Information management (IM) encompasses system and network administration; data collection, organization, and supervision; cybersecurity; and data analytics. Information management professionals implement systems that gather, preserve, catalog, optimize, and secure essential information. It’s a broad, expanding field.
And for good reason. The Big Data age has precipitated a huge increase in data production. The dataverse will grow to 120 zettabytes (a zettabyte is 1021 bytes) by the end of 2022, and that figure should increase by at least 20 percent annually thereafter. This surge has created demand for more professionals with skills in cybersecurity, data architecture, and data analytics. Many IM professionals also engage in the development and upgrading of user experience (UX).
Information management professionals face a broad range of career options, each requiring specialized expertise. A graduate degree such as a Master of Science in Information Management (MSIM) can help you develop the the skills and competencies needed to excel in this field. Thinking about pursuing an MSIM? You’ll need to know the admissions requirements for these programs. This article covers those and also discusses:
Information management professionals play a critical role in managing, sorting, and securing data, but that’s hardly the extent of their responsibilities. They also apply their expertise to data analytics and to issues of data ethics and bias. They help develop and enforce policies around:
Some information managers specialize in analyzing raw data and communicating their findings to executives of large organizations, healthcare facilities, and government agencies. Many IM professionals in those roles have executive-level positions in strategic oversight, such as Chief Technology Officer, Chief Information Officer, or Strategic Director.
Information management is a fast-growing field; according to the Bureau of Labor statistics, the discipline will create more than 42,000 openings per year through 2030.
The coming decade should present many opportunities to prospective information managers in strategy, analytics, management, consulting, and information technology. Job titles include:
Information management leaders must balance technical, analytical, and business administration skills to succeed. A master’s program leading to an IM degree can prepare them for the many challenges the profession poses.
I.T. encompasses a vast spectrum of systems and applications. They include common networks most of us use every day, such as telephone and point-of-sale systems. At the other end of the spectrum are comparatively obscure, poorly understood systems like blockchain, used in cryptocurrencies and other transactions. In between lie background systems such as databases and inventory management, crucial to businesses, corporations, and government agencies. (
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the computer and information technology job market should grow by 15 percent between 2021 and 2031, creating more than 682,000 new jobs. Earning a Master of Science in Information Technology builds skill sets in critical areas that include cloud computing, algorithms, big data, business intelligence, cybersecurity, data science, machine learning, and IT management, among others. ( )
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Although not technically required, a Master of Science in Information Management can confer significant benefits to aspiring professionals. You’ll enhance your skills and knowledge while earning a credential that should impress some, if not most, employers.
You’ll also gain the opportunity to develop an area of expertise. Some MSIM programs include specialized concentrations in business intelligence, data science, product management, and database management. Once you complete required core coursework, you can pursue electives in areas that dovetail with your career objectives.
Certifications and individual courses offer another professional development option. Professional associations such as the Association for Intelligent Information Management (AIIM) provide training and certifications to a member community of more than 155,000 members worldwide.
Which option better fits your career goals? A master’s degree may take longer and cost more to acquire than a certification or set of short courses. It’s also more likely to impress employers, in part because degree programs do a better job of teaching deep skills like critical thinking, big-picture analysis, and the theory underlying foundational practices. As a master’s student you’ll likely also enjoy more internships, networking opportunities, mentorships, and access to an alumni network.
A Master of Science in Information Management enables IM professionals who seek continued education to fine-tune their skills. You may find this degree offered as a:
Many schools offer the degree in various formats, including on-campus, online, and hybrid. They may customize the program and degree requirements for students entering directly from undergraduate programs and/or for those with years of work experience.
For example, the MSIM program at the University of Washington offers on-campus and online learning opportunities with three degree paths:
Many MSIM or MSIS programs offer flexible learning options to accommodate graduate students’ needs. Students can customize the program by choosing elective courses within their specialization to steer them closer to their career goals.
As with any graduate program, admission requirements vary from school to school. Top-ranked programs tend to be more competitive, requiring higher undergraduate GPAs, higher standardized test scores, and more impressive letters of recommendation. Requirements typically include:
Some programs require a minimum number of years of professional experience. Programs like the Carnegie Mellon University Heinz College, home to a highly exclusive MSIM program, may require the applicant to have a programming, database, and statistics background.
Information management combines many skill sets that bridge technical and analytical functions. Therefore prospective students tend to have undergraduate degrees in computer science, information technology, mathematics, engineering, or data management, which may satisfy some of the prerequisite coursework when applying to a graduate program.
Application deadlines vary, although they tend to fall in the late winter or early spring for fall admissions. Online programs sometimes offer multiple start dates and tend to admit students closer to program starts.
Whether you’re looking to gain knowledge to help you grow in your current career or just entering the field of information management and want to learn foundational skills, a master’s degree program could be the gateway to success. Furthermore, with the accommodation of online learning, you can pursue this degree from the convenience of home and without having to stop working and earning while you study.
Data and technology are here to stay, and their usage will continue to increase year over year (in both professional and personal realms). IM professionals will likely be in demand as the need for experts in software development, technology, and analytics continues to grow.
An MSIM could give you a competitive advantage in a hot job market where the career outlook for computer and information systems managers continues to display tremendous growth through the digital age.
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