Computer and information systems managers: Your career guide

Computer information systems (CIS) managers organize and supervise computer-related activities.

Industry experts evaluate the company’s needs, suggest computer system upgrades, and oversee network security and privacy of electronic documents. They also deploy computer systems and research the advantages and expenses of new projects.

CIS managers are in high demand. The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) projects an 11% growth in CIS manager positions 2020-30.

Read on to learn more about CIS manager job duties, salary expectations, and the skills you’ll need to land the job.

A day in the life of a computer and information systems manager

CIS managers supervise systems analysts, computer programmers, and related technology team members. Managers evaluate equipment performance, administer diagnostic tests, and purchase new products.

These professionals are trained in installing network servers and configuring virtual private networks. They troubleshoot network issues, enhance computer products, and consult with executives.

Managers must exhibit computer science and programming, software development, and math expertise. But technical skills aren’t enough: This role also requires budget and project management experience.

CIS managers may work in manufacturing, finance and insurance, computer systems design, and related industries. Industry leaders collaborate with consumers, vendors, computer systems analysts, and other information technology professionals.

Computer and information systems manager work-life balance

CIS managers supervise IT teams and vital projects. Managers primarily work in offices, but more managers are working from home thanks to increasing internet speeds.

CIS managers typically work over 40 hours per week. CIS managers and their teams may work late evenings and weekends to fix network server issues on tight deadlines.

The computer technology field is ever-evolving. Managers pursue continuing education to keep current with updated standards, networking equipment, hardware platforms, programming languages, and software.

Salary expectations as a computer and information systems manager

The BLS reports a median annual wage for CIS managers of $151,150 as of May 2020.

The highest-paid CIS managers are employed in information, computer systems design and related services, finance and insurance, management of companies and enterprises, and manufacturing.

On average, information sector professionals earn a median annual wage of $166,770. CIS managers in manufacturing earn a median annual wage of $150,930 as of May 2020.

What does it take to become a computer and information systems manager?

Job candidates and career changers typically need a computer information systems or related bachelor’s degree to become CIS managers. Prospective students should consider a management information systems degree. They’ll benefit from advanced math, software development, and computer coding courses.

Future CIS managers looking to advance their career may pursue a management information systems master’s degree. A master’s program generally includes both business and CIS courses. Career changers may earn a CIS degree by studying part-time while maintaining their full-time jobs.

A graduate degree may give you an edge when applying to prestigious organizations, but experience matters too.

Lower-level CIS management positions may require three to four years of experience. Director roles may require five to 10 years of experience. Chief technology officers are expected to have at least 15 years of computer technology expertise.

What skills do I need as a computer and information systems manager?

CIS managers need both technical and people (or “soft”) skills.

CIS managers should be versed in software upgrades, network security, and internet operations. They must excel at managing an organization’s computer technology and maintaining its daily operations.

They also need communication and leadership skills to supervise computer programmers, computer systems analysts, and related field experts effectively.

Industry professionals must be well-versed in expressing technical problems and providing solutions to the layperson.

What skills do I need as a computer and information systems manager?

CIS managers need both technical and people (or “soft”) skills.

CIS managers should be versed in software upgrades, network security, and internet operations. They must excel at managing an organization’s computer technology and maintaining its daily operations.

They also need communication and leadership skills to supervise computer programmers, computer systems analysts, and related field experts effectively.

Industry professionals must be well-versed in expressing technical problems and providing solutions to the layperson.

Hard skills

  • Microsoft Office
  • Project management
  • Network management
  • IT technology management
  • Information technology support

People skills

  • Leadership skills
  • Negotiation skills
  • Analytical thinking
  • Conflict resolution
  • Communication skills

In conclusion

CIS managers apply their analytical thinking and problem-solving skills to achieve organizational goals.

While the computer technology field continues to grow, CIS managers are leaders in overseeing company-wide IT projects and network servers. The right skills can land your next CIS management position. You can cultivate those skills by enrolling in a management information systems program.

This article was reviewed by Brian Nichols

A head-and-shoulders photo of a bearded white man in a grey suit with a blue tie.A head-and-shoulders photo of a bearded white man in a grey suit with a blue tie.

Born and raised in upstate New York, Brian Nichols began his IT education through a vocational high school where he focused on computer science, IT fundamentals, and networking. Brian then went to his local community college, where he received his associate of science in computer information science. He then received his bachelor of science in applied networking and system administration from a private college.

Brian now lives in Kansas City, where he works full-time as a DevOps engineer. He is also a part-time instructor in cybersecurity. He’s passionate about cybersecurity and helping students succeed.

Brian Nichols is a paid member of the Red Ventures Education freelance review network.

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