What Training Do I Need for a Career in Computer Information Systems?

Individuals looking for a career in computer information systems need training in computers and a second discipline, generally related to the sector or industry in which they will be seeking a position. Requirements may range from an associate's degree to a Ph.D. Read on for more info on how to prepare for a career in computer information systems. Schools offering Information Technology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Educational Overview

Pursuing a career in computer information systems requires a thorough understanding of computer languages, networking, and databases. Listed below are the various degrees that can be acquired in computer information systems and what you can expect to learn from each.

Important Facts About Computer Information Training

Certificate Level Graduate certificate available
Prerequisites High school diploma, or equivalent
Online Availability Fully available for bachelor's, master's and doctorate degrees
Continuing Education Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA), Certified Information Systems Manager (CISM), Certified in the Governance of Enterprise IT (CGEIT) and Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC) designations offered by the Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA)

Associate's Degree

An associate's degree in computer information systems is the most basic degree. Although some jobs may be available for students with certificates in the field, most entry-level jobs require at least an associate's degree. This degree typically covers the basic workings of computer systems, such as networking, databases, and programming using languages like Java and Visual Basic. While an associate's degree can be a starting point for a career in computer information systems, most programs are designed for students planning to transfer to a four-year bachelor's degree program.

Bachelor's Degree

A bachelor's degree in computer information systems covers the foundations of the discipline. Students learn how to manage information software and hardware systems. Most programs require introductory courses in a number of topics, such as database systems, information systems security, and systems analysis. Some schools offer students the opportunity to specialize their degree. Common specializations include systems security, systems analysis, business systems, and database management. A bachelor's degree program prepares students for most entry-level jobs.

Master's Degree

A master's degree in computer information systems builds on the foundations of the bachelor's degree. Most programs highlight their interdisciplinary nature by including business-oriented classes that emphasize the growing need for specialists in computer information systems in all types of business environments. Students take classes in management, operations, and marketing to cement their business skills, while also taking technical courses in data communications, networks, operating systems, and databases. Oftentimes the classes are combined, such as courses in financial information systems and electronic commerce.

Doctorate Degree

Doctorate programs in computer information systems generally focus on independent research and quantitative analysis. The programs are designed for students who have already completed extensive coursework in the topic, so they generally focus on the more technical aspects of computer information systems. The degree requires coursework in advanced topics, such as artificial intelligence and human-computer interactions. Coursework also focuses on advanced studies of such topics as database systems and network security. To complete the degree program, students must complete an original research project for their dissertation.

Other Training

Some jobs in computer information systems require a truly interdisciplinary education. With the many jobs available in corporate data systems, a background in business is essential. In some cases, employers may require coursework in business or even an MBA. In the same vein, positions in the health care industry require knowledge of management and the medical industry. Therefore, while completing coursework in computer information systems, it's important to also take courses in other disciplines of interest to increase your career opportunities. Additionally, you can take continuing education courses in order to stay current in the field.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

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