Our Most Frequently Asked Questions

What is informatics?

Informatics is the study of information systems and information processing, including the social impacts of information technology in a particular domain.

How is informatics different from computer science?

Computer science is the study of computing systems (computers, networks, databases, programming) whereas informatics is the study of information processing in general. Where a computer science course might teach you how to design and efficient algorithms and how to measure that efficiency, an informatics course will teach you why you should write the program in the first place and how to talk to others about why the program is needed. In general, computer science teaches you how to be a developer of information resources and informatics teaches you how to be a user of information resources.

What’s the difference between informatics and information management and systems?

Information Management & Systems (IMS) is the name of the BA degree offered by the Department of Informatics. In the future, other degrees will be offered.

Can I get a job with this degree?

Every company has information processing needs and the majority of jobs today within a company depend on processing information in some way. Most of those jobs process information with the help of information technology, particularly computers. So every department of every company could benefit by hiring an IMS major. This gives us a very large potential job market to graduate students into. To date, almost every IMS graduate is getting hired right out of college. The demand for such graduates is increasing.

How much can I make?

Entry-level starting salaries are in the $30,000 - $50,000/year range.

Do I have to be good in math?

As a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree, IMS does require basic math, but not nearly as much as a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree. We require college algebra and statistics. We attract a large number of students not primarily interested in scientific and technical areas of interest.

Do I have to know how to program computers?

No, this is not required. You do have to take some fundamental programming courses, but that is because as IMS graduates you will have to interact with software developers in the real world and you need to understand what they do, but IMS is not a programming degree.

What companies can an IM&S major work for?

  • All companies process information
  • Most companies utilize computers
  • Many jobs require computer skills
    IM&S majors can work for any company with an information processing requirement (not just computer companies)

What departments can an IM&S major work in?

  • IT – information technology
  • HR – human resources
  • PR – public relations
  • S/M – sales and marketing
  • RM – resource planning and mgmt
  • PM – project management
  • KM – knowledge management
  • MIS – accounting, finance, corporate computing
  • Production, shipping, logistics, training, etc…
  • IM&S majors can work for any department within a company.

What functions can an IM&S major perform?

  • User Advocate: Determine user requirements and articulate these to the developers. Insure the product meets the users’ needs and desires. Translate technical issues into the users’ language.
  • Business Analyst: Determine bottom-line impact of business processes and initiatives. Research, identify, and recommend changes to existing procedures to maximize efficiency particularly in the area of applying computer and electronic technology to a business problem.
  • IT Project Manager: Leading and directing initiatives to develop information resources (Websites, programs, procedures, networks, etc.).
  • Content Manager: Control the development and publication of content destined for electronic publication (Website and Intranet material).
  • Designer: Technical design of an IT solution (software, hardware, networking, graphical design, content).
  • Network Administrator: Manage and control network infrastructure in a company.
  • Records Management: Design, manage, and maintain electronic record keeping technology. Assist in data retrieval, report generation, business analysis, etc.
  • Administration: Provide computer technology support and assistance to executive-level administrative personnel and staff (healthcare, education institutions, corporations).
  • Product Support: Assist customers through helpdesk and other support means provided by the company.