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"Degrees & Programs"
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By Laurie Davies
November 15, 2021 • 7 minutes

At a glance

  • Computer and information technology (IT) occupations are projected to add 667,600 new jobs from 2020 to 2030, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
  • A Master of Information Systems degree is broader than a Master of Information Technology.
  • Career outcomes with a Master of Information Systems degree include IT managers, information systems managers and application development directors.
  • Explore University of Phoenix's Master of Information Degree!

What is computer information systems?

Whether you’re interacting with friends on a social network, buying a product in an online marketplace or producing personalized content for business customers, you’re putting a computer information system to work for you.

But just what is an information system?

According to the worldwide employment website Indeed.com, an information system (IS) “facilitates the conversion of raw data into useful information.” Basically, an IS helps business leaders make decisions based on data. It helps answer questions such as:

  • Will a process be profitable?
  • How can we target a product to consumers who visited our company website?
  • Can a combination of artificial intelligence (AI) and human labor get the job done more efficiently?

In a broader sense, businesses and organizations rely on IS “to carry out and manage their operations, interact with their customers and suppliers, and compete in the marketplace,” according to Encyclopedia Britannica.

As such, you might think IS involves computers or databases — and you’d be mostly right. But, as a category, information systems is a much broader umbrella. According to Techopedia.com, IS can be envisioned as a triangle with three main components: people, processes and IT.

People – Without people, an IS wouldn’t operate properly. IT professionals, programmers, system analysts, high-level managers and help-desk workers are all part of an IS, according to Technopedia.com.

Processes – Processes are the activities carried out in a business for specific goals, according to Indeed.com. For example, on a vehicle assembly line, the process of the line production of car parts would be part of the information system.

IT – Information technology, or the use of computer hardware, software and data, ensures the information system works and can be indexed and interpreted for effective use by an organization.

There’s no doubt that IS affects many parts of the modern world, but how can you break into the field? And exactly what kind of information systems jobs are out there? Read on to discover more about degree and job possibilities.

What can I do with a computer information systems degree?

Information systems professionals span almost every conceivable professional category, including healthcare, air travel, financial services, manufacturing and education. Entire companies are even built around information systems, including eBay, Amazon and Google.

According to Indeed.com, careers in information systems “are typically in high demand because most companies rely on technology, and software and computer systems are constantly changing.”

But just what will a master’s in information systems do for you?

  • If you have a bachelor’s degree and are thinking of getting into the information systems field, enrolling in a master’s degree program like a Master of Information Systems may offer advantages.
  • A master’s degree prepares successful graduates for an array of information systems jobs.
  • A master’s degree may also enable you to grow your existing IT skills. In-depth knowledge of an ever-changing industry, after all, adds value to almost any organization.

According to Indeed.com, professionals in management information systems (one area of specialty within the IS field) who earn a master’s degree may expand their job opportunities. Typically, they’ll learn valuable communication skills and take classes on advanced topics, such as:

  • Database management systems
  • Programming languages
  • Information system design
  • Computer networking
  • Business

What do you learn in a Master of Information Systems degree program?

“Information systems is the whole puzzle where everything is connected,” says Kathryn Uhles, associate dean of IT at University of Phoenix (UOPX). "Information technology is just a fraction of it. Information systems adds the users of the technology, the processes for adding new technology or removing legacy systems [and] the policies and procedures around technology.”

Students also conceptualize, test and deploy their own information system, as well as learn about privacy, government regulations and security concerns. They develop the skills to deal with all three so they can keep themselves and their clients safe in the information systems and IT world.

The master’s program is different from a bachelor’s degree because it focuses more on real-world corporate situations, like using leadership skills to solve interpersonal or structural problems in tech.

Uhles says the UOPX Master of Information Systems program doesn’t delve into the “technical/hands-on content like we use in our bachelor’s degree.” Instead, she says, “students learn about planning and implementation of technology resources, [and] concepts like emerging tech and technical debt are addressed to help with decision-making from a leadership level.”

At UOPX, there are two online Master of Information Systems (MIS) degrees. One is a Master of Information Systems degree; the other is a competency-based master’s, which allows students to demonstrate quickly what they know, earn credit for it and spend more time learning something new. This may enable students to earn their degrees faster, and for less.

What’s the difference between IS and IT?

A Master of Information Systems degree sounds like a Master of Information Technology, but it’s not quite the same thing.

Information technology falls under the information systems umbrella. Information technology is more specific to the hands-on, technical type of content/program where students learn about hardware, software and developing the user side of technology. Cybersecurity, for example, is one aspect of IT.

An information systems program, on the other hand, will more broadly address the technology, people and processes.

What information systems jobs are out there?

One of the main careers you can expect to pursue with an MIS is as a computer and information systems manager. These professionals manage computer-related activities for organizations, such as technical services, application development, computing services and data process.  In 2020, the salary range for computer and information systems managers was $90,430 to $208,000. Job growth is projected to increase 11% between 2020 and 2030 for computer and information systems managers, faster than the national average, according to BLS.

The salary ranges are not specific to students or graduates of University of Phoenix. Actual outcomes vary based on multiple factors, including prior work experience, geographic location and other factors specific to the individual. University of Phoenix does not guarantee employment, salary level or career advancement. BLS data is geographically based. Information for a specific state/city can be researched on the BLS website.

While University of Phoenix does not guarantee job or salary outcomes for our graduates, this this much is clear: The demand for information systems professionals, especially within certain niches, is high.

FAQs

Is an information systems degree worth it?

For many students, an information systems degree will be worth the time and financial investment. According to BLS, employment in computer and information technology occupations is projected to grow 13% from 2020 to 2030, faster than the average for all occupations.

Where can I earn a Master of Information Systems?

At UOPX, a Master of Information Systems degree prepares graduates to influence the way businesses use technology.

Business and information technology curriculum at UOPX is intentionally housed in one college. “This prepares students to work with agile, cross-functional business teams, which may set them apart educationally from their business-only or IT-only peers,” says Kevin Wilhelmsen, PhD, dean of the College of Business and IT.

How long does it take to get a degree in information systems?

At University of Phoenix, an online Master of Information Systems is available via two paths:

  1. The Master of Information Systems can be completed with 36 credits in approximately 20 months.
  2. The Master of Information Systems (Competency Based-CB) can be completed with 36 credits in approximately one year. 

Would a MIS-CB degree be right for me?

In a competency-based program, each credit is tied to a competency, or measurable skill, that can help improve your performance on the job. Since you may have some of these skills already, you can demonstrate what you know quickly, earn credit for it and spend more time learning something new.

Choose the MIS-CB if you:

  • Already work in a professional setting
  • Prefer to learn independently
  • Have strong organizational and time management skills
  • Want instructor support as you work at your own pace

Not sure how the online experience works? We break it down for you here.

What skills do you need for computer information systems?

According to the online career platform Zippia.com, information systems managers must be skilled in:

  1. Procedures
  2. Information technology
  3. Customer service
  4. Project management
  5. Data entry
  6. Hardware
  7. Technical support
  8. Software development
  9. Business process
  10. Disaster recovery

Ready to enhance your technology career with a Master of Information Systems? Explore the degree program at University of Phoenix!

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