Frequently Asked Questions

What will I learn? Where do I start?

Are there different sub focuses within Information systems, such as networks, databases, or specific languages?
Yes. We offer electives that allow you to focus on analytics, security, UI/UX design. There is no specific focus on programming languages. However, you will have ample opportunities to learn SQL for databases, and Python/R for analytics.

What are some new/interesting IS electives?
UX/Interaction Design, Information Security, Information Systems Practicum

Is IS similar to IT?
Yes and no. IT suggests a focus on technology, while IS focuses on systems, which involve people, process, and technology.

Would you recommend trying out Information Systems to see if I like the major? Since there's no IS classes in the business core requirements?
Try taking BADM 350 (IT for Networked Organizations), this is sometimes a required course for other BADM majors so you can get a feel of what IS will be about. You also get some previews of analytics with python in BADM 211.

Information Systems and Computer Science

How much computer science-based learning is there in the Information Systems major?
We teach some of the basics of CS methods with a little bit of coding and sufficient understanding of statistics and algorithms. It helps you to focus on the business value from technology. Some technical skills and a good amount of technology strategy for everyone and then you specialize.

Do you need a strong background in computer science to do well with IS?
No, not at all.

Does this major require courses in math, statistics, or computer science?
No. Only a passion for improving processes and trying out innovative approaches to solving business problems with technology.

What level of CS skills are needed in this major? And could you tell me some of the things covered in class?
The basic CS 105 skills are all that you need. Now that all Gies undergrad students get some python experience in 211, it is easier to take the programming courses in information systems.

Is this major focused on programming? What programming skills are needed and learned with this major?
There is a good amount of programming in it, but it is not the only focus of this major. About a third of the courses focus on strategy, another third on systems management/interface design and a third have good amounts of coding. As an Information Systems Major you will learn SQL, Python, R, and tools such as Tableau. You don’t need to know any coding before you take the courses. As you know, programming skills are increasingly required and appreciated in the industry (not just the tech industry). The curriculum provides a useful set of programming skills, without being a burden.

If math/data analytics is not my strong suit, would a major in IS be strongly ill-advised?
Not at all. Analytics is just one track to take within IS. Also, you may find that you enjoy analytics, and you will get all the support needed for this if you choose to.

Double Majors/Minors

What are the benefits of double majoring in IS?
Since Information systems are the foundation of every business, you can pick one major to specialize in a particular function and also choose the IS major to learn how to create value using information and technology.

Are there any suggestions regarding declaring a double major in IS and other business majors?
From the recruitment perspective, every other major may be combined with IS, as information systems are the foundation for decision making. Many of our majors find it easiest to double major within BADM majors as some courses are common. BADM majors (MKTG,SCM,OM and more) will take the least amount of credits to complete a double major with IS. IS works with every major and by itself as well, so pick a second one (if needed) based on your interests.

I heard that IS is a great major to combine with strategic business. How?
Well, strategy is the plan to achieve some significant long term objective while keeping in mind your resources and strengths. It usually has a focus on doing the right things efficiently (faster, cheaper, better) to achieve the goal. For supporting this action plan, you need to coordinate your people and processes. In this day and age you do this primarily through information systems. Hence, if you focus on the big picture (strategy) and are able to select and implement the appropriate information systems, or perhaps leverage existing systems better, you have a winning combination of skills.

Is IS a complementary major with Accountancy?
Accountancy is the language of business. More than ever, information is the core of every business and technology will help firms create value and monitor performance. So yes, IS and Accountancy bond well. The big four firms love this double major combination. Quite a few students chose this combination and found jobs in Big Four.

Would a minor in a field separate from business, for example the arts, be compatible with and potentially bolster an Information Systems Major in the business world?
Depends on the jobs you are going for. Perhaps a career in UI/UX design might benefit from a minor that touches upon design. We are excited to offer a new course on UI/UX.

Would you say the T&M minor is a good pairing with IS or is it much of the same?
Excellent minor. T&M is very competitive and a great program. There is not much overlap between the programs.

Careers and Internships

What kind of careers would be possible with a degree in information systems?
Information Systems Management, Business Consultant/Analyst, Technology consultant/Analyst, Technology risk consultant, Data /Business Intelligence analyst, User Interface /User Experience Designer, Solutions Engineer. Check out details on these profiles on our career section.

What companies typically hire IS majors?
Allstate, Deloitte, EY, Grant Thornton, John Deere, KPMG, LinkedIn, PwC, Protiviti, Synchrony Financial, West Monroe Partners, Teach for America, and many more!!

Do the above companies require internships? Do we get to pick an internship?
None require internships. We offer a practicum course each fall, which you apply to, and that is like an internship as you work on a client sponsored project and get credit.

How heavily is UI/IX incorporated into the IS major?
There is a new course being offered called “UX/Interaction Design” and you can take other courses/join UI/UX RSOs to enhance your learning experience.