University Degree: Management Information Systems

MIS Course Description

The Management Information Systems Major unifies both computer science and business knowledge. Students learn to function as intermediaries between persons with information needs and the computer programmers who offer the solutions to the problems.

If your interests lean towards computer languages, computer programming, logic, taking initiative, problem solving, and organizing groups, you should take this course into consideration.

The skills and qualities that should give you an advantage when taking this course are communication, working in groups, solving oral and written problems, creativity,  understanding human behavior.

In the Management Information Systems (MIS) major, students study business, computer programming, and how to utilize existing computer software. Among the most rapidly growing fields, MIS is generally offered in a university's school of business administration. Students study all the core courses of the business administration program as well as specialized MIS courses.

In nearly all business schools, at least two of the courses required of business majors are computer oriented. First is Management Information Systems, a survey course discussing all the areas of systems analysis. The second might be a course in a programming language like BASIC or Pascal, or one covering a few software packages like spreadsheets, data bases, word processing, and a graphics or expert system package.

Majors in MIS ordinarily take the computer-oriented business courses prior to taking six to eight courses that constitute the rest of the major. These usually include some or all of the following.

COBOL: Students learn this computer language, which is particularly useful for treating business problems. Most companies have programs in this language that might need updating. Other languages, like C and Ramis, might be offered as new tools are developed.

Systems analysis and design: Topics are interviewing to check the need for a system; studying costs and benefits; designing a new system; applying the new system; trying out the new system.

Data base design and administration: Topics are defining data needs; designing and managing data bases; using common data base programs.

Expert systems and artificial intelligence: Topics are design of these systems and the use of existing programs in these areas.

Telecommunication design and policy: Topics are voice, video, and data communications; methods of transmitting data; wiring and equipment; costs; speed of transmission. Design of local area networks and network management are normally included.

The primary task of the information systems specialist is to act as an intermediary between the persons in an organization who have information requirements,  like record keeping, sales, production, or planning, and the computer programmers who compose the solutions to these problems. The information analyst recognizes the business functions (accounting, marketing, finance, operations, strategic planning) as well as computer programming and the computer programs in hand for solving particular problems. The MIS specialist interviews the potential user, discovers the goals of the organization, checks the information needs and tools needed to support these goals, and helps to design computerized systems to support these goals.  The analyst may then review the solutions and user needs with the programmers. Lastly the analyst may take part in the programming, implementation, and testing of these newly designed systems.  A lot of institutions offer local internships to give students hands-on experience.

The major may lead to jobs as a systems analyst, information systems manager, computer programmer, or information systems consultant. It could also lead to work in computer marketing and sales.