Information systems training is often combined with coursework in information technology, which is concerned with the computer and communications devices used to disseminate data. Relevant degree programs exist at the associate's, bachelor's, master's and doctoral (Ph.D.) degree levels.
Programs consist of classroom instruction and hands-on experiences at the undergraduate level. Graduate students may also complete research and dissertation requirements, depending on the program level. Emphasizing topics such as systems design, information security, software programming and database design, the programs aim to prepare students for positions ranging from information systems maintenance specialists and information technology managers to systems designers, researchers and professors. For graduate level programs, students should be prepared to complete research and a dissertation to successfully finish the program.
Admission requirements vary by program level. For associate's and bachelor's programs, students should have a high school diploma or GED, along with strong computer and communication skills and prior coursework in computer science classes. For master's programs, prerequisite coursework in business and computer science is required and relevant work experience is strongly preferred. For doctorate programs, applicants should already hold a master's degree in information technology and be prepared to submit transcripts, letters of recommendation, GMAT scores, and a personal statement.
Associate of Applied Science in Information Technology
Many Associate of Applied Science (AAS) programs in information technology (IT) offer coursework in information systems management. Students learn the business and technological aspects of managing the attainment, organization and sharing of information. Programs emphasize ways that computer networks and other types of technology are used to manage and secure information
Students in IT associate degree programs learn the practical skills and theories used in managing information systems. Programs cover topics in business law, statistics and technology. Students often take courses on the subjects below:
- Business organizations
- Database programming
- Software engineering
- Computer networking
- IT project management
Bachelor's Degree in Information Systems
Some Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) programs allow students to specialize in information systems management, while other schools offer Bachelor of Science (B.S.) programs specifically in the subject. Both types of programs emphasize skills in computer science, software programming, finance and management. Students also learn the communication skills needed to work with customers and employees effectively.
The classes in information systems programs teach students the business and computer skills needed to work in the IT field. Students complete classroom instruction in business subjects and participate in hands-on IT training. The topics below are usually discussed:
- Systems design
- Social media
- Information security
- Business writing
- Business research and statistics
Master of Science in Information Technology
Master of Science (M.S.) programs in IT are sometimes offered in joint degree programs that also award a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree. M.S. programs cover the strategic and research related aspects of the field. Students learn advanced concepts about managing IT services and the entrepreneurial aspects of information systems. Programs also emphasize software engineering, network security and systems administration.
The classes in information systems M.S. programs cover the technical and business strategy subjects needed to manage information in a variety of settings. Programs discuss topics in finance, economics, human resources and non-profit management. Programs usually cover the subjects listed below:
- Information system architecture
- Data structuring
- Software programming
- Strategic IT management
- Information system security management
Ph.D. in Information Management Systems
A Ph.D. program in information management systems focuses on the interdisciplinary relationship between business and technology. Students learn how to improve an organization's structure, function and behavior and control their information and computer systems. The Ph.D. program also requires students to complete a dissertation. The coursework combines the areas of business, technology and research. The curriculum includes courses in:
- Data structures and operating systems
- Business systems analysis and design
- Business database design
Popular Career Options
People who earn an associate's degree in IT are qualified for entry-level careers working with information systems. Graduates can find employment with IT firms or they can work in the IT departments of corporations. The following careers are popular options:
- Information systems security assistant
- Network administrator
- IT system maintenance specialist
People who earn a bachelor's degree in information systems often qualify for advanced positions in the field. Some people use their training in business careers. Many graduates choose one of the following positions:
- Information systems manager
- Information security specialist
- IT department manager
People who earn a master's degree in information systems are qualified for management and supervisory positions managing IT in several settings. Graduates can work for corporations, government organizations or non-profit groups. Graduates often enter one of the careers noted below:
- Strategic IT manager
- IT management consultant
- Information systems designer
Graduates with a doctorate in information management systems can find opportunities in academic teaching and working in laboratories. These are some of the popular job titles for Ph.D. graduates.
- University professor
Career Outlook and Salary Info
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of computer and information systems managers is expected to increase 15% between 2014 and 2024, which is slightly faster than average. These professionals made a median salary of $131,600 as of May 2015, reports the BLS.
Information systems management degrees are available at all levels of study. The specific career path that each individual has in mind will help them decide what educational program is right for them.