Salary and Career Options for Computer Information Systems Specialists

Instructor: Anja Sundstrom
Degrees in computer information systems typically cover network security, design and function. Find out about the curricula of these programs, and learn about career options, job growth and salary info for computer information systems specialists.

Computers have become a staple of the workplace. This also means that companies need to hire experts in computer technology to guarantee the functionality of the hardware and software their workforce relies upon. This article provides a brief investigation into careers for specialists in computer information systems.

Essential Information

Training requirements for computer information systems specialists vary based on position; however, a bachelor's degree in information systems management, computer science or other computer-related field is often held by specialists according to the BLS. In lieu of a bachelor's degree, individuals might substitute a certificate, associate's degree, professional certification, work experience or combination of education and experience. The BLS states that administrative positions might require an MBA with a concentration in information systems. Computer information systems specialists might consider earning product certification, which may be required by some employers.

Career TitlesComputer Support SpecialistInformation Security AnalystNetwork and Computer Systems Administrator
Required EducationAssociate's or Bachelor's degreeBachelor's degreeBachelor's degree
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*12%18%8%
Median Salary (2015)* $51,470 $90,120 $77,810

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Options

Computer information systems specialists design, configure and maintain computer networks and information management systems. Professionals may specialize in a particular service, such as network security, or oversee system design and function at the management level. Educational requirements vary by job, and can range from an associate's degree to a MBA.

Computer Support Specialists

Computer support specialists use their technical skills to troubleshoot computer networks, hardware and software. Specialists may oversee daily computer needs within an organization or act as help desk technicians, fielding inquiries from clients. They may also be responsible for installing new software and hardware, using diagnostic equipment to resolve computer problems and maintaining records of updates and service. Computer support specialists earned an annual average salary of $51,470 in 2015.

Information Security Analysts

Computer security specialists monitor and protect network and information security from unauthorized access. Specialists might also inform and train computer users regarding cyber security. Other duties include updating security software and checking systems for viruses. In addition to formal education, candidates may consider earning security certifications.

Analysts tasks might also include providing technical recommendations, running diagnostic tests, training users and writing instructional guides. According to the BLS, positions generally require a bachelor's degree, although some employers may prefer applicants with a Master of Business Administration (MBA) specializing in information systems.

Computer Systems Administrators

Administrators set up and maintain computer systems, networks and databases. They are generally responsible for installing, analyzing and servicing computer and network hardware and software. This equipment may include computers, operating systems, routers and switches. Other duties include supporting local and wide-area networks, Internet and intranet systems, and security and database software. Administrators typically hold a bachelor's degree; however, the BLS recommends that an MBA with a focus on information systems management may be preferred.

Information Systems Managers

Information Systems managers plan, coordinate and manage computer technology and information management within an organization. Managers typically consult with other technicians, system users and professionals in order to determine computing needs. They also design systems and coordinate implementation. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), computer and information systems managers received median salaries of $131,600 in 2015.

In addition to system configuration, managers also assess system and network operations, review industry advancements and oversee budgeting and scheduling. They might also be in charge of recommending system updates, evaluating personnel and setting annual performance goals.

Computer information systems specialists might consider earning product certification, which may be required by some employers according to the BLS. The Computing Technology Industry Association, a vendor-neutral organization offers various types of certification by exam. Specialists might also consider attaining operating system, software or hardware certifications from vendors, such as Microsoft and Cisco.

Computer technology experts can find careers as computer support specialists, information security analysts, computer systems administrators, or information systems managers. Because of the importance of computer technology in many workplaces, even the slowest growing of these careers comfortably meets the national average of all occupations. This means that job prospects for qualified applicants look encouraging.

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