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Loyola University Chicago

Quinlan School of Business

Information Systems Career Descriptions

Information systems are used by business organizations to compete successfully in today's global business environment by enhancing customer service, reducing costs, and creating innovative products and services. Information systems are used in virtually all parts of an organization—sales, manufacturing, distribution, service delivery, financial management, and marketing. Industries such as healthcare, financial services, insurance, and manufacturing depend on internal and external information systems for effective decision making at all levels of the organization.

With the recent trend toward outsourcing and other efficient ways of delivering information technology services, more career opportunities in project management, data management, and business analysis exist than ever before for the graduate with the appropriate background and experience.

A major in information systems can be combined with a variety of other specializations to enhance career opportunities. For example, students with finance or accounting concentrations should consider adding information systems to increase their competitiveness in the job market.

There are many IS internships available to help you gain practical experience. Visit Loyola's Career Management Services for more information about IS internships.

Consider the following careers:

   Business Systems Analyst

Businesses use information technology to run their organizations as well as to gain competitive advantage. Areas of growth include financial systems, marketing systems, human resource systems, supply chain management for manufacturing, and customer relationship management systems. As businesses add, update, and maintain these systems, they need systems analysts to help determine business requirements and act as an interface between the users and the development team.

What is systems analysis?
Systems analysis and design is the art of translating business needs into actual working information systems. It involves the systems development cycle that includes determining business requirements, designing the system, developing the system, testing the system, and maintaining the system.

What would you do as a systems analyst?
You would work with many groups of people in the business organization throughout the systems development cycle, from working with users to determine their needs and requirements to working with programmers to design the software needed to support the business.

What kind of training would you need?
You would need a strong background in software systems and database management. You would need excellent project management, problem solving, communication, and people skills. Prepare for this career by choosing the IS concentration, learning a programming language, and choosing the 393 Strategic Information Systems course and the 349 Project Management course.

   Database Analyst

Information is a critical element of all systems development projects and organizations constantly need to analyze their data and information needs to support the business. Databases and data warehouses are used to integrate organizational data to provide access to support decision-making across the organization.

What is database analysis?
Database analysis is the definition, design, and implementation of a data base environment to support system or organizational needs. The database analyst advise applications development staff and users on data base solutions that meet business requirements.

What would you do as a database analyst?
As a database analyst, you would design and propose data structures and architectures, establish data base management capabilities, and support the operation, and fine-tuning of data bases.

What kind of training would you need?
You would need a strong background in software systems and database management. You would need excellent project management, problem solving, communication and people skills. Prepare for this career by choosing the IS concentration, choosing the 349 Project Management course as an elective. Consider continuing your studies by taking the Quinlan School of Business Data Warehousing certificate program.

   Software Project Manager

What is software project management?
Developing software is a highly complex and challenging process that helps businesses to develop information systems that support a variety of organizational needs. It involves managing the systems development life cycle from start to finish. Though some coding can be outsourced, project management typically requires people to be on site.

What would you do as a software project manager?
Software Project Managers lead the day-to-day development of one or more software products. A Software Project Manager participates in quoting the cost of the project, develops the project plan, leads the architecture phase, oversees and critiques component design, and manages activities to the plan. The SPM oversees the change and configuration management, and is responsible for the overall software quality. The SPM is the conduit for information between the software engineers and the larger team. Interfacing with customers, suppliers, and management is required.

What kind of training would you need?
You would need a strong background in software systems and database management. You would need excellent project management, problem solving, team-building, communication, and people skills. Prepare for this career by choosing the IS concentration and learning a programming language, and taking the 349 Project Management and the 393 Strategic Information Systems courses. Typically, you need to gain experience as a systems analyst or software developer to move into this position. Continue your education by getting a master’s degree such as our MSISM (Master of Science in Information Systems Management).

   Data Mining

There is so much information stored in the computers that run business processes in every company, large and small. But is this information used effectively? What could businesses learn if they collected all the information in one place and analyzed trends and patterns? They might learn a lot through data mining that could save them money.

What is data mining?
Data Mining involves the search for patterns in large quantities of data. It is the process of analyzing data from different perspectives and summarizing it into useful information—information that can be used to increase revenue, cuts costs, or both.

What do you do as a data miner?
You would help to develop processes for integrating data from a variety of databases, making sure that the databases can "talk" to each other. You would assist business decision makers in developing queries to analyze the data and develop reports so that the decision makers could look at the data in useful formats.

What kind of training do you need?
You need a strong background in database design and administration and a good understanding of businesses processes and a good background in statistics.

Concentrate in Information Systems Management and continue on with the 5 year Master’s program in Information Systems (MSISM) or the graduate certificate program in Data Warehousing.

   Information Security

In recent years, personal computers and computer networks have become tools for illegal activity such as fraud, viruses, and other kinds of white collar crime. Business organizations are focusing on protecting their information and their systems and are developing more sophisticated business continuity and disaster recovery plans.

What is information security?
Information security is more than so many technologies. It involves physical, psychological, and legal aspects, such as training, encouraging, enforcing, and prosecuting. It involves strategic planning, skilled negotiating, strong business and security technologies knowledge, and practical problem solving.

What would you do as an information security specialist?
You would define critical assets and threats, assess risk and choose security strategies to meet those risks, develop business continuity and disaster recovery plans.

What kind of training would you need?
You would need a strong background in computer hardware, software systems and networks. Prepare for this career by concentrating in Information Systems, followed by certification such as Certified Protection Professional (CPP), Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) or Certification for the Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP).

   Medical Informatics or Health Informatics

Medical services are converging! What this means is that one day medical records, prescription records and requests, and medical insurance will all operate out of the same database. Health care quality and efficiency can increase with the use of integrated information systems and databases available via the web.

What do you do as a medical or health informaticist?
Integration. You need to have a strong background in database design and development, understand theories of integrating different systems in different platforms, then develop web interfaces so that users can access and report through the web.

What kind of training would you need?
You need strong computer skills, database design and development training, a good understanding of the medical and health care fields and their business processes.

Prepare for this career by concentrating in Information Systems and taking Loyola’s Data Warehousing Graduate Certificate Program.

   Bioinformatics and the Genome Project

Research in bioinformatics just couldn't happen without IT workers behind the scenes. Database administration is increasingly becoming the biggest demand for IT in this new field. Although the field is still heavy with advanced degree holders in IT, there are signs that technician-level jobs for database administrators are on the rise.

What would you do as a database administrator in bioinformatics?
You'd help develop data queries for the research scientists who are looking for patterns and characteristics among the data collected in projects like the genome project.

What kind of training would you need?
You would need both IT training (database) and a background in biotechnology. Choose Loyola's five-year program in Biology and MBA with Information Systems.



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