What a BS IS can teach you about management

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Information systems are deeply ingrained in everything from higher education and enterprise management to individual consumer activities and a range of areas in between. These systems enable digital communication, access to key platforms and applications, and more, making the management of these technologies crucial.

Maintaining and overseeing technological aspects themselves aren’t the only skills today’s graduates should have in their careers – even those studying to specialize in information systems should consider management skills as they pertain to information technology leadership, project oversight and more.

The University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Collat School of Business Online Bachelor of Science in Information Systems program prepares students to work in an array of different employment roles following graduation. This includes positions like computer systems administrator and information systems manager, two roles, in particular that require communication, leadership and organizational skills to spur success.

Management and other critical leadership skills are increasingly demanded alongside technological capacity by today’s employers. The Online BS IS program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham Collat School of Business builds management skills and competency directly into the curriculum. Today, we’ll take a closer look at the kinds of capabilities employers of Information Systems roles are seeking, and how UAB’s Online BS IS prepares students with the right management skills.

Three people in professional dress sitting at a desk looking at a laptop.

Why are management skills important in information systems?

As noted, not only should information systems professionals have a deep understanding of technological management – including overseeing advanced networks, communications platforms, key applications, and more – but also many of the job duties tied to information systems roles require decision-making, planning, coordination and other management skills.

Taking the position of Information Systems Manager, for example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics noted that these individuals are responsible for analyzing computer needs, recommending necessary technology upgrades, installing and maintaining hardware and software, ensuring security and assessing costs. In addition, these individuals may also oversee internal information systems employees and their tasks, making management skills critical. This includes planning and managing the introduction of new hardware or software solutions into critical infrastructure, supervising employees’ activities in accordance with current IT initiatives and making recommendations to other department managers about a business’s or organization’s technology needs.

In this way, information systems managers and professionals must manage technological assets, as well as the projects and initiatives of their staff members. Prioritizing projects and their associated steps, making decisions, thinking critically and even negotiating with service providers or other department heads are all tasks included in the job.

Falling under the umbrella of information systems managers are roles like Chief Information Officers, Chief Technology Officers and IT Directors. In this way, management capabilities may not just extend to the internal information systems or information technology team – these executives are also included within a company’s C-suite, and oversee the goals and activities across an organization.

What management skills are the most important?

A number of different competencies can be included within management skills. When it comes to the area of information systems, Business News Daily noted that some of the most important and top-demanded skills include:

  • Team management, including delegating and overseeing the responsibilities and activities of an internal department. This also encompasses motivating and mentoring employees.
  • Decision-making, supported by analysis and critical thinking.
  • Goal targeting, and planning and directing the necessary steps to achieve key objectives.
  • Communication and negotiation, including over digital channels and in-person.
  • Controlling and supervising expenditures and financials.
  • Organization and time management.

UAB’s online Bachelor of Science in Information Systems’ projects prepares students to work in the competitive and fast-paced technology management industry, providing these and other critical skills across the curriculum.

A look at IS courses and key objectives

Let’s examine a few of the courses that information systems students will participate in UAB’s online program, and the associated management skills they may learn in the process:

  • Essentials of Financial Literacy: As noted, information systems professionals may be responsible for managing IS-related financials, including overseeing expenses, overall cash flow and the internal technology and IS budget. Within the BS IS foundational courses, students will learn about financial literacy, including taxes, risk management, cash flow, payroll and inventory. These skills will enable students to successfully supervise, organize, plan, manage and execute a balanced budget while accounting for elements like technology upgrades, deployments, and more.
  • Management Processes and Behavior: This course, included in the BS IS upper level core curriculum, gets into the heart of management skills and processes. Within this course, students will learn about the types of contemporary issues managers deal with, how to best motivate those working under them, and the process and importance of performance evaluations. Students will be prepared to encounter different job attitudes, and learn about professional communication within a business or organizational setting. This course, in particular, builds up the type of key management skills today’s employers are looking for.
  • Operations Management: Also included in the upper level core curriculum, this course is less technology-focused and more centered around general operations management. This includes strategies and approaches for supervising operations in manufacturing and non-manufacturing settings. Students will expand their ability strategically forecast internal and external needs, support internal inventory, and create employee schedules. This course also covers key concepts like production control, facility layout, job design and other supporting operations management functions.
  • Project Management: Whether graduates work in information systems or leverage their degree in another manner, having project management skills will put them on the path toward success. In an overarching sense, project management involves the planning, coordination, scheduling, organization and control of all the tasks and steps within a certain project or initiative. Students will learn how to schedule and budget, as well as how to create and meet performance goals.
  • Information Security Management: Within the elective options, students have the opportunity to take this course, and build up their competency around developing and putting in place policies and procedures. While specific to information system security, these skills can translate to nearly any role.

Overall, the Online Bachelor of Science in Information Systems at UAB provides students with an array of opportunities to expand their management skills and position themselves for success. To find out more, check out our website and courses, and reach out to one of our expert enrollment advisors today.

Recommended Readings:

How IT project management is unique

How to choose your BS IS electives

Sources:

UAB BSIS

UAB BSIS Course Descriptions

Business News Daily

Bureau of Labor Statistics