Information Systems Department
Technology and Business are two of the most powerful influences in the world today. Individuals who can turn data into business intelligence are in high demand. The Information Systems (IS) major (previously known as Management Information Systems or IT) leverages information technology using the informational component of business products, services or processes to create value. IS professionals bridge the gap between business and technology.
The Information Systems major consists of the liberal arts requirements, the business core, the IS core and a selected minor in one of 5 areas:
- Data Analytics
- Network Security
- Project Management
- Systems Analysis and Design
- Application Development
For more information and a description of each course, please go to the current catalog .
To be an IS professional you must have a healthy curiosity — a desire to learn about new technologies that can be applied to business problems, and a desire to work with people. IS majors:
- Are good problem solvers
- Can think strategically about technology and the future
- Like responsibility for developing and then implementing their ideas
- Can bridge both technology and business
- Can see both details and the big picture
- Are excellent communicators
- Can manage time and resources well
You will learn about: Systems Analysis and Design, IS Project Management, Data Analytics, Networking and Security, Database Management, C++ and Python as well as a sound knowledge of core business disciplines. This broad knowledge base provides maximum contribution to managing the information needs of an organization.
Knowledge and skills acquired through the Bachelor of Business Administration in Information Systems are transferable across many sectors such as government, education, the arts, commerce, and industry as well as across the globe.
Opportunities may include but are not limited to:
Academia, business systems analyst/auditor/designer, data translator, security analyst, computer systems analyst/consultant, database administrator/designer, data processing system analyst, electronic commerce consultant, information systems consultant/manager, IT consultant/trainer, client delivery specialist, project manager, risk management services, user support, web analyst/designer/developer, knowledge engineer and change management consultant.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between Computer Science and IS?
This is a somewhat difficult question to answer because there is overlap between these fields of study, and their boundaries change over time with changes in technologies. In addition each university emphasizes different aspects within each major. For example, Harding's IS adds computer network classes because of the increasingly important role they play in business today. The IS major also has some application development though not as much as Computer Science. Both are considered STEM programs.
The IS focus is not programming, although we have some graduates who do that, nor is it networking, although some graduates do that. IS professionals roles usually involve solving business problems or exploiting business opportunities using information technology (IT). For businesses today (ebay & Wal-Mart, for example), this is extremely important. This means that our graduates need to know something about both business and IT. The technology knowledge component in IS is a lot like what a carpenter would need to know about a hammer. The carpenter doesn't build hammers, but it's important to understand how they work when driving nails.
More efficient or effective business
Reliable computer program/technology
Logic/procedure, algorithms, math
Determine business requirements for information systems, recommend the best solution.
Deliver information systems to meet defined requirements
Generic Job Title
Business Systems Analyst/Designer
Senior organizational manager
What about Outsourcing? Aren't computer jobs going offshore?
Let's dispense with this myth once and for all. It's true that the trend toward offshore outsourcing has caused a reduction in the number of computer programmers needed. Programming is a relatively straightforward conversion of system requirements into specific programs, and anybody who's reasonably smart and trained can do it. With the global programming market being influenced by the fact that requirements can be digitized (converted to 1's and zeros) and shipped over the Internet to other countries (with lower wages), the ability for programmers in high-wage countries to keep demanding this level of pay will be reduced. That said, who do you think creates the specifications and requirements that are being shipped offshore to be converted to programs? IS professionals are in higher demand as organizations seek to design solutions of best fit for their organization; indeed, some Indian companies realize the importance of having analysts here in the US to develop the solution specifications and are now hiring IS professionals in the US. Further, there are coordination and other hidden costs to offshoring arrangements; some companies don't want the hassle. In addition the falling value of the US dollar has made the costs of offshore out sourcing higher. Bottom line: If you want a job that works with business and technology and don't want to worry so much about offshoring, IS is a great choice.
There is outsourcing within the US but that just means that you may work for the outsourcing company rather than the merchant such as WalMart, Walgreens, Lockheed Martin etc. The number of IT jobs within the US stay the same in this scenario.
What about a double major?
The integrative nature of IS means that it goes really well with a lot of majors. These include Accounting, Finance, management, Marketing, Psychology, (really!) and others. We actively work to make our major as amenable to good combinations as possible.
As to minors, we realize that IS isn't for everybody. If you are a really good Marketing or Accounting person (as examples), you should focus on being a really good Marketing or Accounting person. Life's too short to be in something you don't enjoy. This being said, an IS minor is a great way to make yourself more competitive in the things at which you want to be best. In Marketing, a fast growing area involves Marketing Intelligence, which is heavily Database driven. In Accounting, since most of the neat systems that accountants design are implemented by IS professionals, to be able to audit the transactions (important with Sarbanes-Oxley laws) you need to get the technology. As a manager you need to be able to gather and interpret business operations and business intelligence data provided by information systems.
Why IS? 4 Important Reasons
1. Careers and Internships
IS graduates enjoy a diverse and interesting range of careers afforded by the broad base and diverse IS curriculum.
A number of companies recruit IS students for internships on a regular basis. Our greatest supporters include Acxiom, and PriceWaterhouse Coopers. IS students have also found internships at Lockheed Martin, at major banks, Accenture, KPMG, small business and within the health care industry. See Careers for more details.
Harding IS graduates (actively seeking employment) have a 100% employment rate within 3 months of graduation with most students having received job offers before graduation. According to the US. Bureau of Labor Statistics, career opportunities for IS majors are expanding rapidly, and “employment of computer and information systems managers is expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations through the year 2019.”
3. Top Salaries
It is difficult to estimate an average salary as it dependent upon the job type, the geographical location, and the quality of the graduate. Most universities claim that their IS graduates receive higher salaries than any other business majors. Yearly salaries range from $40,000 - $70,000 not including bonuses.
4. Travel Opportunities
IT is a global industry and as such differs very little from country to country (unlike accounting, law, teaching, medical qualifications, etc). Many countries suffer the same shortage of IT workers that the US does and are happy to welcome qualified foreign workers. IT graduates from accredited US universities are recognized worldwide.
What internships are available?
While internships may be experienced in a wide variety of areas and organizations Harding has a special relationship with two companies, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and Cook Systems International.
PricewaterhouseCoopers has actively recruited MIS students in the past for summer internships which have led to full time employment in the IT Auditing field. Students have received excellent compensation as well as excellent training and support. As of Fall 09 PwC will be recruiting Harding MIS students for a new fall internship program.
A career in IT Auditing is a hands-on people driven experience that includes frequent client-facing interactions, travel to client locations, advanced training in technical platforms, and rewarding compensation and benefits. Numerous Harding Alumni enjoy careers in this field in various cities across the US.
What kind of careers could I have?
Students often see ask what does an IT auditor do, or what does a systems administrator do. Below are some broad job category descriptions. Graduates typically enter as assistants in these fields and progress to the full level of responsibility described within a few months or years depending on the field.
IT Auditing: A career in IT Auditing blends technology skills with business analysis to identify and address risks in the largest companies in the world. IT Auditors work almost entirely in the offices of their clients, meeting with IT management and learning about key business processes. By leveraging client relationships, IT Auditors plan and execute validation procedures around companies' IT Controls in a number of domains including IT security, application change management, and backup / recovery procedures. The nature of IT Audit work is mixed between working on behalf of investors as external auditors, and working on behalf of the client in a consulting or internal audit type role. Whatever the job may be, every day brings a new challenge and a chance to learn new technical and soft skills.
Computer/Business/Systems Analyst/Consultant: A systems/business analyst designs new IT solutions to improve business efficiency and productivity. Working closely with the client, they examine existing business models and the flows of data in the business. They discuss their findings with the client, and then design an appropriate improved IT solution. They draw up and cost specifications and produce outline designs of new IT systems, specifying the data, files and logical operations the system will perform, and the way data will be viewed by the user. They present their design to the client and, once approved, they work closely with the client team to implement the solution. Source and more detail.
Network/Systems/LAN Administrator/Manager, Information Technology Specialist: Install, configure, and support an organization's local area network (LAN), wide area network (WAN), and Internet system or a segment of a network system. Maintain network hardware and software. Monitor network to ensure network availability to all system users and perform necessary maintenance to support network availability. May supervise other network support and client server specialists and plan, coordinate, and implement network security measures. Source and more detail, Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Database Administrator/Analyst/Coordinator: Computer databases, test and implement the database applying knowledge of database management systems. May plan, coordinate, and implement security measures to safeguard computer databases. Source and more detail.
Desktop/Help Desk Support , IT specialist: Provide technical assistance to computer system users. Answer questions or resolve computer problems for clients in person, via telephone or from remote location. May provide assistance concerning the use of computer hardware and software, including printing, installation, word processing, electronic mail, and operating systems. Source and more detail.
Association for Information Systems (AIS)
The Association for Information Systems (AIS) is a student led group that provides a social and learning atmosphere for the sharing of knowledge about the IT field. It fosters networking with potential employers, development of knowledge of internships, industry trends, and employment opportunities in the IT field.
Contact Jake Stewart - firstname.lastname@example.org - Box 10774