Master's in Computer Information Systems: Career and Salary Facts

Find out about the types of jobs you could pursue with a master's degree in computer information systems. Read on to learn more about career options along with salary and job outlook information. Schools offering Information Technology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Careers Are Available with a Master's Degree in Computer Information Systems

Master's degrees allow you to assume more responsibility and make more money especially in computer information systems. CIS managers and network and computer systems administrators are necessary to oversee large computer projects starting from inception for computer network systems in a building or in a corporation. Database administrators and computer programmers take care of large amounts of information from analysis to programming networks that run and communicate with other network systems.

A master's degree in computer information systems covers advanced computer information technology subjects, such as computer security, digital forensics and information systems management. See the table below for information including skills required, job outlook, and salaries for various careers within the computer information systems field.

Computer and Information Systems Manager Computer Programmer Database Administrator Network and Computer Systems Administrator
Key Skills Organizational skills
Ability to implement computer programs
Direct computer activities within an organization
Ability to write code for computer programs
Reading comprehension
Critical thinking
Ability to store and organize computer data
Active learning
Operation of computer systems
Systems Analysis
Problem solving
Job Growth (2014-2024) 15%* -8%* 11%* 8%*
Average Salary (2015) $141,000* $84,360* $84,250* $82,200*

Source: *US Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Will I Learn in a Computer Information Systems Master's Degree Program?

The Master of Science in Computer Information Systems (MSCIS) degree program focuses on business and computer systems so that you will be prepared for a managerial position in information technology. You will gain experience making decisions and solving problems when it comes to areas, such as security planning, disaster recovery and computer networking. Common topics in this graduate program include security procedures, data mining, systems architecture, digital forensics, computer programming, operating systems and data structures.

What Should I Know About a Career in this Field?

Additional, specialized training is available by taking a certification course in a specific computer system or software program. Software companies, independent technical schools and some websites offer certification. While not required by employers, earning a certification shows that you have a good command of the specific program, which is useful when applying for jobs.

There are many job opportunities available for you upon graduation, such as a computer or information systems manager, computer programmer, database administrator, software administrator or support specialist. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, career prospects for computer systems managers are supposed to grow between 2014 and 2024 with an increase of 15% for job openings in this field ( The Bureau also states that similar jobs in the computer systems field, including computer systems analysts and systems administrators, are expected to show an increase in job opportunities by 2024 anywhere from 8% to 11% but not computer programmers which are expected to drop by 8% because these hires can work from anywhere and more companies are hiring cheaper overseas programming labor.

What Kinds of Tasks Will I Perform?

Your exact work duties will vary depending on what career path that you choose after graduation. If you select a job as a computer support specialist, your main priority will be to help troubleshoot and offer advice to those who are in need of technical assistance. Database administrators and security specialists spend their time managing software and data, organizing information and preventing security breaches and counter systems attacks. As a computer or information systems manager, you will manage users and projects, install new software, organize and retrieve data, plan upgrades and supervise security.

How Much Can I Earn?

In 2015, a computer systems manager made an average annual salary of $141,000 according to information from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Bureau also reported that in 2015, database administrators grossed an average salary of $84,250, while computer programmers earned an average salary of $84,360 annually. As a group, computer specialists could earn the highest salaries working in the security and commodity exchange, satellite telecommunications, wired telecommunications carriers or data processing. The top five employing states in this field were the District of Columbia, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut and California (

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Professions as alternatives could be data administration, software development, information systems analysts and web development. These positions work in computer science and require analysis, creating computer programs with customized code and producing reports. These are bachelor degree jobs except web development which you only need an associates to begin.

Other related careers in CIS will include computer network architects, computer system analysts, computer hardware engineers, and computer programmers. These positions require you to work in computer research and design, be proficient in networking LANs and WANs, networking systems to communicate within all networks and writing/testing code. A bachelor's degree starts your career in these areas too.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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