For most people the thought of being 30 something years old, raising a family, working full-time, and going back to school scares them a little. Instead they opt for stability in their jobs, after school activities with their kids, and late night TV. As a married father of two small children, I truly appreciate their position.
When it comes up in conversation, most people in Sackets Harbor and the surrounding area assume that I’m taking classes at the local community college. I broke the mold a little when I decided to apply to SUNY Empire State College (ESC). Naturally the discussion then turns to a question about what I’m studying. My response usually awakens their perception to an awareness of a virtual world few outside the computing industry recognize.
The new vision of information technology (IT) I present transcends the structure of people’s common relationship with computers. Most people view IT in terms of what it will allow them to do, not as a series of devices and processes that can enlighten organizational minds, crystallize decision-making, and create efficiency where there is a void.
Information Systems (IS) is a scientific discipline distinct from IT. Although it incorporates IT as a foundational element in its’ study, IS more inclusively engages the topic of communication organizationally. IS emphasizes integration of the IT platform, people, organizational politics, process, and corporate strategy among others. IS aims to produce meaningful information out of all the data that is circulating throughout an organization.
Kenneth and Jane Laudon state in their book, Management Information Systems: Managing the Digital Firm, that an “information system can be defined technically as a set of interrelated components that can collect (or retrieve), process, store, and distribute information to support decision making and control in an organization.”
The study of information systems has many variations; Management Information Systems (MIS), Computer Information Systems (CIS), Geographic Information Systems (GIS), and Accounting Information Systems (AIS) are just a few variations of its’ flavor. When I was contemplating how I wanted to shape my post military technical discipline, I carefully weighed my options against my aptitudes and decided to pursue a path of CIS. A career in CIS is a natural outgrowth of the telecom based IT background I developed as a member of the U.S. Army Signal Corps.
Wikipedia defines Computer Information Systems as a field studying computers and algorithmic processes, including their principles, their software and hardware designs, their applications, and their impact on society.
Information systems, built on the information technology infrastructure, power the social fabric of our world; and continue to shape the way we communicate, collect, and make decisions about the data we create. Having knowledge of IS provides us with a transcendent view of the digital communications web that has been spun all around us. I am excited to be a part of such an exotic field.
Digital image at top.
Definition of Computer Information System
Management Information Systems: Managing the Digital Firm, 13th Edition.
Pearson Education, England. 2014