Learn About Computer Information Systems

What is a Computer Information Systems Degree?

Computer information systems degree programs cover computing platforms, software, and applications. They delve into how computing systems help organizations run. And, they could prepare students for potential career paths in the growing field of IT.

Simply put, CIS coursework explores how to create and use computer information systems. You may pursue skill areas like programming and data management. And, you may learn how to keep computer information systems safe and secure.

Bachelor of Science in Cloud Computing and Solutions

BS in Management Information Systems and Business Analytics

Master of Science in Technology and Innovation Management – Information Systems

This program offers a broad overview of IT, with a focus on cloud computing. You’ll study cloud computing trends, practices, and solutions. And, you’ll apply what you learn to technology challenges in business and beyond.

This program covers information systems as they apply to business management. Plus, you’ll study how to use analytics to optimize business goals in different industries.

This program covers technology information management. You’ll study how to use technology to manage and maintain information. And, you’ll learn the theory and practice of IT leadership.

Take courses like:

  • Virtualization and Cloud Security
  • Network Administration
  • Software Development Concepts

Take courses like:

  • Basic Programming
  • Information Systems Analysis and Design
  • Data Mining

Take courses like:

  • Databases & Business Intelligence
  • Principles of Cybersecurity
  • Data Warehousing & Decision Support

No specific program accreditations

Program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools & Programs (ACBSP).

No specific program accreditations

Online Computer Information Systems Degree Programs

Most online computer information systems cover the design, use, and security of computing systems. You could practice new programming languages or discover how to keep hackers at bay. And, you could learn how to choose the perfect technology solution for any challenge.

CIS also plays an important role in business. So, many programs cover subjects like business communications, project management, and leadership. The focus is on using technology to solve practical problems within organizations.

That said, programs vary depending on the degree level. Let’s take a look at some possible paths.

Online Associate’s in Computer Information Systems Programs

At the Associate’s level, you’ll pursue an introduction to computer information systems. You may learn how networks function and how to keep computing systems secure.

CIS Associate’s programs may also teach coding. Students learn programming languages like SQL, Java, Visual Basic, and C++. And, they may learn how to build websites and databases.

You could find programs like:

  • Associate of Science (AS) in Computer Information Systems
  • Associate in Applied Science (AAS) in Computer Information Systems
  • Associate in Arts (AA) in Information Systems

Courses you could take include:

  • Survey of Software Systems
  • Electronic Commerce
  • Programming in Java
  • Networking Fundamentals
  • Introduction to Computer Security

You may also take business courses, like Accounting and Microeconomics. And, most Associate’s programs include general education courses like College Algebra and English Composition.

Online Bachelor’s in Computer Information Systems Programs

At the Bachelor’s level, expect to delve deeper into the field. You’ll pursue a broad overview of network design, systems analysis, programming, and more. Plus, you could take a look at emerging trends and practices. (Think Big Data and the internet of things.)

CIS plays a big role in business operations. So, you could take courses in management, finance, and other business topics. And, don’t forget general education courses. Most Bachelor’s programs include subjects in math, humanities, the sciences, and more.

Finally, CIS Bachelor’s programs may also let you choose a concentration. Examples include Information Systems Security, Cybersecurity, and Web Development.

You could find programs like:

  • BS in Computer Information Systems
  • Bachelor of Science in Computer Software Technology
  • B.S. Information Systems and Cyber Security
  • Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Computer Systems

Courses you could take include:

  • Operating Systems Theory & Design
  • Software Testing
  • System Administration & Security
  • Object-oriented Programming
  • Project Management

Online Master’s in Computer Information Systems

Master’s programs could help you take your knowledge to a new level and prepare for career enhancement. For instance, you could pursue managerial or leadership skill areas. And, you could learn how to plan business technology in a strategic way.

For roles like Computer and Information Systems Manager, employers may prefer candidates with a Master’s degree. Many Master’s programs in CIS or related areas include business courses along with computer courses.

CIS Master’s programs may also offer concentrations that align with your goals. Examples include Security, Data Analytics, and IT Project Management.

Look for programs like:

  • Master of Science (MS) in Computer Information Systems
  • Master’s in Management Information Systems (MIS)
  • MBA in Information Systems

Pursue courses like:

  • IT Strategy and Management
  • Enterprise Architecture
  • Information Security in Public and Private Sectors
  • Ethical Hacking and Response
  • Data Mining for Business Intelligence

How Long Does It Take to Complete Computer Information Systems Degree Program?

Earning an Associate’s in Computer Information Systems could take about two years for full-time students. The degree usually requires 60 to 67 credits to earn.

Earning a Bachelor’s in Computer Information Systems and related degrees may take four to five years. The degree usually requires at least 120 credits to earn.

Master’s programs in Computer Information Systems could require 30 to 40 credits. They may take about two years to earn.

Computer Information Systems Degree Programs That Could be Completed in 24 Months

School

# of Credits Required

Start Dates

Minimum Months to Complete

Northcentral University

30

52 (weekly)

23

Grand Canyon University

34

Multiple

18

Rasmussen College

90

Multiple

18

How Much Does an Online Computer Information Systems Degree Cost to Earn

The closest available tuition data is for Computer & Computer Systems Technology. Students in this field paid median in-state public tuition of $4,650 per year. Out-of-state private tuition was $23,472 per year.

Some programs charge by the credit. Compare the cost per credit at schools offering CIS degree programs, like these:

School

# of Credits Required

Cost Per Credit

Total Tuition Cost

Purdue University Global

90

$371

$33,390

Ashford University

120

$485

$58,200

Colorado Technical University

186

$325

$60,450

Top Schools for Computer Information Systems Degree Programs

Last check, there were 133 schools with Computer & Computer Systems Technology programs. From those schools, there were 2,389 degrees awarded to students. The majority (75.4%) were Associate’s degrees.

School

2016 degrees awarded

2018/19 Tuition* (Out of State Unless **)

ECPI University

268

$16,039**

Harper College

110

$11,664

Harrisburg University of Science and Technology

102

$23,900**

Pittsburgh Technical College

94

$16,801**

South Texas College

86

$7,680

Technical Career Institutes

85

N/A

Excelsior College

81

N/A

Cuyahoga Community College District

80

$8,136

Advanced Computing Institute

74

N/A

Arkansas State University-Beebe

73

$4,608

*Estimated for full-time, beginning undergraduate students

Choosing an Accredited Computer Information Systems Degree Online Program

Accreditation helps you make sure your program teaches to industry standards. Depending on your career path, graduating from an accredited program may be required or recommended.

ABET accredits STEM programs, including computing programs at the Bachelor’s level. They look for factors like:

  • International recognition of quality
  • Self-assessment and continuous improvement
  • Learning outcomes
  • Graduates who meet educational requirements for their professions

ABET doesn’t accredit graduate CIS programs. But, you could look for industry-specific accreditations. For instance, CAHIIM may accredit CIS programs related to healthcare.

Finally, it’s important to make sure your college or university holds accreditation. Even if your program is not accredited, school accreditation helps ensure the quality of your education. And, accreditation is required to apply for federal financial aid. (Financial aid may be available for those who qualify.)

Getting a Job with a Computer Information Systems Degree

As of 2016, there were 382,245 Computer & Computer Systems Technology graduates in the workforce. And, employment in this field is growing by 2.11%. Computer and information technology jobs, overall, are projected to grow 13% by 2026.

So, what does the typical CIS degree-holder have in common with you? The majority (85%) are male. And, the average age of degree-holders in the workforce is 44.1 years old.

Top Salaries by State for Computer Information Systems Degree Holders

This salary information is for Network and Computer Systems Administrators. Salary varies for workers in other occupations.

State

Employment

Annual Mean Wage

Maryland

15,400

$107,240

New Jersey

11,850

$100,220

District of Columbia

2,450

$98,020

California

40,700

$96,420

Virginia

19,510

$94,380

Is an Online Computer Information Systems Degree PROGRAM FOR YOU?

By studying to become a network and computer system administrator using an online program, you may be able to pursue an education without drastically changing your personal schedule. Online programs vary, but many may give you the tools to study on your own time while juggling your other responsibilities. What's more, classes may teach you about the basic hardware and software skills necessary for a career in network and computer system administration.

Careers with a Computer Information Systems Degree

There are many career paths you may choose to pursue after attending online courses in a network and computer system administrator program. Computer networks are an asset nearly every business needs, so study careers for their specific responsibilities and then look for a certain business you may be interested in working for.

Network and Computer Systems Administrators (i)

While network and computer system administrators play a large role in installing and supporting a company's network, their responsibilities extend to other more analytical roles as well. They also collect data to measure network performance and ensure the system is meeting business needs and analyze what an organization needs in its system before installing upgrades.

  • Median Salary: $81,100 per year 
  • Job growth through 2026: 6%  (As fast as average)
  • Typical Entry-level education: Bachelor's Degree

Computer and Information Systems Managers (ii)

Often referred to as IT managers, these professionals spearhead virtually all the information technology goals of an organization. They identify, plan and coordinate ways in which computer-related activities can make the company better and are the main individuals responsible for making sure these efforts are achieved. They play an administrative role that is supported by their advanced tech knowledge.

  • Median Salary: $139,220 per year 
  • Job growth through 2026: 12%  (Faster than average)
  • Typical Entry-level education: Bachelor's Degree

Computer Network Architects (iii)

These professionals help build and design data communication networks for various organizations. The networks they create range in size from massive data networks that work on a global scale to small operations that link different areas of an office building. They choose what hardware is specifically needed for these efforts and consider other criteria such as data security in the process.

  • Median Salary: $104,650 per year 
  • Job growth through 2026: 6%  (As fast as average)
  • Typical Entry-level education: Bachelor's Degree

(i) bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/network-and-computer-systems-administrators.htm | (ii) bls.gov/ooh/management/computer-and-information-systems-managers.htm | (iii) bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/computer-network-architects.htm