Students who seek degrees in focused fields such as information systems tend to have a general idea of the professional path they want to follow after graduation. However, a deeper understanding of specific opportunities for graduates holding an online information systems degree gives current and prospective students more context and the ability to find a role that best aligns with their specific interests, passions, and competencies.
A look at specific career opportunities in IS
There are many career paths that graduates can take once they finish their undergraduate education in information systems at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Here is a look at some roles that mesh especially well with the skill sets and knowledge bases of BS IS graduates.
Computer network architect
A computer network architect can have a variety of roles related to designing and implementing computer and information system networks. That can stretch from being in charge of conceptual and practical design for these systems to filling quality assurance roles and physically implementing the hardware and software needed to connect individual components to the larger network. The role can also include security measures, such as testing a newly designed or established network for weak points and flaws.
Computer network architects can be involved or play a major part in researching and providing information about potential new purchases for such networks to financial and even executive decision-makers within their companies. Much of the day-to-day work of a computer network architect may center around changing, optimizing, troubleshooting, and generally managing existing networks, as opposed to only creating plans for new ones and implementing them.
Desired proficiencies for the profession include familiarity with a variety of software, including programs for technical administration and network monitoring. A need for some level of understanding of web development and programming is also common. Similar proficiency with hardware is also frequently necessary. Although focused on technology, this role also requires strong people skills to engage in collaborative discussion, planning, problem-solving, and implementation, among many other tasks that can involve not only colleagues and managers in the same department, but non-technical staff reporting issues and problems as well.
The median salary projection for the computer network architect role is strong, at about $105,000 per year. The field has an average projected growth rate between 5 percent and 9 percent for the 10-year period ending in 2026, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Because the profession requires significant work-related experience, BS IS graduates may have to serve in more junior roles as they develop on-the-job competencies that build on their education.
Information security analyst
An information security analyst focuses on protecting the computer networks deployed and used by their employer, or for companies with which their employer has a business relationship. This role is more targeted in comparison to a computer network architect, as it focuses primarily and often exclusively on addressing vulnerabilities, threats, bugs, and other issues in an organization’s computer network. Common responsibilities include encryption work, establishing firewalls, and implementing other safeguards, responding to violations of established use protocols, finding and addressing previously unknown vulnerabilities, staying current and updated on the emergence of threats such as viruses and malware, and many similar needs. Longer-term work can include assisting in the creation of digital security plans for organizations, helping to develop best practices for use by staff, and creating schedules and strategies for future security updates.
Desired technological proficiencies center around a variety of common business software types, from operating systems to server software, as well as familiarity with security tools including backup and archiving platforms, security and virus protection programs, and network monitoring applications. Knowledge of both hardware and software in the context of security is preferable. Beyond technology competencies, information security analysts have to effectively communicate about a wide range of potential and existing issues to other staff with strong knowledge of existing systems and their operations. They may also have to have conversations about similar topics with others in the company who have little or no technical understanding, meaning information security analysts must convey the same information in a variety of ways.
In terms of salary, information security analysts have strong median earnings of $95,510. They also enjoy higher than average projected growth from 2016 to 2026, at 15 percent, according to the BLS. Because this field requires significant academic and professional experience, BS IS graduates may have to take on more junior roles at first as they develop their on-the-job competencies.
Many other roles
From software developer to computer systems analyst and information systems manager, a BS IS degree gives students education relevant to major job requirements and can serve as a key differentiator in being noticed by a recruiter or human resources department. These roles, along with computer network architect and information security analyst, all require highly technical skills and knowledge. A number of these roles also involve a combination of an undergraduate degree and experience in the field. Graduates should keep in mind that through a combination of their degree and experience in positions considered entry level or more junior in the world of information systems, they can grow professionally to reach the higher echelons of the field.
Finding your professional path with UAB
The University of Alabama at Birmingham offers a flexible, high-quality online information systems degree program for students interested in the many professional roles tied to the design, implementation, and management of digital systems for organizations large and small. With experienced, respected faculty, an asynchronous 24/7 learning environment, and courses focused on addressing the modern state of the field, students can work at their own pace while feeling confident in the accuracy and relevance of the skills and knowledge they develop at UAB. To learn more, speak with an advisor today.
UAB Collat School of Business: Bachelor of Science in Information Systems
UAB Collat School of Business: Information Systems
O*NET Online: Information Security Analysts
O*NET Online: Computer Network Architects