CIS Frequently Asked Questions

Listed below are many of the commonly asked questions about the Computer Information Systems program.  If you do not find answers to your question here, contact a department secretary. Contact information is listed below.

I already have a bachelor's degree in a non-programming field (e.g., English, Marketing, Graphic Design, etc.) and would like to change to a career in programming. Should I go for the Software Engineering associate degree?

Since you already have a bachelor's degree you do not need to add an associate degree. An existing bachelor's degree plus our Software Engineering certificate is very appealing to employers.

I have been taking CIS classes for several semesters. Can I choose to graduate with one of the CIS degrees that was available when I started taking CIS classes (before Fall 2017), or do I have to graduate with one of the new CIS degrees (posted as of Fall 2017)?

If you were taking CIS classes prior to Fall 2017 AND you went to an OCC counselor and declared CIS as your major prior to July 2017, then you can choose to graduate with a degree or certificate from either the old CIS catalog (pre-Fall 2017) or new CIS catalog (Fall 2017 onward). You only have this choice if you formally declare as a CIS major prior to July 2017 and do not have an enrollment break of three or more years. If you have not declared the current CIS program by July 2017, then you must graduate under the new catalog (no matter how many CIS classes you've completed).

While we are allowing students to finish under the old requirements with the provisions mentioned, it is also worth noting that students will only have until May 2020 to complete all requirements of an old degree option.

I'm currently working on a degree under the older program, can I apply any of the new courses toward it?

Under most circumstances you probably can apply the new courses to degrees and certificates. Before taking a new course you should meet with your CIS department chairperson to determine if the course can be used in the degree you are pursuing. If it is a good fit, then you will need to initiate a course substitution form via one of the OCC counselors.

Where do I go for tutoring?

Please visit the OCC Academic Support Center tutoring information page for details.

If I already have a degree, do I need to take any placement tests?

An associate degree or higher from an accredited U.S. college or university may be used to exempt you from an English placement test (Accuplacer or MTELP). A bachelor's degree or higher from an accredited U.S. college or university may be used to exempt you from both the English placement and Math placement (ALEKS) tests. Explore the Placement Testing page for further details on the exemptions of each placement test.

I work in industry in I.T., can I get any prerequisites waived?

In general, current college policy does not allow the use of prior work experience to satisfy course requirements in CIS programs. However, if your work in industry overlaps with a significant portion of the content of one of the required courses in your degree or certificate, then you can ask your CIS department chair to see if you can replace that course with another CIS course. This replacement would be done via a course substitution form. Note that this does not reduce the number of courses that you will need to complete, but it does allow you to take a course in a topic beyond your field of expertise.

I do not have a bachelor degree. Can I get a software job if I complete a CIS certificate or a CIS associate degree?

The large majority (> 80%) of employers hiring software professionals still require a bachelor degree along with specific technical knowledge or experience. However, OCC offers an affordable option for students who complete a CIS associate degree and then transfer to a four-year program to complete their bachelor degree requirements. OCC has transfer agreements with many educational institutions. A discussion with an OCC counselor can help you understand specific transfer details. CIS certificates are more appropriate for students who already have some college-level education but need to add specific technical skills that employers seek.