Information Systems Technologist Careers: Job Description & Salary

About this article
An information systems technologist's mean annual salary is around $50,540. Is it worth the training requirements? See real job descriptions and get the truth about career outlook to find out if becoming an information systems technologist is right for you.
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Pros and Cons of an Information Systems Technologist Career

If you like working with people and computers, a career as an information systems technologist could be the right choice for you. Continue reading to find out more about the pros and cons of becoming an information systems technologist and see if it's the ideal career for you.

Pros of Being an Information Systems Technologist
Projected employment growth of 17% from 2012-2022 is faster than average*
Above-average salary (about $51,000)*
With strong computer skills, a postsecondary degree is not always necessary*
Certifications and training keep you up to date and can advance your career*
Telecommuting is possible*

Cons of Being an Information Systems Technologist
Job may entail dealing with frustrated customers or employees*
Could suffer from eye strain and back discomfort from computer work*
Stressful to be responsible for fixing major network or computer issues*
May need to work nights and weekends*

Source: *The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Essential Career Info

Job Description

As an information systems technologist, your main job would be to help to people who are using computer systems. Sometimes this can also involve setting up networks, troubleshooting hardware and software issues and training users on new systems. Your exact job title may vary; these professionals may also be known as computer support specialists, information systems specialists, technical support specialists, interface analysts or a by number of other job titles.

Your specific job duties will probably be largely dependent upon the company you work for and the type of software, hardware and other systems they use. In general, you'll be responsible for providing end-user support for software applications and other computer-related systems. This might involve assisting other employees within your company or outside customers. You could also work for a third party firm, such as a software vendor, where you would be responsible for helping customers solve software issues.

You're likely to work a regular schedule of about 40 hours per week, though you might have to work odd hours, depending on your company. Many information systems technologists are able to progress into management or computer programming and design positions.

Salary and Career Outlook

Computer support specialists who work with individual systems earned a mean annual wage of $51,500 and those who work with networks earned $66,140 as of May 2014, according to the BLS. These professionals make the most in the District of Columbia in both cases, where the average pay is $64,480 and $84,530 per year, respectively.

This profession is expected to see a 17% increase in jobs from 2012-2022, which is faster than the average. Developments in technology show no signs of slowing down anytime soon, and with more complex and wider-reaching technological demands, more user support will be needed. Job growth will be fastest in industries that rely heavily on technology, such as those related to computer programming and design. If you have a bachelor's degree, previous work experience and strong technical skills, you should have strong job opportunities.

Education and Training Requirements

While bachelor's degree holders will likely have the best job prospects, there is no standard educational background needed to become an information systems technologist. In some cases, experience and general computer knowledge can substitute for a formal degree. More technical jobs may require bachelor's or master's degrees in computer science, mathematics, information systems or related areas.

You'll likely be trained at the start of your new job, but because computer technology is constantly evolving, you'll also need to keep your skills updated throughout your career. Some employers might provide training or pay for you to attend seminars or courses run by a third party.

Career Skills

For this career, you should enjoy both solving technical problems and explaining concepts to others who might not have a technical background. You'll often need to work on a team when collaborating with other employees, but you should also be good at working on your own with little supervision and making decisions while trouble-shooting.

Job Postings from Real Employers

In general, employers look for potential employees who have experience working with customers and understand the larger business within which they work. Many industries need people with experience in specific software applications, such as those used for financial information or health care data. To give you an idea of what employers were looking for in March 2012, consider the following job postings:

  • A medical equipment company in Maryland looked for an applications and information systems specialist to maintain software applications and support users. Applicants needed a B.A. in business or technology or equivalent experience, with at least 4 years of experience in business modeling, analysis and design.
  • An Ohio health care technology services firm sought an interface analyst to assist clients with software maintenance and troubleshooting. The company was looking for candidates with a bachelor's degree, 1-2 years of experience and an understanding of workflow in a medical office.
  • A sustainable development firm located in Chicago advertised for a data analyst to assist with the analysis of data collected from monitoring stations. The job involved designing and developing software tools and troubleshooting hardware issues. Preferred qualities included familiarity with Microsoft Office and experience with wind energy analysis.

How to Stand Out

Because many companies prefer employees with some level of experience working with customers, you could try working at the technology help desk at your college or high school to hone your troubleshooting and customer service skills. This can give you some of the work experience necessary to apply for a broader range of full-time entry-level information systems technologist jobs.

It's also a good idea to get basic computer skills for entry-level jobs. Some employers request knowledge of Microsoft Office programs, which can be learned through a free, online tutorial from the company or on your own.

Alternate Career Options

Computer Software Engineer

If becoming an information systems technologist doesn't feel like the right fit, there are still a lot of other related jobs out there to consider. For example, as a computer software engineer, you could develop software such as games, business programs and operating systems. You'll need at least a bachelor's degree, and you can expect to see around a 30% employment growth from 2010-2020. According to the BLS in May 2011, software applications engineers made an average salary of $92,000, while software systems engineers made about $100,000 per year.

Customer Service Representative

Maybe you enjoy helping customers and users solve problems, but you're not sure that you have the computer background to make it as an information systems technologist. If that's the case, consider working as a customer service representative, where you will answer customer questions over the phone, over e-mail or in person. Employment growth was predicted to be slightly faster than average for this profession, at 15% from 2010-2020, according to the BLS. At an average of $33,000 per year, you won't earn nearly as much as in a computer technology position. However, while a bachelor's degree might be required for some positions, you'll likely only need a high school diploma.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. Georgetown University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Masters of Professional Studies in Technology Management
      • Masters of Professional Studies in Technology Management
  • Online Programs Available
    2. Kaplan University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MSM in Information Technology
      • Master: Information Technology
      • Master: Information Technology - Project Management
      • Master: IT/Information Security and Assurance
      • MS in Cybersecurity Management
      • MS in Information Technology - Business Intelligence and Analytics
    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Science in Information Technology
      • BS in Cybersecurity
      • BSIT - Information Management
      • BSIT: Network Admin
      • BS in Information Technology/Information Security and Assurance
      • BS in Health Information Management
    Associate's
      • Associate: Information Technology
      • AASIT: Network Admin
  • Online Programs Available
    3. Northcentral University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Doctor of Business Admin - Applied Computer Science
      • PhD in Business Admin - Applied Computer Science
      • PhD-TIM - Computer Science
      • Doctor of Business Admin - Computer and Information Security
      • PhD-TIM - Cybersecurity
      • PhD-TIM - Data Science
    Master's
      • MBA - Applied Computer Science
      • MSTIM - Computer Science
      • MSTIM - Cybersecurity
      • MSTIM - Data Science
      • MSTIM - Information Systems
      • Master of Science in Data Science
  • Online Programs Available
    4. Herzing University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MBA Dual Concentration: Healthcare Management and Technology Management
      • MBA Dual Concentration: Accounting and Technology Management
      • MBA Dual Concentration: Human Resources and Technology Management
      • MBA Dual Concentration: Public Safety Leadership and Technology Management
    Bachelor's
      • B.S. - Information Technology: Security Technology Concentration
      • B.S. - Information Technology: Network Management Concentration
      • B.S. - Information Technology Admin and Management With No Declared Minor or Concentration
      • Bachelor: Technology Management
    Associate's
      • Associate of Science - Information Technology Admin and Management
      • Associate of Science - Technology Studies
  • Online Programs Available
    5. Baker College Online

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Leadership Studies - MBA (Master's)
      • Cloud Security Risk Management - MBA (Master's)
      • Cloud Security Risk Management - MSIS (Master's)
      • Information Systems - MSIS (Master's)
    Bachelor's
      • Information Technology and Security - Bachelor
      • Game Software Development - Bachelor
      • Business Intelligence - MBA (Master's)
    Associate's
      • Information Technology - Associate
  • Online Programs Available
    6. Colorado State University Global

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Graduate Specialization - Information Technology
      • Master - Information Technology Management
    Bachelor's
      • BS - Information Technology
    Certificate
      • Graduate Certificate - Cyber Security
  • Online Programs Available
    7. Argosy University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • Information Technology (BS)
    Associate's
      • Information Technology (AS)
  • Online Programs Available
    8. Johns Hopkins University

    Program Options

    Certificate
      • Post-Master's Certificate in Sequence Analysis and Genomics
  • Online Programs Available
    9. Keiser University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Science - Cyber Forensics/Information Security
    Associate's
      • Associate of Sciences - Information Technology
  • Online Programs Available
    10. Grand Canyon University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • DBA with an Emphasis in Data Analytics
      • Bridge (Doctor of Business Administration with an Emphasis in Data Analytics)
    Master's
      • Bridge to the M.S. in Information Technology Management
      • M.S. in Information Technology Management
      • M.S. in Instructional Technology
      • Master of Science in Cyber Security
      • Master of Science in Cyber Security (Bridge)
    Bachelor's
      • B.S. in Information Technology
      • B.S. in Information Technology with an Emphasis in Cybersecurity
      • B.S. in Computer Programming

Featured Schools

Georgetown University

  • Masters of Professional Studies in Technology Management

What is your highest level of education completed?

Kaplan University

  • MSM in Information Technology
  • Bachelor of Science in Information Technology
  • Associate: Information Technology

Which subject are you interested in?

Northcentral University

  • Doctor of Business Admin - Applied Computer Science
  • PhD in Business Admin - Applied Computer Science
  • MBA - Applied Computer Science
  • MSTIM - Computer Science

What is your highest level of education?

Herzing University

  • MBA Dual Concentration: Healthcare Management and Technology Management
  • B.S. - Information Technology: Security Technology Concentration
  • Associate of Science - Information Technology Admin and Management

What is your highest level of education?

Baker College Online

  • Leadership Studies - MBA (Master's)
  • Information Technology and Security - Bachelor
  • Information Technology - Associate

What is your highest level of education?

Colorado State University Global

  • Graduate Specialization - Information Technology
  • BS - Information Technology
  • Graduate Certificate - Cyber Security

What is your highest level of education?

Argosy University

  • Information Technology (BS)
  • Information Technology (AS)

What is your highest level of education completed?

Johns Hopkins University

  • Post-Master's Certificate in Sequence Analysis and Genomics

What is your highest level of education?