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Degree Overview: Associate of Information Systems Specialist

Majors Overview June 3, 2013

Associate degree program in information systems (IS) teaches students how to enter fields related to information systems or systems analysis. Information systems specialists may be required to hold an undergraduate or graduate degree to enter the field, but individuals with an associate degree will qualify for related entry-level work or transfer credits earned to a four-year bachelor degree program.

Associate Degree Program in Information Systems

Students enrolled in associate degree programs in computer information systems (CIS) or information systems are often taught how to incorporate technology into the world of business. Coursework in these degree programs are devised to help students acquire the skills needed, so they can analyze business needs and provide suggestions on information systems that businesses may use to achieve their goals, as well as analyze business needs. Decision making ability, problem solving skills and basic computer literacy are required by students who want to succeed in these programs. Admission criteria typically require applicants to hold a general educational development (GED) certificate or a high school diploma. The two-year program is offered online by some schools.

Program Coursework

Associate degree programs in information systems cover business operations and technical topics. Most degree programs offer electives that allow students to specialize in database design, networking, programming languages, or specific software programs. These degree programs usually cover the following course topics:

•Systems applications
•Organizational behavior
•Financial accounting
•Business communications
•Database management
•Web programming
•Connectivity
•Systems statistics
•Business law
•Systems analysis

Salary and Employment Outlook Information

Employers expect information systems specialists, often referred to as computer systems analysts, to have at least a bachelor’s degree in relevant fields (source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS – www.bls.gov)). However, individuals who have completed information systems associate degree programs can seek entry-level occupation in computer programming or other related fields. Job growth for computer programmers has been projected to decline by three percent during the period from 2008 to 2018; during the same period, computer systems analysts are likely to enjoy a twenty percent job growth. In December 2011, most information technology specialists earned an average annual salary ranging from $31,331 to $88,916, according to PayScale.com.

Information on Continuing Education

Students who have earned their associate degree can transfer directly to a bachelor degree program in computer information systems that will prepare them for positions such as information and computer systems managers or computer system analysts. Beyond this level, students who hold a bachelor degree may pursue a master degree program in information systems that may be offered as a Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a concentration in information systems or a Master of Science (M.S.) in Information Systems.

Information systems specialists may need to participate in technology training classes and seminars throughout their careers because technology changes frequently. Most professionals in this industry elect to become certified in software programs, hardware equipment, and computer languages as a way to stay competitive in the workforce.

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