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Catawba adds degree in information systems

SALISBURY — The Ralph W. Ketner School of Business at Catawba College has added a bachelor of science degree in information systems and technology to its curriculum. Students pursuing this degree have access to scholarships.

The IST degree educates students in problem-solving through the creative, collaborative and strategic application of technology, according to Pamela L. Thompson, associate professor of business and information systems. Students are exposed to augmented and virtual reality, app development, web design, entrepreneurship, programming and data analytics.

Thompson said job prospects for degreed students are extremely high, commanding median salaries ranging from $52,000 to $104,000 a year, in networking, programming, web development, security systems support, systems analysis, data analytics and systems administrators. In addition, these jobs offer flexibility with industry and geographic location.

The new degree differs from the college’s established degrees in computer science and business, with a concentration in information systems, as follows:

• An emphasis on applied information and technology skills.

• An emphasis on careers, rather than research and theoretical knowledge.

• An emphasis on emerging technologies, including data mining, cloud and augmented and virtual reality.

• Understanding of both technical and organizational factors.

• Training to help an organization determine how information and technology-enabled business processes can provide a competitive advantage.

• An opportunity to specialize in analytics, software development, networking or security.

“The Ketner School of Business is committed to having IST students understand the interdisciplinary aspect of the program through independent studies, internships and seminars on topics such as web design and development, app development with beacons and data mining,” said Eric Hake, dean of the business school.

Students will also be involved in Catawba’s Service Learning program, such as a recent project of professors and students who helped the city of Salisbury launch a local chapter of Girls Who Code, instructing middle school girls on computers, websites, code writing and data mining.

Hake said that programs such as information systems technology, data analytics and computer science not only promote the application of STEM-based education in Salisbury but also are part of the college’s focus on 21st-century education.

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