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Computer Information Systems


Computer science light, with a small serving of business.


So, let's talk computers. Wait, you don't want to talk computers? What, scared of the code? Okay, we understand. Let's talk about computers, minus the code. Better? Good to hear.

That's the computer information systems (CIS) major in a nutshell: For people who are fascinated by computers but don't like doing the coding part. Think of them as the kind of people who love ketchup and spaghetti sauce but hate tomatoes. It's for people who would much rather talk about how computers can be applied to help businesses and organizations, rather than getting caught up in the nitty gritty details of computer language.

Since it's not as popular or well-defined as its more rigorous sibling, computer science, CIS also takes on different names at different colleges, such as information systems (IS), information technology (IT), or computer applications (CA). CIS majors get a less intense version of the computer science major, so less math and actual coding. Instead, that gets substituted for more generalized knowledge about how computers work on a larger scale as well as with each other.

In the job market, this may hurt you as a CIS major, since many employers will see you as a computer science major who doesn't have as much technical knowledge. At the same time, you'll also take some business classes, which will open some doors to more managerial or administrative roles.

People tend to view a CIS major as the Coke Zero of the computer-related disciplines, and as a result your salary will be lower. This doesn't mean that you'll be struggling, though. You just won't be paid as handsomely as a computer science graduate. Statistically, as a CIS graduate, you'd still make more than most humanities graduates.

Famous People who majored in Computer Information Systems

This major has only recently been developed, so there haven't been any famous CIS majors yet. If you go down the CIS route, maybe one day you'll see yourself on this list.

Percentage of US students who major in Computer Information Systems:


Stats obtained from this source.