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What Can I Do with an Information Systems Degree?

by South University
October 19, 2018
A photo of an information systems technology professional working in an IT server room.

Businesses rely on information systems for everything from managing daily transactions to gaining strategic advantages over competitors. So, what exactly are information systems?

Information systems encompass all of the technology, data, processes, and people that collect, process, and distribute data and information within an organization. To succeed, businesses need experts who can guide them in selecting, designing, implementing, and managing these information systems.

Because it's an important field, by earning an Information Systems degree, you can develop the skills and knowledge to enter or advance within a wide variety of technology positions and organizations. Below are just a few of the career paths for which the Master of Science in Information Systems program (MSIS) at South University can prepare you.

1. Systems Analysis, Design, and Development

Businesses turn to those who work in system design and development to create new technology and processes customized to their unique needs. Such professionals may research, evaluate, design, develop, and test software to support business operations and enterprise strategy, including determining software specifications and requirements. You may also set quality assurance standards and help with automating, maintaining, and improving existing systems. This work can involve a variety of platforms and development environments.

Sample Job Titles: Software Architect, Systems Software Developer, Systems Engineer, Network Engineer, Infrastructure Engineer, Systems Analyst, Quality Assurance Engineer

2. Database or Data Warehouse Management

Enterprise organizations can store incredible volumes of data, and someone needs to be in charge of how it's managed and disseminated. An Information Systems degree program can prepare you to oversee this data and take on roles where you design, model, and build large databases or data warehousing structures and activities. This includes creating tools that allows users to access data for things like billing, shipping, or other recurring tasks. Often, data management professionals must integrate new data systems into existing structures. They also regularly assess aspects like system scalability, security, reliability, and performance.

Sample Job Titles: Database Administrator, Data Architect, Database Architect, Data Warehouse Analyst, Data Warehouse Solution Architect, Data Warehouse Manager

3. Business Intelligence

An overwhelming amount of data exists in the world. Within it hides complex but valuable insights that can drive business success. The job of business intelligence professionals is to unlock the information that data holds and present it in meaningful ways to business leadership.

Business intelligence involves monitoring and analyzing information from your company or from around the world to forecast performance and inform business decisions. This can include designing, implementing, or improving data-based dashboards, models, reports, and other decision support systems used by corporate management to understand trends and inform decision-making. To work in business intelligence, you’ll need the strong technical skills and expertise you can learn in an MS in Information Systems degree program.

Sample Job Titles: Business Intelligence Analyst, Commercial Intelligence Management, Manager of Market Intelligence, Competitive Intelligence Analyst

4. Information Governance

Government regulations change constantly, and almost all organizations control personally identifiable or confidential data that must be secured and protected. Some industries, like banking, education, and healthcare, collect and manage data that is particularly heavily regulated. Information governance professionals manage this data to ensure that businesses comply with regulations such as SOX (Sarbanes-Oxley Act) and HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), follow accepted IT governance frameworks, and minimize security risks.

To check that data is being managed in a compliant, secure, and effective manner, these professionals often conduct audits of enterprise information systems and data. They may also be involved in fixing identified issues and finding ways to prevent future problems from arising.

Sample Job Titles: Manager of IT Governance, Risk and Compliance, IT Program Manager, IT Security Analyst, IT Governance Consultant, Systems Analyst, Information Security Manager

5. IT Team and Project Management

Beyond preparing you to design, develop, and manage information systems, earning a master’s in Information Systems can also equip you to plan and oversee these processes within your company. In our Information Systems degree program, our curriculum includes a business course in which you can study leadership, managerial economics, organizational behavior, law and ethics, or quantitative analysis. You’ll also take a course on emerging technology so that you can help your organization in evaluating and adopting new trends and technologies.

On the whole, our Information System program can teach you how to identify and communicate business IS needs as well as apply project management best practices—from estimation, scheduling, and budgeting to project organization, control, and assessment. Together, these skills can equip you to lead your colleagues on information systems projects that improve business performance.

Sample Job Titles: Computing Services Director, Data Processing Manager, Information Systems Manager, Information Technology Director, Management Information Systems Director, Technical Services Manager, IT Project Manager

Learn more about South University's Master of Science in Information Systems today and find a campus near you!

by South University
October 19, 2018
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4 Life Hacks You’ll Get Along With Your BBA Degree

by David Nesmith
October 2, 2018
A photo of South University students at their commencement ceremony.

So, you’re thinking about pursuing a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degree. You probably already know this can be a firm foundation for a career in the Marketing, Finance, Manufacturing, Advertising, IT, and Banking industries. When you think about it, a BBA degree can help to set you up for success in pretty much any industry.

But did you know that the skills you’ll learn will also help to set you up for success in all aspects of your life? Even navigating disputes with your neighbors? Among all the other helpful things you’ll have the opportunity to learn when studying for a BBA, you'll pick up these skills you’ll rely on for the rest of your life:

Active listening

Have you ever found yourself in a conversation, nodding and saying "uh-huh" while the other person is talking, and all along you're focused on what you’re going to say next? Or watching a lecture but mentally picking out the flyest outfit possible for tonight's date? You might think you are "multi-tasking," but what you're really doing is depriving yourself of important knowledge and perspectives, while depriving people around you of the gift of actively listening to them.

The experiences you get from BBA coursework can turn active listening from a chore to something you don’t even notice you're doing. In addition to the introductory coursework in communications that most BBA candidates get, some coursework at South University depends on active listening and understanding of directions in order to pass.

"Think of it like making a cake or putting together a bookcase," Laura Baker, DBA, South University’s department chair for the College of Business Online Programs. "If you don't follow an individual instruction correctly, you'll end up with a flat cake or lopsided bookcase. It's the same with some of our coursework, which relies heavily on steps that build upon each other over time. If you don't actively listen enough to understand the instruction, and execute it as directed, you’re in danger of going down a wrong and lonely path."

For two days, try forcing yourself to be present and actively listen to everyone you engage with. You’ll definitely see a difference. People will respond to you more positively and they will even listen to you more intently.

Don't you want to make that second nature?

Critical thinking and decision-making

We all have friends who seem to make the wrong choice as often as they make the right, right? They always pick the wrong love interest, or car, or job even. These people may have a firm grasp on their emotions, but they lack or aren't using their critical thinking skills. They aren't "playing the tape through," predicting what their decision is probably going to turn out like in a few weeks or months.

That ability is also important on the job. If your job is procurement, there are a lot of factors, beyond the cost, to consider when picking a supplier.

  • Are they dependable?
  • Can they fill an order on short notice?
  • Do they always have inventory?
  • Where are they located?

Your job is to find the supplier that fits your company's purchasing style. Trust us, fewer headaches are often worth the extra fees.

"Those same courses at South that require a number of steps also force a student to think critically," adds Baker. "You can’t take your eye off the bigger picture. You have to ask yourself if this action will advance me to my goal. And you have to anticipate the land mines and roadblocks each decision might present. The act of examining all possibilities, weeding out the ones with the obviously wrong outcomes, making compromises when needed, and weighing each choice against the others will help you make decisions with confidence and authority."

Confidence and authority? That sounds like a recipe for success!

Conflict resolution

Pretend you and your neighbor are in a feud over your adorable puppy, Petals. Petals is so sweet and cute there's no way anyone could not love her. But when there’s a full moon, Petals likes to howl. Maybe your neighbor cares more about a good night of sleep than a dog’s instincts. People are weird, you know?

How would you solve this situation without bad feelings and resentments?

To people without conflict resolution skills, burning his house down or moving to a new neighborhood seem like the only options. But a person who looks at the situation from BOTH perspectives can often come up with a mutually beneficial solution. Your path to a BBA can teach you how to do just that.

"It's all about empathy," said Baker. "You can't resolve conflicts without understanding all of the parties involved. But empathy means more than that. It means being able to put yourself in their shoes. Many of our courses teach that."

"Take our Global Business Management class, for example. That course teaches students about other cultures and the importance of respecting their ways of doing things. If your goal is to seal a deal, you better know if, in your counterpart’s culture, shaking hands is like a slap in the face."

So, what's the solution to the Petal problem? What if you took the time to understand that your neighbor suffers from insomnia and can’t get back to sleep once awake? And because of that, he's too tired to do his job well or take his kid to soccer practice? What if you offered to keep outrageously gorgeous Petals indoors when there is a full moon? Seems like that is a worthy compromise to keep the peace. Who knows? Maybe he'll offer to watch Petals when you travel? Stranger things have happened.

Either way, you won’t have to find out if your neighbor’s bark is worse than his bite.

Bonus life hack: Leadership

Guess what? All of the above skills are essential traits in a good leader.

  • Active listening? Check
  • Critical thinking? Check
  • Decision making? Check
  • Conflict resolution? Check

Throughout the entire BBA process, you will have the opportunity to learn how to effectively communicate, negotiate and all the other qualities that make a good leader," Baker added. "You learn how to speak, understand and be empathetic towards others, and these are all of the key components to motivating and managing people. Leadership skills are involved in pretty much everything you learn in a BBA program."

So yes, a BBA can be the foundation for a good career. But better yet, it can be a strong foundation for a great life.

Want to know more? Talk to our admissions team about the BBA degree program at South University. Call us at 1.888.444.3404 or request information today.

by David Nesmith
October 2, 2018
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Information Systems & Technology Students Gain Experience with Advanced Industry Software

by South University
August 16, 2018
a photo of an two information technology professions working at a computer.

At South University, input from industry professionals and subject matter experts plays a critical role in our course and program development. Their insights help us to ensure that our students graduate with experience and understanding of career- and industry-specific tools and technology. This is especially crucial for our Information Systems and Technology students, as they prepare to enter a field full of constantly evolving tech.

Over the last several years at South University, Tampa, our Master of Science in Information Systems (MSIS) students have received valuable hands-on experience with software applications and tools used in the professional field of business intelligence and analytics. These opportunities for our student to gain applied knowledge have included:

  • In the Decision Support Systems class, students build their own data warehouse on IBM’s DB2 Warehouse Edition software and populate it with real data provided by IBM. They also learn how to design business intelligence models utilizing the Cognos Analytics platform and build the type of dashboards that allow business analysts to identify and better understand business trends. Such platforms and models can serve as key tools for informing organizational decision-making among upper management and executives.
  • Information Systems students are provided with the opportunity to learn about cognitive computing by using IBM Watson Analytics—an intelligent data analysis and visualization service that makes it easier to discover patterns and meaning in data. By using IBM Watson Analytics' guided data discovery, automated predictive analytics, and cognitive capabilities such as natural language dialogue, our students are learning how to use artificial intelligence tools to augment their own skills and better meet the demands of today's fast-paced, data-intensive corporate environment.

South University is pleased to be working with the IBM Academic Initiative to provide Information Systems and Technology students with such important hands-on experiences and expose them to these new technologies in cognitive computing, artificial intelligence, data science and analytics, and the cloud. We look forward to seeing how our graduates will put these new skills to work for their employers and uncover meaningful insights and information that will undoubtedly help the evolution of their organizations.

Want to know more? Learn why businesses need information systems and technology professionals and how our MSIS program was built around that demand. If you’re interested in gaining skills and knowledge related to Information Systems, our MSIS program is available online and at multiple campus locations. Start planning for tomorrow today!

by South University
August 16, 2018
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6 Tips to Take Your Resume from Good to Great

by South University
April 13, 2018

Landing your dream job can be a challenge, especially in fields with a competitive job market. To have a chance at a phone call – never mind an-person interview – your resume must grab your potential employer’s attention and then keep them focused on you!

1. Quantify your contributions. Don’t just list the tasks you do. Instead, use numbers to show the volume and impact of your work. If possible, explain how your actions benefited or improved your team or the company as whole.

2. Tailor your resume for each specific job. For each job you apply to, think about what skills, qualifications and experience you should highlight on your resume. If it’s applicable, include how your current role is similar to the job for which you are currently applying (but don't exaggerate!). For example, if you're applying to be a manager, list your previous or current management responsibilities and project leadership experiences.

3. Include your hobbies, freelance or volunteer work when it’s relevant. If you're applying for a position as a computer programmer and your hobby is developing mobile apps or helping with a non-profit’s website as a volunteer, include those items on your resume. Hobbies and additional work can show that you are passionate about a subject or that you have taken the initiative to develop a skill outside of your current position. If you don’t have room on your resume, you can mention them in your cover letter instead.

4. Create a resume that's easy to skim. Format your resume with bold headings and bullet points and start each section with the most impressive skill or job responsibility. Unless you have over 5 years of experience, keep your resume to one page. Even if your resume is two pages, the most important information should still appear on the first page. Remember, hiring managers may see tons of resumes, so yours could have only a few seconds to grab their attention.

5. Clean up and unclutter your layout. Leave white space around the edges and delete unnecessary items like supervisor contact information or "References available upon request." (If they want references, they'll ask!) Use tables to ensure each column is perfectly lined up.

6. Leave a professional impression. Use bright white paper or professional letterhead, make sure the ink in your printer is dark, and select an easy-to-read font such as Times New Roman or Arial in 10- to 12-point size. And of course, proofread and then proofread again. You want to captivate the employer with your impressive qualifications, not an offbeat font choice or multiple spelling errors!

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Note: This blog was originally published August 15, 2013 and updated April 13, 2018.

by South University
April 13, 2018
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4 Tactics for Building Your HR Career - South University

by South University
May 15, 2017
Image of a motor vehicle start button with the words Future Start written on it.

In today's knowledge-driven global economy, having top-tier talent can be critical to success. As a result, senior management teams are making room for smart, strategic HR leaders who can guide them in developing and implementing strategies to efficiently attract, retain, and manage their employees.

Still, moving from a role in HR administration to strategic HR management can be tricky. As you work to enhance your HR career, here are four steps—suggested by faculty from our Human Resources Management program—to help you to establish yourself as a respected HR leader.

1. Join HR Organizations

With 289,000 members in more than 165 countries, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is the world’s largest professional HR society. SHRM provides members with a vast and useful assortment of resources, including sample employee handbooks, HR forms, policies, employee engagement surveys, how-to guides, job descriptions, interview questions, and more. SHRM also offers in-person and virtual events that support professional growth and offer a chance to network with influential HR leaders in your region and beyond. Whether at an event or online, connecting with other SHRM members can lead to exciting career opportunities.

For students, SHRM offers discounted membership and event rates, as well as student-focused events and scholarships.

2. Commit to Lifelong Learning

Earning a master’s degree in human resources management can equip you with new skills, and, according to the BLS, help you with your job prospects . After completing your graduate studies, HR certification is another way for you to gain and demonstrate expertise. The most well-known HR certifications include SHRM-CP, SHRM-SCP, PHR, and SPHR.

Following and engaging with industry news, research, and analysis shared by HR organizations can also help you earn industry respect and credibility. Legal changes, in particular, often require organizational changes, so understanding potential laws and regulations as well as their impact on the business can make you a valuable asset in your company. You can also find many courses and trainings available to help you sharpen your skills and stay up-to-date in key HR areas like training and development, payroll, health and safety, recruitment, or succession planning. Beyond that, it’s also smart to build additional generalized skills (from practicing public speaking to learning another language) that could benefit your career.

3. Align Yourself to Organizational Needs

If you’re looking to advance in your organization or have your eye on moving to a specific company, identify any skills you need to develop and demonstrate to help them solve their HR challenges and achieve their goals. Beyond that, consider whether your current activities demonstrate your alignment to their mission. Even if your past performance shows that you’re smart and talented, companies want employees who share their values and passion. Find ways to get more involved with their industry or support their mission in the community. Doing so will show initiative and that you’re well matched with the company.

4. Learn to Utilize the Power of Technology

As it has nearly everywhere, technology has revolutionized the HR field. HR professionals need to understand how to evaluate, use, and manage intranet systems, internal university e-learning software, employee benefit self service options, online recruiting tools, and more. HR metric and information systems can even allow you to easily track and share the critical value you and your department provides. When used properly, HR technology becomes a tool that helps you more efficiently and effectively identify and solve problems—and sometimes find and stop potential issues before they ever occur.

If you work in HR, learn more today about how South University’s Master of Science in Human Resources Management can help prepare you for a spot at the senior strategic leadership team of your organization.

South University does not guarantee third-party certification/licensure. Outside agencies control the requirements for taking and passing certification/licensing exams and are subject to change without notice to South University.

by South University
May 15, 2017
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