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Computer and Information Systems Manager Job Description, Career as a Computer and Information Systems Manager, Salary, Employment

Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job

Education and Training: College plus training

Salary: Median—$92,570 per year

Employment Outlook: Very good

Definition and Nature of the Work

Computer and information systems managers direct and manage various computer-related activities of a company. They construct business plans, oversee Internet and computer operations, assign projects to staff members, and direct the flow of work. Computer and information systems managers work in manufacturing, industry, government, and educational institutions. They generally are in charge of facilities that have many programmers, systems analysts, and peripheral equipment operations. They report to the top management of their organizations.

Computer and information systems managers must have general management ability as well as specific knowledge of the firm's computer systems. They must have a thorough working knowledge of programming and systems analysis. Computer and information systems managers must be able to communicate with all department heads in the company that require computer and network systems. They must be able to translate the requirements of each department into a workable computer operation. Then they must be able to instruct the information technology staff to carry out these procedures.

Computer and information managers must ensure that their departments have the necessary machines and personnel to process information as it is needed. They develop budgets for their departments and plan for new equipment purchases. Managers must keep up with new developments in computers.

Education and Training Requirements

A bachelor's degree and many years of experience are generally the minimum requirements to become a computer and information systems manager. Knowledge of programming or systems analysis is also essential. In small computer installations, people without degrees who have experience as programmers can move up to become computer and information systems managers. Some college graduates gain their experience by working as a manager's assistant. College courses in mathematics, programming, and business help students prepare for jobs in data processing. A master's in business administration (MBA) may also be necessary, especially for those who want to be a manager at a large company. Many companies have training programs for their computer personnel. The federal government also sometimes offers training to people hired in lower level computer jobs.

Getting the Job

Computer and information systems managers usually are chosen from the ranks of programmers and systems analysts or are brought in from outside the company. A college placement office can help students find a job in an information technology company that has an executive training program. If interested individuals have suitable experience, they should check newspaper classified ads and Internet sites for managerial jobs. Employment agencies that specialize in placing professional workers may offer job leads. In addition, candidates can contact computer manufacturers and organizations with large computer centers. Insurance companies, utilities, and universities and colleges often have sizable installations. If a person is interested in a government job, he or she should apply to take the necessary civil service examination.

Advancement Possibilities and Employment Outlook

Information technology is becoming more and more important in business. For this reason, computer and information systems managers are often promoted to the top management of their organizations. For example, managers can advance to the position of vice president of information systems. Computer and information systems managers also may be given management jobs outside the field of data processing. Computer and information systems management prepares them well for the planning and organization needed by successful managers.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 280,000 computer and information systems managers were employed in 2004. Employment of computer and information systems managers was predicted to grow faster than the average for all occupations through the year 2014. The use of computers in business and government will continue to increase. Qualified people will be needed to run the growing number of computers, computer networks, and Internet operations. However, there will be stiff competition for computer and information systems management jobs. Those with advanced education or experience in specific types of computer applications will have the best chance of employment. The employment outlook is very good for skilled people who keep up with new developments in this ever-changing field.

Working Conditions

Computer and information systems managers usually work in offices close to computer rooms. Much of their work is done independently. They are often the main link between computer personnel and the rest of their organization. They work under some pressure to deliver information technology solutions that suit their firms' needs. Computer and information technology managers work forty hours per week and can expect to work extra hours to meet project deadlines.

Where to Go for More Information

Association for Computing Machinery
1515 Broadway
New York, NY 10036
(212) 626-0500

Association for Information Systems
PO Box 2712
Atlanta, GA 30301-2712
(404) 651-0348

IEEE Computer Society
1730 Massachusetts Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 371-0101

Earnings and Benefits

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the median yearly wage for computer and information systems managers in 2004 was $92,570. According to the "Computerworld Salary Survey 2005" (Computerworld, October 24, 2005), the median yearly wages for mid-level computer and information systems managers varied depending on the type of work. Network managers, for instance, made a median annual wage of $68,822 in 2005, whereas applications development managers made $100,841. In a very large company a manager who supervises many staff members may earn considerably more. Benefits usually include paid vacations and holidays, health and life insurance, and pension plans.

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesComputers, IT & Telecommunications