* Employment is expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations.
* A bachelor’s degree in a computer-related field usually is required for management positions, although employers often prefer a graduate degree, especially an MBA with technology as a core component.
* Many managers possess advanced technical knowledge gained from working in a computer occupation.
* Job prospects should be excellent.
Nature of the Work
In the modern workplace, it is imperative that Information Technology (IT) works both effectively and reliably. Computer and information systems managers play a vital role in the implementation and administration of technology within their organizations. They plan, coordinate, and direct research on the computer-related activities of firms. In consultation with other managers, they help determine the goals of an organization and then implement technology to meet those goals. They oversee all technical aspect of an organization, such as software development, network security, and Internet operations.
Computer and information systems managers direct the work of other IT professionals, such as computer software engineers and computer programmers, computer systems analysts, and computer support specialists. They plan and coordinate activities such as installing and upgrading hardware and software, programming and systems design, the implementation of computer networks, and the development of Internet and intranet sites. They are increasingly involved with the upkeep, maintenance, and security of networks. They analyze the computer and information needs of their organizations from an operational and strategic perspective and determine immediate and long-range personnel and equipment requirements. They assign and review the work of their subordinates and stay abreast of the latest technology to ensure that the organization remains competitive.
Computer and information systems managers can have additional duties, depending on their role within an organization. Chief technology officers (CTOs),for example, evaluate the newest and most innovative technologies and determine how these can help their organizations. They develop technical standards, deploy technology, and supervise workers who deal with the daily information technology issues of the firm. When a useful new tool has been identified, the CTO determines one or more possible implementation strategies, including cost-benefit and return on investment analyses, and presents those strategies to top management, such as the chief information officer (CIO). (Chief information officers are covered in a separate Handbook section on top executives.)
Management information systems (MIS) directors or information technology (IT) directors manage computing resources for their organizations. They often work under the chief information officer and plan and direct the work of subordinate information technology employees. These managers ensure the availability, continuity, and security of data and information technology services in their organizations. In this capacity, they oversee a variety of technical departments, develop and monitor performance standards, and implement new projects.
IT project managers develop requirements, budgets, and schedules for their firm’s information technology projects. They coordinate such projects from development through implementation, working with their organization’s IT workers, as well as clients, vendors, and consultants. These managers are increasingly involved in projects that upgrade the information security of an organization.
Computer and information systems managers generally work in clean, comfortable offices. Long hours are common, and some may have to work evenings and weekends to meet deadlines or solve unexpected problems; in 2008, about 25 percent worked more than 50 hours per week. Some computer and information systems managers may experience considerable pressure in meeting technical goals with short deadlines or tight budgets. As networks continue to expand and more work is done remotely, computer and information systems managers have to communicate with and oversee offsite employees using laptops, e-mail, and the Internet.
Injuries in this occupation are uncommon, but like other workers who spend considerable time using computers, computer and information systems managers are susceptible to eyestrain, back discomfort, and hand and wrist problems such as carpal tunnel syndrome.
Computer and information systems managers oversee a variety of workers, including systems analysts, support specialists, and software engineers.