Information systems are made up of many different components that gather, store, process, and deliver information throughout organizations. Information systems vary by the actions and needs of organizations, ranging from office information systems and transaction processing systems to management information systems and expert systems. To enter this highly technical field, future information systems professionals need to have the proper level of education and training prior to employment. At the doctoral level of study, students will take advanced courses in information systems and related topics and put tens if not hundreds of hours into dissertation research.
Why a Ph.D?
A PhD is the pinnacle of academic achievement in information systems. Not only are doctoral candidates considered experts in their area of study, but they also make lasting contributions to the field by conducting many hours of original research. The knowledge, skill set, and endless commitment to a particular field make PhD holders invaluable job candidates. Whether you want to become an academic for life or, say, the manager of a large organization, the information systems PhD program could be a good fit for you.
Inside an Information Systems Doctorate Degree Program
On average, online PhD programs in information systems take about six years to complete, but total time varies wildly based on your institution and semester by semester course load. Throughout this time, students take classes in information systems principles, Java programming, computer networks-architectures, network management and security, enterprise database management, data analytics and methods, and systems analysis and design. They also spend several years completing a master’s, conducting original research, and writing a doctoral dissertation that details their findings.
Doctoral students usually specialize in a related subfield, such as management, computer science, information science, and business administration. Oftentimes, students focus on tried-and-true research areas or ones that pertain to their subfield. For example, if your PhD program has a management focus, then possible research areas could include technology policy, organizational behavior, information security and privacy, or data mining.
What’s Next for Information Systems Doctorate Degree Holders?
Graduates of the online PhD in information systems will be qualified for a variety of jobs in academia, research, or industry. A direct path for many PhD holders is to become a college professor in information systems or another relevant subject. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, total employment of postsecondary teachers is projected to grow by 13% from 2014 to 2024. This occupational growth can be attributed to the rising enrollment at postsecondary institutions. Postsecondary teachers’ salaries depend on several factors, including the school, location, subject specialty, education, and experience. According to a May 2014 report by the BLS’s Occupational Employment Statistics, postsecondary teachers have an average annual salary of $74,040.
Another avenue for PhD grads is to become computer and information systems managers, who plan and oversee computer-related activities and IT goals for organizations. Employment of this occupation is expected to grow by 15% from 2014 to 2024, largely due to the fact that more organizations are improving their IT systems and security measures. In addition to having an rosy outlook, computer and information systems managers also have steep salaries. According to the May 2014 OES report, computer and information systems managers earned an average of $136,280 annually.