University of Michigan School of Information
What is information science?
FAQs about information degrees
What is information science?
Information science is the study of how information is created, organized, managed, stored, retrieved, and used. It is an interdisciplinary field that combines aspects of computer science, library science, and information management.
Information scientists study topics such as data management, information retrieval, information architecture, data mining, and knowledge management. They design and develop systems and technologies to support the efficient and effective creation, storage, and use of information.
The goal of information science is to improve the way information is created, shared, and used, in order to support better decision-making, improve knowledge discovery, and enhance overall productivity.
Information science has applications in a wide range of industries, including technology, business, healthcare, education, and government. Graduates with a degree in information science can pursue careers in fields such as information technology, data analysis, and library and information services.
What can I do with a degree in information?
With a degree in information, you can pursue careers in:
- Information technology
- Data analysis
- Database administration
- User experience design
- Web development
- Business intelligence
- Project management
- Library and information science
- Technical writing and editing.
How is an information degree different from a degree in computer science?
An information degree and a computer science degree have some overlap, but they have distinct differences as well.
A degree in information generally focuses on the organization, management, and use of information and its systems, whereas a computer science degree focuses on the design and development of computer systems and software.
An information degree may include courses in database management, information architecture, information security, and information ethics. A computer science degree may include courses in algorithms, computer programming, computer systems, and software engineering.
So, while both fields deal with information technology, the focus and approach are different. A degree in information prepares you for careers in managing and organizing information and its systems, while a degree in computer science prepares you for careers in designing and developing computer systems and software.
How much can I earn with an information degree?
The salary you can earn with an information degree can vary widely based on several factors, including your location, level of experience, and specific job role.
According to data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for computer and information technology occupations was $88,240 in May 2020. Some information technology roles, such as software developers and computer network architects, have a higher median annual wage ($105,590 and $109,020, respectively). Other information technology roles, such as computer user support specialists, have a lower median annual wage ($54,760).
It's important to note that these are median salaries and actual salaries can vary widely based on factors such as experience, education, location, and industry. Some industries, such as finance and healthcare, tend to pay higher salaries than others. Additionally, those with advanced degrees and certifications may earn higher salaries.
What types of organizations hire people with information degrees?
Information degrees are in-demand in various industries and organizations, including:
- Technology companies (e.g. software development, data analytics)
- Consulting firms
- Government agencies
- Financial institutions
- Healthcare organizations
- Information management companies
- Libraries and archives
- Higher education institutions
- Media and publishing companies.
What skills will help me find success in an information career?
To be successful in an information career, you should have the following skills:
- Technical skills: Knowledge of programming languages, databases, and information systems is crucial for success in many information careers.
- Problem-solving skills: The ability to analyze complex problems and develop solutions is critical in many information technology roles.
- Communication skills: You need to be able to effectively communicate technical information to non-technical stakeholders and translate their requirements into technical solutions.
- Project management skills: You should be able to manage multiple tasks and projects, prioritize effectively, and meet deadlines.
- Adaptability: The technology and information industries are constantly evolving, so being able to quickly adapt to change and new technologies is important.
- Attention to detail: You need to be meticulous in your work and have a strong attention to detail, especially when it comes to security and data management.
- Collaboration skills: You will often work in teams, so being able to effectively collaborate and communicate with others is crucial.
- Creativity: You should be able to think creatively to develop innovative solutions to problems.
By developing these skills, you can increase your chances of success in an information career.
Is a technology background essential for success in an information degree program?
Having a background in technology can be helpful for success in an information degree program, but it is not essential. Some students come into the program with a strong technology background, while others may have limited prior experience.
Many information degree programs are designed to provide students with the necessary technical skills and knowledge through coursework and hands-on learning experiences. Additionally, some programs may offer introductory courses or resources for students who are new to technology.
Ultimately, success in an information degree program is determined by a combination of factors, including motivation, effort, and aptitude. If you are willing to work hard and have a strong desire to learn and grow, you can succeed in an information degree program, regardless of your prior technology background.
Learn about the University of Michigan School of Information (UMSI) programs: