Pros and Cons of Being an Information Systems Manager
Information systems managers, along with computer systems managers, are responsible for a variety of tasks concerning the technology within an organization, including supervising technology personnel, upgrading equipment and determining technological needs. Read on to learn more pros and cons of being an information systems manager to determine if it's right for you.
|Pros of Being an Information Systems Manager|
|High annual salary (a median annual salary of about $127,640 in 2014)*|
|A bachelor's degree can be sufficient for many positions*|
|Excellent job prospects for qualified individuals*|
|Technology is prevalent in many industries*|
|Cons of Being an Information Systems Manager|
|Advanced positions may require 5-15 years of work experience*|
|Even entry-level positions typically require several years of experience*|
|A master's degree may be preferred by some employers*|
|Long hours can be required (25% worked more than 50 hours a week)*|
|Strict budgets and deadlines*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
An information systems manager helps oversee and incorporate technology into a business. Working with other managers, the technology needs of the company are examined thoroughly. After deciding what computers and other products would help the business the most, the information systems manager works on implementing them. You could be responsible for overseeing multiple technical aspect of a business, including networking, software and security. Scheduling and budgeting are two common duties that an information systems manager has to perform.
Salary and Job Prospects
In May 2014, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the median annual income of computer and information systems managers was around $127,640. In this year, the top 75% of information systems managers earned over $161,000, while the bottom 10% earned $78,470 or less. According to the BLS, information systems managers were expected to see a 15% growth in job rates from 2012-2022, which was slightly faster than the average rate of all other occupations.
Educational and Training Requirements
The minimum requirement most employers look for in an information systems manager is a bachelor's degree in a relevant subject, like computer science or information systems. A master's degree in computer science or a Master of Business Administration can be required by some organizations for higher-level positions. Effective communication and leadership skills help information systems manager applicants look more appealing to employers. You will typically be expected to possess skills in problem-solving, decision-making, organization and analysis.
What Employers Want in Information Systems Managers
Typically, employers in this field are looking for individuals with at least a relevant bachelor's degree and some work experience in the field. Take a look at what some employers on Monster.com and CareerBuilder.com were looking for in information systems managers in March 2012.
- A packaging company in Michigan wants an information systems manager with experience in wireless networks, Ethernet networks, VPN and MPLS. This positions calls for a bachelor's degree in a subject like information technology and three years of experience.
- A plastics corporation in Indiana needs an information systems manager who has extensive knowledge of AS/400 programming and application development. The applicant must hold a bachelor's degree and at least seven years of relevant experience.
- A government organization in Minnesota wants an information systems manager with experience in criminal justice. A bachelor's degree was required for this position.
Standing Out as an Information Systems Manager
Obtaining certification is an excellent way for information systems managers to demonstrate professionalism and competency to an employer. Typically, these certifications are offered by manufacturers. For example, Microsoft offers several professional certifications that can benefit an information systems manager.
At the undergraduate level, it may be beneficial for you to study a subject like management information systems, which combines business and computer courses in a comprehensive education that could benefit you as an aspiring information systems manager. At the graduate level, you may complete a Master of Business Administration with a management information systems concentration. Because a master's degree is preferred for some positions, you may consider obtaining one to stand out in this field.
Another way to stand out in this field is to stay updated on the latest information technology developments. By taking computer science classes or attending conferences, you can learn about new technology through continuing education. The better educated you are in new IT developments, the better prepared you'll be to assist your employers in remaining updated.
Alternative Occupational Choices
If you're interested in taking your managerial skills to the top, then you could become a top executive. The term 'top executive' is used to describe a lot of different job titles and job duties, including chief financial officer, chief executive officer, general manager and chief information officer. The chief information officer position decides how a business uses and incorporates information technology. Chief information officers also oversee information technology projects. The median annual income of chief executives was about $166,000 in May 2011, according to the BLS. These professionals typically hold either a bachelor's or master's degree in business and they usually have a considerable amount of experience in their field.
If you're more interested in information technology research than managerial duties, then consider becoming a computer scientist instead. This occupation normally calls for a doctoral degree. Working for businesses or universities, a computer scientist creates new technology or finds new uses for old resources. If you're employed by a business, then your goal as a computer scientist is to contribute something with direct applications. Computer scientists with universities can work with more theoretical ideas. In 2011, the BLS reported that computer scientists made a median annual salary of around $101,000.