Extensive business growth in the digital arena is powering the growing demand for skilled technology professionals who can navigate digital expansion and drive organizational change. At the helm of this change are Computer and Information Systems (CIS) managers, whose responsibilities range from creating a company’s Information Technology (IT) strategy to troubleshooting network issues to purchasing computer technology.
Job Outlook for Computer and Information Systems Managers
Demand will continue to rise for CIS jobs. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts employment for CIS jobs will grow 15 percent from 2014 to 2024 – much higher than the average across occupations. While potential growth is a good sign for job seekers, the diverse range of responsibilities in a CIS job requires professionals equipped with strong technical skills and adept at organizational management and leadership.
CIS jobs range from the C-Level chief information officer (CIO) and chief technology officer (CTO) to an information technology (IT) director or project manager. Computer information systems managers often start their careers in lower level management positions, advancing into higher levels of leadership, up to executive titles.
At the executive level, CIOs establish an organization’s overall technology strategy, while a CTO evaluates new technologies for a company and provides technical leadership.
Middle management CIS jobs include managing an IT department, overseeing network and data security, managing technical projects, upgrading IT systems, vendor selection and management, and driving purchasing decisions for a company’s technology.
At all levels, roles require budget management, innovation, vendor management, communication and staff management.
Computer and Information Systems managers typically work full-time in a traditional office setting – and because technology may require troubleshooting or overnight launches, hours may be longer than a standard work week. According to BLS, 2 in 5 CIS managers worked more than 40 hours per week in 2014.
In 2016, BLS reported the average annual salary for computer information systems managers was $145,740. Professional experience, certifications and degrees, and local job market also impact salary ranges.
Education and Training
Generally, computer and information systems managers hold a bachelor’s degree in computer information systems or a similar degree and have related work experience. Five years’ relevant experience, BLS reports, is typical. Many also have a graduate degree.
With a diverse skill set required, CIS job candidates should master computer science, business, communication and leadership skills. Pursuing an MBA Information Technology Management can equip future IT managers for both the technological and the leadership requirements of the role.
Technical and Soft Skills for Success
“Midlevel technology professionals with a solid mix of technical and soft skills are in high demand,” according to the Robert Half 2017 Salary Guide for Technology Professionals. The guide states the C#, ASP, Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE), Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA), Java, MySQL, CompTIA A+ and .NET are the most in-demand technical skills in North America.
However, employers are placing a greater emphasis on soft skills in the hiring process. Successful computer and information system managers must excel in two key areas: technological innovation and leadership.
An ever-changing arena, computer technology requires CIS professionals to evolve with the pervasive change – and innovate new approaches. These concepts must be translated to non-technical members of an organization; effective communication, strong presentation skills and rapport building will support success.
On the leadership side, CIS managers should possess strong decision making, time management and negotiation skills to lead teams and successfully deliver the organization’s technology vision.
CIS Management Careers
Those aspiring to CIS management can begin by pursuing a bachelor’s degree in computer information systems and spending time teaching others about technology. Studying business and leadership will equip candidates for higher positions. Those who are successful in entry-level IT roles and can manage others well can move into more senior roles within CIS.