There’s a lot to learn in a bachelor’s degree in management information systems (MIS), one of the top degrees for the highest-paying business careers. Because this major combines knowledge of business and management with the technical skills to develop computer information systems, you need to develop a strong background in computer skills. Although you don’t necessarily need to know any computer languages before starting your bachelor’s degree, you should be familiar with scripting and markup computer programming languages and database management and query languages, as well as other types of business management software, by the time you complete your undergraduate studies.
What You Need to Begin a Bachelor’s in Management Information Systems Degree
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Most colleges don’t require you to already have a knowledge of computer languages to be admitted to a management information systems program at the undergraduate level. If you have completed some high school courses in computer science or introductory computer programming, this background can certainly be helpful, but you will still take college-level courses on computer programming languages. High school business courses can also prove valuable, but they usually aren’t a prerequisite for admission. What you will need to get started in this major are competitive SAT scores and GPA, strong recommendations and application essays, and an enthusiasm for using technology to solve the problems of people and organizations.
Admissions requirements are much higher for master’s MIS programs and usually include programming experience, knowledge of Java and an understanding of SQL-based Application Programming Interfaces like OCBC or JDBC for database connectivity.
Computer Programming Languages
The field of management information systems doesn’t revolve around coding, but coursework in computer programming is still important for aspiring computer and information systems managers, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported. There are many different computer languages that are used for different aspects of programming. Learning the concepts of computer programming can help you more easily pick up the skills needed to program in new languages, but each language is distinct and has its own strengths as well as its own idiosyncrasies.
A career in MIS may also require knowledge of HTML and other markup languages commonly used in web development.
Database Management Software
Different types of computer languages are used when managing, developing and using database systems. O*NET cites skills with both database management system software and database user interface and query software as important for a career in management information systems.
Database management system is used to manage the database that stores the data needed for a computer application to run. Some of the database management system software that you may need to be familiar with include Oracle PL/SQL, Teradata Database, MongoDB and Apache Cassandra, O*NET reported. Database user interface and query software instead allows the user to access and manipulate data. These languages and platforms allow you to create queries, or requests, for information contained within the database. The query software most often used in management information systems careers include Microsoft Access, Microsoft SQL Server, MySQL, Oracle DBMS, according to O*NET.
Database query software is based on a standard database language called structured query language, or SQL, but there are differences between these systems. Different systems are more like differences in dialect or syntax within the SQL language than distinct languages.
Other Business Software and Applications
Today’s businesses use many different types of computer programs and applications. The more familiarity you have with these various kinds of programs, the more your skills will be in high demand in the industry. For example, you may use business intelligence and data analysis software to gather and run statistical reports on data such as customer behavior patterns and sales performance. Customer relationship management, or CRM, software systems help companies keep track of customer contact information and sales history as well as allowing them to identify new opportunities to make sales and integrate marketing campaigns targeting these past or potential customers.
Companies use management information systems to accomplish everything from tracking sales and inventory to managing e-commerce. The more types of computer languages, applications and tools you are familiar with, the greater the scope of your expertise.