Information Technology vs Information Systems

Are you wondering, what is the difference between information technology and information systems? This article provides a detailed comparison of IT vs IS.

TCM Staff

31st October 2021

Information systems is a large umbrella term referring to systems designed to create, store, manipulate, or disseminate information. However, information technology deals with the machines, hardware and software itself that handles the information processing, storage, and transmission. Information systems consist of processes, people, technology and systems, while information technology consists of hardware, storage devices, processors.

The difference between an information technology versus information systems degree is a conventional dispute, considering both of them deal with computer-based systems. Although, the two degrees differ. 

Let's look into some of the important pointers on information systems vs information technology which might highlight the key difference

  • Information Systems (IS) and Information Technology (IT) are often used interchangeably.

  • They are thought to be the same but in reality, information technology is a part of information systems i.e. IT is a small part of the IS.

  • Both IT and IS are concerned with computers, hardware, software, information, etc. However, both are different in their structures.

Information Systems (IS)

What is an Information System?

Organizations usually deal with a huge amount of data. Data is nothing but basic values or facts, which are systematically organized in a database. Many people think of data as synonymous with information; however, information consists of data that has been organized to help answer questions and to solve problems. 

An information system is defined as a set of various components that helps us to collect, store, organize and analyze the data. From that processing and analysis, the IS provides knowledge and various digital products. So, the purpose of an information system is to turn raw data into useful information that adds more value to both a customer and organization. Some examples of information systems are businesses themselves, such as Amazon, Google, AliBaba, and Ebay

Here are a few points to ponder upon while understanding the entire mechanism of information systems:

  • An information system is a huge pie that consists of processes and people, in which the main goal is to process information.

  • Information systems aren’t always shown on a computer - they can sometimes be shown the old-fashioned way, with a pencil and paper.

  • The hardware and software used to create, maintain, and access the payment details of students in a college are referred to as an information system.

Degrees in Information Systems often include courses in:

  • Information Theory
  • Social Science
  • Computer Crime & Forensics
  • Principles of Online Marketing
  • Foundations of Management
  • Project Management
  • Information Technology
  • Systems Analysis and Design
  • Data Visualization
  • Digital Culture
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Data Mining
  • Database Management Systems

 

Student walking out of a building

Now let's look into the different types of processes in an Information Systems architecture

Types of Information Systems

  • Transaction Processing System

  • Office Automation System – Word Processing, Email, Voice Mail.

  • Knowledge Work Systems

  • Management Information System

  • Decision Support Systems

There are a few different information systems careers available to students who obtain a degree in information systems:

  • Information Systems Manager
  • Computer Network Architect
  • Librarian
  • Web Developer
  • Software Developer
  • Computer Systems Analyst/Administrator
  • Database Administrator

Most of these careers have lucrative salaries. For example, the average salary for an information systems manager is about $100K/year. 

Information Technology (IT)

What is Information Technology?

When you think of IT, you might think about the university phone number that you call when you can’t log into your student portal account. In reality, IT support is one part of IT, but there is a lot more to it. 

Information Technology (IT) is a subsystem of IS. It is the technology used to store and retrieve data from computer systems. It is thriving through apps, the internet, mobile phones, etc. It consists of computer hardware, software, machines, databases, and networks.

For instance, the hard disks, pen drives or any other storage devices used to store payment details of students of a college is IT.

Popular Information Technology Jobs

The different types of job roles in the IT domain are illustrated by the following hierarchical tree:

Information technology jobs are relatively lucrative, depending on your career path. For example, the average salary of an IT Specialist is $58,000 a year. 

List Of Colleges Best Known For Information Technology Degrees

Let's look into some of the top universities of the United States best known for imparting quality education in the domain of Information Technology

Top Colleges Offering Information Technology Degrees

 

The Pennsylvania State University

Coleman University

Armstrong State University

Baker College

Metropolitan Community College

Liberty University

Saint Leo University

Strayer University

Ottawa University

University of Phoenix

Information Systems Versus Information Technology - What’s The Main Difference?

With two different degree options, you might be wondering: what is the difference between IT and IS? Information technology is a subset of information systems. An information system embodies people, processes, and information technology to process and move information. 

 

In terms of career path, people who work in IS are usually more integrated in using technology and additional systems to carry out business. IT professionals, on the other hand, are more integrated on the machines, hardware, and software systems. 

Image of a student working on a computer

Which Degree is Right For You? 

Information Systems vs Information Technology can be a tough road to choose from. Both fields are showing immense growth that offers a variety of job opportunities and long-term professional growth. 

The career option that you choose for yourself would not be suitable if you don’t read and grasp knowledge about both of the terms. By analyzing both careers and considering the differences between IS vs IT, you can embark on an educational path that is more aligned with your skills, interests, and goals.  

Conclusion

When deciding which of these computer-related paths to pursue, it’s critical to have clarity and detail about exactly what it is you’re looking for in a career. By understanding the technicalities of IT vs IS, students can better select an educational path.

We found that numerically the average salary of an Information System Manager is more than an Information Technology Specialist; however, the roles and responsibilities of both complement each other in an IT infrastructure, or in other words, both are dependent upon one another.

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