It is a common knowledge that almost all students’ hope and aspirations after graduating from college or university are to have a befitting and most of the times well-paid job or a career that at the end of the day will help to fulfil their individual needs. That, I believe, shaped a greater percentage of so many students’ choice for a degree or any higher education for that matter. Since time immemorial, time and time again people go for a course – in their pursuit of career – that offers them the most lucrative job choice after graduation. Students that study Management Information Systems (MIS) are not different in this dilemma. We all choose to go for it, not just because we want to be graduates but also with the aim of getting a decent life in the future.
Despite all the expectations and the dreams, many students do not know for sure the jobs available for graduates with their kind of degrees, and even if they do, it’s sometimes difficult to imagine what are the things out there in the field, or the specific expectations of employers. Although every employer has his/her needs, there is essential expertise that may be considered universal and ideal for a particular group of professionals.
I would like, in this article, to look at some of the most popular job titles that are available for MIS graduates, the job descriptions, minimum educational requirement, the soft skills needed to succeed and above all the median salary earned by those in the field based on a survey of current wages.
The following are some of the available jobs for Management Information Systems graduates:
A systems Analyst
System analysts, sometimes called computer system analysts, are professionals that analyse existing technology – mostly computers – and suggest improvements where necessary. In most cases, these solutions are integrated with an existing system after doing a cost-benefit analysis. Cost-benefit analysis ensures that systems improvement is affordable, profitable and will help towards meeting the goal (s) of the organization at hand.
System analysts also help organizations use their systems more effectively and efficiently. They design and develop a new system to increase the efficiency and productivity of an organization.
Some career facts about System Analysts
Job prospect: According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job prospect of computer system analyst is expected to grow by 9% from 2016 to 2026. And that is an average growth compared to most jobs.
Median salary: The annual median salary of a specialist in this career was $88,270 in May 2017, according to BLS.
Flexibility: Most system analysts work as full-time employees. Only a few exceptions work as either part-time or private consultants.
Academic qualification: Mostly bachelor’s degrees and strong hard skill sets that are required of this profession- skills such as, a clear understanding of computer systems and business principles couple with excellent communication both written and oral are required. But in some cases, a master’s degree has an added advantage, most especially at an advanced level.
Employers expectations: A study conducted by The Balance Careers found out that, generally, employers expect aside from technical skills, a system analyst that will be able to work with people as well as alone and to be able to solve complex problems. Things like analytical, time management and organizational skills are also essential requirements. He/she must be a team member that will work with others harmoniously.
A Project Manager
Project management is a career title that is found in almost every organization. Generally, MIS graduates work in IT related fields. Therefore, as an MIS graduate, project management title that is suitable will be an IT project manager. The job of a project manager is to manage a particular project that an organization has. The specialist is responsible for planning a project, budgeting the projected spending and leading in the actual execution of the project from start to finish. He or she must ensure that the project is going as planned, monitoring every team member’s participation as well as the general progress of the work.
A project could be developing a new app, for instance, for a company that makes social media apps. Here, the project manager in charge of the app development will figure out all the expectations of the client. These expectations are basically the flow and the features that are needed in the app. Of course, he or she will work with the stakeholders on the budget that will cover every expense required until the work is done. Together with his/her team, the project manager will now oversee the step by step writing and designing of the actual program until the app is completed and delivered to the customer.
A project manager is the one who is responsible for reporting the progress of the project to the upper management. As a link between the top management and the team, a project manager will from time to time prepare and presents a progress report of the work to the administration. Technical expertise, high leadership quality as well as excellent communication skills are some of the required skills that a project manager must possess.
Some career facts about Project Managers
Job prospect: The job outlook of IT project managers is expected to grow by 12% from 2016 to 2026 based on BLS projection.
Median salary: The annual median salary of IT project managers was around $139,220 in May 2017 according to BLS.
Flexibility: Almost all IT project managers work full-time because of the importance of their job to organizational growth.
Academic qualification: Bachelor’s degrees is mostly the entry level requirement, but candidates with graduate degrees have the upper hand. Minimum of five years’ experience is mainly needed to be able to get employed as a project manager. Leadership skills, time management and high technical know-how, are a must-have set of skills.
Employers’ expectations: Because of the enormous responsibilities of project managers, employers usually have high expectations in terms of technical skills and strong organizational abilities. Budgeting and mathematical skills are also imperative, because a project manager budgets and ensure every penny goes into the cause of the project. Analytical skill is also a must-have skill that employers look out for from a potential project manager because he or she will be solving problems and analyzing data on a daily basis.
An Application Developer
MIS graduates also work as application developers. The main job of the application developer is to write code using any programming languages available in order to create a required program. Usually, application developers work with computer analyst and some IT personnel in the cause of their duty.
An application developer must be competent in nothing more than one programming language. Also, he or she must be creative and highly analytical. Strong teamwork is one of the qualities that an application developer must possess. Of course, employers have an eye on this quality from an application developer because, most definitely, they will be required to work with a team at some point in the cause of their job. Ability to work alone as well as work on time is also paramount because after working with a team to figure out the direction and expectation of a project, they are often left alone afterwards to do the actual execution of the project – the code.
Some career facts about an application developer
Job prospect: According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, software developers have a job prospect that is projected to grow by 24% from 2016 to 2026. That is higher than the average of all jobs.
Median salary: Their median salary was $101,790 in May 2017 based on the information obtained from BLS
Flexibility: Most application developers work full-time and are expected to work for long hours most of the time – somewhere around 40 hours a week is expected.
Academic qualification: A minimum of bachelor’s degree is required mostly with some practical evidence of competence in application development.
Employers expectations: Besides technical know-how, employers expect or prefer an application developer that can work perfectly in a team and deliver result in a timely and most consistent manner. Software development field is one of the most diverse fields that one could think of, which brings people from all sort of backgrounds – different nationalities, beliefs and so on. Therefore, learning to work with all kinds of people is of high importance for a prospective application developer. No employer would like to work with an unfriendly and difficult to work with employee.
A Computer Support Specialist
MIS graduates could also work as computer support specialists. This speciality is of two types; one is a computer network support specialist, and the other is computer user support specialist. A computer network support specialist mainly takes care of internal information technology (IT) issues of an organization. These issues could be something to do with software, hardware, and other peripherals like printers and scanners. Meanwhile, a computer user support specialist handles all company clients’ technical support needs, for example, issues to do with using some company’s software that a customer may have.
Worth mentioning also, computer support specialist’s work is a 24/7 job because of the nature of the requirements. He or she must be ready to work at any time of the day – evenings, nights, mornings, weekends, holidays. As rightly mentioned by The Balance Careers, these professionals need to be active listeners and highly professional in dealing with their clients whether internally or externally. You cannot solve problems if you don’t pay attention and understand the complaints of your customers. Professionalism requires that you keep customers happy and make them come back again and again.
Some facts about computer support specialist
Job prospect: According to BLS, the job outlook of computer support specialists is expected to grow by about 11% from 2016 to 2026. This is higher than the average of all jobs.
Median salary: If you choose to be a computer network support specialist, you should know that the median annual salary was $62,340 in May 2017, according to BLS. While for those that go for computer user support specialists, the median annual salary stood at $50,210 in May 2017.
Flexibility: Most computer support specialists work full-time, and they work 24/7 because of the nature of the work or services they offer.
Academic qualification: Although some employers prefer candidates with bachelor’s degrees, that is not a standard because graduates with associate degrees or similar diploma are also considered in so many cases. Therefore, a minimum of an associate degree will serve the purpose.
Employers’ expectations: Most employers look out for a computer support specialist that can communicate and be able to break difficult concepts or technical terms into simpler ones that everyone can understand. This is essential because the people that he or she is going to be supporting, in most cases, are not familiar with the technical terms involved. Therefore, in essence, a good communication skill is must-have. Among other soft skills needed are active listening, love to work with and assist others, multi-tasking, and excellent attention to details are of crucial importance.
The field of Information Systems or Management Information Systems is a field so versatile and promising that the job opportunities are almost endless. The jobs that we’ve talked about above are just a fraction of the jobs available for MIS graduates.
Some other career opportunities for Management Information Systems graduates include:
- Chief Information Officer
- Database Administrator
- IT Consultant
- Application Programmer
- Technical Sales Representative
- Technical Support Representative
- Technical Writer and etcetera
In the end, as a Management Information Systems student or its prospective student, all you need to do is to digest the potentials of all the career paths mentioned above. Our hope is you meet the one that soothes your personality.