For those seeking a career working with computers and computing systems, a position as a computer and information systems manager could land them in a growing field with strong salary potential.
The work of a computer and information systems manager can be complicated. However, those willing to secure the appropriate education and training can find themselves on the cutting edge of the technology industry. Given the growth in the industry, that could clearly be a good place to be.
Career Outlook and Salary for Computer and Information Systems Managers
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that employment in computer and information systems management will grow 18% from 2010 to 2020. Most of the growth is expected to be fueled by companies choosing to upgrade software, change to a different computer network and install better mobile technology.
Two areas, in particular, are expected to see rapid growth: cybersecurity across all industries; and information technology in the healthcare industry. Cybersecurity is an issue of acute importance to private and public organizations alike. The healthcare industry, meanwhile, is being pushed to switch to electronic records, meaning it needs to improve computer systems and electronic information management.
Computer and information systems managers made a median salary of almost $116,000 in May 2010, according to the BLS. Salary potential and job opportunities for computer and information systems managers will differ based on factors such as local market conditions and industry demand, as well as a candidate’s educational qualifications and level of experience.
Job Duties for a Computer and Information Systems Manager
There are different types of computer and information systems managers, including chief information officers, information technology (IT) directors, chief technology officers and IT security managers. Responsibilities and duties for each title will vary.
Generally speaking, computer and information systems managers implement and oversee computer-related activity within a company or organization. Working with top executives, they help determine the computing system needs for a company and then produce a plan to meet those needs.
To do the job effectively, computer and information systems managers must stay up-to-date on the latest advances and trends in computing systems, including cybersecurity, an issue that continues to gain importance for organizations as cyber attacks become more frequent and sophisticated.
Education Requirements for Computer and Information Systems Managers
Computer and information systems managers typically hold at least a bachelor’s degree in computer science, business or a related field, according to the BLS. Some employers prefer systems managers, especially those at the top levels, to have a master’s degree. Often, that degree will be a master’s in business administration.
Coursework to attain a computer science degree may include computer programming, software development and mathematics.
Computer and information systems managers usually have at least basic business knowledge as they are often called upon to assess the costs and benefits of new computer systems or upgrades. A liberal arts education that incorporates a business degree with an emphasis on computer science can be one way in which to enter this career.
Once in the workforce, computer and information systems employees often get on-the-job training specific to their chosen field – healthcare, finance or government, for example.
Before becoming managers, employees may spend several years learning a specific computer system and business. It can take five to 10 years of work experience to become a manager, and up to 15 years to attain the position of chief technology officer, a job that entails overseeing an entire computer system operation.
Military Occupational Specializations
The job of computer and information systems manager shares skills and responsibilities with a number of military occupational specializations. That may be an important factor to consider for servicemembers returning to the civilian workforce.
Among the applicable military occupations: network intelligence analyst specialist; information technology specialist; computer systems programming specialist; and information systems technician.