Individuals earning their associate degree in information systems explore various aspects of the discipline, such as programming and operating systems. Students may work toward an Associate of Arts (A.A.), Associate of Science (A.S.), or Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) in information systems or computer information systems. Full-time students tend to complete the degree program over a period of two years.
Online Associate Degree in Information Systems: Coursework and Overview
For an associate in information systems degree, students usually take a number of courses specific to the major as well as general education courses. Course requirements vary by school, but there are several that are common across degree programs. Below are examples of degree-specific and general education courses that students must often take:
Information Systems Degree Courses
- Operating Systems: Courses provide an introduction to basic concepts of operating systems, often including processes, file systems, and interfaces.
- Database Systems: Introductory courses provide an overview of database development and design. Examples of concepts that individuals may examine include data modeling and normalization techniques.
- Networking Fundamentals: Courses explore basic networking concepts, which may include local area networks (LANs), data communications, and network protocols.
- Computer Programming: Introductory courses help students learn basic skills, concepts, and languages in programming. For example, courses often explore object-oriented programming and Java.
- Java Programming Language: Students gain an introduction to Java concepts and applications, focusing on areas such as coding and using Java for applets.
General Education Courses
- Introduction to Computing: A common requirement for information systems degree programs, basic courses aim to teach students skills in spreadsheet, word processing, and presentation software.
- English Composition: Courses are designed to improve students' critical thinking and writing skills through in-class discussions and essays on literary works.
- Economics: Students learn about fundamental economic concepts, such as market structures and supply and demand. Programs often require students to take more specialized courses in microeconomics and/or macroeconomics.
Potential Careers for Individuals with an Associate Degree in Information Systems
Courses that students take while earning their associate in information systems degree can help them gain basic skills in subjects such as networking and database design that may be applicable in a variety of careers. Examples of potential careers are discussed below:
- Network and computer systems administrators install and organize a company's computer systems, typically including network segments, local area networks (LANs), and wide area networks (WANs). These administrators may also be responsible for making sure systems operate properly and maintaining network and computer system security. Networking courses can help students learn commonly applicable concepts to this career, such as local area networking. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (bls.gov), while these professionals often have a bachelor's degree, some employers may accept an associate degree in addition to relevant work experience.
- Technical support specialists assist IT staff in troubleshooting and evaluating computer network issues. They are also responsible for making sure networks function well. Students interested in this career can learn about various networking concepts and potential problems through networking courses. Bls.gov notes that qualifications vary, and some positions for technical support specialists may require an associate degree or postsecondary studies.
- Help-desk technicians identify and help solve customers' computer problems and inform other individuals in the organization about customer concerns. They also train users in new computer software or hardware. Help-desk technicians may work in call centers, software companies, or support service firms. Information systems courses on topics such as computing and operating systems may provide relevant knowledge and skills for this career.
- Software QA analysts perform systems tests and detect problems to make sure that systems are meeting requirements. They also draft reports for management suggesting system improvements. Learning about computer systems via database and operating systems classes may benefit students interested in this career. Additionally, bls.gov states that although computer systems analysts typically need a bachelor's degree to qualify for employment, some have an associate degree combined with relevant experience.
Rather than pursuing a career, individuals with an associate degree in information systems may want to expand their skill set via a bachelor's degree program. According to bls.gov, a bachelor's degree is a common requirement for related careers, such as database administrators and computer network architects. Students who wish to continue their education in information systems should speak with an admissions counselor to determine their qualifications.
"Computer Support Specialists," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, January 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/computer-support-specialists.htm
"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
"Network and Computer Systems Administrators." U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, January 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/Computer-and-Information-Technology/Network-and-computer-systems-administrators.htm