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Computer Information Systems vs Computer Science

By Winston Wagner on Dec 3, 2020

As technology continues to advance, the need for professionals who are capable of utilizing and understanding computers continues to grow. This demand creates a strong job market, with excellent pay and exclusive opportunities. However, there are two fields of study when it comes to working with this technology: Computer Information Systems and Computer Science. Both are useful areas of study with in-demand skills, but what are the benefits of each, in comparison to each other? We explore that below.

What is Computer Information Systems?

Computer Information Systems are essentially in charge of coordinating the practical application of technology within any commercial setting, also known as Information Technology (IT). Whether or not a business has a dedicated IT professional, it will undoubtedly make use of a wide variety of Information Systems. The larger the company, however, the more necessary it becomes to have a dedicated IT professional.

Demand for someone with working knowledge of information systems increases as the size (and, extrapolating from there, profit) increases. This places graduates in this field in a unique position to leverage their knowledge to their advantage.

What is Computer Science?

Computer Science, the study of computation, has a rich history of mathematics and theoretical work. Nowadays, however, most of the actual careers that deal with CS involve the creation of tangible hardware and software, with a stronger focus on software. Computer scientists learn how to create and implement programs, and are in demand in industries where the creation, optimization, and implementation of programs is a necessity.

Unlike Computer Information System specialists, their knowledge tends to be more focused. This puts them in an unfavorable position of only being sought after by companies in the technology industry. With specialized work comes job security, however.

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How do they benefit you?

On average, IT specialists make a little more per year than Computer Scientists - about $78,000 annually for Computer Information Systems specialists, and roughly $101,000 annually for Computer Scientists and Software Engineers. However, the demand and pay for Computer Scientists vary across the United States, with more technologically inclined areas having higher demand, and more rural areas having far lower. This is made up for by the demand for Computer Scientists being very high where there is any demand at all. Turnover rates tend to be very low, and with job security a mounting concern, this can be seen as an obvious boon.

By contrast, someone with an IT background will have an easier time finding a job in general, as even businesses that do not have a focus on developing technology still utilize it. What’s more, a Computer Information Systems degree is broader in scope, further increasing opportunity and potential for returns.

For those less interested in programming computers and creating software, but still interested in working in the field of technology, Computer Information Systems seems the way to go. If you have a head for numbers and a love of programming, Computer Science is an excellent way to make a living, provided you are alright with moving to a technological hotspot - or maybe, in this new climate, you could work from home?

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