To keep businesses productive and profitable, data processing managers plan, coordinate and supervise activities related to information systems and software applications. Career opportunities in this field exist in industries such as manufacturing, environmental technology, healthcare delivery, financial services, education and many more. Becoming a successful data processing manager can begin with enrolling in an Information Technology degree program.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for computer and information systems managers, including data processing managers, will grow substantially in coming years. This corresponds to the increasing complexity of technology and its use as a business tool. Job growth is expected to be fastest among data processing and hosting companies, among others. Those with specialized technical knowledge and advanced degrees should have the best job prospects.
Data Processing Manager Job Duties
Planning, organizing and directing data processing activities are the main functions of a data processing manager. These information technology (IT) professionals may consult with staff and senior management to assess organizational needs, and then conduct feasibility studies to determine the best course to achieve them. Monitoring a data processing department’s efficiency and effectiveness is another ongoing task for data processing managers.
Producing cost estimates for hardware and software upgrades is another typical job duty for data processing managers. They may also oversee computer systems operations, working with staff to troubleshoot problems and design solutions. Coordinating the installation of hardware, data communications systems and software may also fall under the data processing manager’s job description.
A data processing manager is often required to administer the implementation of new or revised systems, evaluate designs, or develop technical standards and procedures for system maintenance and operation. Often, they lead the data processing department; in this capacity, they may recruit, hire, train and supervise staff.
Other job duties for data processing managers may include: preparing and administering departmental budgets; preparing and presenting reports related to data processing operations; acting as liaison between staff and management; interfacing with external vendors; and negotiating proposals.
Data processing managers usually work in offices, and a 40-hour week is standard. Travel to industry conferences and trade shows, or to vendor locations or satellite offices could be required.
According to national salary data on PayScale.com, as of January 2011, data processing managers earned a median total annual income of about $57,494, with those in the 25th to 75th percentile earning between $40,728 and $74,260 in total pay.
With additional experience, data processing managers often assume roles of increasing responsibility, resulting in higher potential annual earnings. A sampling of IT salaries on PayScale.com in January 2011 showed that IT managers and IT project managers in the 75th percentile of earners brought in approximately $98,411 and $103,860 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
When hiring data processing managers, employers typically look for a combination of education and experience – particularly industry experience. A bachelor’s degree in a computer-related field is usually required, but many employers prefer to hire candidates with master’s degrees or advanced training.
The skills and advanced knowledge required by top employers can be obtained through a Master of Science in Information Technology program. Coursework typically includes information systems, computer systems administration, database systems management, project management for information technology and advanced management of software systems.
Employers look out for the following skills in a data processing manager:
- Adapt to and effectively apply new technologies.
- Lead a data processing team through complex projects.
- Implement a process-based approach to meeting organizational goals.
- Develop information systems tools to help businesses succeed in a global environment.
- Analyze emerging technologies and recommend for adaptation.
- Leverage advanced knowledge and skills to succeed as a data processing manager.
Would You Thrive as a Data Processing Manager?
If you are interested in computers and technology, and have the ability to plan, organize, prioritize and delegate clearly and professionally, a career as a data processing manager may be the one for you. The specialized skills and up-to-date knowledge you’ll need to land your first data processing manager job can be yours when you enroll in a Master of Science in Information Technology program. Stand out from the crowd with this respected and in-demand credential!