For people interested in computers and technology within organizations, degrees in information systems or information technology hold tremendous appeal. Many people, who often use these two terms nearly interchangeably, wonder if there is any substantial difference between studying information systems and information technology.
The differences between these two specializations are subtle. However, as you consider potential career paths, you’ll want to explore the differences between these two fields so you can select the one that will work best for you. Let’s explore the differences between these two exciting and evolving fields as well as the career outlook for those who decide to enter these programs.
What Is Information Technology?
In comparison to information systems, information technology focuses more directly on the technology involved. This field looks at both the hardware and the software that allows people to leverage technology at all levels of an organization. The technology involved in IT often contributes to businesses successfully improving their functions or their telecommunications.
When you study IT, you’ll take a variety of classes related to computer science as well as gaining an understanding of how to acquire and store data and information for a business or organization. You might also learn how to manage and maximize the usage of related technology parts, such as printers and keyboards. As an IT professional, you will often provide support for other people using these capabilities throughout the day.
Often within IT, security plays a larger role than it does within information systems. Courses concerning cybersecurity and protecting the data and information secured within modern technology will generally comprise a significant portion of the coursework related to IT.
Innovation within the field has resulted in incredible capabilities for organizations and individuals, but it also means that an increase in sensitive information online has driven cybercriminals to be relentless in breaching networks. Keeping the information secure and understanding the core principles of cybersecurity all play an important role in modern information technology.
People who have studied information technology can pursue a variety of different types of job titles, such as network architects.
What Is Information Systems?
Many people find it helpful to think of information systems as more of an overarching, or umbrella, term, and concept related to the collection and use of a wide range of data.
In the modern era, information systems generally refers to computers and other technology-based inventions. Information systems also places a greater emphasis on the people involved in the process of creating, storing, acquiring, and dispensing the information contained within a given information system.
Information systems of all types works to monitor the data that an organization collects, create reports to help communicate the value of the information, and then offer suggestions based on the information to help leaders make decisions. Information systems relies heavily on databases, though there is a greater emphasis now on using available technology to analyze information and produce reports that can be used across organizations.
What Are the Similarities and Differences Between IT vs IS?
Now that you understand a bit better what information technology and information systems focus on, it can be valuable to explore some key similarities and differences between the two fields.
At first glance, the similarities between the two disciplines are striking. Both information systems and information technology focus on computers and technology. They each use the technology available to benefit businesses or other organizations. Each field also continues to develop at lightning speed as we see technology rapidly evolve and improve with each passing year.
As a given organization employs either system, you will also see them improve their efficiency. The ability to store and analyze data, as both fields encourage, can help people tremendously understand opportunities for growth.
However, the differences between information systems and information technology can also be substantial. Information systems, as the broader term, have much older origins. People used it in the era prior to modern technology, back when it referred to using a pen and paper or other low-tech processes to track valuable information and generate databases.
IT plays a greater emphasis on the tools—the software and hardware—involved in the collection and storage of information and data. IS, on the other hand, places its emphasis on the people involved.
The Salary and Career Outlook of Information Systems and Information Technologies
Not only do information technology and information systems offer exciting career paths for people to follow, but they also offer opportunities for earning a healthy income and a career path with ample growth.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the career field of computer and information technology will grow by about 11 percent between 2019 and 2029. This growth will add over 500,000 more jobs to the field. Additionally, the median wage in the industry is $91,250 per year, which is more than double the average salary of all occupations in the country.
For the information systems field, similar growth can be expected. The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the number of jobs available in the industry to grow by 10 percent between 2019 and 2029, which will result in just over 500,000 new jobs. The median wage in this field is also $151,150, which more than triples the average salary across the country.
While the exact wages and career opportunities for those entering the field will vary based on skills, training, and experience, the data clearly demonstrates that these fields offer tremendous potential.
The Education Required for Information Systems Versus Information Technology
Those interested in pursuing opportunities in the information systems field will find that their educational courses will take them on an exciting journey. The information systems degree from Post, for example, provides you with classes in areas such as:
- Computer science
These courses prepare you to excel in this technology field. You will need a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, like this one, to get a job in information systems. Many professionals also go on to pursue graduate coursework as well.
IT professionals also generally have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree. Coursework focuses on networks, cybersecurity, and computer science to prepare you for the field.
In both occupations, work experience and continuing education on the job will play an important role in helping you stay up to date on the latest in the field.
Technology offers a variety of disciplines for those interested in the field. Understanding the difference between information systems and information technology will help you select the best path forward for you. Come learn more about how a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Information Systems from Post can prepare you for the exciting field of information systems.
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Please note jobs, career outcomes, and/or salaries highlighted in this blog do not reflect jobs, career outcomes, and/or salaries expected from any Post program. To learn more about Post’s program and their outcomes, please fill out a form to speak with an admissions representative.