What is MIS?

What is MIS? (Management Information Systems)

What is MIS?

MIS is the Study of People, Technology and Organizations. If you enjoy technology like iPhones, Amazon Echo and Instagram, you have what it takes to study information systems.

All you need is an interest in technology and the desire to use technology to improve people's lives. Many people think that MIS is all programming. However, programming is just a small part of our curriculum and there are many, many jobs in MIS where you do not program. 

Everyone who works in business, from someone who pays the bills to the person who hires and fires, uses information systems. For example, a supermarket could use a computer database to keep track of which products sell best. And a music store could use a database to sell CDs over the Internet. 

Information isn’t worth much if it doesn’t serve a purpose. MIS students learn how businesses use information to improve the company’s operations. Students also learn how to manage various information systems so that they best serve the needs of managers, staff and customers. MIS students learn how to create systems for finding and storing data and they learn about computer databases, networks, computer security and lots more.  

Below are some common questions to help you find out more about management information systems.


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What’s the difference between MIS and CS (computer science)?

It is useful to compare MIS to some of the other fields related to information technology. Here at The University of Arizona there are at least three computer related departments and programs. The table below will help to show the differences.

  MIS (Management Information Systems) CS (Computer Science) ECE (Electrical Computer Engineering)
Focus Organization Software Product
Objective More efficient or effective business Reliable computer program Improved engineer product 
Core Skill Problem solving Logic/Procedure Engineering 
Core Task Determine business requirements for information systems  Deliver information systems to meet defined requirements  Determine information processing requirements for device
Theoretical vs. Applied Balanced Applied Balanced 
Generic Job Title Analyst/Designer  Builder  Architect and Builder 
Typical Starting Job Title Business Systems Analyst Application Programmer  Engineer 
Career Goals Senior Organizational Manager Programming Manager  Senior Engineer or Product Manager 
College Home Business  Science  Engineering

All of these are great majors, however MIS is the ONLY major that focuses on both business processes and information technology. If you are interested in business and technology, like theory but not too much, like technology enough to want to keep up with what's hot but don't want to be writing programs or putting together chips all your life, then MIS is for you. We believe that the most upwardly mobile career path for those who like to work with business and technology is definitely in MIS.

Traits of MIS Professionals

There are a lot of different profiles, but there are some traits we've found make great MIS professionals. Do these describe you? If so, then our MIS programs are for you!

  • Are good problem solvers
  • Like to work with people
  • Can think strategically about technology
  • Like responsibility for developing and then implementing their ideas
  • Can bridge both technology and business
  • Can see both details and the big picture
  • Are excellent communicators
  • Can manage time and resources well

What jobs do MIS graduates go into?

As you can probably already tell, MIS is an integrative field. MIS professionals are the "communication bridge" between business needs and technology. This means that you will have to understand how to figure out how things work, solve problems, communicate what you found, and learn a lot of new things on a regular basis. It's a dynamic field, and it takes dynamic people to do well in it. People who can think fast, work hard, and balance a lot of things should really think about MIS. Here's only a sample of the kinds of MIS jobs. 

  • Business Analyst 
  • Business Application Developer 
  • IT Consultant 
  • Systems Analyst 
  • IT Development Project Leader 
  • Database Administrator 
  • Business Intelligence Analyst   
  • Systems Developer 
  • Database Analyst 
  • Web Developer 
  • Network Administrator 
  • Technical Support Specialist 
  • Information Systems Manager 
  • IT User Liaison

Why should I take courses or major in MIS?

The development of new information retrieval methods, as well as the improvement of existing ones, is currently one of the hottest frontiers in the field of information science. 

The number of reasons for taking courses in and/or majoring in MIS at the Eller College of Management is as vast and varied as the number of individuals who have chosen to do so. The more important reasons are:

High Placement Rate Information systems are more strategically important now than ever and individuals who understand information systems and business are in high demand. Our MIS students have a placement rate of 95% within two months of graduation!
High Salaries Top MIS graduates command very competitive salaries. The average total compensation for IT jobs is around $142,530 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2018 Edition)
Job Satisfaction Management Information Systems professionals make a significant contribution to the competitiveness and well-being of the organizations in which they work. They also help people and interact with a variety of personalities and levels of management/staff.
Fun MIS majors are intelligent and dynamic people who can interface well with both humans and machines. They enjoy working with people and are able to communicate well.
Challenge The rapid rate of change in the information systems world provides professionals with constant opportunities to learn and grow.

How long will MIS jobs be around? 

As per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH) employment of computer and information occupations are projected to grow by 13 percent, adding 557,100 new jobs from 2016 to 2026.

Demand for workers in these occupations will be driven by the continuing need for businesses, government agencies and other organizations to adopt and utilize the latest technologies. Workers in these occupations will be needed to develop software, increase cybersecurity and update existing network infrastructure.