The curriculum for the Bachelor’s Degree in Information Science has been redesigned “to be more responsive to the needs of industry,” explains Robert Perkoski, Director of the BSIS Program at the School of Information Sciences. “We’ve updated the course of study for the Bachelor’s program based on feedback from corporations that host internships for SIS students and from industry experts who serve on the SIS Industry Advisory Council.”
The BSIS program is an upper-division program – students are accepted into the Information Sciences program as they enter their junior year. Graduates of the BSIS program are well-qualified for careers as system analysts and designers, database managers, network analysts, and software engineers. SIS graduates are employed in companies from small competitive firms to multinational conglomerates. They have found careers in financial services, healthcare, judicial systems, private industry, government agencies, education, and communications.
“The program, which will be introduced in Fall 2006, will better prepare our students for the rigorous and changing needs of the information industry. The course of study will make students more marketable because they will have an in-depth understanding of some of the key areas in IT,” explains Perkoski.
The program will offer a series of six core courses which will give all BSIS students the theoretical and programming background they need to succeed in the Information Sciences field. These courses cover principles of programming, database systems, networks, systems analysis, and human factors. After completing the core courses, students will further strengthen their skills by participating in the new concentrations: Information Systems, User-Centered Design, and Networks and Security.
The Information Systems concentration will enable students to use object-oriented design tools to design, build, implement, and test web-based information systems. Courses offered in this concentration include JAVA II, object-oriented design, enterprise systems, system architecture and web services.
The User-Centered Design concentration will provide the visual and human-computer interaction skills needed to design and build prototypes of information systems interfaces, as well as to perform usability testing of these systems. Courses offered in conjunction with this concentration will include information visualization, web programming, graphics, and user-centered design.
Students who choose the Networks and Security concentration will learn how to design, build and test networks such as LANs, WANs, Wireless, Internet, and Web-based. This concentration will also examine how to incorporate security protocols into both land-based and wireless networks. Students will be able to take courses in networks, computer security, wireless networks, and mobile applications.
BSIS majors will participate in a “Capstone Experience,” further enhancing their practical skills. Such experiences might include internships with regional industries, assisting with graduate-level research projects, or a self-designed project. “The Capstone Experience allows the student to gain practical experience in their concentration,” explains Perkoski. “They can use their SIS knowledge working on systems projects for our corporate partners such as US Steel, Heinz, Bayer, ALCOA, or Mellon Financial. Or, they can contribute to leading edge research projects here at SIS with the LERSAIS (Laboratory for Education in Security Assured Information Systems), the Visual Information Systems Center or the Usability labs. It’s the kind of opportunity that will put Pitt’s BSIS majors ahead of the curve in the job market.”