What is the Difference Between a Computer Science Degree and a Computer Information Systems (CIS) Degree?

What is the Difference Between a Computer Science Degree and a Computer Information Systems (CIS) DegreeSeparate from the study of computer information systems covered later in this article, computer science itself focuses on technical and theoretical programs. A degree in computer science provides students with knowledge of computer operating systems, coding, computer networking, computer architecture, and database design. Computer science has roots in math, physics, and electrical engineering. Some students feel overwhelmed with the amount of math this degree requires, but those who are comfortable with mathematics or have previous experience with it have few problems with it.

What is a Computer Information Systems Degree?

With a computer information systems degree, students focus on how to apply technology to business. The field of computer information systems takes technology and places it in a commercial setting. In addition to learning how technology works, students learn how to use technology to benefit a company.

The reviews for this degree are mixed. Some people enjoy that many topics are covered, while others become frustrated by the lack of focus on one particular subject. A computer information systems course includes business courses and managerial communications, as well as coding and other tech skills. This degree goes well with most business-related majors and degrees in arts, graphics design, and communication.

What Jobs Are Available with Each Degree?

Luckily, with both degrees, there is a wide variety of jobs available. These jobs are listed separately, but the job duties often cross over.

Jobs available with a Computer Science Degree

Database Designer or Administrator

Database administrators act as managers over often complex and very large computer databases of information. Designers separately create these databases for a wide range of functions. In some cases, the same professional may play the role of both the designer and administrator.

Modeling and Simulations

Modeling and simulation jobs are those focused on using modeling such as that offered via simulation software for the creation of whole new worlds or the representation of things already found in our own world.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Work in the artificial intelligence sector involves the creation and maintenance of systems that utilize computerized logic and reasoning systems. One specific example of a job found in this industry is that of the machine learning programming analyst.

The top AI use cases today are in the areas of quality control, customer care, and cybersecurity. Around six out of 10 manufacturers and pharma companies are using AI to improve product quality. Nearly half of consumer goods and retail firms (47%) are using it in customer care. Over half (51%) of energy firms are leveraging AI for monitoring and diagnostics, 58% of financial services providers for fraud detection, and 52% of tech firms to strengthen cybersecurity.

MIT Technology Review (March 2020)

Programming (Scientific, System, Design, Interface, and Computer Control)

Programming work today sets at the core of much of the world’s new software and even hardware creation. In this vocation, programmers use computer language to give computers exact instruction sets to follow.

Software Development

Software development work involves the research, design, and eventual implementation of all kinds of new software products.

Software Publishing

Software publisher jobs require the worker to handle the entire and often complex publishing process that comes after the software has been created.

Software Engineering

Software engineers are specialized professionals who develop new kinds of software.  Software engineers are similar to the above-mentioned software developers, but in this particular role, engineering concepts are specifically applied to the software creation process.

Quality Assurance Engineering

Quality assurance engineering work involves extensive product testing to find and resolve problems before the customer finds them in the end product. Some in this line of work also participate in actual product development and change processes subsequent to such testing.

Telecommunications Planning

Telecommunications planners are the professionals concerned with designing and building new telecommunications systems and networks.

Jobs available with a Computer Information Systems Degree

Human-Computer Interaction Specialist

Human-computer interaction specialists work closely with and often in the AI industry to create new ways for humans and robotics/computers to effectively interface and interact with one another.

Data Warehousing and Mining

Data mining, warehousing, and modeling work often go hand-in-hand and focus exclusively on the deriving of data from various hidden sources and then manipulating and storing it as needed.

Help Desk

Those who do help desk work are essentially technical support specialists who guide those in need of help through to the solutions they seek.

Internet Services

There are many roles to be had in internet services work, and systems managers, engineers, tech support workers, and many others are all needed here.

Chief Information Officer

A chief information officer represents the top of the portion of an organization’s hierarchy that is directly responsible for its IT, information systems, and computer systems.

IS or IT Management

The demand for managers in information technology and information systems is great. As a result, these workers who handle a company’s IT or IS and then report to the chief information officer mentioned above hold a key place in the wider computer-related workforce today.

Database Management or Administrating

This role in the management of databases is also one that can be gained with a computer science degree, as discussed above. In this role, the worker manages entire databases of critical information for their employer.

Management Consultant

Consultation work sees an expert in some field providing their expert advice to paying clientele in need of it. In management consultation work relative to computer info systems, the professional is paid for dispensing CIS management advice specifically to paying clients.

Management, Systems, or Operating Research Analyst

CIS analysts research and analyze methods to make computerized systems work in new and better ways. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) cites operating research analysts as seeing a massive increase in job demand over the coming years.

Business Application Developer

The business application developer is the professional who works to create new applications for business uses in particular.

ERP Administrator

ERP, or enterprise resource planning administration, is work that focuses on using specialized software in order to manage an organization’s various actionable tools and resources.

Business Decision Support Specialist

A business decision support analyst specializes in evaluating and sometimes making decisions with regard to business software systems and other, related business functions.

Internet or Intranet Manager

Internet managers are professionals who oversee the effective continuity of certain internet services. Similarly, intranet management involves overseeing the continuity of an intranet or closed or localized computer network.

All degrees come with pros and cons. Students who enjoy programming and learning almost all aspects of technology may enjoy a computer science degree but can find the amount of math and coding required overwhelming. Students who enjoy marketing and learning about business will most likely enjoy a computer information systems degree. It covers a broad range of topics which some people enjoy. The nice thing about both degrees is that they can be combined with a wide variety of degrees and each of them guarantees a large number of jobs available after graduation. It’s important to consider personal strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes, and what kind of job is desired after graduation before choosing your degree, but either way, a good future is promising when it starts with a degree in computer information systems or computer science.

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