The MS in Information Systems focuses on the planning, development and management of information systems that enable organizations to gain strategic and tactical competitive advantages.
The standard concentration offers the most flexibility and is ideal for those who want to select a diverse mix of Advanced Phase electives, based upon their interests and/or their current employer's needs. For example, a student who works in an IT position with a heavily internationalized firm and interacts regularly with networking employees may want to choose electives from among a combination of networking and global IT courses. This concentration is also suitable for those wanting to customize a program for a career as an IT consultant, IT trainer, technical author, or IT sales consultant, for example. Note that this concentration is not recommended for those without professional IT experience. Students without such experience would be better served by selecting one of the other concentrations, each of which targets a specific IS position in the workforce.
Business Analysis/Systems Analysis Concentration
This concentration prepares students to function as both a Business Analyst (BA) and a Systems Analyst (SA). In general, both a BA and a SA are charged with understanding the issues of the business or organizational unit and ensuring that IT projects meet those business needs. Typically, the emphasis for a Business Analyst is upon ferreting out and organizing the needs of a user department or a project, as well as ensuring that those needs are tied to the functional requirements of its IT systems. Business Analysts should have outstanding communication skills, a desire to work with people, and strong organizational abilities. For a Systems Analyst, the emphasis typically is upon designing and overseeing the development of a workable IT system that will meet those functional requirements. Thus, a Systems Analyst may be involved in requesting and analyzing bids, developing hardware requirements, setting and overseeing testing standards, directing programming activity, and coordinating the installation of information systems. Systems Analysts should have strong knowledge in methodologies and modeling techniques, solid communication skills, in-depth knowledge of the IT field, a strong inclination toward lifelong learning, and outstanding organizational ability.
Project Management Concentration
The concentration in Project Management is designed to prepare students for positions as IT Project Managers. Project Managers organize, schedule, and control IT projects, ensuring that they are implemented on-time, within budget, and that they meet stakeholder expectations and needs. Many PMs now manage virtual projects, where their project team is globally scattered and communications are primarily electronically facilitated. Some PMs lead an individual project, while others may be responsible for allocating scarce monetary and human resources across a variety of competing projects. Regardless, Project Managers must be skilled negotiators. In addition, all Project Managers require substantial organizational ability, sound judgment, and outstanding interpersonal skills.
Enterprise Systems Integration Concentration
The Enterprise Systems Integration Analyst is responsible for developing solutions that allow integrating Information Technology systems, both internal and external to the organization. Such solutions must be efficient and effective, leveraging standardized technologies, policies and procedures to achieve functional interaction of systems. Enterprise Systems Integration Analysts require exceptional conceptual and communication skills, a broad and deep knowledge of IT systems, and a proactive nature.
Information Technology Management Concentration
The concentration in Information Technology Management prepares students to lead an organization's IT function, as either Chief Information Officer or Chief Technology Officer. Such positions have strategic responsibility for identifying and championing the strategic use of IT within their organizations, as well as ensuring that the IT infrastructure is capable of meeting strategic business goals. In addition, these executives have substantial budgetary responsibility, including responsibility for allocating scarce monetary and human resources among competing projects. They are responsible for smooth daily operation of the various functional departments within the Information Technology area, as well as for ensuring disaster recovery and business continuity.
Business Web Analysis and Development Concentration
This concentration in Business Web Analysis and Development prepares students to function as programmer/analysts in an e-business environment. The e-business programmer/analyst must have a strong knowledge of both Web development technologies and e-business applications. Knowledge of e-business security is critical. This concentration is designed for those who are interested in both programming and analysis in a Web environment. Ideal personal characteristics include outstanding logic and attention to detail, coupled with strong interest in the business function and an ability to work well with others.
Managing E-Business Concentration
The concentration in e-business management prepares students to manage an organization's e-business efforts, including developing and overseeing a long range e-business strategy. E-business managers champion the use and expansion of Web-based systems in meeting strategic goals. They work closely with marketing and sales departments to develop and enhance their Web-based efforts. Some students in this concentration will seek initial positions as Web content managers. Typical characteristics for those managing e-business include strategic vision, a proactive orientation, a lifelong interest in new technology, and outstanding interpersonal skills.
Business Intelligence Concentration
A Business Intelligence Analyst understands the strategic goals and tactical issues facing an organization, and uses a combination of technology and statistics to provide senior management with the information they need. Typically, this is done through the maintenance of a data warehouse, a special data repository from which strategic information may be harvested, using data mining techniques to compute predictive analytics. Business analysts have strong computational and analytical skills, and are comfortable with both statistics and technology. They are able to anticipate and fill senior executives' data needs, often through the use of real-time dashboards.
Information Security and Compliance Concentration
The concentration in Information Security & Compliance prepares students to function as information security managers, risk managers, IT auditors, and compliance analysts. These roles are responsible for conducting risk assessments, developing and implementing security policies, and ensuring an organization's IT compliance with internal, industry, and government regulation, policies, and procedures. These roles play an integral part in advising and collaborating across organizational units on chain of trust agreements, business continuity and disaster recovery plans, and audit and governmental compliance practices. Further, these roles are responsible for building organizational awareness of security and compliance policies and procedures. As such, these professionals must maintain current knowledge of a broad range of security threats and vulnerabilities, legal requirements, ethical considerations, industry standards and control techniques. These professionals are detail-oriented and persistent, are persuasive in both oral and written communication to a broad range of technical and non-technical organizational members, and are effective at advising and influencing senior management.
Database Administration Concentration
This concentration in Database Administration is designed to prepare students to be Database Administrators. Large organizations have entire teams or even departments responsible for the DBA function, while small organizations may have just one DBA. In general, DBA's are responsible for the validity, reliability, security, and online responsiveness of their organization's database. They design both the physical and logical structure of these databases, develop processes and procedures to ensure both security and business continuity and disaster recovery.