Information systems (IS) are combinations of hardware, software, and telecommunications networks that people build and use to collect, create, and distribute useful data, information, and knowledge, typically in organizational settings. Organizations use information systems for a variety of reasons: to gain competitive advantage, reach more customers, or improve service.
An information systems professional possesses valuable, integrated knowledge and skills in three areas – technical, business, and systems. The IS field includes people in organizations who design and build systems, those who use these systems, and those responsible for managing these systems. An array of career opportunities are available, including: systems analysts, systems programmers, systems operators, network administrators, database administrators, systems designers, systems managers. And for some, chief information officer.
The term "IS" also refers to the field comprising those who design, develop, use, manage, and study information systems in organizations. It is important to recognize that nearly every industry, not just computer hardware and software companies, relies heavily on IS professionals.