E-commerce and e-business used to be the next up and coming thing–now they are the thing. Almost every aspect of our lives, both personal and business, is influenced by e-commerce and e-business processes and technologies. While many people believe e-commerce and e-business to be one and the same, they are different. Understanding the differences is important for those who are interested in pursuing a degree or launching a career in one, or both, of these technology driven disciplines.
E-commerce refers specifically to process of buying and selling goods and services electronically via the Internet. This includes buying and selling physical products, digital information or professional services by means of various electronic tools, including email, fax, secure virtual store fronts, web-based escrow accounts and electronic funds transfer (i.e. paypay, etc.) While uncommon just a few decades ago, many business today exist entirely online without any physical presence, other than a website and P.O. box. And now traditional brick-and-mortar business can easily become an e-commerce business by investing in a virtual online storefront that displays their products/services and allows for transacting business over the Internet. E-commerce allows businesses to interact with new global populations and develop customer bases in regions previously inaccessible. With only a click of a mouse, an Internet user can browse and purchase products and services offered by corporations thousands of miles away–often in foreign countries. E-commerce has revolutionized the world of business and will continue to do so for many decades to come.
So what exactly is e-business? Well, it’s similar to e-commerce but slightly difference. Most of the time, e-business refers to Internet businesses, but it’s not limited to just Internet-based businesses. E-business includes any business, online or brick-and-mortar, that uses Internet technologies and processes (e.g., web-based sales management, inventory management, marketing, logistics, etc.) to improve efficiency, productivity and profitability. So a retail company that allows there sales reps to report their sales online but doesn’t actually sell online would be an e-business, without being an e-commerce businness.
E-commerce and e-business degrees, certificates and courses are designed to prepare students to take advantage of the many career and business opportunities that exist in the world governed by the web, Internet technologies and electronic services. Not surprisingly, the demand for professionals with well-developed e-commerce/e-business skill sets and knowledge is strong. Business professionals who are trained in e-commerce and e-business technologies, systems and processes can expect more career advancement opportunities and higher pay. While a generic business program introduces students to the theories and practices of business disciplines, including accounting, finance, sales, marketing and economics, a degree in e-commerce also trains students in more advanced areas of managing a business within the framework of an increasingly Internet driven world and global economy.
Degrees in e-commerce and e-business are offered at the associate’s, bachelor’s and master’s level. As is the case with most disciplines, the higher the level of education achieve the greater the benefits and career opportunities. Earning an associate’s degree in e-commerce will prepare students for many entry-level jobs, butthe minimum qualification for most positions will be a bachelor’s degree. More and more businesses today are seeking candidates with master’s degrees in e-commerce or e-business and that can demonstrate a particular skill set that is relevant to the position in question. Most colleges and universities today offers degrees and courses in e-commerce and e-business. However, the large majority of higher education institutions offer e-commerce/e-business concentrations as part of more traditional degree programs. For example, top business schools now offers MBAs with e-commerce/e-business concentration, or marketing degrees with specialities in Internet marketing.
Below you can explore a database of nationally and regionally accredited 2 and 4-year colleges and universities offering degrees in e-commerce and e-business designed to provide you the education needed to advance your career.
E-commerce/e-business Degrees, Certificates and Programs
Southern New Hampshire University
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