There are many job opportunities available in the quickly growing information and technology fields. However, because they all deal so closely with computers, many people who aren’t yet in the field aren’t always sure what the jobs will really look like once they start their careers. Sometimes, people complete an entire degree before realizing that the path they’ve taken leads to career options that could never bring them happiness or fulfilment.
In order to avoid what can feel like a huge life error, you should conduct some serious self-reflection, as well as join clubs or organizations that can expose you to what these career paths really look like. Along with some extensive job research, this type of exploration can help ensure that when you make a decision for your education, it will be the right one.
Differences in Career Paths
For those interested in both information systems (IS) and information technology (IT), there are a variety of degree options that will lead to long-term professional growth as well. While these fields work closely enough together that their titles are often used interchangeably, there are a variety of differences between the two fields.
Depending on your personality, you may be better suited for one of these career paths over the other. Although both of these fields work closely with computers, those working in information systems work much more closely with people than those who work in information technology. Therefore, those who prefer to stick with the technical side of information science while avoiding working with others are likely to prefer a career in IT.
To know which field is best to pursue, learning more about the details of the careers can help. Although these are not the only factors that matter, they’re some of the most notable differences between the career paths.
Careers in Information Technology
While both IT and IS delve deeply into the expanding field of computer science, IT is a broad term used to encompass the storage, accessibility, and technological transfer of information. These are the technological components that make up the information systems of computer science, as they are used to study, design, implement, and support computer-based information systems.
The other components that IT is responsible for include hardware, software, databases, and networks, as these are all used to help manage the technology and help those using it get the most out of what they offer. Although potential career paths vary based on the courses taken to emphasize a person’s computer science education, ultimately there’s a lot of flexibility with computer science degrees.
For computer science or information science graduates, IT can offer positions in:
- Cybersecurity: Security analysts, security engineers, security architects, security software developers, cryptographers, and cryptanalysts are all potential jobs.
- Infrastructure management: These positions are responsible for planning, designing, and directing the IT infrastructure of their company.
- Business intelligence: Business intelligence analysts helps companies make smart business decisions by identifying business intelligence and data analysis needs.
- Computer programming: In this role, programmers work with source codes to write, design, test, troubleshoot, and maintain company computer programs.
- Software development: Software developers are responsible for testing new potential programs, and researching, designing, and implementing company software.
For those interested in a long-term career in IT, it’s worthwhile to note that this career path deals primarily with the nuts and bolts of computer software, systems, and applications development. Although this will likely vary slightly depending on the exact position a person is in, anyone considering this career path should confirm they’re comfortable with these nuts and bolts before making this a serious path in their lives.
Computer science is often a good field of study for those wishing to dive into development and coding. However, for those who want to manage, implement, design, and support the digital systems for companies that are looking to support and empower their own and their employees’ operations, information systems is a more specific degree that focuses on working with company leaders to help achieve their technology goals.
Although information technology has earned a reputation as a very notable career path, it’s really just one of many information-based careers that can be explored with a computer science degree. However, for those more interested in careers that involve working out from under the hood, any number of information careers offer long-term career potential, and may be better suited to different personalities.
One advancing technology where many information-based backgrounds stand to thrive is artificial intelligence (AI) careers. AI is growing faster than ever, working closely with information scientists to work out the kinks of machine learning. This is a booming area for any number of information careers; including data scientists, machine learning engineers, software developers, robotics scientists, business intelligence developers, and more.
Some of the duties that these jobs entail include:
- Data scientists: The use of statistical analysis in order to create tools or data processes for a company. Using machine learning information, they may also create automated systems that facilitate software processes.
- Machine learning engineers: These engineers develop machine learning systems for their companies, and are responsible for running experiments with the software to ensure the technology is functional before implementing it.
- Robotics scientists: Those working in robotics science create robotics systems that are capable of performing necessary functions. Through their design and development, they must conduct research to ensure the technology is safe, as well as reliable.
Another huge industry for computer science graduates is healthcare, as this is one of the sectors that is thoroughly transforming itself with the newest advancing technology, and taking all of their information online to increase efficiency. Although this has been very beneficial for the medical industry, it’s also posed many threats, as these huge organizations are constantly threatened by hackers and cybercrime.
Therefore, the industry is looking to benefit from information science professionals who can help secure their databases and networks. However, to work in these fast-paced environments, those interested in health informatics must be able to work well in these specific surroundings.
- Interpersonal skills: the healthcare environment is extremely team-oriented, which requires those in this field to empathize, work, and collaborate well with others.
- Ability to problem solve: on a day-to-day basis, those in health informatics compromise with their teams regularly as they work to improve information technology processes.
- Programming knowledge: this isn’t necessarily part of every informatics job description, but it is a valuable skill if you’re looking to build information systems in your position.
- Communication skills: part of your job is to communicate complex information and data sets to others, and doing so accurately and clearly is as important as data management.
- Ability to work with health data systems: health informatics must work closely with the health data systems used in a hospital or other workplace, and familiarity helps.
Those who enjoy working in information systems as part of a team would likely thrive in a healthcare informatics position. Although information systems positions are in-demand in this industry, hospitals and the thriving healthcare industry are also a very sought after workplace. This means that to attain a position in these organizations, a top candidate will need the proper education, as well as an eloquent and well-organized resume.
This involves highlighting all of your assets as a set of valuable technical skills that will immediately attract the attention of potential employers. This is a good area to show off the specific knowledge you’ve gained throughout your career that will help you perform the distinct tasks that fall under the job description. For health informatics careers, this will likely include the aforementioned skills.
However, a good resume will come in handy no matter what position you’re looking for. As a person with a background in computer science, listing good interpersonal and communication skills will likely be most useful for potential IS positions.
IS are a great career path for those who want to help manage and run information and software. It’s a valuable position that offers a lot of growth and a chance to work closely with others as part of a team. IT is a more mechanical position in regards to information, but plays a crucial role in keeping information systems up and running. Although the positions are both similar and different, they provide the valuable opportunity for those who study computer science to choose what type of career they will thrive in.