Starting in fall 2022, Binghamton University will offer a Master of Science in Information Systems that is intended for those whose career paths are focused on computer hardware and software systems operations and maintenance.
The program, offered through the Thomas J. Watson College of Engineering and Applied Science’s Department of Computer Science, will focus on computer systems from a user/application perspective. It will differ from other computer science options that emphasize software and hardware theoretical foundations, design, and assessment of performance, cost and functional tradeoffs.
“Every year, the Computer Science Department turns away many applicants for our MS in Computer Science program due to their lack of adequate computer science background but otherwise excellent students,” said CS Chair and Distinguished Service Professor Weiyi Meng. “The MS in Information Systems program will provide a great opportunity for these applicants as well as many others to have a rewarding career in the information technologies industry.”
The program will focus on configuring and integrating various information systems components such as networking and software systems, databases, data analytics and web-based systems and software packages, as well as developing programming and scripting skills
The MSIS program has an applied data science track, which provides an option to students who are interested in a data science/analytics career.
Associate Professor Patrick Madden, director of the new MSIS program, said it was developed in response to industry inquiries as well as feedback from students applying to Watson’s CS program.
“There has been an explosion of data processing in the cloud, with data mining and machine learning everywhere,” he said. “It has opened up tons of jobs for people with a very particular skill set, and it’s not the same as a conventional computer scientist. There’s less of a focus on writing code and a lot more on configuring and connecting systems together. The hiring managers we talk to have always been happy with our graduates in CS, but they’ve also been asking for people with this new focus.”
Applicants who do not have adequate prerequisites in programming may be admitted as long as they complete required preparatory courses before they start the program.
“We turn away many students from the CS program because they don’t have a bachelor’s degree in CS,” Madden said. “They’re great engineers and mathematicians — really bright students — but they lack the preparation for an intense graduate CS program. By adding the MSIS program, we can create courses that leverage the skills these new students have coming in and then prepare them for the new jobs that are opening up in industry.”
For students to graduate from this program, they must complete 31 credits (nine credits from three required courses, 21 credits from seven elective courses and a one-credit project), and they need to maintain a “B” average throughout their academic work.
“The world is always changing, with new technologies and shifting demands,” Madden said. “The CS Department is changing to meet the times.”