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Bachelor of Science in Information Systems curriculum: What you may learn at UAB

Are you interested in what goes on behind the scenes of technology in our everyday lives? The 100 percent online curriculum of the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Bachelor of Science in Information Systems degree explores four key components of information systems: management, data, networks and security.

What does that look like in practice? Read on to learn more.

Information Security Specialist working.

Technically-trained professionals are in high demand

Students can take classes that focus on developing their management skills, paying particular attention to ethical decisions around technology. For example, CIO Magazine noted how important this critical skill is in relation to Big Data. There has been a push from thought leaders in tech demanding it.

“My ask is that every training course, every curriculum, every MOOC, [massive open online course] every college class, every professional degree, every program at a company has a data ethics curriculum that is intrinsic — not some bolt on, but intrinsic — to the training of every data scientist, every computer scientist, every data engineer, every data operations person,” DJ Patil, a chief data scientist for the U.S. Office of Science and Technology, told the publication.

In addition, a successful manager does more than simply motivate their team. According to a survey conducted by recruiting agency Robert Half, employees are eager for their managers to improve their technical expertise. Being able to use technical language and understand the daily challenges go a long way in establishing a positive rapport with a team.

Not only are these skills in demand, but managers themselves are increasingly sought after in a number of different industries. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, computer and information systems managers are in high demand by a range of companies. The agency suggested that the demand will hit 15 percent from 2014 to 2024.

Big Data: The next frontier of strong business intelligence

By studying information systems, students can also take a closer look at how data can aid a business. Classes such as Business Programming show students how event-driven programming – and processing massive amounts of newly available data – can help accomplish business goals.

Researchers continue to discover the importance of Big Data to business intelligence. According to one study, the benefits of strong business intelligence include more accurate reporting, creating a more positive experience for customers – and ultimately raising revenue.

One example of this is Netflix. As early as 2006, the online movie company wanted an algorithm that could improve the accuracy of its recommendations. The company found that customers were more likely to stay engaged with the service if there were strong recommendations. Wired Magazine reported that 75 percent of viewing is due to the suggestions that appear just when you’re finishing a TV episode or a movie. The Netflix Tech blog noted that over 800 developers bring their expertise to the table to strengthen the algorithms used.

The focus of smarter business intelligence is driving companies to hire more computer systems analysts. The BLS estimated that the number of jobs would increase by 118,600 from 2014 to 2024, a staggering 21 percent uptick.

Rising demand for information security

For tech and non-tech professionals alike, security has been top of mind. Information security, or InfoSec, makes the news on a yearly basis. Recently, the company Netflix’s post-production work was hacked, with the hackers threatening to leak TV shows prematurely.

In response, companies are doubling-down on security, such as an increase in the hiring of information security analysts. The Bureau of Labor Statistics found that demand for these professionals is on the rise. From 2014 to 2024, over 14,000 jobs will be added, showing an 18 percent growth.

Information security analysts must implement and monitor security measures to keep company information safe. However, it is easier said than done. McKinsey & Company conducted interviews with 25 company leaders and discovered that businesses struggle to balance easy access for workers – who may be working remotely or on their mobile devices – with keeping their information away from malware attacks. One such example of this is cloud computing. The ability for businesses to store their information remotely allows workers to access their information securely. However, information security analysts need to monitor this to keep threats, such as malware, at bay.

“A single vulnerability or misconfiguration can lead to a compromise across an entire provider’s cloud,” a report from the Cloud Security Alliance noted.

How can information security analysts assist in managing this risk? They need to work closely with business leaders to create a strategy that has cyber security at its foundation.

A more mobile workplace means stronger networks necessary

Gone are the days when the only network of computers a company needed to worry about were in the office building. Now, many workers check their company email on their smartphones or quickly jot down an email from their home computer. That means individuals interested in information systems may have to understand how to manage local and wide networks. A key part of this position is keeping the information traveling in these networks secure.

One way to do that is to pursue higher education in the space. In UAB’s Bachelor of Science in Information Systems program, students can take classes in enterprise management. They can learn about the technologies necessary to keep malware and other viruses from penetrating organization’s networks and encrypting or stealing vital information – and avoid a scandal like the WannaCry hack that occurred in May 2017.

An IS career outcome, like database administrator, is one path that focuses on building a strong network. Administrators make sure that employees can access that information outside of the network of computers in the office. As workers continue to interact on different platforms and networks, administrators will have to rise to the challenge. The Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates that the demand for this job will lead to an 11 percent growth, adding 13,400 jobs from 2014 to 2024.

Learn more about information systems

Today’s marketplace insists its workers have technical expertise as well as sound business knowledge. Having an education where students can develop both sets of skills can help them prepare to join a fast-changing workplace. Earning an online degree in information systems from UAB is one option. To learn more, reach out to an enrollment advisor.

Recommended Readings:
Career Outcomes with a bachelor’s degree in information systems
BS in Information Systems to MS in Management Information Systems: Which one, or both, is right for me?

Sources:
1. http://searchcio.techtarget.com/opinion/Big-data-ethics-Why-the-CIO-needs-to-get-involved
2. http://rhmr.mediaroom.com/managers-skills-to-improve
3. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/computer-and-information-systems-managers.htm
4. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1877050916304914
5. https://www.wired.com/2013/08/qq_netflix-algorithm/
6. https://medium.com/netflix-techblog/netflix-recommendations-beyond-the-5-stars-part-1-55838468f429
7. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/computer-systems-analysts.htm
8. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/information-security-analysts.htm
9. http://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/digital-mckinsey/our-insights/meeting-the-cybersecurity-challenge
10. http://www.infoworld.com/article/3041078/security/the-dirty-dozen-12-cloud-security-threats.html
11. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/database-administrators.htm
12. http://businessdegrees.uab.edu/mis-degree-bachelors/

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