Best Online Bachelor’s in Computer Information Systems 2021
Updated August 22, 2022
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Computer information systems majors use computer technology to solve organizational problems, support business operations, and bolster managerial decision-making.
Positioned at the intersection of business and technology, a bachelor of science in computer information systems (CIS) trains undergraduates in network design, data analysis, and information systems. Undergrads can pursue concentrations in data validation and decision-making to harness data sets and help organizations improve efficiency and make business decisions.
With a CIS degree, graduates can pursue high-paying, in-demand careers in database management, information security analysis, business analysis, and data analytics. This degree also leads to opportunities in growing fields like machine learning, data virtualization, and artificial intelligence.
This page ranks the top online bachelor's programs in computer information systems to help prospective majors find the best fit for their needs and career goals. This guide also compares computer science and information systems, introduces common CIS courses and concentrations, and provides salary data for CIS careers.
|#1||Southern New Hampshire University Manchester, NH|
|#2||Fort Hays State University Hays, KS|
|#3||Oregon State University Corvallis, OR|
|#4||Davenport University Grand Rapids, MI|
|#5||Regis University Denver, CO|
|#6||Upper Iowa University Fayette, IA|
|#7||Bellevue University Bellevue, NE|
|#8||Champlain College Burlington, VT|
|#9||Saint Leo University Saint Leo, FL|
|#10||Charleston Southern University Charleston, SC|
Featured CIS Schools
The Best Online Bachelor's in Computer Information Systems
Online Bachelor's in Computer Information Systems Degree Program Ranking Guidelines
We ranked these degree programs based on quality, curricula, school awards, rankings, and reputation.
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What Is an Online Bachelor's in Computer Information Systems Degree?
A bachelor of science (BS) in computer information systems prepares graduates for entry-level roles in the computing and technology sectors. Most colleges offer BS in computer information systems degrees. Unlike a bachelor of arts (BA), which requires more humanities and foreign language courses, a BS emphasizes analytical coursework. CIS majors complete general education courses in the social sciences, mathematics, and natural sciences.
After earning CIS degrees, graduates can pursue careers in information systems management, database management, and data analytics.
CIS programs combine technology and business. The coursework builds technical proficiency in database management, network architecture, and information security systems while also training undergrads in data analysis and decision-making. Specialized courses in data visualization, massive data management, and machine learning prepare majors for focused career paths.
In addition to building advanced data analysis and management skills, computer information systems majors strengthen their critical thinking and analytical, organizational, and communication skills through projects and assignments. Many programs incorporate an internship to gain hands-on experience and build a professional network.
Earning a bachelor of science in computer information systems typically takes full-time students four years. CIS majors often choose a specialization while earning their degree.
Computer Science vs. Computer Information Systems
A computer science degree strengthens theoretical and practical tech skills, with a focus on programming languages, software development, and software engineering. In a computer information systems major, undergraduates blend technical training with a business focus to help organizations manage their information needs.
CIS majors often take some computer science courses, including database management, network architecture, and cybersecurity. However, the major focuses more on applied computing and networking. While graduates with bachelor's in computer science degrees can pursue careers as software developers, network architects, and software engineers, CIS majors typically work in data analytics, systems analysis, and information security.
Choosing an Online CIS Program
With a growing number of online bachelor of science in computer information systems programs, how can prospective students narrow down their choices? Consider factors such as cost, program length, concentration options, and course format when researching online programs. The links below offer more information on choosing the right online degree.
What to Expect From a Computer Information Systems Major
A computer information systems major trains students in data analysis, system design, and security. Undergraduates often take information technology and computer science courses to build the technical and business skills necessary for careers in CIS. This section introduces common CIS concentrations and courses.
Computer Information Systems Concentrations
CIS majors with artificial intelligence concentrations study machine learning, intelligent software development, and data mining to prepare them for a career in this growing field.
This concentration combines business and technology with a focus on information security. Coursework emphasizes network security design, cybersecurity best practices, and data recovery after breaches. Enrollees also learn to design secure networks, implement data security procedures, and create information security policies.
In a data analytics concentration, learners study data processing, data presentation, and the relationship between data and management decision-making. The concentration prepares graduates for data analysis and data science jobs.
Data Validation and Decision-Making
With a data validation and decision-making concentration, majors learn to use data in business environments effectively. This concentration emphasizes data analysis, privacy, and validation.
This concentration emphasizes information and technology decision-making in business settings. Enrollees earning a concentration in information technology strengthen their IT skills and add technology-focused business training to the broad knowledge of database management and network architecture of their degrees.
Every organization relies on information systems, and project managers draw on their CIS skills to manage technology and information projects. Students in this concentration learn to manage information operations, resolve business technology problems, and recommend upgrades. The specialization prepares graduates for careers in CIS project management.
Computer Information Systems Curriculum
- Computer Network Architect: This course builds management and information security skills, as well as training in hardware and software for network design. Learners examine data communication networks and the architecture connecting different systems.
- Information Security Analysis: This course approaches information security from a systems management perspective by covering systems design, information systems security, and risk management.
- Information Visualization and Virtualization: CIS professionals often analyze or present data visually. This course trains majors in effective visualization techniques and visually encoding information for easier interpretation.
- Massive Data Management: Enrollees learn to manage large data sets, process big data, and create programming frameworks for data use.
- Networking and Database Systems: This course introduces students to network design, database management, and systems operation. Enrollees examine the structures and constraints of networks and databases and learn to implement information systems through databases.
- Programming Languages: CIS majors study different programming languages, including Java and Python. Most tech professionals know several programming languages and continue their education after earning their degrees.
What Can I Do With a Bachelor's in Computer Information Systems?
With this versatile degree, CIS majors can work as computer network architects, computer engineers, database administrators, software developers, and web developers. These career paths offer above-average salaries with the potential to increase earnings after completing graduate degrees or accruing work experience. For example, a master's or Ph.D. in computer science opens doors to supervisory, research, and academic careers.
The following information presents common careers for students with computer information systems degrees, including median annual wages for 2020.
|Career||Median Annual Salary (2020)|
|Computer and Information Systems Managers||$151,150|
|Computer and Information Research Scientists||$126,830|
|Computer Network Architects||$116,780|
|Information Security Analysts||$103,590|
|Computer Systems Analysts||$93,730|
|Network and Computer Systems Administrators||$84,810|
Common Questions About the Computer Information Systems Major
Is CIS a Good Degree?
Yes. A bachelor of science in computer information systems prepares graduates for in-demand, high-paying careers. This major trains learners in computer systems management, information technology, and computer science.
How Much Does a CIS Major Make?
Graduates with a bachelor of science in computer information systems can work in careers that pay median salaries of over $100,000 per year, such as computer systems analysts, network architects, and database administrators.
What Kind of Jobs Can I Get With a Computer Information Systems Degree?
Should I Major in CS or CIS?
Computer science, computer engineering, and computer information systems degrees prepare graduates for overlapping careers in tech. Students should consider their interests and career goals to find the best fit for their needs.
Computer Information Systems Organizations
Computer information systems majors can join professional organizations to network with early career and experienced CIS professionals and access mentorship opportunities and job boards. Many organizations offer professional development support, educational resources, and career advancement tools.
Undergraduates and graduates can research organizations like the Association for Information Science and Technology and the Association for Information Systems. Other professional associations include the International Association for Computer Information Systems and (ISC)².
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