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Electronic Commerce - Overview


Electronic commerce programs prepare people to do business on the Internet. Students learn how to plan and manage a business. They also learn about computer security, computer laws, and web design.

In the 1990s, electronic commerce seemed like the key to instant riches. Then came the big crash of the dot-com companies. But e-commerce still has an excellent future. Even if consumers are still going to the corner drugstore for their toothpaste, they are buying many items on the Internet. And businesses are using e-commerce to buy from each other at a growing rate.

You can work in e-commerce from a number of angles. For example, you may specialize in marketing or advertising on the Internet. Or you may be more attuned to the technical issues. Your job may be to recreate an over-the-counter transaction as an over-the-web transaction, or you may concentrate on computer security.

Therefore you can enter this field from a number of different educational backgrounds. Your education may be a college degree in a business specialization, or it may be a degree in technology. Thus you may want to look at the descriptions of programs in those fields.

This field is so new that there are no formal requirements for entry. And under 100 colleges offer programs that concentrate on e-commerce. But a two-year or four-year degree in some other business subject will certainly help your chances. Some majors that might be especially relevant are marketing and management information systems. In your studies, you will probably want to take some courses in the specific field of e-commerce.

You can work in this field at a high level of responsibility if you get a master's degree in business administration (MBA). This degree usually requires two years of full-time study beyond the four-year bachelor's degree. You should have a good background in college business courses or some work experience in the business world. Only a handful of universities offer an MBA that focuses on e-commerce. Nevertheless, in an MBA program with a different focus you can still probably find courses related to e-commerce. These will help prepare you to enter this growing field.

Below is a list of high school courses that will help prepare you for this program of study:

• Introduction to Business
• Computer Science and Programming
• English Composition
• Public Speaking
• Pre-Calculus
• Economics

Source: Illinois Career Information System (CIS) brought to you by Illinois Department of Employment Security.
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