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Abstract

This study posits an IS specific career choice model that provides good predictive power and elucidates the nuances of factors underlying attraction to an IS career. IS is a relatively new career option, which many students may be unaware of or may misconstrue; this suggests the need for discipline-specific understanding. In this study, we used the Theory of Reasoned Action, which is a well-developed and widely applied theoretical model, but it has only recently begun to be applied to understanding occupational intentions. We argue that the TRA is an especially useful model for developing an IS-specific model of career attraction because, unlike other theories of career choice, it specifies the effect of social environment and allows for a more nuanced understanding of the factors underlying attraction to IS. Undergraduate students in an introductory IS course at a large public university were surveyed to test the study’s model, providing empirical validation of a career choice model comprising IS-career relevant beliefs and values. Overall, findings reveal that intentions significantly influence actual behavior—completion of an IS degree. IS career attitudes and social beliefs, in turn, collectively form intentions about pursuing IS careers. More specifically, attitudinal beliefs such as software/programming skill self-efficacy and technical, income, leadership, and job-variety-related work values have significant influence on favorable attitudes. The normative beliefs derived from one’s referent others, i.e., family members, friends, teachers, and significant others, significantly impact IS attitudes and intentions. The research contribution and practical implications of this work are discussed.

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