The Price of Information — High Demand and High Salary

The Price of Information — High Demand and High Salary

The eyes of the world are on you. You sit at a console, counting down. Your mind is totally concentrated.

Information is a source of learning. But unless it is organized, processed, and available to the right people in a format for decision making, it is a burden, not a benefit. --- William Pollard

A dozen news media cameras scan your command center. You and your fellow experts monitor systems that feed data into computers, telling you everything needed to bring this off without an explosion, without fatalities, without disaster.

You control information. What could be more vital?

The Space Shuttle is strapped to it’s boosters. It’s time. You key in the ignition command.

Suddenly, the earth roars, and a skyscraper-sized missile, with the shuttle on it’s back, roars up through the sky, riding a plume of smoke and fire, disappearing into space.

You track every bit of data, every nuance of information, making sure nothing fails.

Who are you? You are an expert in Information Systems Science. And for you, (even in this economy!), the news is only good.

CNN Money reports that one of the highest-paying and highest-hiring jobs in the market today is Information sciences and systems, with a starting income of $47,182.

The US Bureau of labor also reports that employment of computer and information systems managers is expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations through the year 2016.

Manager opportunities will favor those applicants armed with a strong education in business, with good communication skills— and the foundational degrees in Information Systems and Science.

Why is this such a cutting-edge opportunity? Because, in the modern workplace, information technology is absolutely essential to survival, which is today’s form of success.

Computer and information systems managers play a vital role in the implementation of technology within their organizations. They do everything from helping to construct a business plan to overseeing network security to directing Internet operations.

There are almost endless varieties of companies and command centers who need to control and process vast streams of critical data.

The work of computer and information systems managers is closely related to that of computer programmers, computer software engineers, computer systems analysts, computer scientists and database administrators, and computer support specialists and systems administrators. Computer and information systems managers also have some high-level responsibilities similar to those of top executives.

Computer and information systems managers direct the work of systems analysts, computer programmers, support specialists, and other computer-related workers. They plan and coordinate activities such as installation and upgrading of hardware and software, programming and systems design, development of computer networks, and implementation of Internet and intranet sites.

Chief technology officers (CTOs), for example, evaluate the newest and most innovative technologies and determine how these can help their organizations. The chief technology officer often reports to the organization’s chief information officer, manages and plans technical standards, and tends to the daily information technology issues of the firm.

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 user services such as an organization’s help desk, which employees can call with questions or problems. MIS directors also may make hardware and software upgrade recommendations based on their experience with an organization’s technology.

Project managers develop requirements, budgets, and schedules for their firms’ information technology projects. They coordinate such projects from development through implementation, working with internal and external clients, vendors, consultants, and computer specialists. These managers are increasingly involved in projects that upgrade the information security of an organization.

Computer and information systems managers are generally experienced workers who have both technical expertise and an understanding of business and management principles.

A bachelor’s degree usually is required for management positions, although employers often prefer a graduate degree, especially an MBA with technology as a core component.

This MBA degree differs from a traditional MBA in that there is a heavy emphasis on information technology in addition to the standard business curriculum. This preparation is becoming important because more computer and information systems managers are making important technology decisions as well as business decisions for their organizations.
Some universities offer degrees in management information systems.

These degrees blend technical subjects with business, accounting, and communications courses. A few computer and information systems managers attain their positions with only an associate or trade school degree, but they must have sufficient experience and must have acquired additional skills on the job.

To aid their professional advancement, many managers with an associate degree eventually earn a bachelor’s or master’s degree while working.

Advanced technical knowledge is essential for computer and information systems managers, who must understand and guide the work of their subordinates yet also explain the work in nontechnical terms to senior managers and potential customers. Therefore, many computer and information systems managers have worked as a systems analyst, for example, or as a computer support specialist, programmer, or other information technology professional.

Computer and information systems managers held about 264,000 jobs in 2006. About 1 in 4 computer managers worked in service-providing industries, mainly in computer systems design and related services. This industry provides services related to the commercial use of computers on a contract basis, including custom computer programming services; computer systems integration design services; computer facilities management services, including computer systems or data-processing facilities support services; and other computer-related services, such as disaster recovery services and software installation. Other large employers include insurance and financial firms, government agencies, and manufacturers.

Employment of computer and information systems managers is expected to grow 16 percent over the 2006-16 decade— much faster than the average for all occupations. New applications of technology in the workplace will continue to drive demand for workers, fueling the need for more managers.

Despite the downturn in the technology sector in the early part of the decade, the outlook for computer and information systems managers remains strong. To remain competitive, firms will continue to install sophisticated computer networks and set up more complex intranets and websites. Keeping a computer network running smoothly is essential to almost every organization.

With the explosive growth of electronic commerce and the capacity of the Internet to create new relationships with customers, the role of computer and information systems managers will continue to evolve. Workers who have experience in web applications and Internet technologies will become increasingly vital to their companies.

Projections data from the National Employment Matrix

Prospects for qualified computer and information systems managers should be excellent. Fast-paced occupational growth and the limited supply of technical workers will lead to a wealth of opportunities for qualified individuals. While technical workers remain relatively scarce in the United States, the demand for them continues to rise. nue.

Earnings for computer and information systems managers vary by specialty and level of responsibility. Median annual earnings of these managers in May 2006 were $101,580. The middle 50 percent earned between $79,240 and $129,250.

Median annual earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of computer and information systems managers

Annual salary ranges for various computer and information systems manager positions

In addition, computer and information systems managers, (especially those at higher levels!), often receive employment-related benefits, such as expense accounts, stock option plans, and bonuses.

From the glamorous NASA engineer to the fast-track Corporate Information Systems expert, this field will grow and grow.

Information technology can be your passport into a rising level of income and stable employment.

Time to start climbing the ladder. The first run on the ladder is higher education.

Most universities and colleges and many online institutions offer the degree you need.

If this feels right, if it’s a good fit for you, join this high-demand and high-salaried sector of job growth!

    For information about a career as a computer and information systems manager, contact:

  • Association of Information Technology Professionals, 401 North Michigan Ave., Suite 2400, Chicago, IL 60611. www.aitp.org
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