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In today’s technology-driven world, professionals who are skilled at coding and computers are in high demand in many areas. If this is a field that you are interested in pursuing, you have more than one degree program to choose from – from computer engineering to information technology and a broad variety of others.

Two especially common degrees for those who want to work with computers are computer information systems and computer science. To help you decide if one of these programs is right for you, we will take a look at some things you need to know about the difference between a bachelor’s degree in computer information systems and a bachelor’s degree in computer science.

What Is Computer Science?

If you are interested in the theory and science behind computers, computer science is an excellent degree program to consider. A degree in computer science combines mathematics, engineering, and science to teach students how computers function and how to design both computer hardware and software. Programming and the development of algorithms are significantly emphasized in most computer science programs. However, you can also look forward to studying many other disciplines, including artificial intelligence, security, computer systems and networks, database systems, and the theory of computing.

Computer Science Careers

A bachelor’s degree in computer science may offer training relevant to a variety of technology careers, including:

  • Software developer
  • Information security analyst
  • Systems architect
  • Web developer
  • Mobile app developer
  • IT support specialist
  • UX designer
  • Computer hardware engineer

Of course, this list is far from comprehensive. As one of the more broad-ranging degree programs in the field of computer science, a bachelor’s degree in computer science can cover an ever-increasing range of skills and practices.

Computer Science Degree Skills

There are several skills that you will ideally need to learn to excel in computer science. Strong mathematical and analytical skills are an important foundation for a computer science student, along with solid problem-solving skills.

Creativity may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of computer science, but the ability to come up with creative solutions and designs could go a long way toward helping you in the field of computer science. Other noteworthy skills that are useful for computer science students include written and oral communication, critical thinking, time management, and teamwork.

What Is Computer Information Systems?

Data management is one of the most vital priorities for many organizations. It is also the primary focus of a degree in computer information systems. Along with learning how to help organizations manage their data in a secure and efficient manner, a degree in computer information systems will broadly cover how to use technology to solve business problems.

With a computer information systems degree program, you could study disciplines such as systems analysis and management, programming, and cybersecurity. You can also look forward to studying business-oriented disciplines such as project management, economics, and supply chain management.

Computer Information Systems Careers

As with a degree in computer science, a bachelor’s degree in computer information systems can expose you to information and skills relevant to a wide range of careers, including, but not limited to the following:

  • Database administrator
  • Computer programmer
  • Computer systems analyst
  • Business analyst
  • Network engineer
  • Application analyst
  • IT project manager

Computer Information System Degree Skills

There is a lot of overlap between the skills required to earn a computer science degree and the skills required to earn a degree in computer information systems. In both cases, you will need strong problem-solving, analytical, and communication skills, along with other soft skills such as teamwork and time management.

In computer information systems, though, communication, teamwork, and related soft skills are especially important. This is because professionals working in computer information systems tend to have a more active role in business processes. While a software developer with a computer science degree, for example, may spend a lot of their time working in a silo, a project manager with a computer information systems degree is going to be much more involved with other team members and take on more of a leadership role.

A graduate of this degree has had the opportunity to gain necessary skills to develop software and computer solutions for every business need, and covered material on proposing solutions to lead and evaluate / manage information technology projects.

The CIS graduate may have the ability to work in multidisciplinary teams, applying social, environmental, and ethical responsibility standards. They are trained to evolve with problems in the market, always adapting to the constant technological evolution of companies.

Computer Science Versus Computer Information Systems Degrees

There are plenty of similarities between a computer science degree and a computer information systems degree, but there are also plenty of key differences between the two degree programs. Let us start with the similarities; with both computer science and computer information systems, you could study topics such as software development, cybersecurity, and database systems.

A computer science degree focuses more on the theory of these principles, whereas a computer information systems degree focuses more on their practical application. A computer science student, for example, might spend their time learning the theory behind database systems, while a computer information systems major will spend more time learning how to utilize database systems for specific business applications.

Along with this key difference, there is also the fact that a computer science degree program tends to be broader than a computer information systems degree. In fact, computer information systems is technically a subset of computer science. In a computer information systems degree program, you will specifically study data management and the strategic use of technology in business. Meanwhile, a computer science degree covers a much wider range of computer science disciplines and focuses more on the theory/technicalities of those disciplines than their real-world applications.

Course Content and Requirements

As with the degree programs themselves, there are also areas of overlap and important differences when it comes to the exact courses you will take in each program. In both programs, you could take courses such as software development, data management, and computer architecture – though the exact focus of these courses may differ between the two programs.

As for the differences in course content between a computer science degree and a computer information systems degree, one key difference is that a computer science degree program typically requires many more courses in advanced mathematics. To earn a computer science degree, you will likely be required to complete Calculus I, Calculus II, and, in some cases, Calculus III. While Calculus I is a requirement for many computer information systems degree programs, other required mathematics courses are typically limited to more basic courses such as statistics and algebra. Along with more advanced mathematics courses, a computer science degree also entails more theory-oriented computer science courses such as the theory of computing.

A computer information systems degree program, meanwhile, will require you to take business courses such as accounting, marketing, and business management. Along with these business courses, the computer science courses in a computer information systems program likewise tend to have a more business-oriented slant.


Still unsure which degree program is the best choice for you? Here are a few frequently asked questions about the difference between computer science and computer information systems that are important to consider as you go compare the two programs:

Q: What pays more, computer science or computer information systems?

A: Computer science and computer information systems are degree programs that could prepare you for a long and varied list of potential careers. As such, it is somewhat difficult to evaluate which degree program is the better choice from the perspective of future earnings. Please reference the Bureau of Labor Statistics for earnings information relevant to computer science and computer information systems.

Q: What is the main difference between these two subject areas?

A: The primary difference between computer science and computer information systems is that computer science focuses more on the theory behind computer science disciplines, while a computer information systems degree focuses more on the practical applications of technology in the business world.

Q: Which one is more common in today’s job market?

A: Computer science and computer information systems graduates are in equally high demand; according to the US Department of Labor, overall employment in computer and information technology occupations is projected to grow 14.6% from 2021 to 2031.

Earn Your Degree in Computer Information Systems from Post University

If you would like to earn a bachelor’s degree in computer information systems, Post University, offers a computer information systems degree that is available both on-campus and online. To learn more about earning your bachelor’s degree in computer information systems from Post University, be sure to contact us today!

Thank you for reading! The views and information provided in this post do not reflect Post University programs and/or outcomes directly. If you are interested in learning more about our programs, you can find a complete list of our programs on our website or reach out directly!

Please note jobs and/or career outcomes highlighted in this blog do not reflect jobs or career outcomes expected from any Post program. To learn more about Post’s program and its outcomes, please fill out a form to speak with an admissions advisor.