4 reasons why business skills can help you as an IS professional

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Students who choose to pursue a Bachelor of Information Systems degree want to work with technology and building, maintaining and improving online information systems that support the companies they work for. Such an emphasis is necessary for success in tech-centered roles and for the broader prosperity of organizations and the economy as a whole. That doesn’t mean students considering information systems degree jobs should focus solely on this part of the business world, however.

The University of Alabama at Birmingham is proud to offer a variety of business courses throughout the online Bachelor of Science in Information Systems program, helping students receive a well-rounded education that can prime them for working productively in the modern business world no matter what sort of specific role they find themselves occupying. Why is it so important for students in this program to develop business knowledge and skills?

IS professionals fixing a server

What you can do with a computer information systems degree

Jobs in the realm of information technology, business processes, business intelligence and many similar fields are all possible following successful completion of a Bachelor of Science in Information Systems degree program. All of these jobs have something in common: a significant level of exposure to and interaction with other parts of the company, ranging from frontline employees to business leaders. Let’s look at how having these four business skills helps graduates when they cross paths with others in their company and in a variety of additional areas.

1. Emphasizing your true worth as an employee

The technical skills that allow you to competently work within or even lead a team of information systems staff are vital to your long-term success. However, they only go so far in securing pay, benefits and other considerations commensurate with your level of education, experience and practical ability. That’s why it’s so important to develop skills like networking, interviewing, salary and raise negotiation and building a personal brand.

With knowledge of these concepts in hand, graduates go into job interviews and subsequent steps in the hiring process equipped to champion their best interests. It also applies as students become professionals and grow within their organizations, seeing promotions and raises. These universally applicable business skills remain relevant no matter which career path you ultimately follow, even if you switch to an entirely different positional track.

2. Understanding the critical operations of your company and industry

Some graduates will move on to roles that focus almost exclusively on information systems, while others will have titles that include considerations in other areas of their employer’s operations. Over time, many information systems degree holders will move into more senior roles, whether in management or not, that require interaction with people outside of the information systems or IT department. Once work stops being exclusively focused on technology and related process, information systems degree jobs are no longer in a bubble. They influence and are influenced by other departments and the company as a whole.

Because of this high degree of crossover, it’s vital to have a basic understanding of how companies operate in general and how your employer functions in particular. Business knowledge related to finances, production, supply chain and similarly central concepts helps you put the tasks and responsibilities of the information systems department and your individual role into context. Ultimately, this broader understanding makes you a more alert, aware and valuable employee.

3. Communicating effectively with all colleagues, supervisors and leaders

Sharing information about the progress of a system update or implementation of a new feature is vital inside and outside of the information systems department. While technical terms and jargon can perform admirably when speaking with other tech-focused workers, it quickly grows confusing for many people outside the department. A professional, polished and clear style of communication is necessary when speaking about issues with the vast majority of employees outside of the department.

Business communication skills, like the kind taught at UAB and included as a required course in the online Bachelor of Science in Information Systems program, help bridge knowledge gaps between employees in different roles. The baseline of communication standards cultivated in the course makes it easy to share information in a mutually understandable and professional way, no matter who you need to speak with.

4. Managing yourself and others

Management is a discipline distinct from the technical education common in degrees ranging from information systems to accounting and engineering. It takes one set of skills to excel in a chosen field and another set to succeed in managing others in similar roles. While technical understanding is vital for recognizing and addressing specific problems and opportunities facing your team and department, it’s just one piece of the puzzle.

Management is made up largely of soft skills, like understanding the motivations of the people you lead, how to effectively encourage them to take on their daily tasks and resolve interpersonal conflicts that may arise. Although few fresh graduates will take on management responsibilities in a professional setting in their first professional roles, there are plenty of opportunities to use such skills as time goes on. Whether it’s leading an individual project or small group to address a time-sensitive emergency, management skills become valuable in a variety of contexts. When graduates have enough experience under their belts to take on more formal management positions, they can draw on these existing skills to confidently lead their teams.

A well-rounded information systems education from UAB

UAB is proud to have our online Bachelor of Science in Information Systems degree program as part of the Collat School of Business, which means students receive valuable instruction on a variety of business topics from highly regarded, full-time staff who are experts in their respective fields. Our online degree program allows students to progress at their own pace throughout their educational career, whether they’re developing highly focused technical or broader business skills. To learn more about the Bachelor of Science in Information Systems degree and how our approach to it positions students for the best results, speak with an advisor today.

Recommended Readings:
Degrees That Prepare You for Both Business and Technology Roles
Certification vs. Bachelor Degree: Which is Best for You?

1. https://businessdegrees.uab.edu/mis-degree-bachelors/
2. https://www.thebalance.com/business-skills-list-2062366
3. https://www.monster.com/career-advice/article/business-skills-for-new-graduates