Is an Information Systems Degree Worth It? [2021 Guide]

Is an information systems degree worth it? Information systems (IS) is a highly lucrative field of study with many career opportunities, and a degree can give you both the education and the experience that you need to enter it.

Information Systems Degree

You may consider an information systems degree if you’re interested in data and technology and the ways that they can be used to meet modern business needs.

Is an Information Systems Degree Worth It?

Software Developers working

Yes, an information systems degree is worth it for many students. With an average salary of $88,240 per year and 11% job growth for computer and information technology occupations (Bureau of Labor Statistics), a degree in information systems can help you launch a career in this high-paying field.

Common information systems careers include programmers, database administrators, network architects, information security analysts, and computer and information systems managers.

You are also able to customize your degree to your interests. Since information systems crosses over with many data, business, technology, and computer science programs, you can choose from a variety of majors, minors, and concentrations.

Information systems is a wide-ranging field, so what you’ll actually study in your program depends on your chosen college. You could learn everything from specialized database design to general business-related project management.

Other common subjects including algorithms, cybersecurity, telecommunications, coding, networking, and software development. You might also be expected to complete IT internships and other special projects.

How to Decide Whether an Information Systems Degree Is Right for You

Before you enroll in a degree program for information systems, you may want to consider whether this major can meet your career goals, salary requirements, competency areas, and more. Here are just a few signs that you may be on the right track with an IS degree.

1. You’re good with computers.

Computer Programmers working together

Modern information systems are largely digital. You should expect to work with a lot of data, especially if you plan on seeking employment in fields related to business, finance, retail, technology, or supply chains. These industries are built on computers.

What level of computer proficiency do you need for an IS career? It depends on what you want to do. If you’re considering a tech-based position, like database engineer or network administrator, you’ll need a strong background in computer science.

On the other hand, if you want to be a business or project manager without a lot of day-to-day involvement in code, you might not need the same level of technical know-how as your peers.

2. You want a versatile degree.

Computer Network Architects working together

Some degrees are technical or vocational. They teach you specific skills for specific careers. Information systems degrees are different. Students are expected to learn the basics of many different subjects. While specializations are available, it’s generally taught and regarded as a broad-ranging field of study.

Depending on your specific degree program, these subjects can include math, business, computer science, data analytics, information technology, and more.

The good news is that your multifaceted education can help open many doors for you after graduation. Since you’ll have a well-rounded background in computers, you may be able to take your degree and apply it to a variety of careers. Nearly every industry needs information specialists.

3. You want to leave the door open for further education.

Database Administrator working in an office

A bachelors in information systems can give you a solid foundation in the subject, and a bachelors is often enough to meet minimum job requirements as well.

Your education doesn’t have to stop there, though. You can also obtain a Master of Information Systems and even a PhD in Information Systems or Information Management. For highly technical or specialized jobs, an advanced degree might be a must. In other cases, it might just be a way to distinguish yourself in a competitive job market.

Top 3 Things You Can Do with an Information Systems Degree

Computer and Information Systems Manager working on his laptop

You can go down many different paths with an IS degree. While your job prospects will depend on your industry, here are just a few possibilities of what you can do with an information systems degree.

1. Computer and Information Systems Manager

A computer and information systems manager is a high-level job with a lot of responsibility. You might be in charge of all of a business’s computer-related activities, including security, software development, database management, and more.

The rewards, though, can be substantial. The average salary for a computer and information systems manager is $146,360 per year, and the top earners in the field can take home more than $208,000 per year.

2. Data Analyst

Data Analysts in a meeting

Data analysts can go by many names, including computer systems analysts, information technology specialists, and even market researchers and operations analysts.

Job duties can vary depending on your exact title, but you’ll generally be collecting, tracking, organizing, storing, moving, and mining data for businesses. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, computer systems analysts make an average of $90,920 per year.

3. Computer Programmer

Computer Programmers working in an office

If you’re looking for a tech-based job that still allows for creativity, you might enjoy a career as a computer programmer.

You may plan and build new programs for information systems, and you may modify, upgrade, and troubleshoot existing ones. If you become one of the top earners in the industry, you can take home more than $140,200 per year. Similar careers include software developer, web developer, and web coder.

Information Systems Degree Alternatives

Information Security Analysts working together

A computer information systems degree, or CIS degree, is one of the most common for students who are interested in IS.

Since there’s so much crossover with related academic disciplines, there are many other degree options available as well.

  1. Bachelor’s in Data Analytics. Since information systems are based on data, it’s also a viable option to study data analytics. Many of the credit requirements will be the same between both programs.
  2. Bachelor’s in Computer Science. A computer science degree will teach you relevant skills like coding, networking, and programming. Depending on your school, you might even be able to specialize in information systems.
  3. Bachelor’s in Business Administration. If you’re considering a business or management career, it might be worth your time to earn a bachelors or even a masters in business administration. You can make information technology or information systems a sub-specialty.

Additional options for an IS-related degree include information management, information technology, and business intelligence. If you’re interested in high-level business careers, you might also pursue a management information systems degree. An MIS degree can teach you business acumen to go along with your technological skills.

Information Systems Careers & Salaries

Information Systems Careers & Salaries

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, computer and information technology occupations are on the rise. They’re expected to grow by 11% through 2029, which translates to more than 531,000 new jobs being added to the market.

This field also boasts an average salary of $88,240 per year, but as you can see from this list, wages can go even higher.

Careers Salaries
Computer and Information Systems Managers $146,360
Computer Network Architects $112,690
Software Developers $107,510
Information Security Analysts $99,730
Database Administrators $93,750
Computer Systems Analysts $90,920
Computer Programmers $86,550
Operations Research Analysts $84,810
Network and Computer Systems Administrators $83,510
Computer Support Specialists $54,760

There are additional, high-paying career opportunities outside of the computer science field as well, especially for management positions. For example, you may become a training and development manager for information systems software. This position has a median annual salary of $113,350 (Bureau of Labor Statistics).

Is an Information Systems Degree Hard?

Information Systems Degree student studying in a cafe

As a highly technical field of study, it’s true that information systems can be challenging. There’s a strong math component to most degree programs, and you’ll need to take courses for subjects like algorithms, operating systems, systems analysis, and network theory and design.

You might also be expected to complete IT-related internships, practicums, and capstone projects. The difficulty of an IS degree ultimately depends on your background with computers and your level of interest and dedication.

What Kind of Jobs Can I Get with an Information Systems Degree?

Computer and Information Systems Manager in his office

Careers in information systems usually revolve around computers. You may become a coder, programmer, software developer, database administrator, network architect, information security analyst, and more.

Other potential careers are in the business sector. You could seek a specialized position as an information systems manager, or you could go for a more general career as a team leader, product developer, or corporate executive.

How Much Do Information Systems Majors Make?

Though it isn’t a guarantee, an information systems degree can lead to a large salary. Many jobs reach or exceed six figures per year.

One of the highest-paying careers is a computer and information systems manager. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, their average salary is $146,360 per year, and the top 10% in the industry earn more than $208,000 per year.

Other high-paying jobs include computer network architect ($112,690), software developer ($107,510), and information security analyst ($99,730).

What Is the Difference Between a Bachelor of Science in Information Systems vs. Information Technology?

Computer and Information Systems Managers collaborating on a project

There are many similarities between a degree in information systems (IS) and a degree in information technology (IT).

They both cover the basics of computer science, and they both teach relevant, real-world skills that can be applied to a wide variety of business, finance, retail, and research settings.

Their main difference is in their focus areas. While an information system can be anything that stores data, including old-school archives, information technology is completely based on computers. Practically speaking, there isn’t a huge gap between IS and IT degrees. Some schools even use the terms interchangeably.

Getting Your Information Systems Degree Online

Getting Your Information Systems Degree Online

Are you good with computers? Are you driven by data? Are you interested in a fast-growing, high-paying industry with plenty of opportunities for advancement? If so, then an information systems degree might be the degree for you.

An IS degree can be a solid choice for a wide variety of careers. The field of information systems is quickly growing as more and more businesses turn to digital solutions for data-related problems.

A high-powered career may start with an admissions application. If you’re interested in a bachelors in information systems, you can begin researching programs from accredited universities to find the one that’s right for you.

Joy Cromwelle
WRITTEN BY
Joy Cromwelle
Joy is pursuing her Ph.D. in Public Policy & Foreign Policy and holds a Master of Business Administration in Strategic Management, as well as a Bachelor's in Business Administration. Joy's focus is helping non-traditional students find accelerated degree options and credit for prior learning opportunities.