Computer Information Systems: Bachelor, Associate & Online Degree Info

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What will you learn in a computer information systems degree program? Read about computer information systems requirements, the pros and cons of an associates's and bachelor's degree and potential careers.
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Study Computer Information Systems: Degrees at a Glance

Computer information systems degree programs deepen your knowledge of computers and software. These degree programs teach you about computers through hands-on training. Upon completion, you will be eligible for an entry-level position in the information technology field.

Careers in the computer information systems field are growing. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), depending on the specific industry, information technology personnel can expect to see anywhere from an 18% to 28% job increase from 2010 through 2020 (www.bls.gov). One reason for this job growth is companies needing employees to keep up with constantly changing software and computer systems.

Associate's degree Bachelor's degree
Who is this degree for? Individuals who wish to upgrade their computer skills and begin entry-level employment or continue their studies in a baccalaureate program Those who wish to gain technical knowledge and work in information technology
Common career paths (with approx. median salary)* Most computer-related careers require a bachelor's degree; however, some companies may allow you to work your way up with only an associate's degree and significant experience.
- Network and computer systems administrator ($69,000)*
- Computer support specialist ($46,000)*
- Computer and information systems manager ($116,000)*
- Computer systems analyst ($78,000)*
- Network and computer systems administrator ($69,000)*
Time to completion2 years, full time4 years, full time
Common graduation requirements - General education courses
- Classes in major
- Internships
- General education courses
- Classes in major Internships
- Thesis
- Capstone project
Prerequisites - High school diploma or GED- High school diploma, GED or associate's degree
Online availability AvailableAvailable

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2010 figures).

Associate's Degree in Computer Information Systems

An associate's degree program in computer information systems provides you with a foundation to pursue an entry-level job in the field. In this degree program, you learn a variety of different skills, including programming and database technology. Some colleges and universities also offer internships, which will give you a hands-on experience and may help when you look for a job.

According to the BLS, most careers in computer information systems require a bachelor's degree for employment. However, certain positions, such as network and computer systems administrators, may require only an associate's degree and some work experience.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Give you a broad base of knowledge of the field
  • Internships can help you get your foot in the door
  • May be enough to enter the field of information technology

Cons

  • Most entry-level positions require a bachelor's degree
  • A higher degree is generally necessary for advancement
  • Additional certification may be required

Courses and Requirements

As with any liberal arts degree program, in a computer information systems associate degree program you are required to take general education courses in English, math, social sciences and economics. However, you also complete core computer information systems classes such as:

  • Advanced programming
  • Structured systems analysis
  • Data structures
  • Visual Basic
  • Operating systems
  • Programming languages

Online Degree Options

Online degree programs in computer information systems are available. These programs require that you complete the same courses and credit hours of study as their in-person counterparts.

Stand out with this Degree

During your studies, consider taking classes in a highly technical area of information systems, such as advanced computer languages or algorithm analysis. These courses, which are often available as electives, demonstrate your ability to design complex computer software programs or to solve difficult mathematical equations that are relevant to computer systems. Employers may prefer to hire candidates with this type of knowledge.

Bachelor's Degree in Computer Information Systems

A computer information systems bachelor's degree program teach you how to use computers as problem-solving tools, think analytically and understand how hardware and software programs work. Many of these programs offer specializations such as systems development, networking, data science or information security.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • A bachelor's degree is typically required for entry-level positions in the field
  • Software and hardware is made available to you for hands-on training
  • Tracks help you specialize your studies

Cons

  • A graduate degree is generally required for significant career advancement
  • You may be asked to specialize at an early stage in your studies, when you may not have yet identified your area of interest
  • Some employers may require additional certification, requiring studying beyond earning your degree

Courses and Requirements

In these programs, you must take general education courses and classes in your major. Some schools also offer internships. Depending on your specialization, you could take classes like:

  • End-user computing
  • Principles of management
  • Systems management
  • Programming in C++
  • Computer security
  • Software engineering

Online Degree Options

Online bachelor's degree information systems programs are available. These programs require you to attend classes and complete assignments over the Internet, while interacting with the professor and fellow students. Students still must complete the same amount of courses and requirements as they would in an in-person program.

Stand out with this Degree

To stand out with this degree, consider completing a leadership course. Being knowledgeable about leadership styles and methods may increase your likelihood of being promoted in the future.

You might also consider taking courses in business topics, such as management, finances and business communications. Having this education demonstrates to employers that you know not only about computers, but also basic business operations. This may make you more attractive to private sector employers or make you eligible for future advancement with your company.

Finally, consider specializing in a relatively new subject in the field, such as cloud computing. As technology advances and information systems change, being knowledge about the most up-to-date aspects of the field can increase your employment chances.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. Kaplan University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Science in Information Technology
      • BS in Cybersecurity
      • BSIT - Information Management
      • BSIT: Network Admin
      • BS in Information Technology/Information Security and Assurance
      • BS in Health Information Management
  • Online Programs Available
    2. Colorado Technical University

    Program Options

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

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Science in Information Technology
      • Bachelor of Technology: Information Assurance and Security
      • Bachelor: IT - Network Admin
  • Campus and Online Programs
    4. Virginia College

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor: Management Information Systems
  • Online Programs Available
    5. Keiser University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Science - Cyber Forensics/Information Security
  • Online Programs Available
    6. ECPI University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor's - Cloud Computing
      • Bachelor's - Mechatronics
      • Bachelor's - Network Security
  • Online Programs Available
    7. Grand Canyon University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • B.S. in Information Technology
      • B.S. in Information Technology with an Emphasis in Cyber Security
      • BS in Business Admin. - Business Intelligence
      • B.S. in Computer Programming
  • Online Programs Available
    8. Herzing University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • B.S. - Information Technology: Security Technology Concentration
      • B.S. - Information Technology: Network Management Concentration
      • B.S. - Information Technology Admin and Management With No Declared Minor or Concentration
      • Bachelor: Technology Management
  • Online Programs Available
    9. Colorado State University Global

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BS - Information Technology
  • Online Programs Available
    10. Utica College

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BS in Cybersecurity - Cyber Operations
      • Online Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity
      • BS in Cybersecurity - Information Assurance
      • BS in Cybersecurity - Network Forensics and Intrusion Investigation

Featured Schools

Kaplan University

  • Bachelor of Science in Information Technology
  • BS in Cybersecurity
  • BSIT - Information Management

Which subject are you interested in?

Colorado Technical University

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

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American InterContinental University

  • Bachelor of Science in Information Technology
  • Bachelor of Technology: Information Assurance and Security
  • Bachelor: IT - Network Admin

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Virginia College

  • Bachelor: Management Information Systems

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Keiser University

  • Bachelor of Science - Cyber Forensics/Information Security

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ECPI University

  • Bachelor's - Cloud Computing
  • Bachelor's - Mechatronics
  • Bachelor's - Network Security

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Grand Canyon University

  • B.S. in Information Technology
  • B.S. in Information Technology with an Emphasis in Cyber Security
  • BS in Business Admin. - Business Intelligence

What is your highest level of education?

Herzing University

  • B.S. - Information Technology: Security Technology Concentration
  • B.S. - Information Technology: Network Management Concentration
  • B.S. - Information Technology Admin and Management With No Declared Minor or Concentration

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