Computer Information Systems (CIS)

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Students in Computer Information Systems (CIS) can focus on business-related computing (Microcomputer Applications Specialist certificates and degree), networking hardware (Networking Professional and Networking Associate certificates and degrees), or networking software (Windows Server). Students can earn a 16-credit certificate in Web Design or study programming with a plan to transfer to a four-year school.

Many students with strong computer skills do not work directly in the Information Technology field. Organizations of all types – retail businesses, health care, finance, government, law enforcement and education – all use computing technologies. Most CIS programs at Sauk begin with an introductory course – CIS 109 where students gain a solid foundation in basic business software, such as Microsoft Excel and Word, and get a good understanding of how computers operate and how they fit into business and society.

Instructor Val Wittman says the curriculum offers not only theory, but many opportunities for hands-on learning. “Students who come into the course knowing very little are confidently shopping for computers by mid-term, and conducting a business database analysis by the end of the course”.

Job Description

Microcomputer Applications Specialist graduates receive a general business education with considerable emphasis on computer software and how it can be used to support business activities. Graduates have gone on to support positions in education, health care, and business. Networking graduates are working with local business and industry, while web design certificate holders have helped local business gain a presence on the web.

Who is a Good Fit?

Successful students in CIS programs enjoy working with computers, are self-directed, have a high attention to detail, and enjoy troubleshooting and problem-solving


There are many educational paths to a CIS education including an associate’s degree that requires around 60 credits to compete to certificates that require far fewer credits.


Instructor Story: Kari Whittenberg

CIS Microcomputer Applications

cis1Kari didn’t earn her degree the “typical way.” Being laid off after working for 20 years in a factory setting, Kari returned to Sauk eager to learn. She enjoyed the CIS classes, specifically Microcomputer Applications, and found out quickly that she “had a knack for computers.” “I found out that I had the ability and talent to do it, so I went with it,” she said. Microcomputer Applications degree involves learning in detail the Microsoft Office Suite: Word, Excel, Access, Power Point, and Publisher.

Taking most of her classes online, she found out that the flexibility of online classes allowed her to work at her own pace, do well in her classes, and still be home with her family.  “[It] was perfect for me because I have a young child at home.” She was returning to school for the first time in about 20 years and found Sauk’s instructors were very accessible, even the ones that she had for online classes only. But she admits that online learning is not for everyone- a student “needs to be very motivated” to complete online classes.

And though it sounds like a commercial, she admitted that “Sauk made it possible” for her to do well in college. She mentioned that she quickly found out that “[she] can do this. I’m good at this.” Her only regret, “Why didn’t I start earlier?”

You can find Kari working at Sauk as the Administrative Assistant of Student Support Services.

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