FORT WAYNE, Ind.—In order to meet a growing demand for information systems (IS) professionals in business and industry as well as students’ need for more flexibility in their college studies, the Indiana University–Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW) Department of Computer Science is introducing a new Online Bachelor of Science in Information Systems. Student applications are currently being accepted for the new online program, which debuts this fall and complements IPFW’s existing A.S. and B.S. programs in Information Systems that meet on campus.
IPFW Computer Science Department Chair and Professor Peter Ng, Ph.D., and the department faculty have worked to provide courses online. The Division of Continuing Studies Department of Online Learning provides assistance in the delivery of these flexible courses.
To enroll in the IS program, students should have an interest in solving problems in a corporate setting. Programming experience or high-level mathematics is not needed for entry into the degree program. Information Systems professionals fill a variety of jobs related to the management, design, and utilization of computing solutions that drive the day-to-day functions of every line of business within an organization. An IS professional is proficient in business and technology systems and is able to optimize systems to provide meaningful information through the organizational structure. The Bachelor of Science in Information Systems prepares individuals for a career as a computer professional as well as for possible graduate study.
“IS graduates are in high demand and the need is increasing,” according to Ng. He points out statistics from the National Association of Colleges and Employers that predict 40 percent of computer science-related jobs will go unfilled in the year 2018. “Our graduates are highly sought after in our region, and have been successful throughout the U.S. and other nations,” he said.
Information Systems is an attractive career choice for students interested in business and technology who want to command a higher-than-average starting salary. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows average
wages of experienced information systems professionals reached a national average of $56 per hour or
$116,000 per year in 2010. Locally, Ng said that IS graduates with a bachelor’s degree can anticipate earning an annual starting salary in the range of $45,000 to $50,000 in northeast Indiana, or $75,000 to $78,000 per year in other parts of the country. “Our graduates are very pleased with their starting salaries and are happy their hard work has paid off,” he noted.
The IPFW Computer Science Department ensures that cooperative and industry experience comes with the IS degree, connecting its students with companies in need of IS services. “We have a 100 percent placement rate—most of our students are placed before they graduate,” according to Ng.
While majoring in Information Systems, students also take courses in areas emphasizing business and professional skills that will help increase their value to an employer. “The IPFW Information Systems B.S. degree is different from most other programs because we require students to know so much of the business area. Our students will be more valuable in the business community because of their training in both business and computer science,” said Ng. Students enrolled in the Online Bachelor of Science in Information Systems program have several options for minors or dual degrees, depending on the student’s interests.
The new Online Bachelor’s Degree in Information Systems will provide opportunities for those interested in an IS degree whose current work schedules or other commitments prevent them from attending the traditional program on campus. “Stay-at-home moms and dads, working people, and those who travel a lot may want a second career and are ideal candidates for this online IS degree program due to the flexibility of being able to study anywhere,” according to Ng. Military veterans, as well as students enrolled in a Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program, along with technicians and teachers wanting to enhance or change their career direction will benefit from the online IS program. High school students interested in information systems may also enroll in online IS courses, as a few of the IS courses are eligible for dual-credit learning, allowing the students to get a head start on their college degree while still in high school.
The IPFW Computer Science Department also offers an associate degree in Information Systems that is available to its online students. Both the A.S. and B.S. programs in Information Systems studied at IPFW culminate in degrees awarded from Purdue University, a world leader in professional science, engineering, and technological education, providing instant credibility and recognition with global employers.
While classes will be conducted over the Internet, online IS students will also have unique access to on-campus classes and one-on-one meetings with professors when they need additional help. “An advantage to students enrolled in IPFW Department of Computer Science programs is that the department offers its courses both face to face and online—so online students are welcome to sit in on face-to-face classes to better understand the more difficult concepts. They are also free to walk in to the department at any time to get to know their professors and take advantage of their network of contacts in business and industry,” according to Ng. “Enrolling as an online student doesn’t mean our doors are closed,” he said.
Another resource available to IS online students is ET-118, a room in the IPFW Engineering, Technology, and Computer Science Building where students get together to work on team projects and provide peer support. Online IS students are eligible for membership in career-related professional and honorary organizations sponsored by the Department of Computer Science and will be recognized for academic achievements just like students enrolled in the traditional program.
Enrollment is currently underway for online classes in Information Systems starting in fall 2013. To learn more about IPFW’s new Online Bachelor of Science in Information Systems, to watch videos featuring IS faculty and students, or to take a video tour of the IPFW campus, visit the Department of Computer Science website or call 260-481-6803.