Computer and information systems managers plan, coordinate, and direct computer-related activities in an organization.
What they do
Computer and information systems managers, often called information technology (IT) managers or IT project managers, plan, coordinate, and direct computer-related activities in an organization. They help determine the information technology goals of an organization and are responsible for implementing computer systems to meet those goals.
Computer and information systems managers typically do the following:
- Analyze their organization’s computer needs and recommend possible upgrades for top executives to consider
- Plan and direct the installation and maintenance of computer hardware and software
- Ensure the security of an organization’s network and electronic documents
- Assess the costs and benefits of new projects and justify funding on projects to top executives
- Learn about new technology and look for ways to upgrade their organization’s computer systems
- Determine short- and long-term personnel needs for their department
- Plan and direct the work of other IT professionals, including computer systems analysts, software developers, information security analysts, and computer support specialists
- Negotiate with vendors to get the highest level of service for the organization’s technology
Few managers carry out all of these duties. There are various types of computer and information systems managers, and the specific duties of each are determined by the size and structure of the firm. Smaller firms may not employ every type of manager.
The following are examples of types of computer and information systems managers:
Chief information officers (CIOs) determine the technology or information goals of an organization and then oversee implementation of technology to meet those goals.
CIOs may focus on a specific area, such as electronic data processing or information systems, but CIOs tend to focus more on long-term or big picture issues. At small organizations a CIO has more direct control over the IT department, and at larger organizations other managers under the CIO may handle the day-to-day activities of the IT department.
CIOs who do not have technical expertise and who focus solely on a company’s business aspects are included in top executives.
Chief technology officers (CTOs) evaluate new technology and determine how it can help their organization. When both CIOs and CTOs are present, the CTO usually has more technical expertise.
The CTO usually reports directly to the CIO and is responsible for designing and recommending the appropriate technology solutions to support the CIO’s policies and directives. CTOs also work with different departments to implement the organization’s technology plans.
When a company does not have a CIO, the CTO determines the overall technology strategy for the firm and presents it to top executives.
IT directors, including management information systems (MIS) directors, are in charge of their organizations’ information technology (IT) departments, and they directly supervise other employees. IT directors help to determine the business requirements for IT systems, and they implement the policies that have been chosen by top executives. IT directors often have a direct role in hiring members of the IT department. It is their job to ensure the availability of data and network services by coordinating IT activities. IT directors also oversee the financial aspects of their department, such as budgeting.
IT security managers oversee their organizations’ network and data security. They work with top executives to plan security policies and promote a culture of information security throughout the organization. They develop programs to keep employees aware of security threats. These managers must keep up to date on IT security measures. They also supervise investigations if there is a security violation.
Most computer and information systems managers work full time. If problems arise, managers may need to work more than 40 hours a week to come up with solutions.
How to become a Computer and Information Systems Manager
Typically, a bachelor’s degree in computer or information science, plus related work experience, is required. Many computer and information systems managers also have a graduate degree.
Computer and information systems managers normally must have a bachelor’s degree in a computer- or information science–related field. These degrees include courses in computer programming, software development, and mathematics. Management information systems (MIS) programs usually include business classes as well as computer-related ones.
Many organizations require their computer and information systems managers to have a graduate degree as well. A Master of Business Administration (MBA) is common and takes 2 years beyond the undergraduate level to complete. Many people pursuing an MBA take classes while working, an option that can increase the time required to complete that degree.
Most jobs for computer and information systems managers require several years of experience in a related information technology (IT) job. Lower-level management positions may require only a few years of experience. Directors are more likely to need 5 to 10 years of related work experience. A chief technology officer (CTO), who oversees the technology plan for a large organization, may need more than 15 years of experience in the IT field before being considered for a job.
The median annual wage for computer and information systems managers was $146,360 in May 2019. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $87,480, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $208,000.
Employment of computer and information systems managers is projected to grow 10 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations.
Demand for computer and information systems managers will grow as firms increasingly expand their operations to digital platforms. Computer and information systems managers will be responsible for implementing these goals.
Employment growth will result from the need to bolster cybersecurity in computer and information systems used by businesses. Industries such as retail trade will need to implement more robust security policies as cyber threats increase.
An increase in the popularity of cloud computing may result in firms outsourcing services from in-house IT departments to cloud-computing companies.
Similar Job Titles
Application Development Director, Computing Services Director, Data Processing Manager, Information Systems Director (IS Director), Information Systems Manager (IS Manager), Information Systems Supervisor (IS Supervisor), Information Technology Director (IT Director), Information Technology Manager (IT Manager), MIS Director (Management Information Systems Director), Technical Services Manager
Logistics Engineer, Computer Systems Analyst, Computer Network Architect, Computer Systems Engineer/Architect, Technical Director/Manager
The trade associations listed below represent organizations made up of people (members) who work and promote advancement in the field. Members are very interested in telling others about their work and about careers in those areas. As well, trade associations provide opportunities for organizational networking and learning more about the field’s trends and directions.
- Association for Computing Machinery
- CompTIA Association of IT Professionals
- Cyber Degrees EDU
- GMIS International
- Information Systems Audit and Control Association (IEEE)
- Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers
- Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA)
- Project Management Institute
Magazines and Publications
More than ever before, decision makers at all levels rely on having the information they need right at their fingertips. Computer and information systems managers, also called Information Technology – or IT – managers, do the work of making information accessible. IT managers keep computer systems working properly and efficiently. They determine a company's computer needs, create project budgets, and work with senior management to put the necessary resources in place. These managers develop computer networks and set up Internet and Intranet sites, ever mindful of future needs, and of securing the organization’s data. IT managers oversee training programs and handle technical problems, often under high stress and tight timelines to avoid system failure. Though a college degree is expected, often in an IT major, this position requires a proven track record in a related occupation such as systems analyst or computer programmer. Some IT managers hold advanced IT degrees and certifications, or specialize in areas such as security or web hosting. Constant re-training is typical. If you love the challenges of keeping pace with computer technology, power up a career in IT management.
Content retrieved from: US Bureau of Labor Statistics-OOH www.bls.gov/ooh,
CareerOneStop www.careeronestop.org, O*Net Online www.onetonline.org