With businesses of all kinds increasingly relying on computers for their daily operations, companies need experienced computer and information technology (IT) professionals to oversee their use of computer technology. While lower-level IT professionals may handle tasks like basic tech support, high-level supervisory roles call for leadership skills. These professionals are known as computer and information systems managers but are sometimes called simply IT project managers, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
Managing the computer activities of an entire company includes a wide range of tasks. IT managers need to know what computer hardware and software a company will need to achieve its business goals effectively and communicate those needs to management. It is an IT manager’s job to coordinate and install the hardware and software and to maintain the computer systems the company uses as well as the security those systems. Because technology is constantly changing, IT managers must always be aware of new technologies that could benefit their businesses by streamlining processes and operations. IT managers don’t just manage the company’s computer needs. They also oversee all of the IT personnel working in capacities such as computer support specialist, computer systems analyst, information security analyst and software developer.
Computer and information systems managers may hold a number of different job titles, including chief information officer (CIO), chief technology officer (CTO), IT director and IT security manager. The work an individual computer and information systems manager does depends on his or her job title. CIOs tend to be more concerned with information strategy, while CTOs focus more on evolving technologies, the BLS reported. Security managers work primarily on maintaining the security of the organization’s data, while IT directors more commonly act as direct supervisors of an information technology department.
Aspiring IT managers should begin preparing for their career by earning a bachelor’s degree in a subject like computer science or information science. Students in these programs commonly take coursework in subjects like computer programming, software development and math. A management information systems (MIS) program may be particularly helpful for future IT managers, because these programs tend to include studies in business as well as computers, the BLS reported. While not always required, having a graduate degree like a Master of Business Administration in computer information systems can help IT professionals advance into a management role.
As a leadership role, computer and information systems manager isn’t a position you can get when you’re fresh out of college. You need a good deal of experience working in information technology before you’re ready for the responsibilities. While a few years of relevant work experience may be enough for lower-level management roles, directors typically have five to 10 years of experience and CTOs have 15 or more, the BLS reported.
With a median annual salary of $131,600, computer and information systems manager is among the highest-paying business careers, the BLS reported. Computer and information systems managers in industries such as information, computer systems design and finance and insurance have the highest earning potential. The job outlook for this career is very positive. The BLS predicts that job opportunities for computer and information systems manager will increase by 15 percent over a decade, a growth rate which is “much faster than the average.”
Computer and information systems managers are responsible for leading the computer and IT activities of a company or organization. While IT managers must perform a lot of different duties, they are paid well for taking on so much responsibility.