Information Systems Department
Technology and Business are two of the most powerful influences in the world today. Individuals who can turn data into business intelligence are in high demand. The Information Systems (IS) major (previously known as Management Information Systems or IT) leverages information technology using the informational component of business products, services or processes to create value. IS professionals bridge the gap between business and technology.
The Information Systems Major consists of the liberal arts requirements, the business core, the IS core and a selected minor in one of 5 areas:
- Data Analytics,
- Network Security,
- Project Management,
- Systems Analysis and Design, and
- Application Development.
To be an IS professional you must have a healthy curiosity - a desire to learn about new technologies that can be applied to business problems, and a desire to work with people. IS majors;
- Are good problem solvers
- Can think strategically about technology and the future
- Like responsibility for developing and then implementing their ideas
- Can bridge both technology and business
- Can see both details and the big picture
- Are excellent communicators
- Can manage time and resources well
You will learn about; Information Systems Planning and Management, Systems Analysis and Design, IS Project Management, Web Development, Networking and Security, Data Analytics and Management, Database Management, C++ and Python as well as a sound knowledge of core business disciplines. This broad knowledge base provides maximum contribution to managing the information needs of an organization.
Knowledge and skills acquired through the Bachelor of Business Administration in Information Systems are transferable across many sectors such as government, education, the arts, commerce, and industry as well as across the globe.
Opportunities may include but are not limited to:
Academia, business systems analyst/auditor/designer, data translator, security analyst, computer systems analyst/consultant, database administrator/designer, data processing system analyst, electronic commerce consultant, information systems consultant/manager, IT consultant/trainer, client delivery specialist, project manager, risk management services, user support, web analyst/designer/developer, knowledge engineer and change management consultant.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between Computer Science and IS?
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, Harding's IS adds computer network classes because of the increasingly important role they play in business today. The IS major also has some application development though not as much as Computer Science. Both are considered STEM programs.
The IS focus is not programming, although we have some graduates who do that, nor is it networking, although some graduates do that. IS professionals roles usually involve 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 IS 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.
More efficient or effective business
Reliable computer program/technology
Logic/procedure, algorithms, math
Determine business requirements for information systems, recommend the best solution.
Deliver information systems to meet defined requirements
Generic Job Title
Business Systems Analyst/Designer
Senior organizational manager
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 and trained 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? IS professionals are in higher demand as organizations seek to design solutions of best fit for their organization; indeed, some Indian companies realize the importance of having analysts here in the US to develop the solution specifications and are now hiring IS 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, IS is a great choice.
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 IS 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 IS 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 IS 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 IS 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.
Why IS? 4 Important Reasons
1. Careers and Internships
IS graduates enjoy a diverse and interesting range of careers afforded by the broad base and diverse IS curriculum.
A number of companies recruit IS students for internships on a regular basis. Our greatest supporters include Acxiom, and PriceWaterhouse Coopers. IS students have also found internships at Lockheed Martin, at major banks, Accenture, KPMG, small business and within the health care industry. See Careers for more details.
Harding IS graduates (actively seeking employment) have a 100% employment rate within 3 months of graduation with most students having received job offers before graduation. According to the US. Bureau of Labor Statistics, career opportunities for IS majors are expanding rapidly, and “employment of computer and information systems managers is expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations through the year 2019.”
3. Top Salaries
It is difficult to estimate an average salary as it dependent upon the job type, the geographical location, and the quality of the graduate. Most universities claim that their IS graduates receive higher salaries than any other business majors. Yearly salaries range from $40,000 - $70,000 not including bonuses.
4. Travel Opportunities
IT is a global industry and as such differs very little from country to country (unlike accounting, law, teaching, medical qualifications, etc). Many countries suffer the same shortage of IT workers that the US does and are happy to welcome qualified foreign workers. IT graduates from accredited US universities are recognized worldwide.
Association for Information Systems (AIS)
The Association for Information Systems (AIS) is a student led group that provides a social and learning atmosphere for the sharing of knowledge about the IT field. It fosters networking with potential employers, development of knowledge of internships, industry trends, and employment opportunities in the IT field.
Contact Reet Cronk - firstname.lastname@example.org - Box 10774