Computer Information Management Degrees: Associate, Bachelor & Online Info

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What kind of job can you get with an associate's or bachelor's degree in computer information management? Find out degree program requirements, online options and info on courses and computer information management training programs.
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Studying Computer Information Management: Degrees at a Glance

Computer information management combines the administration of network and hardware performance with the design of information products to address business objectives. The field offers several technical support and management careers in the government, private and non-profit sectors. Specialists in the industry manage the information assets businesses purchase or acquire by administering computer hardware, networks and custom software.

Colleges and universities design computer information programs that deliver training in computer terminology, software and programming techniques. The associate's degree provides the basic knowledge required to use technology effectively to analyze data and design effective solutions. The bachelor's degree takes a theoretical and analytical approach to managing a company's information assets.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reveals strong job growth projections for multiple careers in the industry. Database administrators could expect a 31% increase in job growth and software developers may see a 30% increase over the 2010-2020 decade, according to BLS reports.

Associate's Bachelor's
Who is this degree for? Individuals interested in entry-level technical support careers in multiple industries People who want to pursue a career in information systems and security management, database administration or network architecture
Common Career Paths (with approximate mean annual salary) - Computer support specialist ($52,000)*
- Computer programmer ($76,000)*
- Applications software developer ($92,000)*
- Network and computer systems administrator ($74,000)*
- Database administrator ($78,000)*
- Information security analyst (82,000)*
Time to Completion 2 years full-time 4 years full-time
Common Graduation Requirements - Roughly 60 credits
- Internship
- Roughly 120 credits
- Capstone project
Prerequisites High school diploma or equivalent High school diploma or equivalent
Online Availability Yes Yes

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2011 figures).

Associate's in Computer Information Systems

The computer information systems associate's degree program emphasizes strong programming and math skills. Colleges offer courses designed to highlight the importance of systems analysis, finite mathematics and advanced programming. You will use hands-on techniques to develop network, operating system and data management skills. Most programs are science-based and may require substantial work in laboratories writing, compiling and debugging code. You can select from a variety of guided and open electives to customize your learning experience to your career goals.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Career opportunities paid relatively competitive salaries with the appropriate experience; applications software developers earned a mean annual wage of $92,000*
  • Some support opportunities, including computer support specialist, only require some college, which can make your degree an asset to your employment search
  • Many schools offer programs that transfer to a bachelor's degree program

Cons

  • Competition against bachelor's degree holders will be keen for computer programming and software development jobs
  • Continuing your education and pursuing a bachelor's degree can make advancement a less difficult endeavor
  • Pursuing certification will add more time to your training and require additional financial resources

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2011 figures).

Courses and Requirements

The associate's degree offers a well-rounded education that provides considerable coursework in highly technical subjects. Programs require roughly 60 credits in business, core and elective coursework supplemented by general education classes. You will learn to install, maintain and operate complex software, including Linux and Windows-based operating systems and programs. Following are some common courses offered by the program:

  • Structured systems analysis
  • Advanced algorithms
  • Assembly language
  • Computer programming
  • Database systems
  • Macroeconomics
  • Data structures

Online Degree Info

Several colleges offer an online program in computer information systems delivered through a complete online curriculum. You may find that online programs offer more flexibility in basic computer science and programming options or that the degree requires more than 60 credits. Schools design programs for working professionals and you may find an accelerated option that you can complete in 2 years or less. Keep in mind that many colleges design courses to transfer to a bachelor's degree program.

Stand Out with This Degree

Employers want candidates who understand how a company's industry operates since industry practices and regulatory procedures govern data usage. For example, large accounting firms use industry-standard processes to execute financial tasks and the government regulates multiple aspects of accounting practices. Accordingly, computer information management specialists should possess the knowledge and skills required to translate business objectives and government regulations into technology and information products. Following are some steps you can take to stand out:

  • Consider taking several courses in business or the industry you plan to pursue.
  • Participate in internships that expose you to best practices in your selected employment sector.
  • Inquire about and pursue certification options, which may boost your marketability. Employers prefer selecting candidates with updated knowledge and skills.

Bachelor's in Management Information Systems

The bachelor's degree program merges business acumen with technical expertise. Universities design programs to deliver functional knowledge of marketing, finance and information management systems. Many schools offer elective courses in Internet-based business objectives or business management and you may have the option of choosing a concentration. The bachelor's degree program can prepare you for a career in the technical administration of technology or security analysis.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Information security analysts, web developers and computer network architects could expect 22% employment growth over the 2010-2020 decade*
  • Network and computer systems administrators could expect a 28% increase in jobs during the 2010-2020 decade*
  • Programs offer a strong foundation in business and technology, which employers across multiple industries expect to see in job candidates
  • Many programs transition to a Master of Business Administration program

Cons

  • Associate's degree holders earned salaries comparable to bachelor's degree holders; computer programmers earned a mean annual wage of $76,000 and database administrators earned $77,000**
  • Competition against master's degree holders may present a challenge for information security analyst and database administrator jobs
  • Network architect job candidates will experience a decline in job growth due to the rise in cloud computing technologies

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2010-2020 job growth projections), **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2011 figures).

Courses and Requirements

Bachelor's degree candidates learn a range of business and information management theories, practices and skills. The program requires roughly 120 credits in information technology, business electives and general education coursework. Some schools place emphasis on the development of Internet-based strategies in marketing, social media and analytics. You may be encouraged to participate in an internship to gain experience in a business environment and apply the knowledge you have learned in the classroom.

Bachelor's degree programs offer courses in organizational development, human resource management, financial accounting, network authentication, wireless networking, troubleshooting computer systems and network administration.

Online Degree Info

The online bachelor's degree offers a complete distance education experience. Some universities design programs to complement an associate's degree; candidates must already possess roughly 60 transferable credits from an acceptable 2-year program. The online program offers coursework similar to campus-based classes. Some programs meet the needs of working professionals through an accelerated learning format.

Stand Out with This Degree

Experience and certification play a significant role in securing database administration, network architect and information security analyst opportunities. You can begin gaining experience by taking internships during your studies. Network administration jobs can pave the way to securing work as a network architect.

Certification validates your skills and knowledge and reassures employers that you are updated on current technologies. The certifications you pursue rely on the type of positions that interest you. For example, the Microsoft Certified IT Professional credential confirms your ability to work with SQL server. You may also consider researching the Cisco Certified Architect or the Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert Security Certification for network architecture or security occupations.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. Colorado Technical University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor: Information Technology
      • BS - Business Administration - IT
      • BS - IT - Security
      • Bachelor: Information Systems Management
      • B.S. - Information Technology: Data Management
      • Bachelor of Science in Cyber Security - Computer Systems Security
  • Online Programs Available
    2. ECPI University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor's - Network Security
  • Online Programs Available
    3. Colorado State University Global

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BS - Information Technology
  • Online Programs Available
    4. Keiser University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • B.S.s - Management Information Systems
      • Bachelor of Science - Cyber Forensics/Information Security
  • Online Programs Available
    5. American InterContinental University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Science in Information Technology
      • Bachelor: IT - Network Admin
      • Bachelor of Information Technology - Digital Investigation
      • Bachelor of Technology: Information Assurance and Security
  • Online Programs Available
    6. Utica College

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BS in Cybersecurity - Information Assurance
      • BS in Cybersecurity - Network Forensics and Intrusion Investigation
      • BS in Cybersecurity - Cyber Operations
      • Online Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity
  • Online Programs Available
    7. Grand Canyon University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • B.S. in Information Technology
      • Bachelor of Science in Business Information Systems
      • Bachelor of Science in Applied Business Information Systems
      • B.S. in Computer Programming
      • B.S. in Information Technology with an Emphasis in Cybersecurity
  • Online Programs Available
    8. Indiana Wesleyan University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • B.S. Business Information Systems
      • B.S. General Studies - Computer Information Technology
  • Chicago, IL

    DePaul University

  • Kennesaw, GA

    Kennesaw State University

Featured Schools

Colorado Technical University

  • Bachelor: Information Technology
  • BS - Business Administration - IT
  • BS - IT - Security

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ECPI University

  • Bachelor's - Network Security

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Colorado State University Global

  • BS - Information Technology

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Keiser University

  • B.S.s - Management Information Systems
  • Bachelor of Science - Cyber Forensics/Information Security

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American InterContinental University

  • Bachelor of Science in Information Technology
  • Bachelor: IT - Network Admin
  • Bachelor of Information Technology - Digital Investigation

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Utica College

  • BS in Cybersecurity - Information Assurance
  • BS in Cybersecurity - Network Forensics and Intrusion Investigation
  • BS in Cybersecurity - Cyber Operations

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Grand Canyon University

  • B.S. in Information Technology
  • Bachelor of Science in Business Information Systems
  • Bachelor of Science in Applied Business Information Systems

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Indiana Wesleyan University

  • B.S. Business Information Systems
  • B.S. General Studies - Computer Information Technology

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