Bachelor's Degrees: Computer Information Systems vs. Software Engineering

I have just completed two years of college studying toward a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science with an emphasis on Software Engineering at a decent school. When I started at this school, I had a choice between Software Engineering or Computer Information Systems. Both are rigorous majors here, and both contain many classes in programming. Up until now, most of my classes applied to both majors, including a couple programming classes, Data Structures and Algorithms, and Object-Oriented Programming. I’ve also taken College Algebra II and College Trigonometry. The only class I have taken so far that counted more toward Software Engineering is Discrete Mathematics. However, I am starting to question whether I want to stay in Software Engineering or go with CIS. The CIS major is more practical and business oriented; the Software Engineering major goes more toward theory and mathematics, the academic world of things. I would enjoy the CIS classes more with their oftener use of real-world application, and I want to enter the business workplace after gaining my degree.

Most of the people I have talked to so far have limited exposure to the current Computer Science workplace. Most of them have spent their time on the academic side ever since they were a freshman in college. What is the opinion of people who have been in the business? And would getting a degree in CIS instead of Software Engineering limit me in the business world?

Thanks so much for any answers! I really do appreciate it!

I think that you already answered yourself. You feel more attracted to CIS and therefore you should head for it. If you’re not that interested on knowing the theory behind the practice, forcing you to study it when you have an option is not good.

Workwise, it doesn’t do much difference as it will be your work experience and how you handle your career and the choices that you do in your business. What you study is not that important, the important thing is that you learn how to learn, if you understand what I mean :slight_smile:

You will always be faced by this issue. Curriculum rule one: you do one thing at the cost of not doing anything else.

Everyone has cheap advice on what everyone else should or shouldn’t do. Decide what to do for yourself on the basis of real commitment and enthusiasm. And to Hell with everyone else.

I hate to sound like a broken record, but I concur with the comments above. I’ve been in the military for eight years doing computer repair, telephones and networks. I’m A+ and CCNA certified and I have never completed a college degree, though I am working on one. I have to say pound for pound the best thing to study is what you love. That is what you are going to be most successful in, precisely because your passion for it will drive you to excel. You will be hating life in a few years if you chose the thing that everyone else did, or you thought would pay the most, or what you thought would land you more jobs. There are no sure paths to success, however pursuing a career in something you are passionate about is the surest.

Find what it is that interests you most and pursue it with every fiber of your being. Speaking from a personal standpoint, it hasn’t all been frolicking through fields of wildflowers. But when push came to shove my curiosity and interest in the field of work I had chosen was what made me stand out. People can tell when your heart is in your work. It will be entirely self-evident by the boldness with which you to take on unfamiliar ideas and new projects, and the tenacity you show in solving difficult problems.

Keep this in mind also, on the whole the information systems tech will deal directly with customers more regularly than a programmer might.

In summary:

  1. Find your passion
  2. Be the best you know at it and never stop learning more
  3. Profit


Thank you for stopping by Saturday afternoon and posting a message.

You absolutely did NOT sound like a broken record! It was very refreshing to read your thoughtful and articulate response to a question that is often asked in this forum. I hope that you find something in these forums that sparks your interest and stimulates you to return and continue sharing your knowledge and wisdom. We would be privileged to have you in our midst.


if you think CIS is good for you then go for it man…!!!

I’ve been in IT world about 15 years. From what I’ve seen, CS or CIS they all end up as junior programming job first. I did see few handful who actually got into a very special program to become a manager but those are very rare occasions. Also, many junior programmer who has extensive programming experience have easier time compare to someone with CIS. Also, during the interview they’ll ask more technical questions as well. Honestly, if you want to become a manager then you need to get an MBA. There are many who became a manager with CS/CIS but those with MBA seems to get those position much earlier. Just my 2 cents. I’d pick CS then goto MBA school.