Information systems professionals seeking opportunities to advance in their careers may consider earning a master’s in management information systems. However, it’s important to choose a master’s degree program that provides high-quality education and valuable resources while supporting your current lifestyle. Working professionals, parents, and others with busy lives can still earn a master’s degree as long as they find one that provides flexibility without sacrificing quality.
With the opportunity to complete many of our daily activities remotely, pursuing a master’s in management information systems in an online format can be a great option for busy working professionals. Below, we’ve highlighted some of the biggest perks to earning a master’s degree online through the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
1. Balance life with schoolwork
Family, work, or other obligations can make returning to or continuing school difficult for some students. Sticking to a rigid class schedule means students have limited flexibility to fit in their other essential activities. Online courses, especially those delivered in an asynchronous format, make it much easier to balance life responsibilities with further education.
Asynchronous online courses don’t require students to log in at predetermined times. This means they can watch lectures, engage in class discussions, and complete assignments at times that work for their schedules.
For students earning an online master’s degree at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, course materials, including recorded lectures, study guides, shared notes, and other resources, are available 24/7. The ability to access important information gives students greater control over their education and allows them to review and study as appropriate for their lifestyles and preferred learning methods.
2. Study anywhere
The only basic requirements for an online degree program are a computer and an internet connection, as well as any relevant prerequisites, such as a bachelor’s degree. Students can access resources from their own homes, a local library or coffee shop, or an office break room. This further builds upon the flexibility of the online format, allowing students to complete coursework during their lunch breaks at work or other free periods throughout the day.
Location can be a challenge for anyone living out of state who is interested in pursuing a master’s degree at the University of Alabama. While on-campus students must be able to get to campus on time for their classes, online students don’t have to do so. Instead, they can access lessons and coursework from anywhere — they don’t need to live in Alabama or even in the U.S.
3. Save money
It’s no secret that higher education is expensive. Americans carry a collective $1.5 trillion in student loan debt, according to the Federal Reserve. Add to that the fact that education-related expenses can include more than just loans. Students who attend on-campus courses also have expenses related to traveling to and from campus, nearby housing, and more, as the educational nonprofit ASCD pointed out. Without the need for students to attend courses on campus or potentially relocate so they’re near the university, online degree programs can save them significant amounts of money.
4. Connect with classmates
Discussion and collaboration between classmates can help students view problems from new perspectives and prompt greater analysis of a particular subject. Though it may seem like a small aspect of a degree program, the ability to meaningfully participate in discussions is an important part of developing students’ understanding of new concepts.
Courses often include a collaborative component, and with in-person classes, that comes in the form of class participation. This can be a challenge for certain students, such as those who are soft-spoken or shy, as well as their classmates straining to hear their opinions, according to U.S. News & World Report.
Online discussions have numerous advantages that in-class conversations and debates lack. In class forums, everyone’s comments are equally represented, and no one can speak over or interrupt another. Conversation points can also be easily and clearly backed up with citations.
While there are benefits to online learning, there can also be a learning curve pertaining to virtual communication. It’s easy for a message come across in a rude, confusing, or critical way when collaborating online. However, virtual discussion is common when working with information systems, so mastering this mode of communication is critical for students earning a master’s degree in management information systems online. Practice by way of online class discussions can help students strengthen their skills.
5. Learn in multiple formats
Many online education programs, including the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s online master’s in management information systems degree program, take advantage of a wide range of digital tools to share information and facilitate collaboration. Multimedia tools are beneficial for several reasons.
For some students, specific modes of learning can be more challenging than others. For example, a student who learns better by listening to information rather than reading may have more success in a course where lectures are recorded and available for on-demand playback. This is one of the perks of the online degree programs offered through the Collat School of Business at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where course materials are available online 24/7.
Additionally, using multimedia tools can support knowledge retention, U.S. News & World Report explained. When information is presented in multiple ways that appeal to numerous senses, it’s easier to remember the content. Having a range of audio, visual, and textual resources can help students learn and understand concepts taught in class better.
6. Gain critical IT knowledge to carry throughout your career
Today, technology controls everything we know. As digital platforms continue to emerge rapidly, guiding businesses to change their ways of working, the demand for IT professionals will continue to grow. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that computer and information systems management careers are projected to grow 10% between 2019 and 2029.
The University of Alabama at Birmingham designed the online Master of Science in Management Information Systems program to provide future leaders of the IT world with the education, skill, and expertise needed to succeed down the road. The Collat School of Business is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business and is well equipped to give students the technical training and IT experience needed to work successfully in the industry.
By the end of the master’s degree program, students will feel confident:
- Building and utilizing business intelligence
- Understanding industry trends and new technologies
- Developing solutions for complex problems involving IT
- Using newly acquired skills to advance throughout their careers, potentially gaining leadership positions
IT evolves daily. Our program is designed to cater to cutting-edge IT trends so all students are prepared for the working world after graduation.
7. Pick your area of expertise
You don’t have to settle for a generalized IT degree. The Collat School of Business gives students the opportunity to define the direction of their career paths by providing three concentrations. These include:
- Cyber Security Management. Gain insight and understanding into how to properly manage security teams that protect sensitive information within a system.
- Business Analytics. Understand how to manage, analyze, and visualize raw data and utilize it throughout the business decision-making process. It’s important to understand the differences between business intelligence and data analytics.
By focusing your attention on one area of expertise, you can stand out against fellow professionals to potential employers looking for someone with specialized knowledge.
8. Pursue IT for the first time
Certain admissions requirements come with entering the master’s degree program at the Collat School of Business. Those include:
- Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution
- A completed application
- 3 letters of recommendation, with at least one being a professional reference
- Current resume explaining professional work experience
- A personal statement or essay
- Official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended
Unlike many master’s programs, the Collat School of Business does not require students to take the GMAT or GRE. Additionally, students do not need a bachelor’s degree in IT — they can use the master’s degree program as their first foray into the industry. In this case, you would pursue the bridge program to essentially bridge the gap of knowledge needed to succeed in the master’s program. There are three ways to qualify for the program. These include:
- Have at least a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university and meet performance-based requirements
- Submit evidence of current or past significant work in the IT industry, involving information systems, computer programming, enterprise data software, data management, etc.
- Submit evidence in the form of an IT industry-based certification in information systems, computer programming, enterprise data software, data management, etc.
Courses taught in the bridge program amount to 18 credit hours and consist of basics such as Business Programming, Database Management, Business Data Communications, Information Systems, System Analysis, and Business Communications.
Check out the Collat School of Business to earn your MIS degree online
Earning a master’s in management information systems can help IS professionals advance in their careers, but it’s important to carefully choose the right university. An online master’s degree from the Collat School of Business has numerous advantages that professionals can benefit from, including the general experience and knowledge gained after completing the program.
One of the most significant advantages of the online program is the ability to complete it on your own time. We understand that family, work, and home life can make it difficult to commit to a strict school schedule. While students can complete their master’s degrees in as few as three semesters, there’s also an option to complete the requirements within five semesters as a part-time learner.
Students don’t have to worry about the quality of online education. The Collat School of Business is AACSB-accredited and has a full-time faculty dedicated to assisting students whenever they need it. Our student satisfaction levels are high, and student dropout rates are low. All of this combined with an extensive online learning curriculum makes earning your degree in a flexible format achievable and exceptionally rewarding.
To learn more about the online programs available at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, reach out to an enrollment advisor.