Thanks to the near-universal adoption of computing technology in modern organizations, computing professionals are more in demand than ever. The University of Alabama at Birmingham offers several different degree programs for prospective students interested in pursuing a career in this important field. For instance, UAB offers both a bachelor’s and master’s program in information systems. However, some may wonder: What exactly is an IS major, and what can you do with it?
What is information systems?
Information systems employees are essential components of modern organizations. In a foundational sense, they encompass the networked infrastructure used by a business, including user devices, servers, cybersecurity systems, and more. Those with IS degrees have the technical acumen to manage these systems, monitor metrics and execute any essential improvements to them. Degree holders have a strong grasp of both technical computing knowledge and business savvy, as opposed to computer scientists, who tend to specialize chiefly in programming. Possible areas of concentration for an IS program include cybersecurity management and business analytics.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the IS job market is expected to increase by 11% from 2018 to 2028 ― much faster than the average profession. An additional 46,800 jobs are expected to be added to the estimated current total of 414,000, and many of these will need those with experience in graduate IS coursework. With a median salary of $142,530 per year, IS is a lucrative career choice ― one that may become even more profitable for those with a graduate-level degree.
Is a master’s degree in information systems worth it?
Many will wonder just how important a master’s degree is in regards to future career success. Demand is growing for those holding computing degrees, including in information systems. However, there is a shortage of graduate degree holders in these fields ― including among professors, according to The New York Times. Businesses, schools, and other organizations are driving the demand for high-level computing degree holders and IS degrees are no exception.
A master’s in information systems degree will open up many more opportunities that may be out of reach for those with only a bachelor’s. First and foremost, master’s degree holders in any field can generally be expected to make 18% more than bachelor’s degree holders over their lifetime, according to a Georgetown University study. In IS, a Master of Science degree can open up several different paths, including that of a researcher or upper management. In addition, it puts you on track to possibly teach the subject of information technology at universities ― though most professors get their Ph.D. due to academic teaching requirements. The demand for graduate degree-holding computing majors is high, and having a master’s degree can give you a big advantage from entry-level to C-level. If you’re looking to become a senior information systems manager or chief information officer for a prestigious company, then a master’s is the way to go.
What jobs are open to IS degree holders?
Information systems is a versatile degree, one that gives holders access to a variety of different fields and positions. Nearly every modern company uses computing technology for its operations, so IS degree holders can find work in practically any industry. Information systems managers, for example, are the command and control for an organization’s network and computing infrastructure. They make sure technology, such as servers or desktop computers, is running smoothly, and monitor metrics to ascertain possible issues. Their role is multifaceted; some days might be chiefly maintenance, while on other days they may oversee the installation of a brand-new data center.
Computer systems analysts fulfill a similar yet distinct role. These specialists study an organization’s computer systems and operations, and if they detect issues, they formulate information technology solutions that bring improved efficiency to existing infrastructure. Both of these positions involve a strong technical skill background as well as business acumen. Those in IS careers are responsible for molding technology to fit the needs of their organization, and a fair amount of computing, business, and management work experience is required to land high-level roles like IT Director and CTO in this field.
However, cybersecurity is perhaps the most notable field for IS degree holders. Considering the ubiquity of computing technology in modern society, cybersecurity specialists are needed now more than ever. These professionals are responsible for implementing security measures in various mediums, including both hardware and software. After determining who needs access to certain information, cybersecurity specialists adjust or implement security protocols for an organization. Due to the importance of having secure computing infrastructure, companies will be looking for only the most experienced candidates, making a master’s degree a worthy investment for any aspiring cybersecurity specialists.
Information systems is a degree that brings plenty of opportunity with it. For more information on jobs and salaries in the field, see here. Those with the right amount of technical acumen and economic and organizational expertise would be a great fit for an IS career. Prospective students looking to start this journey should consider the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s online degree programs, such as the online master’s in management information systems degree.
Information Systems vs. Computer Science
Understanding IT Director Roles and Responsibilities
Career Spotlight: Chief Technology Officer
Careers and Salaries in Information Systems
The Hard Part of Computer Science? Getting Into Class – The New York Times
Computer and Information Systems Managers by US Bureau of Labor Statistics
The College Payoff: Education, Occupations, Lifetime Earnings – Georgetown University