Computer and information systems managers consult with the management of a company or other organization to develop technical and business goals, and make plans to accomplish these goals utilizing technology. They oversee systems analysts, computer programmers, support specialists, and other computer-related workers. They plan, or are involved with many different activities within the organization, including installation and upgrading of hardware and software, programming and systems design, development of computer networks, implementation of Internet and intranet sites, and the upkeep and maintenance of security systems. Specialists within the occupation include chief technology officers, who evaluate new technologies; management information systems directors, who manage the entire information system of an organization; project managers, who oversee information technology projects; and Local Area Network/Wide Area Network (LAN/WAN) managers, who design and administrate an organization’s LANs and WANs.
Besides the necessary technical and analytical skills, computer and information systems managers should have well-developed business skills, meaning a background in either consulting or business management. Largely due to the expansion of electronic commerce, many computer and information systems managers are responsible for making critical business decisions. They also need to have strong people skills and leadership qualities, as well as a good sense of management processes and the needs of customers.
In 2002, computer and information systems managers earned a median annual salary of $85,240. Earnings ranged from the lowest 10%, who earned less than $47,440, and the highest 10%, who earned more than $140,440. The following shows the median annual salaries for the industries employing the highest numbers of computer and information systems managers:
- Computer systems design and related services – $94,240
- Management of companies and enterprises – 91,710
- Insurance carriers – 89,920
- Depository credit intermediation – 75,160
- Colleges, universities, and professional schools – 68,100
Training and Education
Computer and information systems managers usually have experience in another computer occupation, usually as a systems analyst, computer support specialist, or programmer. A bachelor’s degree is usually a minimum requirement, although more companies are requiring a master’s degree in business administration with an emphasis in technology. Employers look for candidates with a high degree of technical knowledge and communication skill because computer and information systems managers are often called upon to explain the work in very technical language when talking to workers, and in non-technical language when communicating with other management.
In 2002, computer and information systems managers held about 284,000 jobs. The industry employing the highest number of computer operators was computer systems design and related services, which includes customer computer programming services; computer systems integration design services; computer facilities management services, including computer systems or data-processing facilities support services for clients; and other computer-related services, such as disaster recovery services and software installation.
Between 2002 and 2012, the number of computer and information systems managers is expected to increase much faster than the average. This will be due to the widespread installation of sophisticated computer networks and the increase in more complex Internet and intranet sites. Technology in general will boost the increase of most computer-related workers, and firms will also have the need to replace managers who change careers or leave the labor force. Companies will be willing to hire managers who prove they can keep the company’s computer systems running smoothly. As electronic commerce grows, the need for increased security will also grow. More computer and information systems managers will be involved in identifying the vulnerabilities of systems and implementing security measures to protect systems from hackers, viruses, and other acts of cyber-terrorism.
Directory of Schools Offering Computer Information Systems Courses and Degrees