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

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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 professionals. The projected 11% job growth by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the computer and information technology sector is much faster than the job growth for all occupations. CIS careers will be in demand over the next decade.

Common CIS careers in this field 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 – The job of a Programmer Analyst is a hybrid of designing both software and computer systems. Being exceptionally creative and a great problem solver are useful traits for working in this field.
  • 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. Those with diplomatic skills may have an easier time in this career.

Having an analytical mind and being able to communicate with people on all levels of an organization can help you excel in computer information systems careers. Being naturally curious about computers and valuing lifelong learning are useful traits as well.

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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 may 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 often get jobs in cyber-security, data analysis, and information technology support. They tend to be in charge of larger departments.

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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 tends to be quite versatile as far as career paths go, and you may choose to do coding or spend your time taking care of company databases.

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

Those who have a creative streak but understand how code works may be good candidates for jobs in Information Technology. If you are an out-of-the-box thinker, this may be 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 can help put you on an excellent career path with room for advancement.

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#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 often suits candidates who have 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. Technical support specialists talk people through their computer difficulties and assist them with issues. Those who understand the basics of all computer systems and can handle stress with diplomacy and tact may do well in this field.

#3 System Administrator

Systems administrators are tasked with making sure that computer networks are running exactly as they should be. Having apex technical skills, knowing how to working with people, and being a team player are helpful traits for this career.

This may be 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. Being able to work as a team player and multitask can help you do well in this career.

#5 Manager

You may be able to easily translate your CIS degree into a management role. Your studies can help you understand how your company’s particular intranet functions and develop your abilities to work with a team in a diplomatic fashion to get things done. They can also help prepare you to be a fair manager who handles stress well and understands the intricacies of your company’s network.

#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.

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These people build physical computer parts and envision systems that can use internal technology. Excellent critical thinking skills and the ability to communicate your vision effectively are helpful skills for excelling in this job.

#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. Excellent computer skills and exceptional attention to detail can help you do well in this job.

#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, being diplomatic, fair, and able to multitask are helpful traits for Network Administrators.

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.

To give you an idea of what you may make, we’ve listed below the median annual salaries for common jobs in this field according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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: $77,200 per year
  • Computer Support Specialist: $55,510 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 usually pay far more than the national average as shown by these average salaries from the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

  • Information Security Analyst: $103,590 per year
  • Database Administrator: $98,860 per year
  • Computer Programmer: $89,190 per year

One of the best things about computer information systems is that it may 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 may make over six figures.

  • IT Management: $151,150 per year
  • Information Research Scientist: $126,830 per year
  • Software Developer: $110,140 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 tends to focus heavily on leadership, whereas CIS usually focus 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 may be the best one for you.

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On the other hand, if you want to work in software development, you may want to go with CIS. Neither one is better than the other, and potential employers should 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 can help you get a 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 pursue with your CIS degree, some of the most popular ones are systems analyst and network administrator.

Even entry-level jobs are often 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 around $69,000 on average for a CIS position (Center on Education and the Workforce). It’s often easy to move up in CIS jobs, and there is typically a tremendous amount of job security within the concentration.

This security and the lucrative nature of many 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 likely 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 help you get your foot in the door with many different career paths, but you may also use it as a jumping-off place for additional education or certification.

What Can You do With a Computer Information Systems Degree?

You may 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 for many students. This degree can help open so many doors to you for exciting new career prospects.

These days, it’s easier than ever to get your information systems degree online. You may take classes at your own pace, and write your own ticket. If you’ve been thinking about taking charge of your future, now may be the time. In addition to a bachelors degree, many universities also offer an online masters in information systems degree program.

Enroll in an online program today and get started with your CIS degree.

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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.