5 Skills Every Information Systems Student Needs to Succeed

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Taking on a technology-focused job, such as information systems manager, can be a major career boost. Today’s organizations, across industries and regions, are becoming reliant on their information technology departments and paying their employees accordingly.

Becoming a great candidate for one of these in-demand jobs means building your information system skills. The following are five essential parts of a well-rounded IT skill set — the types of competencies you can focus on in a master’s level education:

An information systems manager inspects a server

5 Essential Information System Skills

Whether you’re hoping to move up within an IT department leadership structure or master a highly specific technology such as information systems in healthcare, the following competencies can be vital additions to your resume.

1. Problem Solving

Being a logical and motivated problem solver is one of the main requirements of numerous IT roles. PayScale specified that information systems managers today must be able to resolve situations satisfactorily, no matter how complicated or difficult they become. This is a matter of logic, attention to detail, and critical-thinking skills as much as tech knowledge.

2. Management Skills

Rise high enough on the organization chart in IT and you aren’t just managing technology, you’ll also have to develop and direct people. This is where human resources skills come in. IT leaders have to motivate, develop, and guide people as they work, which falls outside of the scope of technical knowledge. When considering the strengths and weaknesses of candidates for promotion, hiring managers may opt for applicants who have proven they can lead, making empathy and awareness of others’ reactions important traits.

3. Specialized Industry Knowledge

Each knowledge has unique requirements regarding IT. Information systems in healthcare, for instance, are bound by security and privacy unique to the sector. Depending on the type of role you’re hoping to take on, you should ensure your expertise matches up with the skills in highest demand in that industry vertical.

4. Computer Science and Programming

The necessary balance of hard technological skills and interpersonal expertise will depend on the exact job description of the career you’re seeking. With that said, taking on an information systems role means understanding a wide variety of tech tools and the state of the art in IT. Even if you are not expected to do programming work directly, your ability to oversee others and make investments will rely on technical know-how. While computer science knowledge is valuable for information systems students, it’s important to know the difference between an information systems and a computer science degree.

5. Security Awareness

The connecting thread between all companies, nonprofit organizations, and government organizations today is the need for technological security. A cyberattack can have long-lasting consequences for an organization, and leaders will be called on to ensure protective systems are up to industry standards. Security aptitude has the twofold purpose of preventing problems and ensuring the company is in compliance with regulations for its sector.

Information Systems Master’s Degrees

When building an information technology skill set, you should focus on becoming a well-rounded employee. Learning to read colleagues’ reactions and understand advanced technologies are both important parts of such a balanced background.

If you are serving in an entry-level technological role or considering switching to a more IT-focused position, you can seek out a master’s degree to fill in the gaps in your skill set. By finding an online program taught by expert faculty and delivering lessons that reflect the present state of IT, you can prove to hiring managers that you have the type of background they need.

The online Master of Science in Management Information Systems program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Collat School of Business allows you to develop every aspect of your knowledge while remaining in a full-time job. Visit the program page to learn all the details.

Recommended Readings:

Master’s in information systems careers

What do computer and information research scientists do?

Information Systems vs. Information Technology: What’s the Difference?


PayScale – Average Information Systems (IS) Manager Salary

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics – Computer and Information Systems Managers

The Balance – What Does a Computer and Information Systems (CIS) Manager Do?