Seidenberg Programs: Information Technology vs. Information Systems

Congratulations to students who have been accepted into Pace University’s Seidenberg School of CSIS! Upon joining our community, one of the first things you’ll likely notice is our wide range of undergraduate and graduate degrees. However, our Information Technology and Information Systems majors are two programs that are often confused with one another. As you may or may not know, Information Technology focuses more on the use of systems to store, retrieve, and transmit data, whereas Information Systems is centered on figuring out the best ways to use the data collected. Knowing and understanding the difference between the two is essential to making the best decision regarding which program you should choose.


WHAT TO EXPECT AS AN INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY MAJOR?

Man working at a computer.

As an Information Technology major, you’ll be studying the systems that operate computers, networks, and more. Through the curriculum for this program, students will get to explore a series of fundamental courses in Information Technology. Additionally, you will also get a chance to select an area of focus in IT. These focus areas include security, software development, networking, information management, and computer forensics. However, for those of you who want to take a more liberal approach, you can also create your own interdisciplinary focus.

Security

With a focus in security, you’ll have a brief intro to programming, along with an overview of networking and internet security. Through the programming course, you’ll learn basic operations of Java generally used to solve business and systems-related dilemmas. In addition to correcting system errors, you’ll also be shown how to develop operating systems for various environments.

Software Development

For this concentration, you will be able to take not only one but two courses in programming, which combined will help deepen your overall understanding of coding. In the other courses for this focus, you’ll also get the chance to explore how to analyze and design systems that manage organizations in an effective way.

Networking

Choosing a focus in networking will allow you to take an introductory programming course alongside two other classes that will shape your foundational knowledge of networks and security.

Information Management 

Pursuing this focus will teach you everything you need to know about information management skills, such as project planning and systems testing. In addition to that, you’ll also learn to master the art of developing databases and extracting data for analysis.

Computer Forensics

This concentration will provide you with the knowledge needed to conduct forensic investigations by understanding how to locate and extract permissible digital evidence on computers and other mobile devices. 

WHAT TO EXPECT AS AN INFORMATION SYSTEMS MAJOR?

People sitting down for a discussion.

Students who are interested in Information Systems will learn how organizations utilize data to make sound business decisions. Through the curriculum, you’ll be encouraged to take marketing and accounting-based classes to help make these assessments. Unlike the Information Technology major, this one doesn’t require you to select an area of focus, however, you do get to choose from a series of electives offered through the program. Information Systems does include various IT concepts, but in a way that focuses on how that data is interpreted by people. Outside of the electives provided, the Information Systems major is split into the Information Systems Core and the Information Systems Environment.

INFORMATION SYSTEMS CORE

The Information Systems Core will show you the ins and outs of the computer’s basic components, which will include an understanding of its hardware and how to effectively troubleshoot problems. With this understanding, you’ll then get into the basics of Java with two introductory programming classes. Other topics you’ll explore include global networking and distributed computing. With global networking, you’ll examine the technology used for business telecommunications while also observing case studies between various organizations. Distributed computing will show you the difference between distributed and centralized systems, along with how to address systems-related issues. On top of that, you will also learn how to design, implement, and analyze various systems.

INFORMATION SYSTEMS ENVIRONMENT

The Information Systems Environment courses cover the business aspect of Information Systems. Through financial accounting, you’ll discover the essentials of making sound administrative decisions from a business, government, and nonprofit perspective. Meanwhile, in your managerial accounting course, you will focus more on the implementation of the data collected rather than the collection of data itself. In your other courses, you will be taught basic macroeconomic principles such as economic growth and banking, managerial planning and leadership, and marketing fundamentals like product development, advertising, and sales.

THE TAKEAWAY

Although different, both programs allow students to earn credits for completing a capstone project or interning at an approved worksite. Regardless of which one you choose, both options provide you with work experience that will benefit you upon graduating from either program. With a degree in Information Technology, your career opportunities can range from IT consultant to computer technician and more. Whereas, with a degree in Information Systems, you’ll find that careers in database administration, the healthcare industry, or even the government are within your scope of opportunities. Whichever you decide, we intend to provide you with all the tools and support you need to succeed.

 

The Return of Sunflower Hack

For its second year in a row Sunflower Hack is returning – but virtually. This year the hackathon is being hosted once again by Pace Women in Tech, alongside Pace University’s POPTV and Cybersecurity clubs. The event, which will take place on March 13th from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm, will be open for registration until March 7th, right before midnight.

Sunflower Hack is open to all participants over the age of 18, regardless of whether they’re enrolled at a university or not. Teams must consist of three to four members to create a hack with this theme in mind: Interaction and Communication. Once your teams are formed, you will have five hours to come up with an idea and a presentation. At the end of the event, a few teams will receive prizes based on different categories, including Best Entrepreneurial Hack, Best UX/UI Hack, and Crowd Favorite. Other potential categories include Best Communication Hack, Best Interaction Hack, and Most “Out-Of-The-Box” Hack.

The Seidenberg community is excited for the success of another engaging hackathon, where participants with various degrees of coding experience are encouraged to join in on the fun. Taking part in this hackathon will be the perfect way to meet new people with common interests, while also developing your programming, designing, and/or presentation skills. For updates on the event, please feel free to check out Sunflower Hack on Instagram, or if you have any questions, they can be answered at gosunflowerhack@gmail.com.

Pace University Students Qualify for the 2021 Northeast Regional Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition

by Andreea Cotoranu
Clinical Professor, Information Technology

A team of eight Seidenberg students with a passion for cybersecurity, participated in the highly coveted Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition, Northeast (NECCDC) qualifier, on January 23, 2021. The ‘core eight’ team included: Logan Cusano (BS in Information Technology ’22 – captain/student coach), Alexander Zimmer (MS in Cybersecurity ’22), Alexs Wijoyo (BS in Computer Science ’22), Kyle Hanson (BS in Information Systems’21), Brendan Scollan (BS in Information Technology ’24), Zachary Goldberg (BS in Information Technology ’22), Andrew Iadevaia (BS in Computer Science ’23), and Aleks Ceremisinovs (BA in Computer Science ’21).

One of the competition goals is to “develop competitor skills to respond to modern cybersecurity threats.” The competition provides a controlled environment for students and challenges them to protect an enterprise network infrastructure and business information system against inherent challenges. The competition environment, called ‘cyber range,’ was virtual, and the communication and collaboration were supported over Discord. Industry professionals moderated the teams; the ‘core eight’ were moderated by Seidenberg alums, and former NECCDC competitors, Andrew Ku (NYC Cyber Command) and John Guckian (IBM).

The theme of this year’s competition was ‘mobility.’ In the qualifier scenario, the ‘core eight’ were part of a news organizations’ internal security team working to administer and secure both data and systems of a regional office in the face of challenges posed by COVID-19. Competing teams were expected to manage the network, keep it operational, prevent unauthorized access, maintain and provide public and internal services.

As part of the competition, a ‘red team’ played the attacker role aiming to compromise the team’s systems. The ‘red team’ launched attacks by making extensive use of bots. Memes and a curated playlist contributed to creating a suspenseful competition atmosphere, which accurately reflected the realities of the battle between the ‘red team’ and the competing teams.

NECCDC Team Discord Groupchat
NECCDC Team Discord Groupchat

As the team captain for the event, Logan Cusano ’22 explained that his role was to assign tasks and secure servers. He noted that his favorite part of his role was seeing new team members “learn an immense amount of information and real-world skills on their assigned operating systems.”

Another team member, Alex Zimmer ’22, explained that he “assisted in our team’s logistical planning as well the preparation of script and reference materials. I also played an active role with our log management on the day of the competition. I found it particularly satisfying when either my materials or advice allowed another team member to overcome an obstacle or properly counter red team actions.”

Alexs Wijoyo ’22, who specialized in Linux operating systems on the team, explained that “the best part of my task was that I was able to get my hand dirty with the tools and operation of the competition. I love these types of things.”

To start, the team had to tame bots with correct command lines to obtain clues and access resources. After that, it was up to keeping systems secure and services up against several rounds of attacks, over five hours.  By round 7, the team had 26/28 services up and running, by round 20 it was down to 11/28, and by round 27, the team rebounded to 17/28. However, by round 41, it was down to 9/28, then up to 15/28 by round 52 –  they were never gonna give those services up! Business tasks, called injects, were as important as keeping services up, especially when competing against great teams. Ultimately, the performance on both technical and business tasks contributed to the team’s qualification to the NECCDC regionals.

NECCDC Team Discord Groupchat
NECCDC Team Discord Groupchat

Alex, who recalled the experience of “the continuous monitoring of the possible attack angles” as a combination of exhilarating and strenuous, explained that the team was ecstatic when they learned of their qualification.

“When I read the news that we had made it to the next round I was elated. I knew the team was capable but this just proved me right,” Logan said of the team’s excitement.

“We love working together and we sure do get a thrill from it,” Alexs chimed in.

Overall, the competition was challenging; however, ‘the core eight’ succeeded to communicate and collaborate, in a virtual environment, under pressure – any IT team would be lucky to have them on board. (Note: for a red team review of last year’s competition and advice for competitors, check Tom Kopchak’s (Hurricane Labs) post.

Seventeen teams from the Northeast region participated in this competition.  Ten qualifying teams, including Pace, will now have the opportunity to participate in the 2021 Northeast Regional CCDC, taking place virtually, March 19-21, through the Cyber Range and Training Center, part of the Global Cybersecurity Institute (GCI) within Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) – the host organization for 2021.

As reported by current and former participants, competitions like NECCDC are some of the most impactful learning experiences. Pace students interested in participating in cybersecurity competitions are encouraged to connect with BergCyberSec, the Pace Cybersecurity Club (Discord: BergCyberSec) to learn of opportunities for training and collaboration.

Are you interested in pursuing a course, a degree, or a career in the exciting domain of cybersecurity? Check the Seidenberg School at Pace University’s cybersecurity course and program offerings here.

Pace University recently launched a Master of Science in Cybersecurity that aims to train the next generation of cybersecurity professionals to join an ever-growing workforce.