Information systems technology programs prepare graduates for entry-level to executive responsibilities. Educational prerequisites range from a high school diploma at the associate's level to a related bachelor's degree for applicants to graduate programs.
Associate's degree programs are designed to teach computer fundamentals to beginners. They emphasize Web and software design and might prepare students to become computer support personnel. Aspiring managers and analysts at the bachelor's level might learn programming skills, and they could choose areas of specialization. Specializations include computer programming, databases, network security, microcomputer applications, and information security. Completion of a capstone project may be required. Master's-level students could learn advanced computer, database management and business theories while they prepare for roles in upper-tier management.
To qualify for an associate's- or bachelor's-level program, students should have their high school diploma, though some bachelor's programs may require some prerequisite coursework. Master's programs generally require a bachelor's degree in a related field, GMAT or GRE scores, personal reference letters, and an entrance essay.
Associate's Degree in Information Systems Technology
The associate's degree programs, which are available as an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) or Associate of Science (A.S.), offer students an introductory look into business information technology. These programs are designed for students who are interested in learning more about computers or seeking entry-level employment in the information technology field. Some programs offer several different specializations, including computer programmer, database specialist, network security and microcomputer applications. Typically, associate's degree programs require a high school diploma or GED equivalent for admission.
The programs combine business, math and computer courses to give students a broad educational background. Students are prepared to enter the field or transfer to a bachelor's degree program through the following courses:
- Business mathematics and statistics
- Intro to web design
- Software design
- Intro to software programming
- Network theories
Bachelor of Science in Information Systems Technology
The bachelor's degree program prepares students for entry-level positions and advancement in the information systems industry by teaching high-level computer and programming skills, such as networked information systems management. Students typically select an emphasis, such as information security, as well as complete a capstone project on an area of information systems technology. Many bachelor's degree programs require students to complete general education coursework as well as prerequisite coursework prior to admittance.
The bachelor's program combines introductory and advanced computer and business courses. Students can expect training in areas of computer science, math and information technology, as well as courses similar to the following:
- Introduction to databases
- Marketing and management principles
- Network security
- Principles of accounting
- Analyzing and designing systems
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Master's Degree Information Systems Technology
The master's degree programs, including the Master of Science (M.S.) in Information Systems Technology and M.S. in Information Systems and Technology Management, teach students advanced computer, business and management skills, as well as advanced theories and practices in computer technology, communication and business. These programs are designed for students pursuing executive or management positions in the business and technical fields. The M.S. in Information Systems is also available and provides similar coursework.
Most students are required to have a bachelor's degree in a related field, such as information systems or management, and submit GMAT or GRE scores, with personal reference letters and entrance essay also required by many programs. Students who do not have a bachelor's degree in a related field may have to take prerequisite coursework; however, some programs may accept professional experience for academic credit.
Students gain interdisciplinary training in business and information systems technology that builds off introductory information technology coursework and teaches advanced strategies and theories. These are some of the technical courses offered:
- Advanced database management
- Advanced internet technologies
- Enterprise information systems
- Statistical theory for management
Students with an associate's degree in this field are prepared for a number of entry-level positions in the computer industry. The following are examples of careers that typically require an associate's degree and provide professional experience for career advancement:
- Desktop support technician
- Software design engineer
- Computer support specialist
Graduates of a bachelor's degree program in information systems technology may consider career options, such as the following:
- Quality assurance manager
- Information technology specialist
- Technical analyst
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 15% job growth is expected for computer and information systems managers in the years 2014 through 2024. These professionals earned a median annual wage of $131,600 in 2015.
Positions in the information systems industry may require specialized certification for career advancement. Certification is available through organizations, such as the Institute for Certification for Computing Professionals (ICCP) and Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA), or provided by the employer.
The field of information systems technology is accessible to students, especially after they have pursued a degree in the field. There are a number of program options that should suit the needs of students, depending on their career and professional goals.