Computer and information systems managers typically do the following:
Few managers carry out all of these duties. There are various types of computer and information systems managers, and the specific duties of each are determined by the size and structure of the firm. Smaller firms may not employ every type of manager.
The following are examples of types of computer and information systems managers:
Chief information officers (CIOs) determine the technology or information goals of an organization and then oversee implementation of technology to meet those goals.
CIOs may focus on a specific area, such as electronic data processing or information systems, but CIOs tend to focus more on long-term or big picture issues. At small organizations a CIO has more direct control over the IT department, and at larger organizations other managers under the CIO may handle the day-to-day activities of the IT department.
CIOs who do not have technical expertise and who focus solely on a company’s business aspects are included in top executives.
Chief technology officers (CTOs) evaluate new technology and determine how it can help their organization. When both CIOs and CTOs are present, the CTO usually has more technical expertise.
The CTO usually reports directly to the CIO and is responsible for designing and recommending the appropriate technology solutions to support the CIO’s policies and directives. CTOs also work with different departments to implement the organization’s technology plans.
When a company does not have a CIO, the CTO determines the overall technology strategy for the firm and presents it to top executives.
IT directors, including management information systems (MIS) directors, are in charge of their organizations’ information technology (IT) departments, and they directly supervise other employees. IT directors help to determine the business requirements for IT systems, and they implement the policies that have been chosen by top executives. IT directors often have a direct role in hiring members of the IT department. It is their job to ensure the availability of data and network services by coordinating IT activities. IT directors also oversee the financial aspects of their department, such as budgeting.
IT security managers oversee their organizations’ network and data security. They work with top executives to plan security policies and promote a culture of information security throughout the organization. They develop programs to keep employees aware of security threats. These managers must keep up to date on IT security measures. They also supervise investigations if there is a security violation.
Computer and information systems managers normally must have a bachelor’s degree in a computer- or information science–related field. These degrees include courses in computer programming, software development, and mathematics. Management information systems (MIS) programs usually include business classes as well as computer-related ones.
Many organizations require their computer and information systems managers to have a graduate degree as well. A Master of Business Administration (MBA) is common and takes 2 years beyond the undergraduate level to complete. Many people pursuing an MBA take classes while working, an option that can increase the time required to complete that degree.