Computer and Information Systems Managers

Computer and information systems managers supervise information technology departments and businesses, overseeing the work of computer programmers, analysts, and other professionals. Computer and information systems managers contribute, or in some businesses control, the decisions that keep their organizations competitive and technologically efficient. These are great program options for distance learning students

A computer and information systems manager’s specific responsibilities vary considerably with the size and scope of the workplace. Computer and information systems managers in both large and small organizations develop and implement technical projects; acquire, manage, and upgrade information technology systems; design or incorporate new software; troubleshoot network problems; ensure network security; and consult with other professionals within the company to satisfy their computing requirements. In smaller companies, these managers may also have broader responsibilities extending to administration, accounting, and customer service. For instance, a manager who owns a business may perform the lion’s share of running the company.

Computer and information systems managers typically work 40 hours or more per week in an office setting. The nature of the work is always evolving, with new technology constantly appearing on the market. Not only do computer information systems managers have to keep up with these trends, but they may also have to bring other professionals in their organizations up to speed, as new technologies are introduced into the workplace.

Though the work environment is generally clean and comfortable, computer and information systems managers face unique challenges and stresses in the workplace. These managers often operate on short deadlines and strict budgets, communicating with varying levels of employees with unique technological needs, and they are responsible for the computing infrastructure that increasingly forms the backbone of most businesses’ records, communications, and financial functions, both during and outside regular work hours.

Education, Training, and Essential Skills

For many computer and information systems managers, a graduate degree in information technology or an MBA is preferred; a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field is generally required. Some managers may work their way into higher level positions with only a trade school or associate’s degree, but only after significant work experience and professional development.

Undergraduate educational training should include coursework in computer science and programming, mathematics, engineering, management information systems, networking, databases, systems security, finance, marketing, and accounting. MBA coursework should include advanced studies in the same subjects, with additional topics in electronic business and systems design. Certification in product-specific technologies is another significant form of training that employers seek.

In addition to formal education and work experience, computer and information systems managers require specific communication and personality skills to be successful. Some necessities for this role include: interpersonal skills with workers of all levels in an organization, problem-solving ability, multi-tasking strengths, managing multiple deadlines, the ability to effectively explain technical concepts to others and to quickly learn new technologies, and business acumen.

Advancement and Professional Development Opportunities

Advancement for computer and information systems managers can be achieved through additional education or certification. Managers who hold an associate’s degree can work toward a bachelor’s, or those holding a bachelor’s can work toward an MBA. Many organizations will pay for or subsidize this professional development for their employees.
Certification is generally software-specific, and training is available through software or hardware companies offering new technologies.

Another route to job advancement for computer and information systems managers is to broaden their skills by taking advanced courses in business, finance, sales, and leadership. Managers can also establish their own consulting services.

Outlook and Income

Overall, the employment rate for computer and information systems managers is expected to grow by 17% over the next decade, and it will be tied closely to growth in the positions that they manage: computer programmers; analysts; software engineers; support specialists; and computer network, database, and systems professionals.

The fastest-growing fields for computer system managers are systems design, data processing and hosting, software development, scientific and technical consulting, management services, and healthcare organizations. The increasing role of computing and networks as a business infrastructure suggests that computer and information systems managers with expertise in the latest innovations and with strong business and finance skills will have the best job prospects.

Salaries for computer and information systems managers are influenced by the organizations they work for and their specific jobs. The median wage is $112,000, with higher rates in software publishing and computer systems designs fields, and median-level rates in depository credit intermediation and management of companies or enterprise businesses. Lower rates are paid for positions with insurance carriers.