Aspiring computer information systems (CIS) professionals have a variety of educational options available from community colleges, four-year universities and private online schools. CIS and information technology (IT) certificate and baccalaureate degree programs provide the fundamental skills and knowledge necessary to launch or advance a CIS career. Like those conducted on campus, online CIS programs are designed for students who wish to balance technical expertise with a strong foundation in business concepts. However, it is important to note that distance learning IT programs typically focus more on technology as opposed to general business fundamentals.
Undergraduate certificate and baccalaureate degree programs require a high school diploma or General Education Diploma (GED). Some programs may require prerequisite college level work, which may be waived if the student has completed approved comparable coursework at an accredited institution of higher learning.
Online Learning & Coursework
Unlike traditional classroom education, online CIS students interact with peers and instructors in a typically asynchronous virtual learning environment. Course management systems allow schools to deliver lectures, assignments, videos and other materials, which can often be accessed around the clock by distance learners. Online CIS students should consult with the school to identify specific technological requirements.
The following list provides details on what students will likely study in various distance learning CIS or IT programs.
Undergraduate IT Certificate
IT certificate programs focus on developing proficiencies that enable students to support their organization's technological resources. Certificates usually require few if any general education classes, which allows students to complete the program in around a year or less. Common online courses include the following:
- Information systems
- Visual Basic
- Problem solving
- Advanced C++
Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Business Administration - Computer Information Systems
This online program combines business and management classes, such as human resources management, economics, finance and marketing with coursework designed to enhance the student's technological proficiencies. This degree program is particularly useful for current and aspiring managers seeking a strong technological foundation in computers and information technology. The online curriculum includes general education as well as major coursework in the following areas:
- Business computer skills
- Java programming
- Systems analysis
- Management information systems
- Database concepts and programming
Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Information Technology
Classes in statistics, economics and technology make up this online bachelor's degree program. Distance learners can concentrate the focus of their program in networking, information security and Web development through elective coursework. Like other undergraduate degree programs, general education classes are required in fields like English, math, science and the humanities. Online coursework in the IT major can include the following:
- Introduction to information systems
- Pre-calculus mathematics
- Discrete structures
- C programming
- TCP/IP and network architecture
Online undergraduate training programs that cover CIS provide students with an overview of the fundamental concepts of information technology, as well as an introduction to how they might be utilized within business settings. Because lectures and discussions are not usually conducted in real-time, these programs afford greater scheduling flexibility to students with additional time commitments.