Job Outlook for Information Systems Managers
The management of computer information systems is one of the fastest growing job areas in information technology. As a result, an information systems manager can be one of the most important figures in any business or agency.
The responsibilities of the position are wide ranging, and include improving overall information system strategy and keeping pace with innovation. All information technology implementation ultimately rests with this individual, who must maintain a “bird’s-eye” view of the company’s information systems. As enterprises increasingly rely on 24-hour wireless access to their crucial data, the importance and impact of proper information systems management grows steadily.
What are the Duties of Information Systems Managers?
The information system manager directs the implementation, development and support of all the systems across an enterprise through which data flows. This means ensuring that elements such as online connectivity, security and functionality work as intended. The information system manager also coordinates with other leaders throughout the organization to make certain information systems are meeting their specific needs.
Ideally, the information systems manager functions as the senior professional in charge of information strategy — for a team, a department or the entire organization. They architect the basic systems — such as the networks and the software portfolio — and direct teams to enact that vision. The work also means collaborating on the development of policies involving information access and security.
Education, Skills and Experience Necessary in the Field
Many information system managers hold a master’s degree in the field or in an allied field. It’s certainly possible to gain applicable skills and experience with a bachelor’s degree in computer science or management information systems— however, IT professionals must demonstrate their commitment and depth of knowledge through advanced study before exploring the industry’s top jobs.
Depending on the character of the organization, an information system manager might have many different areas of focus. The emphasis may include information security, e-commerce, data virtualization and many other areas. Connecting one’s portfolio of skills to the needs of a specific organization is key to finding a fulfilling role as an information systems manager.
It may take approximately 15 years for information systems managers to reach the highest professional levels. Not only must they achieve great insight into technical matters, but they must know how to lead people. Many information systems specialists develop their team leadership and communication skills by seeking parallel training as a technical project manager.
Career Opportunities and Specialized Areas in Information Management
An information systems manager could rise to become the Chief Information Officer (CIO), Chief Technology Officer (CTO) or Chief Security Officer (CSO) of an enterprise. The largest multinational companies are increasingly proactive in defining and implementing these roles.
Information management professionals have some unique opportunities that others may lack. They can, for example, easily find themselves partnering with multiple organizations at any one time by working as a consultant. Consultants evaluate the information systems of a company and make targeted recommendations that will lead to impactful improvement.
After several years of experience, it is not uncommon for information management leaders to launch their own personal business. This can potentially be the most lucrative path for established professionals to follow. By creating a company that provides unique value in some specific area of information systems management, these independent professionals could leave a lasting imprint on the technology world.
Job Growth Potential, Salaries and Benefits
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) recognizes computer information systems as one of the fastest growing career fields in the United States. Job growth through the decade ending in 2022 is expected to hold steady at 15 percent per year, more than double the national average rate of 7 percent for all jobs.
Growth will come in a variety of sectors. Commercial enterprises of all sizes and backgrounds need information systems managers. Increasingly however, so do government agencies. Even small local governments are now recognizing and recruiting for this role.
The median salary for professionals in this field has continued to climb over the last decade. In May 2015, the median annual wage for all information systems managers was $131,600. A wide range of industries offered professionals the opportunity to exceed the median, including:
- Computer systems design companies – $139,600;
- Finance and insurance providers – $136,240;
- Manufacturing companies – $134,060;
- Management companies – $133,400.
Although information systems managers are expected to work overtime in certain situations, it does not yet seem to be a common practice. In 2014, only about 40 percent of these professionals reported they worked more than 40 hours a week.
An Exciting and Lucrative Career may be Waiting
For those drawn to it, information systems management has the potential to be a challenging and rewarding career. Rising professionals are called upon to respond to tough technical issues. They also have a hand in designing strategies that could make their employers far more competitive.
Technology changes quickly, and information systems pros must be prepared to change with it. Even with that in mind, however, it remains a solid choice for a stable career with attractive growth prospects. As long as one is able to expand their thinking and stay sharp in a fast-moving environment, there will always be opportunities for those interested in becoming information systems leaders.
Information means more than knowledge, it means solutions. When technology, people and information intersect, society and industry benefit. You can harness the power of information with our online Master of Information degree at Rutgers University.
Additional Recommended Readings
- Information and Communications Technology Advancements – Master of Information
- 7 TED Talks for Students of Data and Information Science