Computer and Information Systems Manager Careers

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A computer and information systems manager is an IT professional who oversees, coordinates, and directs an organization's computer systems.

They analyze an organization's information technology goals and implement computer systems to meet those goals.

The average computer and information systems manager salary exceeds $142,000 a year, with faster-than-average projected job growth through 2028.

Computer and Information Systems Manager Essential Career Information
Median Annual Salary $142,530
Employment Growth Forecast from 2018-2028 11%
Number of New Jobs from 2018-2028 46,800
Average Entry-Level Education Requirements Bachelor's degree
Annual Salary of the Highest 10% $180,190
Annual Salary of the Lowest 10% $85,380

Source: BLS

Table of Contents

This guide explores computer and information systems manager careers, including degree and certification options.

What Does a Computer and Information Systems Manager Do?

Also called IT managers, IS directors, or IT security managers, computer and information systems managers help organizations manage their computer systems. They increase an organization's efficiency by designing computer systems that help businesses meet their goals.

Common duties for computer and information system managers include:

  • Analyzing an organization's computer needs
  • Overseeing the installation and maintenance of computer systems
  • Maintaining secure computer systems and networks
  • Researching new computing technology to determine costs and benefits

Computer and information systems managers oversee a team of staff members, which can include computer systems analysts, information security analysts, and software developers. The role requires strong analytical and communication skills to help businesses solve computing problems.

Computer and information system managers work under several titles, such as management information systems manager (MIS manager), MIS project manager, information systems director (IS director), and IS manager. MIS manager and director jobs focus on database and information management, while IS directors oversee an organization's information systems.

Alternate Job Title for Computer and Information Systems Managers

  • Application Development Director
  • Chief Technology Officer
  • Computer Operations Manager
  • Computer Security Manager
  • Data Operations Director
  • Data Processing Manager
  • Information Systems Director
  • Information Systems Manager
  • Information Technology Director
  • Information Technology Systems Director
  • Internet Technology Manager
  • MIS Director
  • Management Information Systems Director

Become a Computer and Information Systems Manager

Most computer and information systems managers hold a bachelor's degree in computer or information science. During a bachelor's program, students build knowledge of computer systems, database management, and information systems management. Many programs incorporate an internship to give students professional experience.

While a bachelor's degree represents the typical entry-level education requirement, some employers prefer candidates with a master's degree. Earning an MBA, for example, offers business training for IT professionals.

Computer and Information Systems Manager Salary by Experience
Experience Annual Mean Wage

Entry-level (0-12 months)

$58,000

Early Career (1-4 years)

$68,000

Mid-career (5-9 years)

$80,000

Experienced (10-19 years)

$91,000

Source: Payscale

Certificate Programs

Prospective computer and information systems professionals can pursue a computer information systems (CIS) certificate to gain specialized training. During a CIS certificate program, students take courses in computer programming, systems analysis, and database management. Students gain skills in business information systems, business communications, and computer and information systems management.

Students can pursue a general CIS certificate or specialize their training. Some programs offer specialized certificates in areas like computer systems analysis and database management that prepare graduates for CIS jobs. Students can also customize their certificate by choosing electives aligned with their career goals.

Earning a CIS certificate typically takes less than one year. Most programs set few prerequisite requirements, making them accessible to many students. Graduates can work in roles like systems analyst, database administrator, or cybersecurity analyst. They can also typically transfer their certificate credits into a degree-granting program.

Associate Degree Programs

A computer information systems associate degree provides foundational knowledge in computer science, information systems, and information technology. Learners study software development, information security, and data analysis. The curriculum also emphasizes computer hardware, operating systems, and software. Additionally, students learn about systems development, management information systems, and database administration.

In addition to coursework in computer science, information systems, and business, an associate degree incorporates general education courses that strengthen critical-thinking and problem-solving skills. An associate degree in computer information systems also builds analytical skills.

A computer information systems associate degree generally takes two years for full-time students to complete. Most computer and information systems manager jobs require at least a bachelor's degree; however, an associate degree builds foundational skills that prepare graduates to earn a higher degree. Graduates with an associate degree can often complete a bachelor's degree in two years.

Bachelor's Degree Programs

A bachelor's degree represents the entry-level requirement for most computer and information systems manager jobs. During a bachelor's program, students gain business and computing skills that prepare them for careers in information technology. Students also strengthen their analytical and critical-thinking abilities.

Prospective CIS managers can pursue a bachelor's degree in information systems or computer information systems. In addition to general education classes, learners take major coursework on topics like systems analysis, database administration, project management, and data communications. Many programs also incorporate an internship or capstone, where students plan and design computer systems and identify computing solutions.

A bachelor's degree typically takes four years for full-time students to complete. Transfer students with prior college credits or an associate degree can earn a degree in less time. Most management-level CIS jobs require several years of professional experience after earning a bachelor's degree. Graduates can also apply to a master's program to qualify for CIS manager jobs.

Master's Degree Programs

A master's degree prepares information systems professionals for career advancement and makes them more competitive in the job market. Prospective master's students should choose the program that best fits their career goals and interests. A master's in information systems or a master's in management information systems builds advanced skills in information systems management and business leadership.

Some prospective computer and information systems managers pursue an MBA with a concentration in information systems, technology management, or management information systems. MBA leadership and management coursework helps IT professionals pursue managerial opportunities. MBA students also take classes on topics like enterprise resource planning, IT project management, and managerial economics.

Completing a master's degree often takes two years of full-time study, though accelerated options are available. For maximum flexibility, prospective master's students can pursue a master's in information systems online. Online graduate programs give students the flexibility to balance school with work and family obligations. In addition to computer and information systems manager jobs, master's graduates can pursue executive roles like chief information officer (CIO) and chief technology officer (CTO).

Doctoral Degree Programs

A doctorate represents the highest degree in computer and information systems. A Ph.D. in information systems, information technology, or CIS prepares graduates for the most advanced roles in the field, including research and academic positions. Some career paths require a doctoral degree. For example, most tenure-track CIS professors hold a doctorate. Professionals with a Ph.D. in information systems can also pursue leadership roles such as CIO and CTO.

During a doctoral program, students strengthen their research skills through coursework in quantitative methods, research seminars, and research papers. Doctoral students also complete classes in information technology and information systems, including specialized courses in their research area. After 2-3 years of coursework, doctoral students must pass a comprehensive exam before advancing to the candidacy phase. Doctoral candidates then conduct original research under the supervision of a faculty advisor.

Most doctorates take at least five years to complete, and many require a master's degree for admission. Students with work and family obligations may prefer to earn a Ph.D. in information systems online, which typically offers more flexibility than on-campus programs.

Professional Certification

Computer and information systems managers can demonstrate their expertise to potential employers and advance their careers by pursuing professional certification. In many cases, certification candidates must meet certain education and experience requirements. After meeting these requirements, candidates typically must pass an examination to earn the credential.

IT professionals can earn information systems certifications in several areas. For example, the Project Management Institute grants the certified project management professional (PMP) credential. Candidates need a bachelor's degree and 4,500 hours of project management experience to qualify for the credential. They must also pass an exam. Certified PMPs must renew the credential every three years by meeting continuing education requirements. The PMP credential can help professionals advance to managerial roles.

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