What’s the difference between the Computer Information Systems and Computer Science Degrees?

Computer Information Systems (CIS) vs. Computer Science (CS)

Which Degree is Right for You?

You may find yourself comparing Computer Information Systems (CIS) and Computer Science (CS) and wondering which one is right for you. While the two degrees overlap somewhat, there are some major differences between Computer Information Systems and Computer Science. Below we review those differences so you can confidently choose your ideal path into the Information Technology field.

MWCC Programs at a Glance

Computer Science vs Computer Information Systems

Computer Information Systems (CIS)

MWCC offers two tracks in the Computer Information Systems program – transfer or career. The CIS career track is intended to prepare you to immediately land a job after graduation. The CIT transfer option meets the course work requirements for Mass Transfer, enabling you to bring your credits with you to a four-year school for your bachelor’s degree after earning your associate with the Mount.

Examples of Careers with an Associates in Computer Information Systems:

  • Help Desk: Responding to IT questions via chat, email, or phone. Troubleshooting, diagnosing problems and providing technical assistance for questions and problems.
  • IT Support Specialist: Trained to operate, fix, and oversee software and hardware systems.

Examples of Careers with a Bachelor’s in Computer Information Systems:

  • Systems Administrator: Maintains a computer system or network by ensuring that they are updated, functioning well and being used effectively.
  • Web Developer: Design, code and implement functional websites for their clients.
  • Software Support: Work behind the scenes of an organization, assuring that all communication between the system and the client runs smoothly.

Key Skills for a Career in Computer Information Systems

In addition to proficiency in computer information systems, there are some additional skills needed to be successful in your career, which include:

  • Problem solving
  • Attention to detail
  • Resourcefulness
  • Project management
  • Communication
  • Analytical thinking
  • Organization

Computer Science (CS)

Computer Science is the study of computers and computational systems. At MWCC you will study software and software systems; this includes theory, design, development, and application. All of which will give you the foundation you’ll need after you graduate to continue your education at a 4-year college.

An associate degree in computer science requires more math than the CIS degree, as you learn the algorithms that make code work. The CS degree coursework covers software modeling, analyzing problems, handling and manipulating information, and writing code.

 Examples of Careers in Computer Science

  • Software Developer: Responsible for designing, creating and updating computer applications. Analyze client’s needs and create software.
  • Software Engineer: Responsible for developing new software and updating older software that is used on computers and other devices.
  • Information Security Analyst: Protects and detects cyber threats towards data and private information for organizations.
  • Computer Hardware Engineer: Researches, designs, repairs and update the physical hardware needed for computers and devices to operate.

Key Skills for a Career in Computer Science

Mirroring most of the skills above, there are a handful of critical skills needed to be successful in a computer science career, these include:

  • Mathematics
  • Problem Analysis
  • Attention to detail
  • Technical writing
  • Communication
  • Critical thinking
  • Organizational

Learn More About Mount Wachusett Community College’s Computer Science and Computer Information Systems Degrees

Whichever path you lean more toward, we would happy to discuss your goals and find the program right for you. You can request to attend an information today or call us at 978-630-9110.