Computer Information Systems

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You wouldn’t believe the cool things our students are learning.

Exciting things are happening in Spoon River College’s Computer Information Systems (CIS) program. Students are learning how to build a computer from scratch, search hard drives for criminal evidence, and build games.

It’s all part of training for today’s competitive IT job market. Well… maybe the game-building is only for a tiny fraction of the job market, and partially just for fun. But if you’re looking for a new career in IT or trying to advance in your current position, the CIS program at Spoon River College can prepare you through a challenging curriculum that includes lots of hands on training.

Dean Clary, SRC Director of Technology Services and CIS instructor, knows just how important technology is to every business. “Today, there just are not many businesses in existence that don’t use computers in some way,” said Clary. “Technology keeps getting bigger, and it’s in every business, every field. Manufacturing, food, healthcare. And the jobs are out there.”

Let’s say you’re ready to jump in. The next step is to figure out if you want to earn a degree or a certificate. Your choices are:

• Associate in Applied Science Degree, Computer Information Systems

• Computer Forensics Certificate

• Computer Information Technology Certificate

Associate in Applied Science Degree,
Computer Information Systems

Upon earning your degree in CIS, you’ll be prepared to work as a Help Desk Technician or to launch a career in the fields of Network and Computer Sales and Support, Application Development, Software Development, Hardware Design, Network Administration, Network Design, Network Cabling, Computer Forensic and Intrusion Analysis. Students might also choose to transfer to a four-year school to pursue a bachelor’s degree.

Examples of classes you might take while earning this degree include:

• Intro to Operating Systems

• Computer Hardware Concepts

• Networking Essentials

• Network Security Concepts

“While earning your Associate Degree in CIS, you will learn how to build a network from scratch and how to build a computer from scratch. It’s not just what you see in homes, but what you see in businesses – it’s that next-level experience,” says Clary. “And being in the field, I know it’s attractive to the business owner to have that experience on staff.” 

Computer Forensics Certificate

So what can you do once you earn your certificate in Computer Forensics? You can work in Network Administration or Computer Forensic and Intrusion Analysis. This certificate is great as a stand-alone or for adding value to existing credentials.

Examples of classes you might take while earning this certificate include:

• Computer Hardware Concepts

• Computer Forensics

• Survey of Criminal Investigation

“In a criminal investigation, a computer forensics expert will take a suspect’s computer and search for files that might serve as evidence,” explains Clary. “Most computer forensic jobs are in law, but some companies hire people to find what is called a ghost image – meaning even if it was deleted, the computer forensics expert knows how to find that image.” 

Computer Information Technology Certificate

If you earn a certificate in Computer Information Technology, you’ll be qualified to work as a Help Desk Technician or in Network and Computer Sales and Support. Earning this certificate may also open up opportunities for promotion.

Examples of classes you might take while earning this certificate include:

• Intro to Programming

• Fundamentals of Networking

• Advanced Operating Systems

“The Computer Information Technology Certificate is a great addition to your resume,” says Clary. “It can really help you move forward in technology. Or, even if you just want to learn more about computers for a hobby or to help operate your own business, the knowledge you gain while earning this certificate will be extremely helpful.”

Raspberry Pie vs. Raspberry Pi

What a difference one letter makes! If you hear someone in the Technology Department at SRC mention “raspberry pie,” he’s probably not planning a potluck. It’s more likely that he’s referring to the credit card-sized computer developed in the UK, Raspberry Pi. It’s made for exploring, experimenting, programming… the perfect learning tool! Spoon River College is introducing the Raspberry Pi in upcoming network and network security classes to teach building websites, building network monitors, and produce network scenarios in labs. Raspberry Pis will also be used in hardware classes.

Employment Outlook

Information Security and Data Assurance are two of the hottest areas of employment in the IT world today. Security methods and data assurance (protecting data) is embedded in all SRC’s courses.  Students learn how to secure desktops, servers, networks, wireless, and data itself. In the CIS program, students will be able to confidently demonstrate how they can help a company become more secure in how it operates and uses its information and data.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s 2014-2015 Occupational Outlook Handbook, employment for Computer Network, Systems, and Database Administrators is projected to grow much faster than the average—at a rate of 15%—and add over 60,800 new jobs throughout the 2012-2022 decade.

These statistics make sense to Raj Siddaraju, SRC’s Chief Information Officer. “Technology touches nearly all aspects of our lives,” he said. “It will remain the foundation of the global economy for years to come.”

To get started, go to and read more about the CIS program on pages 132-133. You can see when classes meet by going to and clicking on “schedule & registration” under Quick Links. If you need help, call one of our advisors at 1-800-degrees.


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