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Computer Information Systems Major

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Computer Information Systems

15,812 Master's Degrees Annually
806 Doctor's Degrees Annually
#11 in Popularity (Master's)
$102,470 Median Salary

Types of Degrees Computer Information Systems Majors Are Getting

The following table lists how many computer information systems graduations there were in 2018-2019 for each degree level.

Education Level Number of Grads
Master’s Degree 15,812
Doctor’s Degree 806
Graduate Certificate 537

What Computer Information Systems Majors Need to Know

O*NET surveyed people in occupations related to CIS and asked them what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important for their jobs. The responses were rated on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being most important.

Knowledge Areas for CIS Majors

According to O*NET survey takers, a major in CIS should prepare you for careers in which you will need to be knowledgeable in the following areas:

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  • Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Engineering and Technology - Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.

Skills for CIS Majors

A major in CIS prepares you for careers in which the following skill-sets are crucial:

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  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Complex Problem Solving - Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
  • Judgment and Decision Making - Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

Abilities for CIS Majors

A major in CIS will prepare for your careers in which the following abilities are important:

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  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Problem Sensitivity - The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
  • Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).

What Can You Do With a Computer Information Systems Major?

Below is a list of occupations associated with CIS:

Job Title Job Growth Rate Median Salary
Computer and Information Research Scientists 19.0% $118,370
Computer and Information Systems Managers 12.0% $142,530
Computer Network Architects 6.5% $109,020
Computer Science Professors 8.1% $82,220
Computer Systems Analysts 9.1% $88,740
Database Administrators 11.5% $90,070
Informatics Nurse Specialists 9.1% $88,740
Information Security Analysts 28.5% $98,350
Network and Computer Systems Administrators 6.1% $82,050
Software Developers, Applications 30.7% $103,620
Software Developers, Systems Software 11.1% $110,000
Software Quality Assurance Engineers and Testers 9.3% $90,270
Telecommunications Engineering Specialists 6.5% $109,020
Web Administrators 9.3% $90,270

Who Is Getting a Master’s Degree in Computer Information Systems?

15,812 Master's Degrees Annually
33% Percent Women
17% Percent Racial-Ethnic Minorities*
This is one of the most frequently chosen graduate majors. It is the 11th most popular in the country with 15,812 students graduating with a master’s in CIS in 2019. This major tends to be male dominated. About 67% of recent graduates are men.

Racial-Ethnic Diversity

At the countrywide level, the racial-ethnic distribution of CIS majors is as follows:

Racial-Ethnic Diversity of CIS Students with Master's Degrees
Race/Ethnicity Number of Grads
Asian 1,226
Black or African American 786
Hispanic or Latino 537
White 3,215
International Students 9,334
Other Races/Ethnicities 714

Geographic Diversity

Students from other countries are interested in CIS, too. About 59.0% of those with this major are international students. The most popular countries for students from outside the country are:

  • India
  • China
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Nepal
  • South Korea

How Much Do Computer Information Systems Majors Make?

Master’s Degree Starting Salary

The median starting salary of students who graduated in 2015-2017 with a master’s degree in CIS was $69,650 per year. These stats come from the U.S. Department of Education. During this timeframe, most salaries fell between $59,700 (25th percentile) and $89,900 (75th percentile).

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One thing to note here is that not all of these people may be working in careers related to CIS.

Salaries According to BLS

Average salaries range from $93,350 to $114,000 (25th to 75th percentile) for careers related to CIS. This range includes all degree levels, so the salary for a person with just a bachelor’s degree may be a little less and the one for a person with an advanced degree may be a little more.

To put that into context, according to BLS data from the first quarter of 2020, the typical high school graduate makes between $30,000 and $57,900 a year (25th through 75th percentile). The average person with a bachelor’s degree (any field) makes between $45,600 and $99,000. Advanced degree holders make the most with salaries between $55,600 and $125,400.

Median Salary for a Computer Information Systems Major  ( 93350 to 114000 )
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Median Salary for a High School Graduate  ( 30000 to 57900 )
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Median Salary for a Bachelor's Degree Holder  ( 45600 to 99000 )
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Median Salary for an Advanced Degree Holder  ( 55600 to 125400 )
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Some careers associated with CIS require an advanced degree while some may not even require a bachelor’s. Whatever the case may be, pursuing more education usually means that more career options will be available to you.

How much schooling do you really need to compete in today’s job market? People currently working in careers related to CIS have obtained the following education levels.

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Education Level Percentage of Workers
High School Diploma - or the equivalent (for example, GED) 1.1%
Post-Secondary Certificate - awarded for training completed after high school (for example, in agriculture or natural resources, computer services, personal or culinary services, engineering technologies, healthcare, construction trades, mechanic and repair technologies, or precision production) 4.9%
Some College Courses 5.2%
Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree) 10.6%
Bachelor’s Degree 51.3%
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Baccalaureate degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees carrying the title of Master. 4.4%
Master’s Degree 16.2%
Post-Master’s Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Master’s degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees at the doctoral level. 0.8%
First Professional Degree - awarded for completion of a program that: requires at least 2 years of college work before entrance into the program, includes a total of at least 6 academic years of work to complete, and provides all remaining academic requirements to begin practice in a profession. 0.6%
Doctoral Degree 4.7%
Post-Doctoral Training 0.2%

Online Computer Information Systems Programs

In the 2018-2019 academic year, 1,595 schools offered some type of computer information systems program. The following table lists the number of programs by degree level, along with how many schools offered online courses in the field.

Degree Level Colleges Offering Programs Colleges Offering Online Classes
Certificate (Less Than 1 Year) 397 98
Certificate (1-2 years) 235 39
Certificate (2-4 Years) 12 2
Associate’s Degree 718 155
Bachelor’s Degree 97 30
Post-Baccalaureate 397 98
Master’s Degree 391 116
Post-Master’s 12 0
Doctor’s Degree (Research) 107 9
Doctor’s Degree (Professional Practice) 0 0
Doctor’s Degree (Other) 0 0

Is a Degree in Computer Information Systems Worth It?

The median salary for a CIS grad is $102,470 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.

This is 157% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $1,251,400 after 20 years!

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You may also be interested in one of the following majors related to CIS.

Major Number of Grads
Computer Science 12,884
Information Technology 8,964
Information Science 7,072
Computer Software & Applications 2,830
Computer Systems Analysis 772
Computer Systems Networking 713
Other Computer & Information Sciences 486
Computer Programming 147
Data Processing 73
Data Entry 0

References

*The racial-ethnic minorities count is calculated by taking the total number of students and subtracting white students, international students, and students whose race/ethnicity was unknown. This number is then divided by the total number of students at the school to obtain the racial-ethnic minorities percentage.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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