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Computer and information systems managers combine their expertise in technology and business to effectively implement technology into their workplaces. Job titles of computer and information systems managers generally fall under three categories: chief technology officers (CTOs), management information systems (MIS) directors or information technology (IT) directors, and project managers.
CTOs reports to the organization's chief information officer (CIO) and oversee the use of all technology in the organization, and all employees working with technology. IT directors also work under the CIO and are chiefly responsible for managing information technology policies and staff. Project managers develop and manage IT projects, including requirements, budgets, and schedules. In smaller organizations, one person might fulfill the responsibility of all of these jobs tasks.
Computer and information systems managers plan and direct research and oversee all computer-related activities of their organizations, and must accomplish the following day-to-day tasks:
- Construct business plans
- Oversee network security
- Direct Internet operations and implement Internet and intranet sites
- Coordinate software and hardware installation and upgrading
- Oversee the development of, and maintain the security of, computer networks
They also supervise other employees working with computers and networks, including systems analysts, computer programmers, and support specialists. Computer and information systems managers ensure that they and other computer-related professionals work together to stay up-to-date on technology, in order to best compete in the market.
Because they are in charge of the technology of their organizations, computer and information systems managers must have excellent technical and computer skills, as well as strong backgrounds in business. They must also possess the following traits:
- Exceptional analytical and oral and written communication skills
- An aptitude for leadership and management
- The ability to work collaboratively in a team setting
- The ability to motivate others
- Self confidence and confidence in other professionals
The salaries of computer and information systems managers vary depending on specific job title and industry. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the 2008 median salary of all computer and information systems managers was $53.95 per hour, or $112,210 per year. The industries who paid the highest 2008 mean annual salaries were:
- Securities and commodities contracts intermediation and brokerage: $145,960
- Computer and peripheral equipment manufacturing: $144,730
- Other financial investment activities: $143,660
- Other information services: $141,220
- Scientific research and development services: $137.050
Training and Education
Most often, employers require their computer and information systems managers to have at least bachelors' degrees, although masters' degrees are often expected. An excellent path to becoming a computer and information systems manager is in gaining an MBA with a core component in technology, either from traditional campus or online degree schools. Whether or not this path is taken, a strong background in business and technology--gained through work experience and/or college degree programs--is required. Having obtained technical certifications, such as the CompTIA Aplus (A+) certification, is often required.
According to the BLS, there were 276,820 computer and information systems managers in 2008 working in a variety of industries, including:
- Computer systems design and related services
- Management of companies and enterprises
- Insurance carriers
- Software publishers
- Depository credit intermediation
The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts jobs in computer and information systems management to increase by 16 percent between 2006 and 2016. If this prediction is accurate, the 276,820 working in the field in 2008 should increase to 307,000 by 2016. Those with the most skills in technology, business, and leadership, gained through work experience and college degree programs, should have the best job options.About the Author
Candice Mancini is a freelance writer and a teacher of AP English literature and college writing. She has an M.A. in Education and a B.A. in English and history.
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