Information Technology vs. Information Systems: Which Degree is Right for Me?

BS in IT

The field of information systems is constantly growing, and it offers a variety of job options for those interested in pursuing a technology-related career. But what is the difference between information systems and information technology? These terms are often confused or considered to be interchangeable, when they are actually two different paths that appeal to different skillsets and disciplines. Learn more about information technology (IT) vs. information systems (IS), and the types of courses and professional growth they offer.

What is Information Technology?

Information technology is the study, design, implementation, support, or management of computer-based information systems. It focuses on maintaining the system’s hardware, software, databases, and networks, with the end goal of communicating to users how to best utilize its functionality. An online IT degree equips students to think critically and innovatively solve business problems through technology, and it covers a breadth of disciplines, including computer software, cyber and data security, and project management.

What is Information Systems?

Information systems refers to the management of an entire set of information, and it includes not only the technology components involved, but the people and processes as well. Information systems degree coursework ranges from programming to communications, helping students learn both the tech planning and business management sides of the field, and how to implement these information systems to internally support companies and organizations.

Information Technology vs. Information Systems

Both information technology and information systems deal with computer-based systems to an extent, but require different education and training. Think of information technology as a subset of information systems—while IS covers the set of information as a whole, IT refers specifically to the technology aspect within that system. The field of information systems works as the bridge between technology and people, whereas information technology focuses on helping them utilize and make sense of that system. The two disciplines are related, but have distinct sets of learnings and career paths.

IT vs. IS

Information Technology Courses

Ashford’s Bachelor of Science in Information Technology degree online combines the practice and skills needed to build technical solutions, as well as the business theory to effectively apply them in the workplace. Information technology courses such as Computer Organization & Architecture, Database Systems & Management, and Programming in C++ are designed to help students become critical thinkers and technological problem-solvers.

Information Systems Courses

With a Bachelor of Arts in Business Information Systems degree from Ashford, students become fluent in the development and operations of information systems and information sharing. With a course list that includes Business Law (more on business law here), Database Management Systems, and Business Systems Analysis, students will hone the technical and conceptual skills needed to manage the future of information technology.

Information Technology Careers List

There is a variety of options for those with an online IT degree, as technology is making a greater and greater impact on the business world. The BS in Information Technology careers list includes:

  • Computer and Information Research Technologist
  • Computer Network Architects
  • Computer Systems Analysts
  • Information Security Analysts
  • Software Developers, Applications
  • Software Developers, Systems Software
  • Web Developers

Information Systems Careers List

With an increasing need for innovative information systems in the workplace, there are many opportunities for job growth in this field. Potential BA in Business Information Systems career options include:

  • Systems Trainer
  • Support Specialist
  • eCommerce Developer
  • Enterprise Systems Manager
  • Information Resource Manager
  • Technology Consultant
  • Business Analyst

Ready to kick-start your career in Information Technology or Information Systems? Explore our technology degrees today or get started with online education at Ashford.

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Written by Ashford University staff

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