CIS "Digital Advisor" @ OC

⚠️ NOTE: The Digital Advisor has moved. Please go to OC Canvas page for the current site.

Frequently Ask Questions (FAQs)

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When are the next Advising Dates? (Click to view) +/-

CIS Group Advising between 3:30 pm and 5:00 pm

CIS will be offering an online video based group advising session using Zoom on the following dates:

📺 Zoom link

The first portion will cover various program offerings and academic pathways available for students interested in a career in the Information Technology field. Additional information for contacting CIS faculty for a given program or information for a given class can be found at:

We look forward to assisting you with preparing for registration and developing an academic pathway.


If you do not have Zoom on your computer, you can download it here for free.

BAS-IS Information Sessions

No RSVP is needed, but feel free to email BAS-IS faculty member Rich Becker to let us know you're coming or to set up an individual appointment if you can't make it to an information session:

BASIS Information Sessions in building 12 room 106 (12-106) from 5:30pm to 6:30pm on:

2019 Fall
- Thursday, November 14, 2019
- Thursday, December 12, 2019

2020 Winter
- Thursday, January 9, 2020
- Thursday, February 13, 2020
- Thursday, March 12, 2020

2020 Spring
- Thursday, April 9, 2020
- Thursday, May 14, 2020
-Thursday, June 11, 2020

Earn a BAS-IS degree at OC and equip yourself for a broad range of IT careers. Visit the BAS-IS Web site for more details!

What is the difference between CIS and Computer Science? +/-

Information Systems versus Computer Science

A question often asked by prospective students and others is, "What is the difference between information systems and computer science?" The information below should help clarify the differences between the two fields.

Information Systems

Information systems (IS) is the application of information technology to organizational and managerial needs. An IS major needs to be aware of what information technology can contribute to an organization and how to bring that solution to fruition. The strength of an IS major lies in his/her ability to apply the knowledge of information systems and technology to help organizations compete more successfully in the marketplace or to streamline current operations.

IS professionals utilize their business-based backgrounds in working with managers and users to specify technology needs that benefits the organization. In addition, they write programs to codify that technology and later manage it. As such, the IS professional might develop code for business transaction processing systems, client/server systems or end-user support systems; they might implement such systems in languages as COBOL, C++, Visual Basic or JAVA.

IS graduates also design and administer databases and data warehouses, analyze and implement enterprise-wide solutions to information problems and manage telecommunications efforts. Some IS graduates implement and manage corporate-wide Intranets. Finally, IS graduates can also provide project management skills, technical writing or training by melding their knowledge of information technology and business processes.

Computer Science

Computer science (CS) grew out of the disciplines of mathematics and electrical engineering. It refers to the study of the machine itself and its use as a tool in various disciplines. A major in CS will know a considerable amount of mathematics which will help in technological applications such as computer networking, image processing, database design and development and artificial intelligence. A computer scientists's strength lies in his or her ability to solve problems of efficiency and overall performance of applications from a machine perspective, and an overall technical orientation to problem-solving.

A computer scientist focuses on the development of solutions to problems taking into account the limitations of the machine and its resources, as well as how to best utilize the resources. He/she should be able to develop algorithms and data structures that can work within the constraints of available hardware and software to produce an acceptable solution. Most of the development by such people will be done in high level languages, such as C and C++, that can take full advantage of the system hardware and software resources.

What are the job outlooks in CIS? +/-

Computer support positions are expected to be one of the fastest growing occupations over the next decade. The rapid rate of growth and change in the field requires a commitment to stay current with new technologies. Enhancing a Computer Software Support degree with industry recognized certifications increases employment opportunities. Within one year after graduation, the estimated employment rate for this program is 71%. The typical graduate starting median wage is $15.35 with a wage potential of $30.02. Starting median wage and placement rates were retrieved from in 2011. Wage potential was taken from (Bellingham Technical College)

How long will it take me to graduate? +/-

If you are the "perfect student" you should be able to complete your academics goals in the scheduled time. The "perfect student" is one who is meeting all entry requirements, starts in the fall, and is able to be a full-time student who is able to devote ~40 hours per week to their studies. Since this Olympic College is a community college with open enrollment, students can start anytime without meeting all prerequisites. Below are some of the common reasons why students do not complete a program on time.

When in doubt, contact the listed faculty member(s) for a given program or class and come to periodic CIS advising sessions!

Can I complete my degree online? +/-

At this time... Almost! We are working to complete the gap of not offering a few classes online. Most CIS class are offered online or in a hybrid format that may allow for all online learning. If you have questions for a specific class, please contact the listed faculty member(s) for that class from the CIS Class link list above.

What classes can I vertically challenge? +/-

Current OC students may apply to earn credit for certain courses designated by the division and discipline as appropriate for vertical challenge. Through this process, students may be permitted to register for a designated advanced course and receive credits with a grade of "P" for the bypassed course. A numerical grade of 3.0 or higher in the advanced course is required for consideration of the vertical challenge credit for the bypassed course. The only grade that can be earned in the bypassed course is "P". (See the current catalog for more details.)

Not all CIS classes are offered for credit by vertically challenge. Only students with extensive industry experience will be offered vertically challenge classes if requested. To request to vertically challenge a class, please see the lead faculty for the class with a resume or documentation to support your request. Below are the CIS classes currently being offered for vertical challenge.

Can I continue my education at a four year school like the University of Washington? +/-

(Under development...)

Can any CIS faculty be my advisor? +/-

Technically yes. However, it is *strongly* advised you work the listed faculty for a given program since they are closer to the "goings on" of a given program or certificate like certificates or articulation issues. If you have questions for a specific program or certificate, please contact the listed faculty member(s) for that program or certificate from the CIS Programs or BAS-IS links list above.

Do I need my own computer? +/-

In order to realize the greatest level of success in the Computer Information Systems (CIS) degree and certificate programs at Olympic College, it is critical for success that students have their own computers to work on. Most of the course content found in our CIS offerings is now online, and much of what we do entails working directly with applications and operating systems in virtual environments. While many of the software applications used throughout the program are provided to students for their various courses of study to install and practice with at home, a highly-capable hardware system for home use is not. As such, a highly-capable computer will go a long way to help ensure the student has the tools needed to succeed.

The following specifications (specs) are for a computer that would be sufficient for a 2-year program of study in the CIS program for a student pursuing the Associate of Applied Sciences degree or certificate in the area of Information Systems Specialist. These specs are recommended as a minimum, since systems can exceed this, and those less then this might introduce barriers to success with some assignments. Students unable to obtain this resource should consult with faculty to discuss options.

The following items are considered necessary as well, though no minimum specifications are called for:

The following items are optional and optimal for augmenting the learning environment:

Please feel free to contact your CIS faculty advisor with any questions or concerns you may have on any of this.

Is tutoring available? +/-

YES! OC has many tutoring labs on the Bremerton and satellite campuses for both CIS classes (Bremerton only) as well as general tutoring for English and math. Please see the current Tutorial Services Web page for details.