Computer Information Systems vs. Computer Science

Obtaining a technological degree is a very good idea in a world that’s rapidly becoming more and more hi-tech. most universities give their students a number of possibilities to choose among. Computer science (CS) and computer information systems (CIS) are two of the most common technological degrees. Are they one and the same and if not, what are the main differences? Keep on reading to find out.

What’s Computer Science?

Computer science is a discipline that has both theoretical and practical components. Computer scientists are professionals that design new software, they come up with innovative ways to use computers and algorithms, they’re involved in robotics and they also develop new ways for the solution of the most common computing problems.

As you can see, computer science is a very practical discipline that leads to the development of new technologies and products.

Once professionals are aware of hardware, operating systems, databases, etc., they become capable of doing effective coding. Programming and the underlying algorithms are the most focal topics in a computer science major. As a part of the learning process, students will be asked to code, come up with web or software developments and look for innovative solutions.

What’s CIS?

Computer information systems refers to a major that puts emphasis on many disciplines – computer science, business management, computer system management and information systems. These students learn how different technological systems work and which one should be chosen for specific needs or computation tasks.

A degree in computer information systems doesn’t focus heavily on programming and math (like a computer science degree does). It’s a more business and entrepreneurship-oriented program. The degree is a good pick for the individuals that would like to be employed in the world of technology but that don’t want to be developers or coders.

In essence, CIS professionals have a very good idea which computer systems will address business needs in the most adequate way. An experienced professional in the field will be capable of helping a business optimise processes, reduce production costs and bring downtime to a minimum.

Jobs for Such Professionals

Now that the definition of the two disciplines has been examined, it’s important to look at them in a more practical way. Professional development is essential and each of the degrees comes with specific possibilities.

People that have a degree in computer science will potentially be hired as:

  • Coders and developers for software or web
  • Database designers
  • Database administrators
  • Software engineers and publishers
  • Artificial intelligence (AI) professionals
  • Scientific system designers and managers
  • Telecommunications planners

Individuals that have a degree in computer information systems will have access to slightly different career options:

  • Chief information officers
  • Human-computer interaction specialists
  • Business application developers
  • Systems management consultant
  • IT or IS manager
  • ERP administrators

Salary and Return on Investment

It’s also time to take a look at the numbers. Before choosing one academic program or another, you’ll need to have a very good idea about the future it’s going to grant you.

People that have a bachelor of science degree in computer science can expect to earn from 39,541 dollars per year (for junior web developers) to nearly 140,000 dollars per year for senior software engineers. Some of the best schools to obtain a degree from include:

  • Georgia Institute of Technology (starting salary of 54,541 dollars per year)
  • University of California, San Diego (starting salary of 49,665 dollars per year)
  • University of Texas – Austin (starting salary of 53,638 dollars per year)

People that have their undergraduate degree in computer information systems can expect to earn from 40,000 dollars per year for system administrators to over 155,000 dollars per year in the case of information technology directors. Thus, a CIS degree will produce slightly better financial parameters than a computer science degree.

The universities that give their CIS students the best career start include:

  • DeVry University (starting salary of 46,978 dollars per year)
  • Missouri State University (starting salary of 59,396 dollars per year)
  • Purdue University (starting salary of 51,844 dollars per year)

There are some similarities between CS and CIS degrees but these appeal to different individuals. If you like coding and you’re fascinated by math, computer science will be the perfect option for you. Individuals that are more business-oriented should look into CIS educational opportunities. Whichever option you choose, the career prospects are rather spectacular.

Kristy Feldman

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