Career Guide to JMU Majors:
Computer Information Systems
Learn more about this major by watching the JMU CIS promotional video.
Admission and Progression Standards:
Visit the Major Snapshots site to learn more about the admission and progression standards of this major.
Description of Major
Computer Information Systems is offered as a major through the Computer Information Systems and Business Analytics Program. This program prepares business students for careers as information systems professionals. The program of study focuses on the development and management of information systems in a business environment. Students develop the technical skills and organizational insights required to analyze, design, implement, and administer information systems. The CIS curriculum includes hands-on projects, case analysis, and business simulations to build strong technical and analytical skills, effective oral and written communication skills and the ability to work independently and in team-oriented environments. The bachelor's degree program in Computer Information Systems is accredited by the Computing Accreditation Commission of ABET and the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).
Tell me more about this field of study
The CIS degree from JMU provides an excellent balance of business and technology – critical skills today in a world where U.S. technical skills are under-represented and in demand. Computer and information systems managers play a vital role in the technological direction of their organizations. They do everything from constructing the business plan to overseeing network security to directing Internet operations. Computer and information systems managers plan, coordinate, and direct research and facilitate the computer-related activities of firms. They help determine both technical and business goals in consultation with top management and make detailed plans for the accomplishment of these goals. For example, working with their staff, they may develop the overall concepts and requirements of a new product or service, or may identify how an organization's computing abilities can effectively aid project management.
Computer and information systems managers direct the work of systems analysts, computer programmers, support specialists, and other computer-related workers. These managers plan and coordinate activities such as installation and upgrading of hardware and software, programming and systems design, development of computer networks, and implementation of Internet and intranet sites. They are increasingly involved with the upkeep, maintenance, and security of networks. They analyze the computer and information needs of their organizations from an operational and strategic perspective and determine immediate and long-range personnel and equipment requirements. They assign and review the work of their subordinates and stay abreast of the latest technology to ensure the organization does not lag behind competitors.
Tell me more about specialization
Today's entry-level information systems professional face an environment that is more exciting than ever before. Technology has connected people in ways that were previously unimagined, raising the possibilities to a new level. The new CIS professional is a people person and a team player who can "talk technology" in order to develop meaningful business solutions.
In CIS, students will learn the business skills necessary to impact the financial and strategic dimensions of information systems. They can apply their information technology knowledge to energize a related area such as global business services, financial modeling and web marketing.
Students in the CIS program can take exciting elective courses in:
- Business Intelligence
- Business Process Management
- Computer Forensics for Business
- Computer Security Management
- Decision Support Systems
- Information Technology Consulting
- Information Technology Project Management
Common majors or minors that complement this major
There are many possibilities. Some examples might be Economics, Environmental Information Systems, Geographic Sciences, Integrated Science and Technology (ISAT), Management, Marketing, Mathematics, Psychology, Public Policy Administration, Urban and Regional Planning, or Writing, Rhetoric and Technical Communication (WRTC).
Successful computer information systems students will have the desire to:
- learn solid analytical and decision-making skills.
- develop strong communication skills.
- engage in life-long learning in a rapidly changing field.
- meet deadlines and solve unexpected problems.
- develop effective team and leadership skills.
Many graduates choose typical career paths associated with this major. However, some graduates choose unrelated careers that utilize skills and experiences developed during their years in college. Keep in mind, that some fields will require graduate study or further training. The listing below offers examples of possible career paths and is not meant to be comprehensive.
Who employs graduates?
Our graduates go to work for global services firms, IT consulting firms, public accounting firms, defense industry firms, hospitals, management consulting firms, federal and state government, software companies, telecommunications companies, and web design firms. Employers who have hired CIS majors in the past include: Accenture, BAE Systems, CGI, Deloitte, Ernst & Young, ExxonMobile, Fast Enterprises, Freddie Mac, HPTi, IBM Global Services, KPMG, Lockheed Martin, ManTech, Northrop Grumman, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Protiviti and SRA International.
CIS internships are offered through the CIS Program. The program participates in internship programs with over twenty firms. Students are strongly encouraged to complete a summer internship (CIS 361) between their junior and senior years. Students should consider involvement in one of the many student organizations in the College of Business, such as the Association of Information Technology Professionals (AITP). These organizations offer activities such as speakers, visits to companies, and professional workshops.
What are JMU graduates doing with this major?
Computer Electronic Product Manufacturing
Computer and Information Systems Managers
Computer Network Architects
Information Security Analysts
Computer Support Specialists
Computer Systems Analysts
Information Security Analysts
Multimedia Media Artists and Animators
Network and Computer Systems Administrators
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A broad range of resources on career fields, internships, and job search information is also available in the Career & Academic Planning Resource Center.
Make an appointment with a CAP career counselor to learn more about this major and your career options.
A few titles from our Resource Center related to this field include:
© Career & Academic Planning, James Madison University, 2013All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without permission from JMU Career & Academic Planning. Content for each major has been written/reviewed by faculty in the respective department and is revised each year. Requests to update content can be submitted to the Career Guide editor, Nina Stensby-Hurst.