This career is expected to grow 17 percent—faster than average—through 2018.
Businesses need networks (Internet, intranets, web) and other evolving technologies, and keeping these technologies running smoothly is essential.
The need for network security and the growth of web-based commerce will drive much of this demand. Computer and information systems managers with security expertise and experience in web applications and Internet technologies will become increasingly vital to their companies.
In 2008, computer and information systems managers enjoyed an average salary of $112,210. The middle 50 percent made $88,240 to $141,890. Those overseeing computer systems design earned the most; those employed by colleges, universities and professional schools made the least.
Computer and information systems managers plan, coordinate, and direct research and facilitate the computer-related activities of firms. They help set technical and business goals and make detailed plans for the accomplishment of these goals. They must understand both technology and business in depth.
There are many different kinds of computer and information systems managers. Chief technology officers (CTOs), for example, keep an eye out for the newest and most innovative technologies and develop a vision for using them effectively to improve the business. Management information systems (MIS) directors or information technology (IT) directors make sure that the workers of an organization have the computing resources they need to do their jobs properly, and that clients have the resources they need to access the company’s products and services. Project managers develop requirements, budgets and schedules for their firms’ information technology projects.
Employers usually want to see candidates with a bachelor’s degree. The bachelor of science in business administration with a major or concentration in MIS (management of information systems) is the most common degree.
Many employers today want candidates with graduate degrees, especially an MBA with technology management as a core component or a master’s of management in MIS.
Many online universities offer degrees in management information systems. These degrees blend technical subjects with business, accounting and communications courses.
A few computer and information systems managers attain their positions with only an associate degree in computer science, but the most successful of these have acquired skills on the job. To aid their professional advancement, many managers with an associate degree eventually earn a bachelor’s or master’s degree while working.
Although certification is not required for most computer and information systems manager positions, getting private certification in a particular product or technology can be helpful.
Entering the Field:
To prepare for an MIS career, investigate any associate degree in computer science or computer information systems or computer programming. The associate degree will help lay a foundation in computer science. Continue to earn your bachelor of science in business administration with a concentration in MIS online.
If you have on-the-job experience with specific computer technologies, such as databases, programming, network configuration or web development, consider adding business and management coursework.
Most computer and information systems managers have previously worked as systems analysts, computer support specialists, programmers, or other information technology professionals.
If you have earned a bachelor’s degree in an area other than computers but hold a solid computer job, such as programming or database development, consider an online graduate level certificate in information systems or an MBA with a specialty in MIS.
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Source for salary and growth data is the Bureau of Labor Statistics. For more information on careers in computer and information systems management, salaries and job prospects visit: U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition, Computer and Information Systems Managers.