Front Range Community College Blog

Computer Information Systems vs. Computer Science Degree: What’s the Difference?

A Computer Information System (CIS) degree is focused on the application of computer technology in commercial and business enterprises. For example, with a CIS degree, you may administer the inventory management system of a commercial enterprise and generate reports based on queries you have created in SQL.

At FRCC you can earn a two-year associate degree as well as certificates in Computer Information Systems. Certificates can be a stepping stone toward a degree, but they are also an excellent way to gain skills in a short time, and open doors to entry-level positions. Below is a partial list of CIS classes you would take:

  • UNIX/Linux Server Admin
  • Database Design and Development
  • Introduction to SQL
  • Oracle Database Administration I
  • Implement & Maintain MS SQL

The Computer Science degree is concerned with the creation of computer technology. As a Computer Science graduate you may design and implement an inventory management system.

At FRCC you can earn a two-year Associate of Science degree in Computer Science. Below is a partial list of computer science classes you would take to earn a degree:

  • Introduction to Programming
  • Computer Science I: (C++)
  • Computer Science II
  • Computer Architecture/Assembly Language Programming
  • C Programming: Platform
  • Object-oriented Programming

What role does CIS play in business?

Computer Information Systems are the backbone of a commercial enterprise. Business leaders and managers make important decisions based on the information generated by these systems. For example, a manager may decide to increase the stock of one product versus another based on the sales trajectory reported by information systems. A CIS professional can have direct impact on the profit and success of a business.

How does Computer Science fit into the business world?

In Computer Science, programming languages are the underlying tool used to create technology which meets business requirements. For example, a business may require an inventory management system and the programmer must analyze the requirements and create a user interface, design the algorithms and data structures, and then implement the system in an appropriate programming language to meet customer requirements. Applications that meet customer expectations result in successful businesses.

Which degree is better?

People with either degree are in great demand. Both offer successful career paths and excellent financial rewards. It is best to pursue a path that excites you and makes you happy. Sample both. Pursue what excites you. But don’t blame me if you fall in love with both and end up pursuing degrees in CIS and Computer Science.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Shahzad Bhatti is a faculty member at Front Range Community College's Boulder County Campus. He held software engineering positions at Samsung, HP, StorageTek and NCR before joining the FRCC faculty. He did his graduate work in computer science at the University of Colorado-Boulder.