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During my time at Colorado State University, I have had the opportunity to take a multitude of Computer Science classes, several business classes, and a few CIS classes.

Let me start by giving a general description of the Computer Science curriculum. In Computer Science, students do a lot of programming and a lot of theory. We not only learn the fundamentals of programming in several different languages, but we also learn how the machines interpret what we write, efficient ways to write code, what is happening at the different layers of hardware, essentially the nuts and bolts of computing.

From what I have seen of Computer Information Systems, they seem to be very business oriented. At Colorado State CIS majors are actually a major in business with a concentration in CIS, so this makes sense. After talking with a few of them, they all claim to know programming from their one course in VB. Professionally, I have had lots of experience in VB and am not a fan at all (I prefer C#).

I recently took CIS370 - Business Intelligence, and towards the end of the class the teacher sparked the question “What are your pre-conceived notions about CS and CIS majors?”. After being a part of the CS department for 4 years, I have heard a lot of talk about CIS majors. The common perception of them is that they are the students who could not make it in the Computer Science department. They are often referred to as dumb, as they are not aware of various information that that 98% of CS majors know, but were never taught.

The CIS majors responded by saying that they not only know the IT side of many things, but they also knew the business applications and could make good business decisions as well as good IT decisions. A common phrase that I heard was that “CIS majors are interested in making money”.

This sparked some major opinions in my head, but it also made me come to realize a couple of things. The first thing I realized was that these CIS majors will likely be my boss someday, as they are quite capable of doing management in IT. This does not bother me at all however. I do not have any interest in management, my interest is in software engineering and application development, and wouldn’t mind dabbling in hardware. The second thing that this made me realize is that these two majors really do compliment each other. CIS majors will end up providing the infrastructure for the software that CS majors will develop, and they will work together to make sure everything is running efficiently.

My mother has her degree in Computer Information Systems from the University of Arizona, and my father has his degree in Computer Science from Colorado State University, so needless to say I am not really prejudice against either one. I get to see a little of what each does, and see what I might like to do in my post-college years. I am glad that CSU started offering the Applied Computing Technology major as part of the CS department. The ACT majors gives a nice blending of both CS and CIS, but the primary focus is still in CS. If I were to go back for a second bachelor degree of a masters degree I would probably choose information systems, as a lot of what is taught would be useful and interesting to me.