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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 2019-2020 for each degree level.

Education Level Number of Grads
Master’s Degree 17,145
Doctor’s Degree 901
Graduate Certificate 504

What Computer Information Systems Majors Need to Know

In an O*NET survey, CIS majors were asked to rate what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important in their occupations. These answers were weighted on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the 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

The following list of skills has been highlighted as some of the most essential for careers related to CIS:

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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

CIS majors often go into careers where the following abilities are vital:

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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?

17,145 Master's Degrees Annually
34% Percent Women
19% 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 66% of recent graduates are men.

Racial-Ethnic Diversity

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

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Race/Ethnicity Number of Grads
Asian 1,495
Black or African American 840
Hispanic or Latino 667
White 3,690
International Students 9,720
Other Races/Ethnicities 733

Geographic Diversity

Americans aren’t the only ones with an interest in CIS. About 56.7% 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

According to 2017-2018 data from the U.S. Department of Education, students who graduated with a master’s degree in CIS have a median salary of $69,650 during the early years of their career. During this timeframe, most salaries fell between $59,700 (25th percentile) and $89,900 (75th percentile).

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It is possible that some of these people may have taken positions that were not 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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250K
Median Salary for a Bachelor's Degree Holder  ( 45600 to 99000 )
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250K
Median Salary for an Advanced Degree Holder  ( 55600 to 125400 )
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250K

Some degrees associated with CIS may require an advanced degree, while others may not even require a bachelor’s in the field. In general, the more advanced your degree the more career options will open up to you. However, there is significant time and money that needs to be invested into your education so weigh the pros and cons.

Find out what the typical degree level is for CIS careers below.

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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 2019-2020 academic year, 1,564 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) 0 0
Certificate (1-2 years) 235 29
Certificate (2-4 Years) 9 1
Associate’s Degree 709 125
Bachelor’s Degree 111 26
Post-Baccalaureate 0 0
Master’s Degree 408 100
Post-Master’s 10 0
Doctor’s Degree (Research) 111 7
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 53,722
Information Technology 38,958
Information Science 18,368
Computer Systems Networking 14,814
Computer Software & Applications 13,180
Computer Programming 10,756
Data Processing 2,320
Computer Systems Analysis 2,269
Other Computer & Information Sciences 1,326

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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