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How to Become a Computer and Information Systems Manager

Bachelor's or higher degree, plus work experience

Typically, computer and information systems managers spend approximately 5 to 10 years working in an IT field prior to becoming a manager. Most have acquired a bachelor degree in computer science, information science or some related field. Many individuals additionally have a graduate degree.

Education & Training

Bachelor's degrees usually take 4 years to finish. Popular courses include: mathematics, software development and computer programming. MIS or management information systems programs typically include computer-related classes and business classes.

Certain organizations may require a graduate degree from their computer and information systems managers. An MBA or master's in business administration is common. This requires an additional 2 years of education after the undergraduate level.

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

Lower level management jobs may only need a few years of experience; however, most jobs for computer and information systems managers require numerous years of experience in an IT related field.

Those seeking a director position may require 5 to 10 years of related work experience. A CTO or chief technology officer may need a minimum of 15 years of experience in IT prior to being considered for a position.

Of course, every organization has their requirements. Smaller companies traditionally do not request as much experience as larger and established firms.

The entire economy relies on computer systems. IT employees have the ability to gain experience within numerous industries. It is beneficial if the applicant's work experience is related to the industry they are applying in.

Skills and Qualities that will Help

Analytical Skills: IT managers are frequently required to analyze issues and develop solutions.

Communication Skills: IT managers need to successfully explain their work and solutions to top executives. They have to give clear instructions to those working under them.

Decision-Making Skills: Commonly, IT managers must make vital decisions regarding resource allocation in order for organizations to successfully attain their goals.

Leadership Qualities: Being able to motivate IT teams and lead other departments is necessary to ensure workers are effective and efficient.

Organizational Skills: IT managers commonly need to coordinate the work of numerous IT departments in order to make the organization run properly.

How To Advance

Starting out as lower-level managers is common. Over time as experience is gained, advancement to higher positions is possible. Project managers or IT directors can advance to become CTOs. A manager or CTO who has a business mindset may advance to become a CIO or chief information officer. Eventually, these individuals may advance to become top executives.