What Is Computer and Information Science?
Computer information science is a field of study that includes topics such as using programming languages, managing information, and designing and improving computer systems. This career field not only includes the software development aspects, but also includes business aspects since technological uses for business are an important part of computer and information science. Other topics and computer science specialties in this field include programming, coding, security, website development, networking, data administration and information systems.
Computer information science degree programs are common throughout various higher-learning institutions. Applicants must have a high school diploma or its equivalent to be considered for acceptance. Colleges may offer the computer information science degree through their business school, with courses geared toward how these systems are used by businesses. Other institutions may offer the program through their engineering school and focus on technical topics like computer programming, databases and software applications. In some programs, internships are a requirement for graduation.
Some colleges that offer two-year degrees might also have computer science programs or related programs. Rather than opting for a BA information science degree, students might instead opt for an associate's degree, where they can still learn basic topics, such as web development, programming, and networking. These degrees require between 60 and 67 credits and are usually completed in two years. Though this program can be completed quicker than a bachelor's program, students won't learn as much in-depth information as they would in a bachelor's program. Students in a four-year program have the opportunity to expand their knowledge much further than a two-year program. Employers also require a bachelor's degree for higher paying jobs.
Bachelor of Computer Information Science Degree
A computer information science description, course or curriculum might vary depending on the school and the program. Though much of the content is similar, the degrees in this field could have slight variations, such as a computer science degree, information systems degree, or a computer and information science degree. Generally, these degrees prepare students by helping them learn how to design, maintain and improve computer systems for businesses. Students will also learn how to manage information and solve problems.
A computer information science major learns many skills that can be applied to many careers. Therefore, a bachelor's degree in computer information science can prepare a student for a career in a wide range of computer science related fields. Programs generally offer both classroom experience as well as practical experience through internship opportunities or work-study programs. Coursework teaches students computing industry trends, and they may participate in faculty-led research projects. Introduction courses in programming and basic mathematics courses may be required as prerequisites before continuing to more advanced courses. For those with a bachelor of computer information science, jobs may include:
- Computer operating systems
- C++ programming
- Systems analysis
- Computer networking
These programs generally take four years to complete and may require taking summer courses to complete within that time. Different programs will require a different amount of credit hours to graduate. This can range from 120 credit hours to 129 credit hours, and may be more depending on the program. Those who already have busy schedules and want to set their own pace may find it easier to take courses online. Some universities offer an online program, in which the degree can be completed all online.
The growing trend of using computers in the workplace has produced ample opportunities for computer information professionals. Graduates can find job opportunities in computer systems design, business, management, finance and government. They may be responsible for analyzing computer needs, ensuring system security, installing hardware and collecting data. Potential occupations that students can gain include:
- Computer and information systems manager
- Network and computer systems administrators
- Computer security specialist
- Database administrator
- Computer programmer
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
Job growth for the aforementioned careers is expected to be about as fast or faster as compared to other occupations, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Over the 2019-2029 time period the BLS reports a projected employment growth rate of 10 percent for computer and information systems managers, four percent for network and computer systems administrators, and a nine percent decline for computer programmers. Since computer programming tasks can be completed online, companies can hire workers overseas at a lower wage, which may have an effect on job growth in the U.S.
Median annual salary information for these careers was reported by the BLS in May 2019. At that time, computer and information systems managers made $146,360, network and computer systems administrators earned $83,510 and computer programmers earned $86,550.
|Computer Information Science Careers||Median Salary (2019)||Job Outlook (2019-2029)|
|Computer and Information Systems Managers||$146,360||10%|
|Network and Computer Administrators||$83,510||4%|
*Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Continuing Education Information
Graduate degree programs are also prevalent in the computer information science field. Master's students take advanced coursework, which may require them to choose a specialty in the field, such as information security or programming. Doctoral programs are well-suited for individuals wanting to perform original research in a concentrated area of computer information science and conclude those findings in a dissertation. With a doctoral degree, graduates are prepared for research or professor positions.
To summarize, a bachelor's degree in computer information science prepares students for a career in network and database administration as well as security and programming. Graduates can also go on to master's or doctoral programs which focus on a specialty within the field to gain more applicable knowledge for a specific career path.