The field of information systems combines technology with a package of services to keep businesses or public organizations running. Information technology professionals may work in a broad range of disciplines to plan, develop, trouble-shoot and maintain systems for accounting, business communications, data storage, office automation, marketing or sales.
About associate degrees in information systems
Candidates for this field need complex problem solving abilities and strong logical reasoning, according to the Department of Labor. Associate degrees in information systems typically provide an overview of computer sciences, computer hardware and software, and programming languages. Advanced studies may cover management and business skills as well as how to design, implement and document the system development cycle.
Students seeking associate degrees in information systems can embrace a specialty or become a generalist with broad skills. If you're still in high school, the College Board recommends that you take calculus and volunteer in the school computer lab.
You may enter the field as a support technician with a two-year degree. More experienced roles, such as systems analysts or database administrators, typically require additional education.
Information systems career outlook and salaries
For certain high-tech careers, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts higher than average growth rates during the 2010-2020 decade, for example:
- Computer support specialist: 18.1 percent
- Computer systems analyst: 22.1 percent
- Database administrator: 30.6 percent
The BLS recorded these median annual wages in 2010 for the following tech professions:
- Computer programmers: $71,380
- Computer support specialists: $46,260
- Computer systems analysts: $77,740
- Database administrators: $73,490
- Information systems managers: $115,780
Computer support is open to those with associate degrees, whereas computer systems analysts and database administrators typically have a bachelor's degree, and information systems managers need extensive experience as well.
Where is the information systems field going?
Top employment sectors include computer systems design and related services, which offer computing services on a contract basis. Other employers are enterprise firms, software publishers, data hosting services, insurance carriers, colleges and universities, and consulting firms.
Information systems are increasingly going mobile, with applications that connect users with data warehouses or financial systems at the corporate level or within the cloud. Many professionals head back to school to earn online degrees to explore emerging technologies. Web-based programs with flexible schedules can help you maintain family and job schedules while building technical experience or transitioning careers.