When pursuing a career in information technology, earning the right degree is often an advantageous first step. For young professionals with dreams of leading IT departments from the position of information systems manager, chief information officer, or IT director, working toward a Master of Science in Management Information Systems can be worthwhile.
Each course in the online MS MIS degree program from the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Collat School of Business is carefully crafted and reviewed by a dedicated information systems advisory council of IT professionals. These experts ensure content taught through this program is valuable, relevant, and useful to the students.
Students pursuing different career paths may find that a few specific courses are particularly helpful. Here, we’ll discuss the job duties of some popular career paths and the courses that could be valuable for those positions.
Information systems manager
Information systems (IS) managers, sometimes called computer information systems (CIS) managers or IT project managers, usually lead a company’s information technology department.
IS managers are in charge of planning, coordinating, directing, and overseeing all computer-related initiatives in the company, as well as ensuring these initiatives are valuable to the organization. They’re also tasked with ensuring all sensitive information, documents, and other data is secure and protected against external threats such as hackers.
Valuable course: IS 618: IT Project Management
One course that future IS managers can find particularly helpful is IS 618: IT Project Management. In this class, students can learn how to develop, manage, and execute IT projects.
The course also has a strong focus on the PMI Project Management Professional (PMP) certification exam. Earning this certificate can help students prepare for careers as IS managers, as well as show potential employers that they have the knowledge and skills required to effectively manage and lead IT teams in an organization.
Chief information officer
Chief information officers have many of the same goals as IS managers. In some cases, the CIO position may be a natural next step after working as an IS manager. The CIO ensures the company’s technology plan is up to date and continues to offer benefits. To do this, he or she must decide which hardware and software to invest in, when to replace or update it, and how to install it.
CIOs are most common in larger companies, PayScale explained. Because this person often has employees who report to him or her, this position requires leadership and management skills.
Valuable course: IS 612: IT Governance & Management
One critical job duty of CIOs is ensuring their organizations adhere to all applicable laws, regulations, and rules mandated by the federal, state, or local government, as well as by the organization or its board of directors.
The course IS 612: IT Governance & Management focuses on these concepts by teaching students about various IT governance frameworks and how they’re developed. Students can also learn how to apply governance frameworks to an organization and explore the many obstacles and challenges they may face when implementing, developing, or enforcing an IT governance framework in their organizations.
Like IS managers and CIOs, IT directors aim to keep a company’s technology system and platforms working smoothly and effectively. For IT directors, this task often involves evaluating existing technologies, considering other available opportunities, determining which would benefit the company the most, and performing security and performance audits. Further, they must be able to build and maintain relationships with external providers who are able to help IT directors determine the best technologies for their organizations.
Valuable course: IS 611: Information Technology & Business Strategy
Because IT directors work to keep an organization’s technology plan as effective and profitable as possible, it’s important they understand how to balance IT goals with their companies’ goals. That’s why IS 611: Information Technology & Business Strategy can be an informative course for aspiring IT directors. In this class, students can learn how to create business strategies while keeping IT goals in mind, as well as how to identify their organizations’ competitive advantage.
University of Alabama at Birmingham can prepare students for many careers in IT
Earning your MS MIS degree could be a valuable first step toward reaching your professional goals of becoming an IS manager, CIO, or IT director. To learn more about the online master’s degree programs at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, reach out to an enrollment advisor today.
Bureau of Labor Statistics
University of Alabama at Birmingham Collat School of Business Online Master of Science in Management Information Systems
University of Alabama at Birmingham MS MIS Course Descriptions