Studying Business Computing
Business informatics engineers are driving the digitalisation of the economy.
An article by Lisa Srikiow in collaboration with Johanna Ritter
That is what it’s about
Whether the goal is optimising logistics chains, intelligently controlling production, generating knowledge from data bases or developing new distribution channels – business informatics engineers ensure that information technology supports a company in the right places. In the first few semesters, students deal with, among other things, how to describe problems using models and solve them with algorithms. They also learn the basics of business, economics, mathematics and statistics. And they learn programming languages and how to use key software like SAP – from planning to roll-out in a company. "We also deal with current hot topics such as big data, data security, social media or digital workplaces in the degree course," says Christine Legner, professor at the Uni Lausanne and chair of the Business Information Systems Committee at the German Academic Association for Business Research. A typical subject for business informatics engineers is process management where workflows starting from the order through to delivery are optimised with IT. This requires not only technical knowledge, but also understanding of organisational interdependencies: Which departments are involved in a process? How accepting are employees of new IT solutions? In the two last semesters of the Bachelor's degree course, students can choose a specialisation, for example production and logistics, information management, e-business, healthcare informatics, media informatics or consulting. The exact specialisations that can be chosen depend on the university. Work placements are helpful for professional orientation. Many universities also work together with companies, for example on research projects, and excursions.
suitability, obstacles, misconceptions
Contrary to the expectations of many students, you don't have to know how to program at the beginning of the degree course. However, analytical thinking and good mathematics skills are essential. "Students should therefore absolutely take advantage of the bridge courses," says Legner. In the profession, business informatics engineers must present and discuss concepts. They often develop these concepts in teams with members from different corporate divisions and countries. Communication skills are therefore useful; proficiency in English is also a must. Business informatics engineers also have to be able to put themselves in the user's shoes to design user-friendly technology. Around half of the higher education institutions have course entrance restrictions which often require grades in the two range for Business Informatics.