Management information systems programs prepare people to design and maintain systems that collect and manage data. Students learn to analyze business needs for data collection. They also learn to manage staff and computer systems.
Computers are terrific at crunching data. They calculate, total, and average. But what is the meaning of all that data? That's what people in the business world call information, rather than data.
Information is what managers use to make decisions. And supplying that information is what you do when you work in management information systems (MIS). You use computers to gather, store, retrieve, and process information. You understand programming languages. You know how to represent business information in computerized formats.
When you study MIS, you learn a lot about computers. But that's not all you study. You get a good grounding in all aspects of business management. This helps you understand the kinds of information needed by the various departments of a firm.
A large number of colleges and universities offer a program in MIS. Sometimes it is a major, and sometimes it is a concentration within a business management major. With two years of full-time study beyond high school, you may get an associate degree instead. This may prepare you for work as a programmer or business systems analyst.
The four years beyond high school required for a bachelor's degree will provide better background in various business subjects. It will improve your job prospects and your chances of being promoted to information systems manager.
You may also consider getting a master's degree. This may be a master of business administration (MBA) or a master of information systems (MIS). This usually requires one or two years of study beyond the bachelor's. It is good preparation for a managerial position.