Management Information Systems Major

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between Computer Science and MIS?

This is a somewhat difficult question to answer because there is overlap between these fields of study, and their boundaries change over time with changes in technologies. In addition each university emphasizes different aspects within each major. For example, Hardings MIS adds computer network classes because of the increasingly important role they play in business today. The MIS major also has some application development.

The MIS focus is not programming, although we have some graduates who do that, nor is it networking, although some graduates do that.  Whatever MIS professionals do it usually involves solving business problems or exploiting business opportunities using information technology (IT).  For businesses today (ebay & Wal-Mart, for example), this is extremely important. This means that our graduates need to know something about both business and IT.  The technology knowledge component in MIS is a lot like what a carpenter would need to know about a hammer.  The carpenter doesn't build hammers, but it's important to understand how they work when driving nails.

 
Management Info System
Computer Science
Focus
Organization
Software
Objective
More efficient or effective business
Reliable computer program/technology
Core skills
Problem solving
Logic/procedure, algorithms, math
Core tasks
Determine business requirements for information systems
Deliver information systems to meet defined requirements
Generic Job Title

Business Systems Analyst/Designer

Application programmer
Career Goals
Senior organizational manager
Program manager
University Home
Business
Arts and Sciences

What about Outsourcing? Aren't computer jobs going offshore?

Let's dispense with this myth once and for all. It's true that the trend toward offshore outsourcing has caused a reduction in the number of computer programmers needed. Programming is a relatively straightforward conversion of system requirements into specific programs, and anybody who's reasonably smart can do it. With the global programming market being influenced by the fact that requirements can be digitized (converted to 1's and zeros) and shipped over the Internet to other countries (with lower wages), the ability for programmers in high-wage countries to keep demanding this level of pay will be reduced. That said, who do you think creates the specifications and requirements that are being shipped offshore to be converted to programs? MIS professionals are in higher demand; indeed, some Indian companies realize the importance of having analysts here in the US to develop the solution specifications and are now hiring MIS professionals in the US. Further, there are coordination and other hidden costs to offshoring arrangements; some companies don't want the hassle. In addition the falling value of the US dollar has made the costs of offshore out sourcing higher. Bottom line: If you want a job that works with business and technology and don't want to worry so much about offshoring, you should be in MIS. 

There is outsourcing within the US but that just means that you may work for the outsourcing company rather than the merchant such as WalMart, Walgreens, Lockheed Martin etc. The number of IT jobs within the US stay the same in this scenario.

What about a double major?

The integrative nature of MIS means that it goes really well with a lot of majors.  These include Accounting, Finance, management, Marketing, Psychology, (really!) and others.  We actively work to make our major as amenable to good combinations as possible. 

As to minors, we realize that MIS isn't for everybody.  If you are a really good Marketing or Accounting person (as examples), you should focus on being a really good Marketing or Accounting person.  Life's too short to be in something you don't enjoy.  This being said, an MIS minor is a great way to make yourself more competitive in the things at which you want to be best.  In Marketing, a fast growing area involves Marketing Intelligence, which is heavily Database driven.  In Accounting, since most of the neat systems that accountants design are implemented by MIS professionals, to be able to audit the transactions (important with Sarbanes-Oxley laws) you need to get the technology.  As a manager you need to be able to gather and interpret business operations and business intelligence data provided by information systems.

MIS Dept.
501-279-4446
misdept@harding.edu