How Much do Computer and Information Systems Managers Earn?
March 18, 2021
You want to love what you do for a living, and many computer and information system managers do. Still, getting paid well helps, and in the case of these tech professionals, the pay is substantial. Many of these managers earn significant bonuses in addition to their regular paychecks.
Let's face it: when it comes to job satisfaction, salary matters. In fact, compensation is the number one factor employees consider when choosing a job and deciding when it's time to leave, Forbes reports. If you're considering becoming a computer and information systems manager, you're likely pretty interested in the position's earning potential.
The good news is that it's an exciting time to start out in the field, one that's expected to see job growth rate of 11 percent by 2028, much faster than the national average for all occupations. And these are jobs that pay well: annual job rankings consistently include IT-related positions in lists of highest-paying jobs. U.S. News & World Report, for one, ranks IT manager thirteenth on its list of best-paying jobs.
So, how much can you earn as a computer and information systems manager? In this article, we'll cover:
- How much do computer and information systems managers earn?
- Computer and information systems management responsibilities
- Educational requirement for computer and information systems management positions
- Career paths for computer and information systems managers
How much do computer and information systems managers earn?
What is the average annual income of a computer and information systems manager?
If your income goals include a six-figure annual income, computer and information systems manager could help you achieve your ambition. According to career website Glassdoor, the average salary for information systems managers is $91,587, and that's just the base pay. On average, these managers earn an additional $9,757 in bonuses or other forms of compensation, according to the website.
What factors influence the salary of a computer and information systems manager?
You can improve your earning potential as a computer and information systems manager by working hard, impressing your employers, and accruing certifications that improve your skillset. Here are some of the key factors that impact take-home pay:
Some of the top cities where information systems professionals earn more money include the following, according to salary-tracking website PayScale:
- Boston, Massachusetts: 35 percent more
- Washington, DC: 25 percent more
- Chicago: 18 percent more
- New York City: 16 percent more
- Los Angeles: 16 percent more
Here are a few of the top skills that can help improve your salary prospects, per PayScale:
- Enterprise resource planning (ERP) can increase your pay by as much as 8 percent
- Project management can improve your salary by up to 6 percent
- Data analysis can bump pay up by 4 percent
Years of experience
Computer and information systems managers with 15 or more years of experience earn $107,993 annually on average for base pay and $11,175 on average for additional compensation, as reported by Glassdoor. Those with seven to nine years of experience earn an average of $96,887 in base pay and another $10,126 in bonuses, profit sharing, and commissions.
While businesses with zero to 50 employees offer an average base pay of $79,612 annually, those with 5,001 or more employees offer $103,463 on average, according to Glassdoor. While big companies pay better, they often don't provide as many opportunities for quick or dramatic career advancement. It's easier to distinguish yourself when you're competing with fewer people for management's attention.
Certifications aren't just filler details to add to your resume—one single IT certification can help you earn up to $8,400 more, reports CIO.com. The Community College of Baltimore County recommends the following certifications for IT beginners:
- CompTIA A+
- CompTIA Network+
- CompTIA Security+
- Ethical Hacker
- Help Desk Technician
- Linus Fundamentals (LPIC-1)
- Windows 7 Professional
- Windows Server
- Windows Server Network Infrastructure
Degree programs like Master of Science in Information Systems have been shown to help salaries across a range of IT specialties.
Computer and information systems management responsibilities
What do computer and information systems managers do?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the most common computer and information systems managers' responsibilities include:
- Evaluating businesses' computer and technology needs recommending upgrades as needed to leadership teams
- Overseeing the maintenance of a company's computer hardware and software
- Managing company network security, including the security of electronic files
- Serving as subject matter experts on all things related to technology
- Managing other IT staff, such as assigning tasks to team members (computer systems analysts, information security analysts, and computer support specialists)
- Coordinating with external technology vendors, negotiating contracts for the company
Educational requirement for computer and information systems management positions
How long does it take to become a computer and information systems manager?
That depends on which educational track you choose, but at a minimum, those with a high school diploma or equivalent who have not yet earned a bachelor's degree should plan on four years of undergraduate study before applying for jobs. You may find the rare employer who does not require a bachelor's degree, but the vast majority expect a BS at the bare minimum.
Advanced degrees are often required as well. A master's degree typically takes a full-time student two years to complete, meaning six years total for your bachelor's and master's. However, five-year, combined undergraduate and graduate degree programs are also an option that can help you get to the finish line sooner.
What degree do you need to become a computer and information systems manager?
As mentioned above, most positions require at least a bachelor's degree, while some may require a master's degree.
Most professionals complete a computer-related major as undergraduates, in fields such as:
- Business administration
- Computer science
- Information science
- Information technology
- Management information systems
Many professionals in the field continue their education beyond the undergraduate level. This is a smart strategy because many companies require computer and information systems managers to have a graduate degree. Top choices include:
- A Master of Science in Management Information Systems (MS-MIS), which provides a grounding in both the technical and soft skills needed to lead technology strategy and head teams as a manager
- A Master of Computer Science, which covers computer language theory, software development, advanced algorithms, and more
- A Master of Business Administration (MBA), an option for those interested in advancing knowledge of information systems while also gaining skills related to leadership and business strategy
How can you strengthen your resume for becoming a computer and information systems manager?
Certifications go a long way in helping your resume stand out and increase your take-home pay. Some of the top-paying certifications of 2018, as reported by the website CIO, were:
- Certified in the Governance of Enterprise IT (CGEIT): This certification requires at least five years experience in IT management for a large company. With it, you earn an average income of $121,363.
- AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate: AWS is the most popular cloud platform, which is what makes this certification so powerful. You'll need at least one year of experience designing systems on AWS, combined with knowledge of at least one programming language. Earning this certification increases average annual income to $121,292.
- Project Management Professional (PMP): Obtaining a certification that allows you to add these three letters to your LinkedIn profile, email signature, and resume boosts average annual income to $114,475 and open doors across sectors. You'll need at least three years of experience, a four-year degree, and 4,500 hours of overseeing projects.
Career paths for computer and information systems managers
What industries have the most jobs for computer and information systems managers?
The top five sectors for IT professionals, as reported by the BLS, include:
- Information companies
- Finance and insurance companies
- Computer systems design and related services
- Management of companies and enterprises
What are the typical stages in the career of a computer and information systems manager?
While every career path is unique and professional requirements, such as years of experience needed, will vary from company to company based on the size of the business and the industry, here are the three main levels computer and information systems managers can hope to progress through:
- Entry-level computer and information systems manager roles (requires a few years of experience)
- Director-level computer and information systems roles (typically requires five to ten years of experience)
- Chief-level computer and information systems roles, such as becoming a chief technology officer (CTO) or becoming a chief information officer (CIO) (typically requires at least 15 years of experience)
And then what? What else can you do with work experience as a computer and information systems manager? Beyond c-level roles like CTO and CIO, some IT professionals can even advance to the highest levels within a company, such as becoming a chief executive officer (CEO) or board member. Some opt for the entrepreneurial route, founding their own companies, or becoming independent IT consultants. Whatever options you pursue, you'll be entering a growing and lucrative field that presents multiple opportunities to those skilled in programming, analytics, and personnel and project management.
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