Positions in CIS: Career and Salary Facts

Find out about the types of jobs you could pursue in computer information systems. Read on to learn more about career options along with salary and education information. Schools offering Business Information Systems degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is CIS?

Computer information systems (CIS) is the application of business, information systems, management, and operations knowledge to create a productive organization. Individuals who work in this field generally have technical expertise along with an understanding of business and management principles. Computer information systems careers include those of information technology (IT) directors, who plan and oversee the computer related activities of their organizations, as well as chief information officers and IT project managers. As a management position, these professionals must be able to lead a team and teach new members how to perform their duties. It is imperative they actively continue to learn and stay up to date within their field in order to keep from being left behind in the ever-changing technological landscape.

The following chart provides an overview of the education, job outlook and average salary in this field.

Education Required Bachelor's degree; master's degrees are common
Education Field of Study Computer information systems or related field
Key Responsibilities Plan and develop efficient computer systems; keep the organization's computer systems updated, functional, and secure
Job Growth (2014-2024) 15% (for all computer information systems managers)*
Mean Annual Salary (2015)$141,000 (for all computer information systems managers)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Positions Are Available?

If you have a foundation in CIS, you can work as a computer and information systems manager, chief technology officer (CTO), management information systems (MIS), or information technology (IT) director or IT project manager. The job tasks differ in each of these fields, but may overlap in some instances.

As a computer and information systems manager, you would work with other managers to determine an organization's needs and then implement technology to meet them. In addition, you would direct research on the organization's computer-related activities and oversee the organization's technical aspects, such as its Internet operations, data security, and software development.

As a CTO you would evaluate new technology to determine if it will benefit an organization. This includes conducting a cost-benefit analysis and identifying possible implementation strategies. Your job duties would also include developing technical standards and supervising employees who work with an organization's information technology.

As a MIS or IT director you would plan and direct the work of other IT professionals, oversee technical departments, monitor performance standards, and implement new projects. Your focus would be on ensuring the security and availability of data and IT services within the organization.

As an IT project manager, you would develop budgets and schedules for your organization's technology projects. You would coordinate these projects with the organization's IT staff.

What Education Do I Need?

The minimum education necessary for a CIS job is a bachelor's degree in computer information systems or a related field. However, in order to stay competitive in a fast-growing field, many choose to earn a master's to improve their chances and expand their knowledge. Academic programs in CIS focus on concepts like systems development, information systems modeling, and information systems theory. In addition, you may also study management information systems (MIS) principles, business principles, and even information security.

What Can I Expect to Earn?

Earnings for professionals working in the field of computer information systems vary according to specialty and level of responsibility. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in 2015 there were 341,250 computer and information systems managers in the nation (www.bls.gov). At that time, these professionals earned a mean annual salary of $141,000. The BLS projects that, during the 2014-2024 decade, job opportunities in this field will increase 15%.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Computer network architects create data communication networks for companies, connecting systems over large and small distances to increase efficiency. Database administrators encrypt their employer's files with specialized software ensuring it is protected from cyberattacks. Computer programmers write and edit code to instruct applications and software how to respond to specific commands. These positions typically require a bachelor's degree.

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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