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Computer and Information Systems Managers - What They Do

How to Advance (Advancement)
Computer and information systems managers may advance to progressively higher leadership positions in an information technology department. A project manager, for instance, might be promoted to the chief technology officer position and then to chief information officer. On occasion, some may become managers in non-technical areas such as marketing, human resources, or sales because in high technology firms an understanding of technical issues is helpful in those areas.

Computer and information systems managers held about 293,000 jobs in 2008. About 16 percent worked in the computer systems design and related services industry. This industry provides IT services on a contract basis, including custom computer programming services; computer systems design and integration services; and computer facilities management services. Other large employers include insurance and financial firms, government agencies, business management organizations, and manufacturers.

Job Outlook
Faster than average employment growth is expected, and job prospects should be excellent.

Job Growth
Employment of computer and information systems managers is expected to grow 17 percent over the 2008-18 decade, which is 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. To remain competitive, firms will continue to install sophisticated computer networks and set up more complex intranets and websites. They will need to adopt the most efficient software and systems and troubleshoot problems when they occur. Computer and information systems managers will be needed to oversee these functions.

Because so much business is carried out over computer networks, security will continue to be an important issue for businesses and other organizations, and will lead to strong growth for computer managers. Firms will increasingly hire security experts to fill key leadership roles in their information technology departments because the integrity of their computing environments is of utmost importance.

The growth of computer and information systems managers should be closely related to the growth of the occupations they supervise.

Among computer and information systems managers, job growth is expected to be the fastest in computer systems design establishments; software publishing firms; data processing and hosting companies; management, scientific, and technical consulting services; and healthcare organizations. Increased consolidation of IT services may reduce growth to some extent in other industries.

Prospects for qualified computer and information systems managers should be excellent. Workers with specialized technical knowledge and strong communications and business skills, as well as those with an MBA with a concentration in information systems, will have the best prospects. Job openings will be the result of employment growth and the need to replace workers who transfer to other occupations or leave the labor force.

Wages of computer and information systems managers vary by specialty and level of responsibility. Median annual wages of these managers in May 2008 were $112,210. The middle 50 percent earned between $88,240 and $141,890.

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

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