There is no arguing with the fact that the world has gone digital. Designers are using computer programs to design everything from cars, planes, industrial plants, to household machines. These products are in turn made operable by computer chips and software. Computing is, thus, critical to modern life. As a result, this sector of industry is one of the fastest growing and most lucrative today.
It comes as no surprise that more students today are choosing to follow careers in this field. They are however facing a conundrum when choosing their majors because of the sheer number of options available to them. Should they pursue a career in computer science or get a master of science in computer information systems? In this article, we’re going to detail the differences between the various computer science programs so you can make a wise decision.
Differences Between CS and CIS
These two distinct education courses lead to different career paths in computing. Students wondering which of the two courses to take must first answer the following questions. Why does technology work? How does it work? And what technology is the best for a specific task? Computer science answers the first question, information technology the second, and information systems the third. Here is an outline on each.
Computer Science (How Technology Works)
Computer science focuses on making technology work. CS students learn the theoretical and technical side of computing. These include programming, algorithms, coding, software architecture, and database design among others. All of these theories involve a fair amount of mathematics. So to be a proficient computer scientist, a student must have a good grasp of math as well.
Using these skills, computer scientists do three things. First, they design and program computer software. Second, they come up with innovative ways of using computers and computer programs. The internet and robotics are good examples of this. Third, they solve complex computer-related problems.
A degree in CS is perfect for anyone interested in working as a programmer, systems analyst, software developer, or software engineer. Database administration and design, and working with artificial intelligence are also possible with CS qualifications.
Information Technology (How Technology Works)
Unlike CS, which is more theoretical in nature, information technology (IT) deals with the practical applications of computer technology and application. IT professionals, thus, help an organization to support its operations as well as meet its goals using computer technology. To do this, they first analyze an organization’s computer system before planning, recommending and implementing changes.
Since IT requires less math skills than CS, it is good for people without a strong grasp of mathematics, but who would love to work in the tech industry. Even so, they will still have to learn basic programming skills during the course.
Computer Information Systems (What Technology to Use)
Like IT, Information Systems also deals with the practical applications of computing, but with a bias on its relevance to business organizations. This course is therefore broader in perspective than IT because it includes business courses. It is for this reason that business schools are now offering degrees in CIS.
A person with a traditional or online master in CIS usually works as a project manager, database or network administrator, information officer, or computer security officer at a business organization.
A student interested in pursuing a degree in computing needs to know the difference between CS, IT, and CIS. Although they all deal with computing, they each focus on a different aspect of it. They also lead to different careers in the tech industry.