward which one can apply a computer information systems degree are reviewed below:
- Systems analysts may either create new systems or improve existing ones in accordance with their company's needs. These professionals often concentrate in a computer system specific to their organization, such as an engineering or a financial system. Students can gain experience in developing computer systems through systems design and analysis classes.
- Systems database administrators handle the physical and technical features of databases, such as troubleshooting program glitches or installing upgrades. These professionals generally make sure an organization's computer systems are functioning properly. Introductory and advanced courses in database systems can give students an understanding of designing and developing systems. According to the BLS, systems database administrators (DBAs) often have a system architecture background.
- Application database administrators employ programming languages to write or debug programs. They work with databases created for a specific application, such as customer service. Additional responsibilities that database administrators may have include planning data security measures and backing up systems. General and language-specific programming courses expose students to different programming languages that they may apply in this career. Bls.gov states that DBAs typically have a bachelor's degree in an information or computer-related discipline, such as management information systems.
- Systems designers and architects assist organizations in selecting hardware and software systems and collaborate with management to make sure systems fulfill the company's mission. They also create goals for computer systems as well as proposals on how to meet those goals. In addition to systems design and analysis courses, students can take a project management class to familiarize themselves with the goal and proposal development aspect of this career.
- Software quality assurance (QA) analysts perform comprehensive tests to make sure that systems meet requirements. They also draft recommendation reports to management, suggesting potential methods for system improvement. Students interested in this career can learn about the characteristics of systems and ways to assess system quality through courses in database systems, systems design and systems analysis.
After earning their bachelor's degree, individuals may decide to further their education in computer information systems with a master's degree. Advanced degree programs in the subject may be offered in the form of an MBA or a master's degree in computer information systems, depending on the school. Students interested in continuing their education should discuss degree options and their qualifications with an admissions counselor.
"Computer Systems Analysts," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, January 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/computer-systems-analysts.htm
"Database Administrators," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, January 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/database-administrators.htm