Computer and information systems managers are enjoying explosive job demand. To secure a role overseeing the work of professionals like systems analysts and project managers, you'll typically need at least a bachelor's degree in computer or information science and relevant work experience. Earning a master's degree can land you at the front of the pack.
Technology solutions are integral to modern-day business operations and planning. That's been true since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, but it's never been more true than it is in our current Big Data, processor-driven era.
Technological mastery has grown even more critical with recent advances in artificial intelligence (AI). On other fronts, a modern-day space race is raging in the trenches of companies like Microsoft and Google. From manufacturing to services to healthcare to education to the military and beyond, technology drives progress and success.
Software developers, systems analysts, and project managers all vie to keep their products ahead of the technological curve. But without the crucial input of computer and information systems managers, companies may unwisely choose speed over caution. This demand is great news for professionals focused on information systems management.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts an impressive job outlook of 16 percent growth for computer and information systems managers in the next decade—more than twice the national average for the entire job market. These highly skilled professionals already enjoy numerous occupational opportunities. It's likely that even more are on the way.
This article explains how to become a computer and information systems manager and also explores the following topics:
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, "computer and information systems managers, often called information technology (IT) managers or IT project managers, plan, coordinate, and direct computer-related activities in an organization."
Their work includes determining an organization's IT objectives and achieving those technology goals by implementing computer systems and security protocols. They take the lead on managing complex information systems, providing leadership with hardware and software solutions to organizational problems. In addition, computer and information system managers oversee teams of computer engineers, providing guidance and regular performance evaluations.
Computer and information systems manager is a general term encompassing various job titles, including the following:
Computer and information systems managers perform many of the following duties regularly:
In addition to a potentially lucrative career with plenty of demand, computer and information systems managers tend to love their jobs. IT manager ranks third overall in U.S. News & World Report's assessment of best technology jobs for 2023. In addition, the career ranks sixth among the best STEM jobs, eighth on the 100 best jobs list, and twelfth among best-paying jobs. So, what will you earn as a computer and information systems manager?
Considering the wide range of positions in this more general category, average pay will vary based on your title, location, and career experience. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for computer and information systems managers was about $159,000 as of May 2021. The highest earners in the category were chief technology officers, who earned an annual mean wage of about $290,000 as of May 2021.
Traditionally, computer and information systems managers take the following steps to begin pursuing their careers:
Your first step toward becoming a computer and information systems manager is to obtain a bachelor's degree. Ideally, you'll want to pursue a major like computer science, information technology, or engineering. Any of these degrees will immerse you in the fundamentals of computer programming, data management, software development, and network security.
You'll find many similar core classes in each of these programs. The Illinois Institute of Technology, for example, offers the following computer science undergraduate courses:
Licenses and certifications can help you impress top employers. Trade associations like CompTIA and corporations like Cisco offer various certifications for professionals at any stage of their careers.
CompTIA breaks its certification program into five categories: core, infrastructure, cyber security, data and analytics, and professional. Certification options include:
Cisco categorizes its certifications as entry, associate, professional, and expert. Its certification options include the following:
Professional licenses demonstrate your expertise and qualify you for specific jobs in states that require them.
While a master's degree is not required for every computer and information systems manager role, many employers prefer candidates with this credential. Some organizations will not consider professionals without a master's degree for top-tier management roles.
As with your bachelor's degree, many master's programs offer similar core curricula. If you choose to pursue an online Master of Science in Information Management from The University of Washington, for instance, you'll take classes in the following subjects:
You might also pursue an MBA with an information science focus. The Stevens Institute of Technology offers an excellent MBA program focused on computer science management. This online degree program provides the flexibility to continue working as you study.
Prospective students can find master's degrees in computer and information systems nationwide. Programs include:
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