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Information Systems Technology: What Is It & How Does it Work?

In the world of technology, many jobs fall into two categories: information systems (IS) and information technology (IT). Since both of these paths provide valuable skills and knowledge about the technology field, it can be difficult to choose one over the other. 

Fortunately, a new branch of the tech world is becoming available to students and professionals alike: information systems technology. This all-encompassing degree path offers a balance of IT and IS, which gives graduates an opportunity to familiarize themselves with a wider range of skill sets.

If you’re interested in learning more about the field of information systems technology and are considering becoming an information technologist yourself, continue reading!

What is Information Technology?

The first leg of any computer science project will fall under the category of information technology. This is because IT places a greater emphasis on the creation and development of the software and hardware that information systems utilize. 

Basically, IT professionals are trained to keep computer systems up and running. More specifically, the concept of IT can be defined as the study, implementation, support, or management of computer-based information systems. This means that information technology jobs may include any of the following responsibilities:1

  • Computer support – Technical support includes fixing computer errors, troubleshooting, and helping other members of an organization better understand the technology they’re using. Generally, those within the IT field must have good customer service skills and ample experience in technical support for both hardware and software.
  • Network systems administration – The next step above IT support is known as network systems administration. This is usually considered a higher-ranking position with increased responsibility. As an administrator, you’ll likely oversee a team of IT professionals, and will be in charge of upgrading and maintaining an organization’s system of computers, software, and networks. 
  • Programming and software development – Within the IT field, there are also people who program and develop the software these organizations use. Many software developers will work directly with their place of employment to design and implement operating systems and applications to improve day-to-day operations. Software engineers often have ample experience in computer science and are usually fluent in programming languages like JavaScript and Python.

What Are Information Systems?

Next, we have the broader concept of information systems. While IT is all about developing and maintaining computer-based technology, IS is more of an umbrella term. This means that a lot of different systems can fall into the category of IS.

To help you better understand this idea, let’s take a look at the actual definition of information systems: Information systems refer to the systems, hardware, networks, and processes designed to collect, filter, store, and exchange digital information2. To that end, information systems can be broken up into five unique components:3

  • Software – Essentially, software tells a computer or computer system how to work. Computer software can include operating systems like Windows or iOS, as well as applications like internet browsers, file-sharing programs, word processors, and internet security systems.
  • Hardware – While software tells a system how to work, hardware does the work at hand. To that end, hardware refers to the physical devices that make up an organization’s computer networks. This is a crucial component because efficient, dependable hardware is needed to run the programs that IS requires. Hardware includes computers, external hard drives, servers, keyboards, scanners, and more.
  • Telecommunications – Telecommunications refers to the way data and information are transferred between the hardware within a network. The internet is the most well-known example of a telecommunications system, but smaller-scale examples may be found within an organization. 
  • Databases – Once data is collected by the software, it needs to be stored somewhere. Databases are an important aspect of information systems because they keep the information organized, secure, and accessible.
  • Human procedures – Finally, we have the human aspect of information systems. To run the software, collect data, and keep programs up and running, you’ll need skilled IS professionals like software engineers and data analysts controlling everything behind the screen.  

What is Information Systems Technology?

With a deeper understanding of how these two systems work, now is the time to discuss how they can work together.

Information systems technology is essentially the combination of both IT and IS into one diverse field. This unique branch of tech delves into the integral aspects of both IS and IT. More specifically, information systems technology is going to cover both the development of these systems as well as the technology that keeps them in place.

The field of information systems technology also includes the process of managing these systems and the technology they rely on. Everything from basic IT support to high-level network development is going to fall into this overarching category. 

Jumpstart Your Career With An Information Systems Technology Program

If you’re interested in this emerging field, you can earn a Bachelor’s of Science or a Master’s of Science in Information Systems Technology—or both! We’ll be discussing the curriculum, benefits, and typical requirements related to each of these unique degree programs.

BS in Information Technology Systems

A typical BSIST program is designed to prepare students for a variety of entry-level positions in the technology field. Throughout your four-year program, you’ll likely learn valuable skills related to a myriad of IT and IS subjects, including:

  • Cybersecurity
  • Information systems
  • Data analytics
  • Software development
  • Software testing

While these are just a few examples of popular IST lessons, most BS information systems technology programs provide a well-rounded education with the goal of preparing you for the professional world. 

With a balanced curriculum and many technical skills acquired, graduates will join the professional world ready with a number of applicable skills under their belts, from tech support to project management.

Some managerial positions, however, require additional experience and education. If this sounds like an intriguing and worthwhile career path, then you may benefit from an MS in information technology systems, as well. 

MS in Information Technology Systems 

An informational technology master’s degree isn’t required for anyone pursuing a tech career, but it may provide some advantages in such a competitive job market. 

Some employers prefer to hire candidates with master’s degrees, often for positions such as:

  • Computer and information research scientist
  • IS/IT project manager
  • Computer systems analyst
  • Cloud architect
  • Chief technology/information officer
  • Web production specialist

Many technology-based bachelor’s degree programs are already highly rigorous. After such intensive undergraduate education, many students often find themselves asking the same question: why would employers prefer a candidate with an MSIST degree? 

MSIST graduates can have:

  • Increased knowledge of the technology field
  • More management experience
  • Better critical thinking skills and science literacy
  • More hands-on experience with IT and IS
  • A larger portfolio of impressive projects

At Alliant, these skills will be polished through a number of unique courses. Our MSIST program operates on an 8-week calendar with the following curriculum:

  • Information Systems Technology and Infrastructure Management
  • Database Design Principles and Technologies
  • Data Analytics and Decision Making
  • Management of Information Security
  • Enterprise Systems Analysis and Project Management
  • Distributive Communications and Protocols
  • Advanced Programming with Python
  • Professional Practice I
  • Cybersecurity Technology
  • Professional Practice II
  • Cloud Computing Concepts, Tools, and Applications
  • Professional Practice III
  • Industry Research Project

As you can see, the MSIST curriculum delves deeper into the complexities of the technology field to provide students with relevant professional and managerial skills. 

Why You Should Advance Your Education in Information Systems Technology

By earning your degree in information systems technology, you’ll be allowing yourself to explore and prepare for all aspects of the technology industry. Rather than restricting yourself to just the IT or IS portion of the field, joining an information systems technology program may open up numerous opportunities for you within the tech industry.

In addition to this freedom, graduates from a computer information system technology program may be eligible to earn higher salaries upon joining the workforce. If you have the technical skill and know-how, an information system technology job just might be the right career path for you. 

Earn Your Degree in Information Systems Technology with Alliant

At Alliant, we understand the importance of thorough STEM education. That’s why we don’t limit our students to an IT or IS degree. Instead, our in-depth Information Systems Technology program allows students to experience the tech industry from numerous frames of reference. 

Whether you’re interested in software development, project management, or web design, our IST programs can help you hone your skills and achieve your career goals. With flexible in-person and online classes, real-world internship opportunities, and experienced faculty, the information systems technology program at Alliant is designed to be accessible and applicable to a career in STEM.

Learn more about our information systems technology programs, and start your technology career today!


  1. Bourgeois, Dave, and David T. Bourgeois. “Chapter 1: What Is an Information System?” Pressbooks. Pressbooks. Accessed: January 7, 2022.
  2. Gregersen, Erik. “5 Components of Information Systems.” Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica, inc. Accessed: January 7, 2022.
  3. “Occupational Outlook Handbook: Computer and Information Technology Occupations.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, September 8, 2021. Accessed: January 7, 2022. 

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