Is a CIS Degree Worth It? [2021 Guide]

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Is a CIS degree worth it? With so many degree options, it’s challenging to know what will yield you the lucrative job that you want to nab after graduation.

Is a CIS Degree Worth It

Fortunately, those who choose a computer information systems degree tend to do quite well for themselves.

Is a CIS Degree Worth it?

Systems Administrator working in data center

Yes, a CIS degree is worth it for many students. With an average salary of $88,240 and 11% job growth (Bureau of Labor Statistics), a computer information systems degree can help you get the skills you need to be a part of this cutting-edge industry.

Common CIS careers include:

  • Computer Technician – People who work as Computer Technicians are on the front lines of troubleshooting computer issues are providing support. They are also responsible for maintaining server integrity, running tests, and identifying hardware issues.
  • Programmer Analyst – If you work as a Programmer Analyst, your job is a hybrid of designing both software and computer systems. People who work in this field need to be exceptionally creative and great problem solvers.
  • Systems Administrator – Systems Administrators are responsible for ensuring that both software and hardware are working properly. They also need to be on top of a company’s operating system and security infrastructure.
  • Network Technician – People who work in this field are responsible for making sure that all systems connected to a network are operational.
  • Technical Support Specialist – Those who work in this career are responsible for guiding people through technical issues and troubleshooting problems. This particular job requires a lot of diplomatic skills.

If you want to excel in computer information systems, you need to have an analytical mind and be able to communicate with people on all levels of an organization. The best candidates are those who are naturally curious about computers and value lifelong learning.

Specializations

Network technicians working in data room

Like many other types of fields, you can specialize in a few different areas with your CIS degree. Information systems and information technology are among the most popular specializations.

Information Systems

Information systems is a specialty that is heavy on the business-related side of your CIS degree. You will learn how to use technology to solve problems in the business sector and work to hone your diplomatic skills in the process.

If you are a big-picture thinker who enjoys seeing how all of the pieces fit together, a concentration in Information Systems might be right for you. Those who work in this specialization get jobs in cyber-security, data analysis, and information technology support. They tend to be in charge of larger departments.

Information Technology

Information Technology is another area of concentration for those getting their CIS degrees. Although this concentration also focuses on the business side of things, there is a little bit more coding and programming involved.

It’s quite versatile as far as career paths go, and you can choose to do coding or spend your time taking care of company databases.

People in this concentration tend to work as software developers, writing the creative code for the back end of websites. They can also be forensic analysts, network architects, or consultants.

The best candidates for jobs in Information Technology are those who have a creative streak but understand how code works. If you are an out-of-the-box thinker, this is an excellent job for you.

10 Things You Can Do with a CIS Degree

Computer System Analysts working on their computer

There are plenty of things that you can do with a CIS degree, and many of them provide an excellent career path with room for advancement.

#1 Computer System Analyst

Computer system analysts are tasked with reviewing an organization’s existing systems and figuring out how they can run better. This career path requires a candidate who has an aptitude for business and a thorough understanding of computer systems, as well as excellent customer service skills.

#2 Technical Support Specialist

This vital job combines customer service with technological skills. The best candidates must be able to talk to people through their computer difficulties and assist them with any issues. The best technical support specialists are those who understand the basics of all computer systems and can handle stress with diplomacy and tact.

#3 System Administrator

Systems administrators are tasked with making sure that computer networks are running exactly as they should be. In addition to apex technical skills, systems administrators also need to know how to work with people and be a team player.

This is an excellent career path for you if you are thick-skinned and able to make executive decisions and handle problems.

#4 Computer Technician

Computer technicians handle on-the-spot computer issues and troubleshoot for entire departments. They are usually the first line of defense when it comes to making sure security threats are handled in a timely fashion. To excel in this career path, you need to be able to work as a team player and multitask.

#5 Manager

You can easily translate your CIS degree into a management role. Managers need to understand how their company’s particular intranet functions, and be able to work with their team in a diplomatic fashion to get things done. They also need to be fair, handle stress well, and understand the intricacies of the network that they are working with.

#6 Help Desk Technician

Help desk technicians are similar to technical support specialists, but they tend to work with only one type of network or system. As a result, they are fully expected to be experts.

They should possess a comprehensive knowledge of the technology they represent and be able to operate with empathy and care for each customer. This career path is a blend of soft and hard skills.

#7 Network Technician

Like computer technicians, network technicians deal with troubleshooting and fixing computer issues, but they operate more within the mainframe of the network, instead of working with individual machines or people. Network technicians are partially responsible for how the overall network functions, and they must fix any issues that arise.

#8 Hardware Engineer

While most of the jobs we’ve outlined deal with the software and network side of things, hardware engineer deals with the physical nuts and bolts of the computers themselves.

These people build physical computer parts and envision systems that can use internal technology. To excel at this job, you must have excellent critical thinking skills and be able to communicate your vision effectively.

#9 Data Architect

Data Architects work with giant databases to make sure that information is sorted and coded correctly. They are responsible for ensuring that company data is accessible and need to be on the watch for any data breaches. To succeed, you have to have excellent computer skills and exceptional attention to detail.

#10 Network Administrator

Network Administrators make sure that the network is operating correctly day-to-day. They need to be able to understand both the bigger picture and the daily minutia of running the network. They also need to be able to manage the people underneath them. As such, Network Administrators should be diplomatic, fair, and able to multitask.

CIS Careers & Salaries

CIS Careers & Salaries

The salary you can expect to get with your CIS degree will vary depending on what state you live in and how competitive the job market is.

The following is a reference point from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics to give you an idea.

Computer Information Systems Entry Level Jobs

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, even entry-level jobs in CIS tend to be quite lucrative.

  • Web Developer: $73,760 per year
  • Computer Support Specialist: $54,760 per year

A traditional or online CIS associates degree or bachelors degree can help prepare you for a career in a wide-range of fields.

Computer Information Systems Mid-Career Jobs

Mid-career level jobs in CIS pay far more than the national average as shown by these salaries from the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

  • Information Security Analyst: $99,730 per year
  • Database Administrator: $93,750 per year
  • Computer Programmer: $86,550 per year

One of the best things about computer information systems is that it can be utilized in a variety of industries.

Computer Information Systems Highest Paying Jobs

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, those who work at the highest levels of CIS can make over six figures.

  • IT Management: $146,360 per year
  • Information Research Scientist: $122,840 per year
  • Software Developer: $105,590 per year

If you rise up in the ranks with your CIS degree, you may have the opportunity to earn a comfortable living while getting to use both your creative and analytical skills.

MIS vs. CIS Degree Programs

CIS degree student studying on his laptop

The primary difference between MIS and CIS degree programs is that MIS focuses heavily on leadership whereas CIS focuses more on computer science. Additional differences are as follows:

CIS

MIS

There is a heavy focus on code There is a heavy focus on management
Most of your classes will be related to computer science Most of your classes will be a combination of business and computer-related courses
Technical skills are valued Leadership skills are valued
New concentrations, like cybersecurity, are taught There is a heavy focus on skills like project management
Business takes a backseat to coding Coding takes a backseat to business

Although these two disciplines are complementary, they have a different type of concentration at the heart of them. If you are interested more in managing people, MIS is probably the best one for you.

On the other hand, if you want to work in software development, you should probably go with CIS. Neither one is better than the other, and potential employers will value both degrees.

Computer Information Systems Degree

What is a Computer Information Systems Degree?

A computer information systems or CIS degree deals with the way that computers work in conjunction with the business.

It allows you to get any number of different jobs within the field.

What Kind of Jobs Can you Get With a CIS degree?

While there are plenty of jobs that you can get with your CIS degree, some of the most popular ones are systems analyst and network administrator.

Even entry-level jobs are lucrative in this field, and there are plenty of opportunities for suitable candidates to move up rapidly.

What is the Difference Between MIS and CIS?

CIS degree student studying on her laptop

CIS is focused more on the technical side of things, and MIS is focused more on the management side of things.

There is plenty of cross-over between these two disciplines, but this fundamental difference sets them apart from one another.

How Much Money Can You Make with a CIS Degree?

Although it varies, you can generally expect to make at least $35,000 in an entry-level CIS position. It’s easy to move up in CIS jobs, and there is a tremendous amount of job security within the concentration.

This security and the lucrative nature of these jobs are what makes this field so attractive to graduates.

Is a CIS Degree Hard?

Getting your degree in CIS is not easy, but many people agree that it’s completely worth it.

You will need to take quite a few coding and math classes, which some people find to be challenging.

Is CIS a Good Degree?

Network architect checking the data center

Most people agree that CIS is a great degree because you can do quite a bit with it, and there are plenty of opportunities for advancement, even with entry-level positions.

Is a CIS Degree Worth Anything?

A CIS degree is worthwhile for many students. Not only can it allow you to get your foot in the door with many different career paths, but you can also use it as a jumping-off place for additional education or certification.

What Can You do With a Computer Information Systems Degree?

You can work for private, public, or governmental organizations either behind the scenes or in management.

Getting Your CIS Degree Online

CIS degree student studying on his tablet

If you’re wondering if getting your computer information systems degree is worth it, the answer is a resounding yes! This degree can open so many doors to you for exciting new career prospects.

These days, it’s easier than ever to get your degree online. You can take classes at your own pace, and write your own ticket. If you’ve been thinking about taking charge of your future, now is the time. Enroll in an online program today and get started with your CIS degree.

Jordan Meeks
WRITTEN BY
Jordan Meeks
Jordan is pursuing a Ph.D. in Public Policy and earned her Master of Business Administration in Strategic Management and her Bachelor's in Business Administration. Jordan's research focuses on adults returning to college and online degree programs.