What is the Difference Between Information Systems and Information Technology?

January 24, 2023

People often use the terms information technology (IT) and information systems (IS) synonymously. On a basic level, there are striking resemblances between the two disciplines. Both information technology and information systems focus on technology and computers. Each one uses relevant technologies to benefit businesses. But these two are still not the same. Information technology is one of the subsets of information systems.

As these terms are often used interchangeably, it can be confusing for students interested in building a tech-related career. Even if they both rely on computers, IS and IT are two different fields with distinctive characteristics and diverse career paths. So, they both require specific training and education. Here’s everything you need to know about information systems vs. information technology.

Definition of Information Systems

Information systems are a combination of processes, people, and systems designed to store, create, distribute, disseminate, and manipulate information. The field bridges computer science and business. A major reason why people fail to distinguish IS from IT is that they think every information system is computer-based. Information systems, however, can be as basic as a piece of paper and a pencil.

Even if information systems heavily rely on computers and tech-based tools, they can comprise non-technological systems as well. A management system is an example of a non-technological system that uses a database for improving performance, creating reports, and making decisions. Similarly, decision support systems use commercial decisions and databases for preparing business packages like linear programming, decision trees, and forecasting.

Definition of Information Technology

Information technology is the study, design, support, and implementation of information systems that are computer-based. It includes software, hardware, networks, and databases. Information technology governs the acquisition, storage, dissemination, and processing of digitalized data generated through telecommunications and computing. Information technology manages technology and betters the utilization for advancing business goals.

Careers in Information Systems

As information systems deal with the use of computers by businesses and humans to accomplish results, there is a range of job opportunities in this field. Some significant job roles include business analyst, computer system analyst, and systems security administrator. Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems is the best course in IT.

Careers in Information Technology

To start a career in IT, a relevant degree in information science or computer will be of great advantage. There are multiple career paths like network administration, cybersecurity, software development, computer programming, infrastructure management, and business intelligence. MS, BS, or AS in Information Technology is an ideal degree program for IT aspirants.

Major dissimilarities between Information Technology and Information Systems

  1. Software used for organizing and analyzing data is called information systems. Information technology is one of the several sub-systems of IS.
  2. The main purpose of Information Systems is to transform raw data into readable information that will provide valuable information to the organization and help it make business decisions. Information Technology’s primary goal is to help people perform their tasks effectively and accurately.
  3. IS focuses on supporting business operations, decision-making, and management. The main focus of IT is on enhancing efficiency and productivity using technology.
  4. Information systems are composed of these four essential components: task, structure, people, and technology. Information technology has three components, namely, software, hardware, and data.
  5. Information Systems bridge the gap between people and technology. Information technology assists people in understanding and utilizing various systems.
  6. IS incorporates people, processes, and technology involved with the organization’s information. IT, on the other hand, designs, maintains, supports, and implements data or information within IS.
  7. Information systems include how processes and people can hinder or support the organization’s performance, managing applications and computer networks within business environments. Information technology includes installing new software updates, replacing obsolete hardware, troubleshooting problems, etc., to meet business demands.
  8. Information systems make it easy for companies to store operational data, documents, revision histories, and communication records. Information technology helps businesses implement communication, grow commerce, and improve business reputation.

Information Technology or Information Systems: which is best for your career?

Both Information Technology and Information Systems are growing fields and offer a range of job options as well as opportunities for long-term professional growth.

The Bottom Line

Whether you are interested in information systems or information technology, it is important to understand the differences. With a clear understanding, you will be able to choose the right educational programs to prepare for your dream career. An online certification course from a prestigious institution will help you brush up on your skills and crack interviews with big organizations.