Is an MIS Degree Worth It?


Key Takeaways

  • An MIS degree offers a blend of business acumen and IT skills that are highly sought after in various industries.
  • Career versatility and high earning potential make MIS degrees a valuable investment for tech-savvy business professionals.
  • Assess personal interests and industry trends to determine the suitability and potential ROI of an MIS degree.

    Introduction to Management Information Systems (MIS)

    MIS has long been an integral aspect of data-driven decision-making (DDDM) among organizations. With the rise of Big Data and digital transformation, it has become even more important.

    This is because MIS performs these functions in Big Data and digital transformation:

    • Provides an effective tool for strategic planning through DDDM
    • Aids in better risk management
    • Enable users toward better analysis and interpretation of massive data sets
    • Streamline business processes that increase operations effectiveness and efficiency
    • Provide real-time access to data intelligence and analytics, resulting in real-time decision-making
    • Give organizations a competitive advantage in marketing and other business functions 

    What is management information systems (MIS)? The term refers to: 

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    • A unit within an organization responsible for the computer systems used in DDDM
    • A computer system consisting of hardware and software used to collect, store, store, and analyze data 
    • A suite of applications for resource and people management 

    Thus, MIS refers to both the people and the technology they use. 

    Furthermore, MIS is crucial in business technology integration in many ways. 

    • Aids in the collection, storage, and management of business-related data. Customer information, sales and revenue, and production progress are examples 
    • Provides structured, accessible, and real-time information for on-the-fly business decisions
    • Generates actionable insights, an integral part of effective DDDM 
    • Automates processes and procedures for streamlined operations 
    • Integrate different computer systems into a cohesive computer system for better information flow 

    Indeed, MIS makes it possible for businesses to integrate disparate technologies. 

    For these reasons, MIS professionals are valuable in effective DDDM. Business owners and managers work with MIS professionals to make informed decisions. Their specialized knowledge in data collection, analysis, and interpretation is the key. 

    Types of MIS Degrees and Their Scope

    Aspiring professionals choose from MIS degree programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Every degree level has its cost and time investment. Each degree level also has its rewards in job opportunities and salary.

    Be sure to consider both sides – the needed investment and the anticipated rewards. In doing so, you’re setting realistic expectations about pursuing an MIS degree. 

    Associate’s Degree 

    Students in associate’s degree programs gain a foundational understanding of MIS. Information systems, business applications, and database management are part of their coursework. Students develop basic technical skills in programming, too. 

    If you want a quick entry into the MIS field, go for it. Enroll in a community college for a more affordable cost. Then, transfer earned credits to a bachelor’s degree program at a four-year university. 

    Graduates qualify for junior roles. For career advancement, work experience and a bachelor’s degree should do the trick. 

    Bachelor’s Degree 

    Students in bachelor’s degree programs gain a more MIS-centric yet comprehensive education. The interdisciplinary coursework includes project management, business analytics, and information systems. Students gain technical skills in business technology integration along with soft skills. 

    Earning a bachelor’s degree has a significant cost and time investment. Students pay $27,000 – $64,000 in total tuition, excluding incidental and living expenses. Depending on transfer credits, students take 3-4 years of full-time study to earn it. 

    But the high-paying job opportunities can make the investment worthwhile. Graduates qualify for entry-level positions, such as business analysts. Extensive work experience contributes to improved opportunities for promotions into managerial positions. 

    Master’s Degree 

    Students in master’s degree programs tackle advanced MIS topics. These include enterprise systems, business intelligence and analytics, and IT strategy. 

    The emphasis is on advanced technical knowledge and skills for leadership positions. Students also complete soft skills development courses. 

    Employers seek MIS professionals with specialized knowledge and skills for C-suite and executive-level jobs. The higher earning potential can offset the higher cost of a master’s degree. Of course, leveraging your master’s degree will affect your ROI. 

    Doctoral Degree 

    If you’re interested in high-level MIS research, go for a PhD. But be aware of the significant time commitment and money investment. PhD programs have a four-year average time-to-degree but it can be as long as seven years. Students spend $81,900 on average and can get into $80,590 in student loan debt. 

    Did we mention that there’s a high dropout rate in PhD programs? Be sure to plan your academic journey to avoid being part of the ABD Army. That’s All But the Dissertation (ABD). 

    But the rewards of earning a PhD make it worthwhile. High-level research and academic positions are within reach. 

    Many colleges and universities offer online MIS degree programs, too. This begs the question, “Is an online MIS program worth it? Of course, it is. But it must be offered by a regionally accredited institution. 

    Career Opportunities with an MIS Degree

    Establishing a successful Management Information Systems career starts with information about your options. Your information systems management degree can open opportunities for diverse occupations. 

    Note that your degree level will influence the types of positions you’re qualified for. In general, the higher the degree level, the higher the position and salary will be. Your work experience and work performance are also considered in the hiring process. 

    Here are the popular occupations for MIS degree holders and their average annual salaries. 

    • IT analysts – $74,893 
    • IT technicians – $74,975 
    • Management analysts – $78,137 
    • Information security analysts – $82,674 
    • Systems administrators $85,716 
    • Data managers – $85,778 
    • Business intelligence analysts – $91,358 
    • Information systems managers – $91,360 
    • Database administrators – $92,582 
    • IT project managers – $99,045
    • Business analysts – $104,964
    • Systems analysts – $111,619
    • Information technology directors- $124,399 
    • Information security directors –  $151,262

    Yet another benefit of earning an MIS degree is its versatile applications. With your MIS skills, you can qualify for jobs in other technology sectors, too. These include artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, and cloud computing. 

    Said versatility comes from the fact that these are related fields within the computer and IT discipline. MIS professionals are experts at data handling, a critical skill in cybersecurity. 

    Furthermore, continuing education and professional development are a must for MIS professionals. The fast obsolescence in MIS technology makes continuing education critical for success.

    Think of it this way: If you don’t keep up, you won’t be relevant. You will be replaced by MIS professionals with more updated skills.  

    With this in mind, gain practical experience through internships and job shadowing. Earn MIS-relevant professional certifications, too, such as:  

    • Project Management Professional (PMP) 
    • Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)
    • Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)

    These professional credentials will also boost your credibility as an MIS professional. Be sure to engage in professional networking activities, too. Your professional reputation will benefit from it. 

    Analysis of the Market Demand for MIS Professionals

    MIS professionals are in high demand across diverse sectors, too. With the widespread use of data, organizations using DDDM seek their expertise. This is particularly true for traditional and digital businesses, healthcare facilities, and finance organizations.  

    There’s also the fact that MIS professionals can expect excellent projected job growth in the next decade. MIS professionals qualify for these two types of occupations: 

    • Information systems occupations with a 13% projected job growth (2022-2032) and $91,250 in median annual salary.  
    • Computer and information technology occupations with as high as 23% projected job growth (2022-2032). Median salaries range from $92,750 to $145,080 per year. 

    Again, your degree level will influence your earning potential. If you want to enjoy a higher income, earn a bachelor’s degree for starters. The average weekly salary for bachelor’s degree holders differs by $435 against associate degree holders. Your earning potential can increase with a graduate degree, too. 

    Keep in mind that MIS careers are in constant flux, a reflection of the ever-evolving nature of MIS technology and applications. Technological advancements and global business trends are among the most influential factors affecting MIS careers. 

    Deciding If an MIS Degree Is the Right Investment for You

    While an MIS degree pays off, it isn’t automatically for you. You must perform a self-assessment to determine if you’re a good fit or not. 

    Keep in mind that an MIS degree combines STEM and business education. You must have a keen interest in using technology for informed business decision-making. Your foundational skills in science, technology and math from your high school education must meet the rigorous standards of an MIS degree program. 

    Once you’re accepted, you must prepare yourself for the hands-on learning experiences. Internships and hands-on projects complement the STEM-centric theoretical knowledge from the rigorous coursework. 

    Be careful about your choice of an MIS degree program, too. Look for: 

    • Valid regional accreditation of the college offering it 
    • MIS-specific courses along with general education and elective courses for a well-rounded education 
    • Excellent quality of instruction delivered by credentialed faculty members
    • Effective student support and career development services
    • Supportive alumni network 
    • Extensive networking opportunities 

    Are you ready to take on the challenges of earning an MIS degree? You will find that it’s a great decision for your future.