Consider a Dynamic Career in Informatics

iStudent Blog

Published: May 10, 2022 by Hilary Meehan

The SJSU iSchool offers three fully-online, masters-level degree options: the MLIS program, the MARA program and the MS in Informatics. Today, we will explore the cutting edge field of informatics and the exciting career opportunities it offers for iSchool students. 

What is Informatics?

The informatics professional applies their technological skills to the creation of user-friendly systems within the context of big data. Informatics skills are widely transferrable across many industries and incorporate human-centered design thinking, web application implementation, network security analysis, large-scale data set management, and project management (SJSU iSchool, 2020).

Industry areas include sports informatics, behavioral informatics, business informatics, cybersecurity and privacy informatics, community informatics, geoinformatics, health informatics (including telehealth), imaging informatics, museum informatics, research informatics, social informatics and urban informatics (SJSU iSchool, 2018).

“No matter the industry, informatics professionals…apply [their] skills to solve user-centric information and data problems, develop and implement information assurance and ethics and privacy solutions, identify user needs and create and test new prototypes to meet those needs, develop, manage and evaluate electronic records programs, and conduct informatics analysis and visualization focused on user experience” (SJSU iSchool, 2018).

Examples of Jobs in Informatics 

  • Analyst Programmer
  • Business Analyst
  • Clinical Data Analyst
  • Computer and Information Research Scientist
  • Director of Clinical Informatics Research
  • E-Commerce Developer
  • Health Informatics Director
  • Health Records Manager
  • Information Architect
  • Interaction Developer
  • IT Manager
  • Management Consultant
  • Nursing Informatics Specialist
  • Online Marketing Analyst
  • Project Manager
  • Quality Assurance Lead
  • Sports Data Analyst
  • Statistical Analyst
  • User Experience Designer
  • User Experience Researcher
  • Web Application Developer

(from: SJSU iSchool’s Informatics: Your Career)

Employment Outlook

The field of informatics is growing exponentially. “It’s a great time to pursue opportunities in careers and industries related to informatics,” says Carrie McKnight, SJSU’s Career Counselor for Graduate Students. “Current graduate students looking for jobs and recent college graduates are entering a hot job market in 2022,” McKnight explains. “On SJSU Handshake (the Career Center’s job site) alone there are thousands of job openings posted. The MS in Informatics program prepares students for a variety of emerging/high growth careers and in-demand skills employers are seeking now.”

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (2022), “employment of information security analysts is projected to grow 33 percent from 2020 to 2030, much faster than the average for all occupations.” The median annual salary for information security analysts in 2021 was $102,600 (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2022). 

Additionally, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (2021) states, “as the healthcare industry expands its use of electronic medical records, ensuring patients’ privacy and protecting personal data are essential. More information security analysts are likely to be needed to create the safeguards that will protect personal information and satisfy patients’ concerns.” Employment in health informatics is expected to increase by 9 percent between 2020 and 2030 (US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2021). Median annual wages for health informaticists in 2020 ranged between $46,600 and $99,750 annually (US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2021).

Informatics at SJSU

According to the program site, the iSchool’s MS in Informatics approaches information management from a socio-technical perspective. The course of study emphasizes the needs of the end-user in human/computer interactions and focuses on “analyzing and managing data – and making that data secure and actionable for users within a specific field”.

Developed for students with technical and non-technical backgrounds, SJSU’s MS in Informatics is for people “who are interested in exploring connections between people and technology” and “is designed for students who are specifically interested in…[navigating] data environments, preparing students for a career in informatics, or working with groups that have big data focus areas” (SJSU iSchool, 2020a).

An accelerated, 30 credit program of study, students may complete their degrees in 12-18 months. Students have two options for their culminating project: an e-portfolio or an Organizational Consulting Project “with a partner company to address a specific Informatics-related problem and gain real-world, hands-on experience” (SJSU iSchool, 2020a).

iSchool MS in Informatics: Career Pathways

The iSchool supports two distinct career pathways in informatics:

Health Informatics at SJSU is “an exciting interdisciplinary program [that] provides the skills you need to leverage data and technology to provide more efficient and patient-centered healthcare services” (SJSU iSchool, 2020b). The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) (n.d.) identifies current and emerging STEM-related career areas including clinical systems analyst, clinical data developer, health informatics specialist, clinical data specialist, decision support analyst, and data quality analyst. Visit the AHIMA site for additional health informatics career information.

The Cybersecurity Informatics program at SJSU prepares students to address and manage issues of operational security, web application attacks, cloud computing security, application programming development, forensic imaging, search and seizure procedures and forensic toolkit implementation.

As per the SJSU Informatics Career Pathways page, students in the Informatics program “may mix-and-match between the 6 Career Pathway courses offered to instead complete these 9 units of course work with a general option.”

Alumni Perspectives

Randall White graduated from SJSU in 2020 with an MS in Informatics and quickly achieved his dream to be a faculty-track instructor at a university. He is now a machine learning instructor at a coding school in Oklahoma. White acknowledges the value of the inspiring mentoring and professional role-modeling he received from iSchool instructor Dr. Tonia San Nicolas-Rocca

Following his graduation from the program, Jerome Zhang (‘20, MS in Informatics) landed a great job as a software engineer in the San Francisco Bay Area. He encourages others to pursue a career in Informatics. “Find something you’re passionate about in the field: health informatics, human-centered design, digital asset management, etc.” he says. “Definitely try to find something informatics-related and become an expert in that.”

Watch a brief video of Marco Oliver Lopez (‘20, MS in Informatics) speaking about his experience as a student in the SJSU program.

Want to Learn More? 

Prospective MS in Informatics students may contact Jason Kaltenbacher, SJSU iSchool’s MS in Informatics Program Coordinator and Student Academic Advisor, here.

For informatics and all other information science-related career advice, email Carrie McKnight, SJSU’s Career Counselor for Graduate Students, at carrie.mcknight@sjsu.edu

Additional Resources

Stay Tuned…

Be sure to check this blog regularly for additional career insights for students in iSchool degree programs plus other iSchool-related resources, advice, and ideas.

Please contact hilary.meehan@sjsu.edu with questions, comments and ideas for future blog posts. 

References

AHIMA. (n.d.). Career map. Retrieved May 9, 2022, from https://my.ahima.org/careermap/index.html

SJSU iSchool. (2018, October 31). Informatics careers: What it takes and how to get there [Medium]. Retrieved on May 9, 2022 from https://medium.com/sjsuischool/informatics-careers-what-it-takes-and-how-to-get-there-6f98a1795bc

SJSU iSchool. (2020a, October 5). Master of science in informatics. SJSU | School of Information. Retrieved May 9, 2022, from https://ischool.sjsu.edu/ms-informatics

SJSU iSchool. (2020b, October 5). Your career: Informatics. SJSU | School of Information. Retrieved May 9, 2022, from https://ischool.sjsu.edu/informatics-your-career

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2021, November 2). Medical records and health information specialists: Occupational outlook handbook. Retrieved May 9, 2022, from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/medical-records-and-health-information-technicians.htm#tab-6

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2022, April 18). Information Security Analysts : Occupational Outlook Handbook: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved April 26, 2022, from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/information-security-analysts.htm#tab-6

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