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Become An Information Systems Director

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Working As An Information Systems Director

  • Interacting With Computers
  • Getting Information
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Thinking Creatively
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • Deal with People

  • Mostly Sitting

  • Make Decisions

  • $124,780

    Average Salary

What Does An Information Systems Director Do

Computer and information systems managers, often called information technology (IT) managers or IT project managers, plan, coordinate, and direct computer-related activities in an organization. They help determine the information technology goals of an organization and are responsible for implementing computer systems to meet those goals.

Duties

Computer and information systems managers typically do the following:

  • Analyze their organization’s computer needs and recommend possible upgrades for top executives to consider
  • Plan and direct the installation and maintenance of computer hardware and software
  • Ensure the security of an organization’s network and electronic documents
  • Assess the costs and benefits of new projects and justify funding on projects to top executives
  • Learn about new technology and look for ways to upgrade their organization’s computer systems
  • Determine short- and long-term personnel needs for their department
  • Plan and direct the work of other IT professionals, including computer systems analysts, software developers, information security analysts, and computer support specialists
  • Negotiate with vendors to get the highest level of service for their organization’s technology

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) are responsible for the overall technology strategy of their organizations. They help 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 a separate profile on 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 is responsible for designing and recommending the appropriate technology solutions to support the policies and directives issued by the CIO. CTOs also work with different departments to implement the organization’s technology plans.

The CTO usually reports directly to the CIO and may be responsible for overseeing the development of new technologies or other research and development activities. 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.

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How To Become An Information Systems Director

Typically, a bachelor’s degree in computer or information science, plus related work experience, is required. Many computer and information systems managers also have a graduate degree.

Education

Computer and information systems managers normally must have a bachelor’s degree in a computer- or information science–related field. Such a degree usually takes 4 years to complete and includes 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.

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

Most jobs for computer and information systems managers require several years of experience in a related information technology (IT) job. Lower level management positions may require only a few years of experience. Directors are more likely to need 5 to 10 years of related work experience. A chief technology officer (CTO), who oversees the technology plan for a large organization, may need more than 15 years of experience in the IT field before being considered for a job.

The number of years of experience required varies with the organization. Generally, smaller or newer companies do not require as much experience as larger or more established ones.

Computer systems are used throughout the economy, and IT employees may gain experience in a variety of industries. However, an applicant’s work experience should be in the same industry they are applying to work in. For example, an IT security manager should have previously worked in information security. A hospital IT director should have experience in the healthcare field.

Advancement

Most computer and information systems managers start out as lower level managers and advance to higher positions within the IT department. IT directors or project managers can advance to become CTOs. A CTO or other manager who is especially business minded can advance to become a chief information officer (CIO), the person in charge of all IT-related decisions in an organization. CIOs can advance to become top executives in an organization.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. IT managers must be able to analyze problems and consider and select the best ways to solve them.

Business skills. IT managers must develop and implement strategic plans to reach the goals of their organizations.

Communication skills. IT managers must be able to explain their work to top executives and give clear instructions to their subordinates.

Decisionmaking skills. Some IT managers must make important decisions about how to allocate resources in order to reach their organizations’ goals.

Leadership skills. IT managers must be able to lead and motivate IT teams or departments so that workers are efficient and effective.

Organizational skills. Some IT managers must coordinate the work of several different IT departments to make the organization run efficiently.

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Average Length of Employment
MIS Director 4.4 years
Systems Manager 4.2 years
Top Careers Before Information Systems Director
Manager 4.8%
Consultant 4.5%
Director 4.1%
Programmer 3.3%
Top Careers After Information Systems Director
Consultant 8.4%
Director 3.4%
Owner 2.6%
Manager 2.4%

Do you work as an Information Systems Director?

Information Systems Director Demographics

Gender

Male

79.8%

Female

17.9%

Unknown

2.2%
Ethnicity

White

62.9%

Hispanic or Latino

14.1%

Black or African American

11.2%

Asian

8.1%

Unknown

3.6%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

35.8%

French

13.2%

Carrier

9.4%

Italian

9.4%

German

7.5%

Japanese

5.7%

Romanian

3.8%

Cheyenne

3.8%

Arabic

3.8%

Comanche

1.9%

Chinese

1.9%

Greek

1.9%

Mandarin

1.9%
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Information Systems Director Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

21.9%

Webster University

6.6%

George Washington University

5.8%

University of Maryland - University College

5.0%

Northwestern University

4.5%

DePaul University

4.5%

Pace University - New York

4.1%

University of Southern California

4.1%

University of Houston

4.1%

Capella University

4.1%

University of Arizona

4.1%

Villanova University

3.7%

Texas A&M University

3.7%

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

3.7%

University of Connecticut

3.7%

Michigan State University

3.3%

Purdue University

3.3%

Western Governors University

3.3%

American University

3.3%

Brigham Young University

2.9%
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Majors

Business

28.4%

Computer Science

14.6%

Computer Information Systems

8.6%

Information Technology

6.0%

Management

5.4%

Management Information Systems

5.1%

Accounting

4.5%

Information Systems

4.2%

Finance

3.1%

Project Management

3.0%

Electrical Engineering

2.8%

Education

2.1%

Computer Engineering

1.9%

Mathematics

1.8%

Computer Programming

1.5%

Environmental Control Technologies/Technicians

1.5%

Marketing

1.5%

Computer Systems Security

1.4%

Psychology

1.3%

Computer Networking

1.2%
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Degrees

Bachelors

38.0%

Masters

34.5%

Other

15.5%

Associate

5.2%

Certificate

3.8%

Doctorate

2.1%

Diploma

0.8%
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Real Information Systems Director Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
SR. Information Systems Director Familia Development LLC Schaumburg, IL Dec 01, 2014 $210,000
Director of Information Systems Picatcha, Inc. San Francisco, CA Jun 15, 2016 $190,000
Information Systems & Technical Sales Director Waltz Networks Inc. San Francisco, CA Oct 10, 2016 $184,500
Director, Information Systems Cisco Systems, Inc. San Jose, CA May 24, 2013 $174,609 -
$245,300
Director, Flight Controls & Information Systems Marketing Rockwell Collins, Inc. Tustin, CA Oct 17, 2014 $172,877
Director, Flight Controls & Information Systems MA Rockwell Collins, Inc. Tustin, CA Oct 17, 2014 $172,877
Applications Director, Information Systems Covidien LP Miami, FL Oct 02, 2015 $167,835
Director, Information Systems Masco Corporation Taylor, MI Aug 22, 2016 $165,000
Information Systems Director Upstream Downstream Specialized Services, Inc. Pembroke Pines, FL Aug 22, 2016 $163,850
Information Systems Director Flextronics International USA, Inc. San Jose, CA Apr 15, 2013 $150,494
Director of Information Systems Infrastructure Gates Corporation, A Wholly-Owned Subsidiary of To Denver, CO Oct 01, 2012 $150,000 -
$175,000
Director of Information Systems Jetsmarter Inc. Fort Lauderdale, FL Sep 12, 2015 $150,000
Director of Information Systems Smart Jets Inc. Fort Lauderdale, FL Sep 11, 2015 $150,000
Director of Information Systems Guard-All Building Solutions LLC Dallas, TX Oct 01, 2010 $130,000
Director of Information Systems USA Shade & Fabric Structures, Inc. Dallas, TX Oct 01, 2010 $130,000
Director of Information Systems Predictix LLC Atlanta, GA Oct 01, 2012 $130,000
Director of Management Information Systems Judlau Contracting, Inc. NY Jul 20, 2016 $125,000
Director of Computer & Information Systems JNJ Citro Corp. NY Jun 11, 2010 $122,090
Director-Information Systems Sage It, Inc. Frisco, TX Jul 01, 2014 $120,286
Director of Information Systems & Operations The Childcare Foundry LLC Santa Clara, CA May 27, 2011 $120,000
Director of Management Information Systems GBS Consultants, Inc. Pembroke Pines, FL Mar 17, 2010 $108,000
Director, Management Information Systems Starz Media Burbank, CA Apr 11, 2008 $105,000
Director of Information Systems Treefrog Developments San Diego, CA Nov 21, 2011 $104,562
Director of Information Systems USA Vein Clinics of Chicago, LLC Elk Grove Village, IL Nov 08, 2010 $103,000
Director of Information Systems City of Chicago, Department of Buildings Chicago, IL Jun 14, 2014 $102,000

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Top Skills for An Information Systems Director

  1. Information Systems
  2. Computer
  3. Infrastructure
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Replaced legacy network and information systems infrastructures that enhanced data integration and information access across a geographically dispersed user base.
  • Formulated, developed and managed a comprehensive computer maintenance strategy and configuration management program to keep computing assets online and secure.
  • Enhanced information technology operations by updating entire infrastructure, disaster recovery, and fault tolerance procedures.
  • Worked closely with CEO and President to develop and refine company-wide operational policies and procedures.
  • Developed run strategies balancing inventory investment and customer service performance.

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Top 10 Best States for Information Systems Directors

  1. Virginia
  2. New York
  3. New Jersey
  4. District of Columbia
  5. Colorado
  6. Rhode Island
  7. Massachusetts
  8. Texas
  9. California
  10. Maryland
  • (873 jobs)
  • (933 jobs)
  • (535 jobs)
  • (298 jobs)
  • (411 jobs)
  • (83 jobs)
  • (711 jobs)
  • (1,251 jobs)
  • (2,448 jobs)
  • (481 jobs)

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