Business and industry’s far-reaching and fast-changing technology needs translate into a high demand for systems software managers. Whether working in high-tech or healthcare, engineering or environmental sciences, these IT professionals support future growth of an organization through continuous improvement of software products and processes. Enrolling in a Master of Science in Information Technology degree program is a great first step on the road to landing an exciting systems software manager job.

Job Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts employment for computer and information systems managers, including system software managers, will grow substantially in coming years. Growth will occur as technology needs in the business environment increase, spurring demand for qualified IT professionals. Those with specialized technical knowledge and advanced degrees should have the best job prospects.

Systems Software Manager Job Duties

A wide range of system engineering and project management duties are typically undertaken by a systems software manager. These activities may include defining a business’s software requirements and design needs, as well as coding, testing and debugging software. Often, these IT professionals will work with teams to design new products, from initial plans through execution. Developing product specifications, diagrams, architecture and performance expectations are also typical functions of this role. They may develop project schedules, provide status reports and be adaptable in adjusting timelines accordingly; in addition, they typically take the lead in problem solving and improvement projects.

In the role of team leader, a systems software manager will typically assign personnel to aspects of a project, supervise progress and oversee adherence to schedules and specifications. They may periodically review product design for compliance with requirements and regulations. Coordinating software testers is another aspect of the systems software manager’s job.

Recruiting, hiring and training an IT team is often a function of the systems software manager. They must also ensure each member of the team has appropriate technical ability to design, develop and integrate software. Producing workload estimates, departmental budgets and reports are additional aspects of the systems software manager’s role.

Systems software managers usually work in offices; a 40-hour week is standard. Overtime may be required during project implementation or other important deadlines. Travel to industry conferences and trade shows or satellite offices could be required.

Potential Salary

According to national salary data for systems software managers/engineers on PayScale.com, as of January 2011, the median total annual income for the profession was about $79,080, with those in the 25th to 75th percentile earning between $59,890 and $98,271 in total pay.

PayScale.com data also indicated that earning potential can be significantly impacted by earning a master’s degree. In fact, based on 75th percentile salary figures, systems software managers with a Master of Science degree earned approximately $104,059 per year, while those with a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science earned $89,420 per year – a differential of over 16%!

Additional experience can lead to roles with increasing responsibility, resulting in higher potential salaries. A sampling of IT salaries on PayScale.com in January 2011 showed that senior systems engineers and senior software engineers in the 75th percentile of earners brought in approximately $105,477 and $109,994 per year, respectively.

The data show that top salaries generally go to those with the experience and advanced education to help businesses remain competitive in a fast-changing technology environment.

Education and Training Requirements

The duties performed by systems software managers require skills and knowledge often acquired through a computer science or information technology degree program. Top employers may prefer candidates with extensive experience, advanced training or master’s degrees.

Advanced skills required to land top systems software manager positions can be obtained by enrolling in a Master of Science in Information Technology program. Coursework typically includes computer systems administration, advanced management of information systems, project management for information technology and database systems management.

Employers can be confident that professionals who have earned an MS in Information Technology are able to:

  • Monitor and analyze emerging technologies for use in solving problems.
  • Demonstrate leadership skills in identifying and implementing solutions to business challenges.
  • Manage a development team through complex projects.
  • Develop information systems tools to help businesses succeed in a global environment.
  • Leverage advanced knowledge and skills to succeed as a systems software manager.

Are You a Good Fit For a Systems Software Manager Career?

Demonstrated technical problem-solving skills, as well as excellent leadership and communication skills will serve you well in a systems software manager career. If you are able to collaborate effectively and have high standards of excellence, this career could be a great fit for you. Learn the latest software trends and gain in-demand skills through a Master of Science in Information Technology program. You’ll not only have the training top employers want, you’ll have the confidence you need to obtain a rewarding systems software manager job!

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