Computer and Information Systems Managers

Summary

computer and information systems managers image
Computer and information systems managers direct and coordinate other information technology workers to make a company run more efficiently or create new computer products.
Quick Facts: Computer and Information Systems Managers
2012 Median Pay $120,950 per year
$58.15 per hour
Entry-Level Education Bachelor’s degree
Work Experience in a Related Occupation 5 years or more
On-the-job Training None
Number of Jobs, 2012 332,700
Job Outlook, 2012-22 15% (Faster than average)
Employment Change, 2012-22 50,900

What Computer and Information Systems Managers 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.

Work Environment

Most computer and information systems managers work full time. In 2012, about one third worked more than 40 hours per week.

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.

Pay

The median annual wage for computer and information systems managers was $120,950 in May 2012.

Job Outlook

Employment of computer and information systems managers is projected to grow 15 percent from 2012 to 2022, faster than the average for all occupations. Demand for computer and information systems managers will increase as firms continue to expand their use of wireless and mobile networks.

Similar Occupations

Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of computer and information systems managers with similar occupations.

More Information, Including Links to O*NET

Learn more about computer and information systems managers by visiting additional resources, including O*NET, a source on key characteristics of workers and occupations.

What Computer and Information Systems Managers Do About this section

Computer and information systems managers
IT directors sometimes present new ideas to a firm’s top executives.

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.

Duties

Computer and information systems managers typically do the following:

  • Analyze their organization’s computer needs and recommend possible upgrades to top executives
  • Plan and direct installing and upgrading computer hardware and software
  • Ensure the security of an organization’s network and electronic documents
  • Assess the costs and benefits of a new project and justify spending on the project 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 their 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 types of computer and information systems managers:

Chief information officers (CIOs) are responsible for the overall technology strategy of their organizations. They help determine the technology or information goals of an organization and then oversee planning to implement technology to meet those goals.

CIOs may focus on a specific area, such as electronic data processing or information systems, but they differ from chief technology officers (CTOs; see next) in that the CIO is more focused on long-term, or “big picture,” issues. At small organizations a CIO has more direct control over the IT department, while 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 the business aspects of creating an overall company vision are included in a separate profile on 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 is responsible for designing and recommending the appropriate technology solutions to support the policies and directives issued by the CIO. CTOs also work with different departments to implement the organization’s technology plans.

The CTO usually reports directly to the CIO and also may be responsible for overseeing the development of new technologies or other research-and-development activities. 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.

Work Environment About this section

Computer and information systems managers
Computer and information systems managers plan and direct the work of other IT professionals.

Computer and information systems managers held about 332,700 jobs in 2012.

The industries that employed the most computer and information systems managers in 2012 were as follows:

Computer systems design and related services19%
Finance and insurance12
Information11
Management of companies and enterprises9
Government7

As network speeds increase, telecommuting is becoming more common. Although few managers can work remotely, many have to supervise employees who work from home.

Work Schedules

Most computer and information systems managers work full time. Many of them must work overtime to solve problems. In 2012, about one third worked more than 40 hours per week.

How to Become a Computer and Information Systems Manager About this section

Computer and information systems managers
Computer and information systems managers usually spend 5-10 years in an IT occupation before being promoted to a 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.

Education

Computer and information systems managers normally must have a bachelor’s degree in a computer- or information science–related field. Such a degree usually takes 4 years to complete and includes 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.

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

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 number of years of experience required varies with the organization. Generally, smaller companies do not require as much experience as larger, more established ones.

Computer systems are used throughout the economy, and IT employees may gain experience in a variety of industries. However, an applicant’s work experience should be related to the industry the applicant plans to manage. For example, an IT security manager should have previously worked in information security. A hospital IT director should have experience in the healthcare field.

Advancement

Most computer and information systems managers start out as lower level managers and advance to higher positions within the IT department. IT directors or project managers can advance to become CTOs. A CTO or other manager who is especially business minded can advance to become a chief information officer (CIO),  the person in charge of all IT-related decisions in an organization. CIOs can advance to become top executives in an organization.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. IT managers must be able to analyze a problem, consider ways to solve the problem, and select the best way.

Communication skills. IT managers must be able to explain their work to top executives and give clear instructions to their subordinates.

Decision-making skills. Some IT managers must make important decisions about how to allocate their organizations’ resources in order to reach their goals.

Leadership skills. IT managers must be able to lead and motivate IT teams or departments so that workers are efficient and effective.

Organizational skills. Some IT managers must coordinate the work of several different IT departments to make the organization run efficiently.

Pay About this section

Computer and Information Systems Managers

Median annual wages, May 2012

Computer and information systems managers

$120,950

Management occupations

$93,910

Total, all occupations

$34,750

 

The median annual wage for computer and information systems managers was $120,950 in May 2012. 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 $74,940, and the top 10 percent earned more than $187,200.

In May 2012, the median annual wages for computer and information systems managers in the five industries in which most of these managers worked were as follows:

Information $133,120
Computer systems design and related services128,830
Finance and insurance126,680
Management of companies and enterprises124,260
Government101,690

Most computer and information systems managers work full time. Many of them must work overtime to solve problems. In 2012, about one third worked more than 40 hours per week.

Job Outlook About this section

Computer and Information Systems Managers

Percent change in employment, projected 2012-22

Computer and information systems managers

15%

Total, all occupations

11%

Management occupations

7%

 

Employment of computer and information systems managers is projected to grow 15 percent from 2012 to 2022, faster than the average for all occupations.

Demand for computer and information systems managers will increase as firms continue to expand their use of wireless and mobile networks. A rapid increase in demand for computer software will also increase the need for employees at all levels of management.

Additional employment growth will likely result from the need to bolster cybersecurity  in information technology (IT) departments. More attention is being directed at cyber threats, a trend that is expected to increase over the next decade.

A number of jobs in this occupation are expected to be created in the healthcare industry, which is aggressively implementing information technology. This industry is expected to increase IT use greatly, resulting in job growth. In general medical and surgical hospitals, employment of IT managers is projected to grow 42 percent.

An increase in cloud computing may shift some IT services from non-computer industries, such as financial firms or schools, to firms engaged in computer systems design and related services, resulting in a concentration of jobs in the latter industry. The reason is that firms will increasingly be outsourcing services from on-premise IT departments to cloud- computing companies.

A number of IT jobs are at risk of being sent to other countries with lower wages, dampening some employment growth. However, this risk may be reduced by a recent trend of firms moving jobs to lower cost regions of the United States instead of to other countries.

Job Prospects

Prospects should be favorable for this occupation. Many companies note that it is difficult to find qualified applicants for positions.

Because innovation is fast paced in IT, opportunities should be best for those who have extensive work experience and knowledge of the newest technology.

Employment projections data for computer and information systems managers, 2012-22
Occupational Title SOC Code Employment, 2012 Projected Employment, 2022 Change, 2012-22 Employment by Industry
Percent Numeric

SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program

Computer and information systems managers

11-3021 332,700 383,600 15 50,900 [XLS]

Similar Occupations About this section

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of computer and information systems managers.

Occupation Job Duties ENTRY-LEVEL EDUCATION Help 2012 MEDIAN PAY Help
Computer and information research scientists

Computer and Information Research Scientists

Computer and information research scientists invent and design new approaches to computing technology and find innovative uses for existing technology. They study and solve complex problems in computing for business, medicine, science, and other fields.

Doctoral or professional degree $102,190
computer network architects image

Computer Network Architects

Computer network architects design and build data communication networks, including local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs), and intranets. These networks range from a small connection between two offices to a multinational series of globally distributed communications systems.

Bachelor’s degree $91,000
Computer hardware engineers

Computer Hardware Engineers

Computer hardware engineers research, design, develop, and test computer systems and components such as processors, circuit boards, memory devices, networks, and routers. By creating new directions in computer hardware, these engineers create rapid advances in computer technology.

Bachelor’s degree $100,920
Computer programmers

Computer Programmers

Computer programmers write code to create software programs. They turn the program designs created by software developers and engineers into instructions that a computer can follow.

Bachelor’s degree $74,280
Computer systems analysts

Computer Systems Analysts

Computer systems analysts study an organization’s current computer systems and procedures and design information systems solutions to help the organization operate more efficiently and effectively. They bring business and information technology (IT) together by understanding the needs and limitations of both.

Bachelor’s degree $79,680
Database administrators

Database Administrators

Database administrators (DBAs) use specialized software to store and organize data, such as financial information and customer shipping records. They make sure that data are available to users and are secure from unauthorized access.

Bachelor’s degree $77,080
Information security analysts

Information Security Analysts

Information security analysts plan and carry out security measures to protect an organization's computer networks and systems. Their responsibilities are continually expanding as the number of cyberattacks increase.

Bachelor’s degree $86,170
Network and computer systems administrators

Network and Computer Systems Administrators

Computer networks are critical parts of almost every organization. Network and computer systems administrators are responsible for the day-to-day operation of these networks.

Bachelor’s degree $72,560
Software developers

Software Developers

Software developers are the creative minds behind computer programs. Some develop the applications that allow people to do specific tasks on a computer or other device. Others develop the underlying systems that run the devices or control networks.

Bachelor’s degree $93,350
Top executives

Top Executives

Top executives devise strategies and policies to ensure that an organization meets its goals. They plan, direct, and coordinate operational activities of companies and organizations.

Bachelor’s degree $101,650
Web developers

Web Developers

Web developers design and create websites. They are responsible for the look of the site. They are also responsible for the site’s technical aspects, such as performance and capacity, which are measures of a website’s speed and how much traffic the site can handle. They also may create content for the site.

Associate’s degree $62,500
Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Computer and Information Systems Managers,
on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/computer-and-information-systems-managers.htm (visited July 24, 2014).

Publish Date: Wednesday, January 8, 2014