PROGRAM OVERVIEW Successful organizations understand the unique capabilities of information technology and how its use enables efficient operations and effective support of organizational strategy. The design, development, implementation, and management of these systems require the creative efforts of individuals who understand both the technical and the business environments. Graduates with a major in information systems are able to provide technical leadership in the changing arena of information technology, to recognize opportunities in the business environment for the application of technology, and to understand the diversity of cultural, ethical, and political values and the overall socio-economic context within which the modern enterprise operates.
Information systems majors (1) develop an understanding of information technology and the roles it plays in the competitive strategy of the modern organization; (2) learn the technical skills by which systems and their supporting databases are developed and implemented; (3) recognize the need for data-related analytical decision making in a wide range of business functions, and (4) learn three or more programming languages so they can see solutions to common problems implemented in a number of ways within the computer environment. The programming languages studied are widely used within the business community.
Classroom instruction is reinforced by the student’s everyday experiences: widespread use of information technology in all facets of the University’s operation, pervasive use of computers in the classroom and free high-speed access to the Internet. Numerous internship opportunities are available in the local business community where the financial services industries are particularly heavy users of information technology.
Modern information systems involve a partnership between information systems professionals and application areas. Knowledge of at least one business area beyond the basic level provides the information systems major with an opportunity to understand how information technology affects a particular discipline.
While many information systems programs around the country have moved toward a less technical and more managerial focus, the Drake IS program continues to provide a balance of technical and business training necessary to succeed in today’s fast paced technology industries. Students take several programming courses early in the program which enables them to compete successfully for internship opportunities and ultimately for full time positions after graduation. The program also incorporates a track specialization where additional courses are taken in a business functional area to improve student’s knowledge of the relationship between technology and business processes.
FACULTY Each information systems faculty member has a doctoral degree in business information systems and/or significant experience in systems development. Faculty research interests include virtual team effectiveness, adoption of information and communication technologies, e-commerce strategy, financing decisions for technology companies, online user behavior, non-work related computing, and digital product management.
ACADEMIC PREPARATION Information Systems does not require specific courses for enrollment in the program. However, successful students have typically had prior experience with technologies and taken multiple high school courses in mathematics.
REQUIREMENTS FOR MAJOR A student may choose to pursue the full IS major, which requires 18 hours of Information Systems courses beyond IS 44 and IS 84 plus nine (9) hours of a business specialization. The business specialization can be in accounting, actuarial science, finance, insurance, management, or marketing. Information systems majors must select a track consisting of nine credit hours from a single discipline in business other than information systems. The student’s adviser must approve the track selections.
DRAKE CURRICULUM The Drake Curriculum, required of all undergraduates, is designed to help students meet personal and professional goals as they acquire fundamental knowledge and abilities in ten Areas of Inquiry, including communication, critical thinking, artistic experience, historical consciousness, information and technology literacy, international and multicultural experiences, scientific and quantitative literacy, values and ethics and engaged citizenship. Students work closely with their academic advisers to craft a program of study in general education that prepares students for civic and professional leadership.
The Drake Curriculum also requires first-year seminars, which foster development of critical thinking and written and oral communication skills through a topical focus; and a Senior Capstone, in which students demonstrate the capacity to bring information, skills and ideas to bear on one project.
INTERNSHIPS & OPPORTUNITIES Drake is located in Iowa’s capital – the hub of business, government and culture. Students have multiple opportunities for traditional and corporate internships. Examples of recent company internships in IS include: Allied Insurance, Automatic Data Processing, Hy-Vee, Inc., Meredith Corporation, Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Principal Financial Group, and R&R Realty Group.
CAREER OPTIONS Following graduation, IS majors typically start their careers as computer programmers, database administrators, network administrators, data analysts, or information systems analysts. They may also work in jobs that require a mix of business and technical expertise. Longer-term career paths may lead to managerial positions in IS or other areas outside the technology-related area.
HONORS Each year an award is given to the top graduating information systems student.
STUDENT ORGANIZATIONS AND ACTIVITIES IS majors may join the Drake Association of Technology Advancement (DATA) student group. All students in the College of Business and Public Administration may join one of the two professional fraternities, Delta Sigma Pi and Alpha Kappa Psi.