Computer Information Systems FAQ

What are the new Programming Degree Tracks (Effective Spring 2015)
General Programmer Track
Mobile Programmer Track
Web Developer Track

What are the differences between the two CIS degrees?
The A.A.S. Computer Programmer (63 credits) is specifically designed for the student who wants to become a computer programmer, as well as for students who are planning on transferring to a 4-year university.  Computer programmers write instructions in one of many programming languages to tell the computer (desktops, mainframes, tablets, smart phones) exactly what to do. The programming degree now has three tracks: general programmer, mobile programmer, and website developer.

The A.A.S. Computers and Information Systems (62 credits) is designed to give a student a broad base of computer knowledge in the various computer areas of programming, networking, operating systems, website development, software applications, technical writing, and computer hardware. The student can emphasize one specific area with electives. 

What are the differences among the CIS certificates?

Digital ERP Using SAP Certificate (15 credits)

This certificate focuses on developing a student’s knowledge working with ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) systems using the SAP software platform.  Students are exposed to SAP and how SAP is used in different ERP business functions.  The design, configuration, implementation, and deployment of an ERP system are also explored.

Computer Programmer Certificate (35 credits)

This certificate focuses on developing the student's knowledge of computer programming.  The student gains an understanding of several programming languages. 

Computer User Certificate (18 credits)

Personal computers are used as tools in a variety of business and home settings.  This certificate is designed to prepare students to learn a variety of application programs and manage their computer systems.

PC Support Specialist Certificate (34 credits)

This certificate is designed for students who want to be involved in the technical support of a computer system. Employment may include positions on a help desk, as a software trainer, or as a technician who trouble shoots, evaluates and upgrades hardware and software.

Computer Technology Certificate (18 credits)

This certificate enables students to determine which courses they need to meet their personal computer knowledge and computer skills goals. Students will understand the basic concepts and terminology related to computer technology and apply computer theoretical concepts to solve business problems.

Internet and Computer Core (IC3) Certificate (14 credits)

This certificate is designed to develop an individual's basic computer skills and Internet knowledge to promote success in using a computer in day-to-day living (school, work, personal).  Students will be able to apply the computer concepts and skills learned to solve business problems.  Students will be prepared to take the IC3 industrial certification exam.

Oracle Database Administrator (DBA) Certificate (15 credits)

This certificate prepares the student to install, operate, troubleshoot, monitor and improve the performance of an Oracle database.  These courses will help students prepare for Oracle Database Administrator certification.  

Linux Certificate (10 credits)

Formerly the UNIX Certificate.  This certificate prepares the student to install, operate, troubleshoot and secure a Linux network, including workstations and servers.  These courses will help students prepare for Linux certification.  

Management of Information Systems (MIS) Certificate (27 credits)

This certificate prepares students to use computer technology for solving real-world business issues in information systems such as billing, payroll, financial transactions, scheduling, and customer service.

Web Site Developer Certificate (16 credits)

This certificate is for students that want to learn the basic website development skills.  Skills learned include: introductory HTML, cascading style sheets, database driven websites, and Adobe Dreamweaver

Advanced Web Site Development Certificate (41 credits)

This certificate prepares the student to develop a website using the latest tools and technologies.  Skills learned include: website development using HTML, cascading style sheets, web database management, web scripting, and active server pages, For the student that wants to learn the most advanced website design skills.   

Web Site Support and Maintenance Certificate (28 credits)

This certificate prepares the student to support and maintain a website using the latest web design tools and web technologies.   Skills learned include:  website development using HTML, cascading style sheets, web scripting, web databases, graphics communications, and web development tools.

What version Microsoft Office of software is currently being used in CIS101 and CIS103 courses?
Effective Fall 2014, we teach Microsoft Office 2013.  If a student is unable to purchase the software for their personal computer, he/she may use the software in the computer labs on both the Des Plaines and Skokie campuses.   Through an initiative called "Office in Education", all of Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher, and Access) products are available for free to Oakton students for both Windows and Mac OS X (search on Office in Education on the Internet)

What are the two core courses in developing a web page?
CIS131: Web Page Development (HTML and CSS)
CIS171: Advanced Web Page Development

What other computer-related degrees and certificates does Oakton offer?
In addition to those in CIS, Oakton offers more than 30 computer related degrees and certificates. Take a look at the offerings in these departments:

What salary can an entry level person expect?
Salaries vary by position, industry and region. See the Bureau of Labor Statistics for the most up to date salary information or the Robert Half Technology Salary Guide for IT professionals. 

Can a student earn credit for a course without taking the course?
A student may earn credit for CIS101 through the CLEP exam.  Contact the testing center in Des Plaines to set up a time to take the exam.  No other CIS proficiency tests are available. A student may earn credit based on knowledge gained on the job or personally; this is called Experiential Learning.  Contact the CIS program coordinator, John Stryker, 847.635.1969 to discuss this further. 

Can a student register for a course without having completed the prerequisite course?
Students can register for a course without taking the prerequisite course; the student is expected to have the equivalent knowledge of the prerequisite course on the first day of class.  The instructor may assign a project or ask the students to take an exam covering the material from the prerequisite course on the first day of class and you would need to be successful in this activity. It is strongly recommended that the student talk to the CIS program coordinator, John Stryker, 847.635.1969 before the class begins.  The student's knowledge will be evaluated and a recommendation will be made. 

Does the student have to take the courses that are listed in the degree and certificate requirements?
Depending on your work experience, you may be able to substitute an advanced course for a required lower-level course.  For example is if you have strong knowledge of the Windows Operating System (CIS116), you could substitute the CIS118 - Introduction to the Linux Operating System course in its place.  Another example is that the student can take an advanced programming language in place of an introductory programming language.  Students may also take EGL 111 or EGL 212 in place of CIS205.  Call the CIS coordinator, John Stryker at 847.635.1969, to make a substitution determination.

In working towards any degree or certificate, students must earn the number of credits for that degree or certificate; this can be done by taking the required courses, substituting courses, or earning Oakton credit for life experience. 

Are there any courses that are only offered once in a year? If so, when are they offered?

Note:  This is subject to change.  Contact the CIS Program Coordinator with any questions.

Fall Spring Summer

CIS145 Database Fundamentals I

CIS203 Managing Information Systems

CIS253 Project Management Certification Preparation

CIS201 Information Systems for Business

CIS205 Documentation and Writing

CIS204 Introduction to Systems Analysis and Design

CIS152 Web Development Tools

CIS249 Introduction to ERP Systems

CIS261 System Configuration using SAP


CIS245 Database Fundamentals II


CIS247 Performance Tuning


CIS228 Linux Administration


CIS238 Linux Network Services Administration

When and where are CIS courses offered?
Courses are offered days, nights, and weekends on both the Des Plaines and Skokie campuses.  Some classes are offered face-to-face only, online only and some are hybrid classes (the class has an online component and limited face-to-face meetings).

What current 'hot topics' are we offering under the CIS290 course code?
Courses vary each term; coming in Spring 2016: Python Programming; Content Management Software: WordPress

For additional hot topics, please view the CIS290 course offerings on the Oakton Website, Oakton class schedule, or contact the CIS coordinator John Stryker at 847.635.1969 or for current scheduling information.

What happens if a course required by a certificate or A.A.S. degree is withdrawn due to lack of enrollment?
Contact John Stryker at 847.635.1969 or Other arrangements can be made such as setting up the course as an independent study or substituting a course for the required course.

Do computer courses at Oakton transfer to other colleges and universities?
Many of the CIS courses transfer to other schools. Some satisfy a requirement and others can be used as electives. CIS101 and CIS103 typically transfer. Many of the programming language courses transfer. Contact Academic Advising or the school you are transferring to for further information on transferring Oakton credits.

Where do Oakton students majoring in CIS typically continue their education?

  • University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Northern Illinois University
  • National-Louis University
  • DePaul University
  • DeVry University
  • Northeastern Illinois University

Are there courses that complement each other and could be taken concurrently? Are there courses that should not be taken concurrently?

  • CIS180-Introduction to Visual Basic .NET Programming and CAB140-Database Applications Using Access can be taken concurrently.
  • Complete CAB140-Database Applications using Access before taking CIS210-Visual Basic .NET Programming for Files and Databases
  • CIS101–Introduction to Information Systems and CIS103-Computer Software and Concepts can be taken concurrently.
  • CIS131-Web Page Development and CAB140-Database Applications Using Access can be taken concurrently.

Consider taking the following courses in the same semester:

  • CAB135-Electronic Spreadsheeting Using Excel
  • CAB140-Database Applications Using Access
  • CIS116-Introduction to the MS-Windows Operating System
  • ELT130-Microcomputer Hardware Systems

Consider taking the following courses in the same semester, as these classes are typically offered as 8 week courses and can be taken back to back:

  • CIS118-Linux Operating System and CIS218-Advanced Linux Operating System
  • CIS143-Introduction to SQL and CIS145-Database Fundamentals I
  • CIS245-Database Fundamentals II and CIS247-Performance Tuning (these are offered Spring semester only) 

What happened to all the WWW classes?
Effective Fall 2012 all WWW classes have merged into CAB or CIS or were withdrawn. Most WWW classes are still offered but have a CAB or CIS prefix. Some of the class numbers were changed as well. For further information please contact John Stryker (contact information below).

Who should the student contact with questions about the computer curriculum at Oakton?

John Stryker, Computer Information Systems (CIS) or 847.635.1969

Doris Gronseth, Coordinator, Computer Applications for Business (CAB) or 847.376.7055

Majid Ghadiri, Chair, Electronics & Computer Technologies (ELT) or 847.376.7699

Reza Dai, Chair, Computer Networking & Systems (CNS) or 847.376.7778

To contact any faculty member in CIS, consult the faculty page of this web site.

Other computer-oriented curriculum are Computer Applications for Business (CAB), Computer Networking and Systems (CNS), Electronics and Computer Technology (ELT), Computer Science (CSC). Consult the college catalog or Oakton Website for further information.