The business world today is more closely intertwined with technology than ever before. What this means for career opportunities on a practical level is that companies of all sizes and industries are interested in finding professionals who can lead and direct technological projects in areas spanning from database administration and software development to network security. By learning more about the principles behind these roles, you may be able to advance along your chosen career path.
When considering degree programs that are attuned to this new digital-first era of business operations, you can focus on management information systems (MIS). Management information systems majors learn about the two sides of technology as it applies to business today, with a focus on up-to-date tools and practices as well as the ways these techniques fit into companies’ overall plans and goals.
What can you do with a management information systems degree? Because every industry needs technological assistance today, from health care to retail and beyond, MIS principles are applicable across regions and sectors. If you go beyond the bachelor’s degree level and earn an online master’s degree in MIS from the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Collat School of Business, you can build your expertise in several key areas.
3 Ways Earning an MS MIS Degree Prepares You for Career Advancement
Rather than settling for a general overview of the intersections between business and technology, an MIS degree program delves into specific functional areas companies want assistance with today. Whether this means developing software, coordinating security, or becoming a more adept leader, the curriculum can pay off in real-world situations. The following three potential advantages are just a sampling of the wide range of ways MIS graduates can apply their knowledge to their careers.
1. Learn to See Business’s ‘Big Picture’
The connections between information technology and companies’ overall operations have never been more direct. Even organizations that have historically been highly analog and paper-based in their operations have sought to digitize in recent months. The advantages are clear: Customers and internal stakeholders alike want to deal with businesses through user-friendly digital channels, so companies must have teams of experts ready to deliver them.
The rise of technology that is critical to business operations means IT professionals must no longer silo themselves: Leaders in technology-centered positions are becoming more central to companies’ overall decision-making structures. PayScale describes modern information systems managers as individuals who oversee the rest of IT, including computer systems analysts and software engineers, and maintain essential systems such as networks, mobile devices, security tools, and more.
Information systems managers are responsible for creating and managing the technologies used to pursue business goals. These cutting-edge tools are designed to fit into the company’s overall strategic direction. This is where an MIS education can prove useful, as coursework covers both the technical IT knowledge to keep systems running and the business communication skills that will help MIS graduates work closely with the rest of the stakeholder groups in their organizations. Professionals who can operate in the post-silo era of IT are poised to be valuable contributors.
2. Understand Modern Security Needs
One of the challenges facing today’s IT professionals is that while they must be responsible for many areas of technological and business operations, they cannot dabble. Real expertise is required in each of these topics to ensure companies prosper. There is no better example of this effect than security: Protecting a company’s computer networks, systems and data is an extremely high priority, one that demands up-to-date knowledge in the face of a changing and evolving threat landscape.
A McKinsey & Company report on contemporary security explains that the protection of digital resources has become a shared responsibility reaching every part of a company. Not only must the IT department and dedicated security personnel have closer contact than ever with the C-suite and high-level decision-makers, but practices and processes throughout every organization also need built-in security features. Since a single digital weakness can lead to a damaging breach and every department of an average company has at least some tech integration today, it’s clear that security practices must be universal to be effective.
MIS degree programs include numerous courses designed with security in mind. Indeed, the Collat School of Business online Master of Science in Management Information Systems offers a Cyber Security Management concentration for students aiming to work as information security analysts or related roles. Even students who select other concentrations take an Introduction to Cyber Security course as part of the core curriculum, to ensure that every graduate has a modern perspective on defensive methods that can help cope with today’s ever-expanding threat landscape.
3. Gain Team Leadership Skills and Experience
While IT roles may have traditionally been viewed as positions based on hard technical computer programming knowledge and individual work, there is a heavy element of teamwork involved in completing a technology project, especially when the work is targeting an overall business objective. Employees aiming for leadership and decision-making responsibility should focus on the soft skills associated with motivating people, communicating effectively, and getting the most out of their teammates’ abilities.
PayScale specifies that being an IS manager involves the assumption of human resources responsibilities, including hiring and firing, as well as the coordination of teams’ everyday tasks. Having the personal abilities to become an effective leader of people, as well as an in-depth knowledge of networks, software, and technology systems is demanding, but there are rewards. PayScale reports that as of August 2020, the average salary for an IS manager is $83,336. These managers can thrive in their roles by not just keeping information technology professionals on task but acting as the bridge to business units or the C-suite.
The management information systems curriculum acknowledges the need for IT leaders to connect with both their own teammates and the rest of the company. Courses such as IT Project Management equip MIS graduates with the tools and techniques to keep their own activities on track, while Information Technology & Business Strategy provides detailed insights on the way digital development and corporate objectives go together.
Inside the Online MS MIS Program at UAB
Earning an online MIS master’s degree from the Collat School of Business is a way to show your dedication to building knowledge and expertise in this in-demand field, and the digital nature of the program ensures you can take classes on your own schedule while employed full time. A dedicated faculty helps bring students the latest insights on the intersection of business and technology, and you can enroll through the bridge program if your bachelor’s-level education was in a different subject.
Visit the program page to learn more and see how a management information systems degree fits into your career objectives.