Computer Information Systems Specialists play a major role in the implementation and administration of technology in any organization. The work includes planning and coordination of various activities including the installation and upgrading of software and hardware, computer programming and systems design. They also analyze the information and the computer needs of an organization and determine possible solutions and requirements.
Find that perfect school to get your computer information systems degree and get started today! Computer Information Systems Specialists typically hold a associates degree which is a minimum requirement, while most of them have a specialization certificate in a given application or technology.
Most of these specialists work from their offices, either in a work environment or at home. It is common for them to work long hours including weekends and often in the evenings in order to solve unexpected problems. A good percentage of them are employed in computer related services industry, which mainly provide IT services to other organizations on a contract basis. Others are employed in: Government agencies, Financial firms, Insurance firms, Academia field and the Healthcare industry.
To become a Computer Information Systems Specialist, you have to start working towards it while attending high school. Consider taking science classes including Physics and Calculus; and also upper level mathematics classes. If your school is among those which offer computer science courses, it is advisable to enroll in them in order to gain an understanding of the basics of computing and programming. It is also recommended to sit for SAT or ACT tests since most colleges and universities require you to submit the scores when you are applying for a Computer Information Systems course.
Most Information Systems Specialists have a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science while others have a Bsc in Computer Information Systems. An associate's degree takes about 2 years to complete with 3 years course work, and the other year for industrial training. The degree is meant to prepare students for jobs such as Software Programmer, Database, Systems and Networks Administration; CIS managers etc.
In addition to a associate's degree, you can also embark on a CIS program at the Bachelor's level. This will take about four years and will prepare you for a career as a Computer Support Specialist. The Bachelor's degree level is usually designed for those with prior knowledge on information systems. It is in this level where classroom theories are put into action and students are expected to demonstrate their understanding and knowledge through industrial training, projects and lab work.
To be enrolled for a CIS associate's, the applicant should have a high school diploma or a GED certificate. The coursework revolves around computers and include courses on:
- Programming languages and formulas e.g. C++ , Visual Basic, Java
- Web Designing
- Software Development
- Fundamentals in Information Systems
- Application of CIS studies
The best way to update your skills and acquire industry experience is by becoming a certified CIS Specialist. There are numerous certificates available for CIS professionals. It is important to note that certification is not mandatory, but there are some employers, who prefer or require their employees to have an industry certification as a way of measuring their competence.
Generally, certification requires passing at least two exams, which cover various information systems topics. Once you obtain a certification, you can proceed to look for a job in order to gain practical experience in the field. From there you can return to school to earn a Master's Degree, covering courses such as Database Development, Simulated Systems, Methods of Testing Applications and Semantics of Programming Languages. If you still feel you want more education, you also earn a PhD, which should take 4 to 5 years. If you are serious about your career then start by researching the computer information systems schools listed below.
Choosing a career patch once you graduate can be stressful and you might get employment in an area of CIS you weren’t expecting. Many entry level jobs will be in a supporting role and allow you time to gain the much needed experience required to move up the corporate ladder. Below are just some of the areas you can find employment in.
Website Programmer – As a website programmer you’ll use the HTML stills you learned during your training to help other web developers create and launch websites. Since websites are becoming more and more integrated with CMS systems and databases you’ll use your programming skills to help with areas that most web designers aren’t experienced in.
Support Specialist – As a support specialist you could work for a company supporting their own products and services or a 3rd party company that focuses just on support. Support specialists could also be part of a much larger IT department the supports the rest of the staff with IT or network related issues.
SQL Database Administrator – Build databases from scratch and be an integral part of creating, integrating and maintaining databases for the company you work for.
SEO Marketer - One career you might not have thought of would be in search engine optimization. As a programmer you’ll understand code better than the standard marketer so this could be the right position for you.
Introduction to Programming – Learn the basics in programming including C++, HTML and more. Get to understand the roles programming has in companies.
Computer Applications– One of the most entry level things you’ll ever use yet hard to master are different types of computer applications. Desktop applications such as Microsoft Office is used by almost every company. You’ll not only be taught the basics but more advanced ways to use these software products.
Coding for Websites – Both HTML and CSS are needed to build any website. Be taught the right way to code a website as well as how to integrate in things such as shopping carts, databases and even social media.
Database – Create detailed databases and learn how to deploy them at your company. Learn how databases work and how they interact with other systems.
Computer Programmer – Entry level is $45,250, 5+ years of experience $88,675
Website Developer – Entry level salary is $31,985, 5+ years of experience is $64,475
SEO Specialist – Entry level salary $48,466, 5+ years of experience is $95,754