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Accounting or CIS???

frangomfrangom Registered User Posts: 4 New Member
edited September 2013 in Business Major
I'm currently a junior at Fresno State and was initially going to major in CIS (computer information systems), but over the summer I did a lot of research about this major and similar others (MIS, IS etc) and have been seeing that a lot of recent college graduates with this major are having major trouble finding jobs with them. I have also been keeping track of the current H1b visa program in which many information systems or IT jobs are going to H1b visa holders since the Industry can afford to pay them less comparatively to American citizens. All this, in conjunction with Fresno State's average CIS program scared me away from CIS and into accounting because every major market study I read has accounting majors near the top of the list for being the most "safe" major from which to find a job for after graduating. I've also taken financial and managerial accounting already and didn't have any trouble at all with them though I didn't find it particularly exciting. I figure an ideal role for me would be to get into governmental accounting as I've heard horror stories about 70-80 work weeks that those that go into public accounting are subjected to.

Now my personal situation is as follows, I'm 28 years old, a veteran and my job in the Army was essentially that of the civilian equivalent of being a PC technician (25U). I did this for about 3 years and thus figured a major like CIS, which combines a business acumen and computer acumen into it's courses would be perfect for me since I already had some experience working with computers in the Army.

My questions about these 2 majors are as follows and it would be great if they can be answered by someone who has experience in these fields:

Would my age make a difference by going the accounting route? I have heard there is some age discrimination in accounting for entry level jobs and I would be 30 by the time I finish a BS in accounting.

The great majority of job listings I've seen for even entry level accounting jobs (book keeping included) require that you have between 2-5 years experience, so how good is the job outlook for a recent accounting graduate that doesn't go the public accounting route (Big 4) be able to do in this economy? Would they only be eligible for $11/hr book keeping jobs and work yourself up from there? I've been hearing that the accounting job market has become saturated and thus wages have been driven down, how accurate is this?

As far as CIS goes, would someone already with 3 years of experience of helpdesk type work plus the BS in CIS be able to land a job as a business analyst, DBA or network administrator? Or would a CIS job only qualify me for helpdesk type work since there are also CS, CE graduates going for IT jobs.

In reality, how good is the job outlook for IT types of majors such as CIS, MIS, IT, CS, CE majors. Is this field already saturated with American and H1b's all looking for the same types of IT jobs? Are the majority of companies only offshoring and hiring H1b's?
Post edited by frangom on

Replies to: Accounting or CIS???

  • IvytIvyt Registered User Posts: 3,531 Senior Member
    For accounting I have heard the best route is to do public accounting (big 4) for 2-5 years then move into f500 companies where the work hours are more manageable.
  • InigoMontoyaInigoMontoya Registered User Posts: 1,704 Senior Member
    CIS is not going to help you in IT. Especially if you're looking for something like a DBA or network administration. It's not taken as seriously as a CS degree.
  • EVILteddieEVILteddie Registered User Posts: 49 Junior Member
    I was in a very similar situation as you. 28 years old, veteran, and about to be a junior. However, I had originally chose accounting as my major, but decided to change it to Information Systems. I would really talk to the clubs/organizations at your school for the CIS and Accounting students, and see what job prospects they are seeing. My school is highly recruited for both CIS and Accounting, but CIS at my school has a 99% placement rate, and a higher average starting salary.
  • frangomfrangom Registered User Posts: 4 New Member
    @EVILteddie Thank you for your post and your service. And I haven't actually talked to any campus organizations for these majors yet so I should probably get on that this upcoming week. And the 99% placement rate is really good, did you go to a top ranked CIS program or is your school located in a good area?

    @InigoMontoya I am interested in the application of computers and technology to the business world hence my interest in CIS since it has a strong foundation in business courses as opposed to CS.

    @barrk123 I've heard about how Big4 firms operate and I really have no interest in that sort of work environment, though I do hear that once you put your time in a Big4 you have a good chance at going on to very lucrative positions, but that's only after a few years with a Big4 from my understanding. And from what I hear my age might be a factor into getting into a Big4 regardless of my GPA.
  • EVILteddieEVILteddie Registered User Posts: 49 Junior Member
    I go to Cal Poly SLO. I'm not sure about the rankings of the program so much, but the school feeds a lot into both Silicon Valley and Los Angeles area, so there are a lot of prospects for all the business majors. Plus I know the program features a lot of programming, which I'm not sure if every CIS program does.
  • InigoMontoyaInigoMontoya Registered User Posts: 1,704 Senior Member
    @frangom - my experience is mostly with large companies, so I qualify this by saying it could be different in smaller companies, where people often need to wear multiple hats. In large companies, DBAs and network administrators don't really need an understanding of the business. Their roles are purely technical. Now, if you're interesting in something more like business process analysis, business requirements analysis, or product management, those are roles that need to understand both the business needs and how technology can best serve the business. Rarely have I seen network administrators and DBAs sitting in the same room as business side folks. Where I've worked, the analysts do all the going-between the business and IT.
  • frangomfrangom Registered User Posts: 4 New Member
    @EVILteddie I checked out the curriculum for Cal Poly SLO, I don't see "CIS"in their list of majors, but I do see Business with a concentration in information systems which is essentially the same as CIS. Is this your major?

    REQUIRED Concentration Courses
    16 Units
    BUS 392 Business Application Development
    BUS 393 Database Systems in Business
    BUS 394 System Analysis and Design
    BUS 395 Systems Design and Implementation
    ELECTIVE Concentration Courses
    (Select 2 courses)
    8 Units
    BUS 491 Decision Support Systems
    BUS 494 Integrated Information Systems
    BUS 496 Electronic Commerce
    BUS 498 Directed Topics in Information Systems
    BUS 499 Data Communications and Networking

    Looking at my own school's curriculum requirements compared to yours, they seem very similar with the exception that your school requires business calculus and mine requires finite math in place of it, leading me to believe your school's program is probably better.
    And that is a great location to be at too.
  • frangomfrangom Registered User Posts: 4 New Member
    @InigoMontoya Thanks for sharing your experiences in the workplace. I think that you make a good point about smaller companies using one person to cover over in different areas other than his/her specialization, as I've experienced that myself as well when I held a job in the civilian world at a small company for a short time not too long ago and in a small unit in the military when I was made to work multiple roles.

    Now my question for you is should I just specialize in a certain field (accounting, CS) as opposed to getting a jack of all trades degree like CIS? Would a person who specializes have more job opportunities rather than a person who knows a basic amount of everything?

    Also, if I end up majoring in CIS, I was also planning to take 24 units of accounting classes (many government accounting jobs require 24 units of accounting coursework, not actually an accounting degree) just for backup, and I also hear CIS along with accounting might lead to an IT auditing career. Would this open up more doors for me you think or would it be a waste of time?

    Or should I do the reverse and major in accounting and just take many CIS classes?
  • EVILteddieEVILteddie Registered User Posts: 49 Junior Member
    Yea it's the business admin concentration, but generally it seems to be similar to CIS or MIS majors at other schools. That being said, the jobs that the IS people at my school are getting are IT analyst, Application Developer, Business Analyst, IT Risk and Assurance, and other similar occupations.

    You can check it out here and at least see what jobs the Information Systems students (at least at my school) are getting after graduation:

  • ThumperSDThumperSD Registered User Posts: 59 Junior Member
    @InigoMontoya: I'm a recent MIS graduate and I am now working as a DBA. You underestimate the amount of technical classes we are exposed to. I know at my university, both MIS and CS majors are only required to take one class on DBMS (albiet structured differently). CS majors focus on algorithms, so if you want to be a developer, MIS is not the best choice. Database and network administration were common positions offered to my peers as well. Actually, more of my peers have technical jobs than business jobs.
  • AleeraAleera Registered User Posts: 54 Junior Member
    There is an element of luck, high GPA, &/ taking/passing the CPA exam for accounting recruiting (for public accounting). It is not over (unless you got recruited during undergrad) once you reach the bachelors degree. CMA can be taken with just bachelors in accounting. CPA to get licensed usually requires 150 credits, 36 accounting hours (12 more than my bachelors required, Florida rules but most states are similar.) Research both routes and go with what you think you will enjoy and have the best career prospects.

    Demand for accounting grads reaches all-time high
This discussion has been closed.