A Bachelor of Science in Information Systems degree is a strong choice when it comes to finding a technology-focused path for undergraduate studies. There are many options available for students who want to enter fields related to programming, coding, hardware, and software, but an online information systems degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham offers certain benefits and advantages, ranging from the ability to learn remotely following your own schedule to a curriculum focused on providing relevant, modern, and applicable knowledge that prepares students for the working world.
Let’s review the key components of the BS IS program to develop a better understanding of how this degree helps graduates and what areas of relevant knowledge are covered during the eight semesters’ worth of courses and experiential learning.
Areas of focus in the BS IS program
The technology field is incredibly broad. A strong degree program will focus on specific information and skills applicable to a wide-ranging world that includes programming, development, implementation, security, and many other concerns. The BS IS program offers such a targeted educational experience.
The basis of the degree is information systems, the platforms used by businesses, governments, and other organizations to share and store data. Of course, in the modern economy, information systems can refer to many different platforms and tools, from social media to company intranets. The tasks and responsibilities related to information systems cover similarly broad ground, ranging from implementation to security and design.
Perhaps the most distinguishing and positive characteristic of a technology education rooted in information systems is the focus on both business processes and technical competency. With a BS IS degree, you learn how the activities, goals, budgets, and other specific attributes of an organization interface with and influence the digital tools that the enterprise relies on to function. Building understanding of both business and technology means gaining a broader and more comprehensively relevant base of knowledge than some other exclusively tech-focused educational options.
Business and management courses
Students in the BS IS program focus almost exclusively on the world of business and its many functions in the Foundation, Lower Level Core, and Upper Level Core courses that make up a significant part of the overall curriculum. With this background, students better prepare themselves for putting their information systems learning into appropriate business contexts and developing connections between the two topics.
Classes in the Lower Level Core cover a broad range of business topics, including accounting principles, the legal environment of business, quantitative analysis, microeconomics, and macroeconomics. The Upper Level Core continues this focus on the modern economy with courses dedicated to marketing, communications, financial management, management processes and behavior, operations management, international dynamics, and professional development. The wide range of topics included provides a substantial, well-rounded introduction — or refresher, for students with existing knowledge — allowing learners to start seeing the connections between their chosen field and the companies they work for, as well as the economy as a whole.
Business skills and knowledge come into play in a variety of ways for even the most specific and focused technology-based roles. An understanding of operations management, for example, allows for more considerate and applicable design and implementation of information systems that focus on or a play a role in such business activities. That overall sentiment is similarly relevant for information systems that interact with many other parts of a company.
Graduates with an eye on eventually moving into management roles are better suited for such positions if they have a background that extends beyond technological understanding and includes lessons on how to lead others. If nothing else, the education provided about business communication can give graduates confident that they want to focus strictly on the technological side of operations the ability to communicate on a professional level with managers, colleagues, and other employees who may not have any technical know-how or experience.
The Information Systems Core is the key distinguishing feature of the BS IS degree. It gives students 15 credit hours focused solely on business information systems, with classes dedicated to programming, database management, enterprise systems, systems analysis, and project management. These courses provide a strong foundational education that lends itself to further development in the professional world. A related benefit is how these classes help students potentially find a specific path in the information systems world they may want to pursue upon graduation.
The five courses in the Information Systems core are bolstered by three elective classes that offer further learning opportunities and help students understand more about technology. Courses in information security management, business intelligence, and social media and virtual communities can give students valuable perspectives on these issues, whether they want to pursue a focus on them in their career paths or simply develop a greater overall competency in their chosen field.
The flexibility and power of online learning
Students in the BS IS program may already have a number of existing personal and professional commitments and responsibilities that are hard or impossible to leave behind for full-time enrollment at UAB’s main campus in Birmingham. That’s where the power of online education comes into play. Students in the BS IS program receive the same quality education as their on-campus peers, resulting in the same diploma. Distance learners simply have additional option to attend classes and complete coursework at their own pace, fitting it into their schedules whether morning, noon, or night. With access to the same high-quality faculty and technical support resources, the learning experience can be just as powerful online as it is on campus.
Earning an online information systems degree from UAB positions learners for a future that involves both technology and business processes, potentially giving them the tools to understand both topics and how they intersect. The valuable skills provided during the program lend themselves to a number of professional roles throughout the modern economy. To learn more, speak with an advisor today.