Computer and Information Systems Managers

Who’s in charge? These guys and gals. Computer and information systems managers are the CTOs, technology directors and IT project managers who plan, coordinate, direct research on, and implement the technology goals of their organizations — all on time and within budget.

The Work

As leaders of the technology departments in their organizations, computer and IT managers direct the work of other IT professionals, including engineers and programmers, computer support specialists, and system analysts, and the work they do touches on at least all these areas.

It is the computer and information system managers who choose new technologies — after conferral with senior management — based on their analysis of customer or user needs. They also plan and coordinate hardware and software upgrades, programming and systems design, the implementation of computer networks, and the development of Internet and intranet sites.

They are increasingly involved with computer security issues and must also stay abreast of the latest tools and technologies that could benefit their organization.

Training and Education

A bachelor’s degree in a computer-related field like computer science or management information systems (MIS) can be highly beneficial for management positions.

Employers place value on IT managers who are knowledgeable both technically and with respect to business leadership. Management qualifications — such as a master’s degree in information technology management or business administration (MBA) — distinguish technology managers who have both leadership and technical skills. An MBA with a technology concentration is a popular option.

Certifications and a knowledge of a broad array of technologies is helpful in understanding new technologies that come along, and how they can benefit the business. Managers also need to understand the basics of business management, as they must assign work, manage employees, and explain technologies to a wide variety of people inside and outside the business.