Is Computer Information Systems a Good Major? [2021 Guide]

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Is computer information systems a good major? If you’d like to put tech concepts into action in the workplace, then a degree in computer information systems could help provide the preparation that you’ll need.

Computer Information Systems

For a computer information systems degree, you may learn about programming, databases, and management so that you can help organizations identify technology-based solutions to their business needs.

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Computer knowledge is in demand, so you may find that your CIS skills align with the job descriptions for a wide variety of positions.

Is Computer Information Systems a Good Major?

software developer working

Yes, computer information systems is a good major for many professionals. Jobs in computer and information technology field are projected to grow at a rate of 11% in the next 10 years (Bureau of Labor Statistics), much faster than the average for all occupations.

Common CIS careers in this field include information systems manager, database administrator, management analyst, computer systems analyst, and information security analyst. For your CIS degree, you may study computer networking and programming. These skills may make you suitable for a range of computer-related careers.

For example, you may get your start as a computer support specialist. Other potential jobs include software developer, database administrator, or network administrator. The field of computer information systems often deals with using tech-based systems to gather and organize data that can be used as a basis for business decisions.

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As a result, you may be a prime candidate for various analyst positions. Possible options include working as a computer systems analyst, an information security analyst, or a management analyst.

This growing field offers a variety of leadership opportunities. When paired with industry experience, the business background that a CIS major provides could help you get hired as a computer and information systems manager or a chief technology officer.

CIS Major Curriculum

computer programmers working

The classes that you’ll take for your computer information systems degree will help prepare you to implement technology-based solutions to workplace demands. Your curriculum may include courses like those listed below.

  • Analytics Skills for Business Decisions
  • Business Intelligence
  • Computer Programming with Lab Experiences
  • Cybersecurity for Business
  • Database Programming and Management for Enterprise
  • Development of App and Web Solutions
  • Foundations for Information Technology Studies
  • Leadership and Management Skills for Business Settings
  • Machine Learning Concepts
  • Principles of Operating Systems

To graduate with a bachelor’s degree in computer information systems, you’ll often need to earn at least 120 college credits. You may earn some credits through hands-on experience in an internship setting.

5 Things You Can Do with a CIS Degree

Computer and Information Systems Managers working

In today’s workforce, knowledge about computer information systems is in demand. Your computer information systems major could help you qualify for a variety of top positions in private businesses, government agencies, educational institutions, and other sectors.

1. Computer and Information Systems Managers

If you gain enough experience in a company’s technology department, you might be promoted to the role of IS manager or IT director. In this position, you’d oversee technology decisions for the organization and head up staff in that department.

The highest-paying industries for this job include information, computer systems design, and finance. Experience and a master’s degree might increase your qualifications.

2. Database Administrator

Database Administrators in data center

As a database administrator, you may be tasked with storing, organizing, and protecting your organization’s data. You might also contribute to the development of new database systems.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 10% increase in jobs for database administrators through the next decade. Organizations related to computer systems design, education, and business management are some of the top employers for database administrators. Jobs are available, though, in a wide variety of sectors.

3. Management Analyst

Management Analysts in meeting

CIS professionals gather data for a purpose—often to inform business decisions. As a management analyst, you may employ information systems to provide clues about areas where an organization’s structure and activities could improve.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that jobs for management analysts are growing at an 11% rate. Government agencies and organizations that offer professional and technical services often hire management analysts, but self-employment may be an option as well.

4. Computer Systems Analyst

Computer Systems Analysts working

Your knowledge of computing technology and your ability to analyze data could work together in a career as a computer systems analyst.

Your responsibilities might include evaluating the effectiveness of current systems and conducting research to determine whether upgrades would be worth the investment.

According to figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, most computer systems analysts earn between $56,510 and $152,060 annually. The information sector offers some of the highest salaries for this job.

5. Information Security Analyst

One of the highly important things that you’ll learn in your CIS program is how to protect the integrity of data. As an information security analyst, you might be responsible for maintaining, testing, and upgrading an organization’s cybersecurity systems and strategies.

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The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects 31% job growth for this position over the next several years. Working in the finance and insurance sector could lead to an average annual salary of $106,430.

CIS Careers & Salaries

CIS Careers & Salaries

Technology has become increasingly important to all sorts of businesses. As a result, you may find CIS jobs not only with tech companies but also with a variety of other organizations. For example, education, finance, and telecommunications could be fields to consider.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, you may pursue the following careers with a bachelors in computer information systems.

Careers Annual Median Salaries
Computer and Information Systems Managers $151,150
Software Developers $110,140
Information Security Analysts $103,590
Database Administrators $98,860
Data Scientists and Mathematical Science Occupations $98,230
Computer Systems Analysts $93,730
Computer Programmers $89,190
Management Analysts $87,660
Network and Computer Systems Administrators $84,810
Computer Network Support Specialists $65,450

Many companies require only a bachelor’s degree as the minimum educational requirement for the above jobs. Some employers may prefer that you increase your qualifications with a masters degree.

Five or more years of experience are typically required for the highest-paying positions, such as working as an information systems manager or a chief information officer.

Should I Major in Computer Information Systems?

Computer Information Systems students in university

You might have a vision of computer professionals who hole up in cubicles and stare at screens all day.

If the technology field is appealing but you want plenty of opportunities for interaction, you may consider CIS. This field merges technical projects with business collaboration. As a CIS major, you should be prepared to keep learning all the time. Professionals in this field need to stay in touch with the latest tech developments.

For those who enjoy the thrill of keeping track of emerging technology and other industry news, a computer information systems career may be a good fit.

What Is Computer Information Systems?

Computer Programmer working online

Computer information systems is a field that focuses on applying technology solutions to meet business needs.

As a CIS professional, you might work with existing systems or develop new databases and applications that are tailored to the unique demands of your organization. You can think of CIS as a bridge that links an organization’s technology department to its various other business departments.

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CIS professionals often need to be experts on technology so that they can provide the best systems and make informed recommendations to their organizations’ business leaders.

Is Computer Information Systems a Difficult Major?

A CIS major could be a strategic choice if you’re interested in studying computers but don’t want to deal with the heavy math and science emphasis of a computer science program.

A CIS program often consists of learning programming languages, building apps, and working with data structures. Many programs end with capstone experiences. For this project, you’ll likely be asked to apply the knowledge you’ve gained throughout the program as you develop a CIS solution for a business issue.

What Can You Do with a CIS Degree?

Software developers working together

CIS studies cover both business and technology, so this program can help prepare you for a range of jobs. Options include working as a programmer, a software developer, or a management analyst.

If you’re looking for a high starting salary, you may consider working as a computer network support specialist in the telecommunications field. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary for this position is $74,220.

A computer systems analyst is another high-paying position that doesn’t require significant experience. Computer systems analysts make an average salary of $93,730. So if you’re wondering what you can do with a CIS degree, with significant job experience or a masters degree, you could advance to a computer manager.

How Much Money Does a CIS Major Make?

computer and information systems managers working

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, computer and information systems managers typically earn between $90,430 and $208,000 each year. The average salary for this position is $151,150 per year.

Is a masters in information systems worth it? For those who are employed by information companies, the median earnings are higher at $166,770 annually. A masters in information systems might help you secure a management role.

Software developers often earn salaries between $65,210 and $170,100. With a median annual salary of $124,050, software publishers typically offer some of the most attractive compensation packages.

Information security analyst is another high-paying job to consider. The average annual salary is $103,590, and most analysts earn between $60,060 and $163,300.

What Jobs Can I Get with a Computer Information Systems Degree?

computer network specialists working

Many jobs in computers and technology require only a bachelors degree, so there are many different careers you could consider with a CIS major. Entry-level options include being a computer help desk technician or a computer network specialist.

Other jobs that you could pursue include being an application developer, a systems database administrator, a computer program coder, or a network administrator.

Getting a master’s degree in CIS or a related field could make you a top contender for information systems management jobs. With or without a masters, experience is a must for such positions.

What’s the Difference Between Computer Information Systems vs. Information Technology?

computer programmers working together

Studying information technology can help equip you with tools to put computers and other technology to use in workplaces.

You may gain insights about how computers process information and learn what’s involved in setting up networks and databases. Your classes might include cloud computing and network fundamentals. Computer information systems involves many of the same elements that you’d find in an IT program.

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For a CIS degree, you may also take business-focused classes that will broaden your understanding of how to select the right technology systems to address the specific needs of your organization. Example classes include business information systems and enterprise applications.

What’s the Difference Between an MIS vs. CIS?

Computer Programmers in the office

As a general rule, computer information systems emphasizes the technical aspects of the information systems field. Management information systems places more emphasis on the business side of things.

A CIS graduate might be more likely to develop software, and an MIS graduate might be more inclined to work as a computer systems analyst. There’s a good deal of overlap between management information systems and computer information systems, though. In fact, some schools use these terms nearly interchangeably.

You may want to read through curriculum lists to confirm that the colleges you’re considering offer programs that align with your career goals.

What’s the Difference Between Computer Information Systems vs. Computer Science?

software developers working together

A computer information systems degree focuses on how to use technology in business and workplace settings. Your CIS program will often have a practical focus, teaching you how to apply tech knowledge in real-world settings. You’ll probably learn business management skills as well.

Computer science has to do with the inner workings of computers and the principles that govern how hardware and software function. You may find that there’s a lot of theory covered in computer science programs. A computer science degree may also require many science, math, and engineering classes.

Getting Your CIS Degree Online

CIS Degree Online

Choosing to major in computer information systems may set you up for a successful career in the industry of your choosing.

From technology to education, many different sectors depend on the expertise of professionals who understand how to store, organize, and analyze data. Your work may contribute to wise, well-informed business plans and decisions.

To earn your CIS degree, you may consider enrolling in an online program from an accredited college. Studying online can be especially convenient for those who need to fit school around their work or family responsibilities. An online computer information systems degree can help prepare you for a fulfilling position in this growing field.

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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.