Information systems are integrated sets of components that are deeply ingrained in just about every industry — from higher education and enterprise management to individual consumer activities and a range of technological corporations. Information systems enable digital communication and access to key platforms and applications, making the management of these resources crucial.
Maintaining and overseeing the 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 and project oversight.
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 IT-related roles following graduation. This includes positions like computer systems administrator and information systems manager, two specializations that require communication, leadership, and organizational skills to spur success.
Today’s employers increasingly demand management and other critical leadership skills alongside technological capacity. The online bachelor’s in information systems program at UAB builds management skills and competencies directly into the curriculum. Here, we’ll take a closer look at the kinds of capabilities these employers are seeking, and how UAB’s online bachelor’s in information systems prepares students with the right management skills.
Why study management information systems?
Pursuing a career in management information systems is great for those looking for a well-paying, entry-level position with ample job opportunities. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, computer and information systems managers don’t necessarily need a master’s degree to get hired — a bachelor’s in information systems is enough to attract employers. Additionally, the average salary of computer and information systems managers in 2019 was $146,360, a wage more than double the national average net compensation in the U.S., as reported by the Social Security Administration.
Beyond a very competitive wage, the job outlook for computer and information systems managers is also a major selling point for those considering a bachelor’s in information systems. The BLS reported that employment projections for computer and information systems managers is anticipated to grow 10% between 2019 and 2029, a rate that’s much faster than the median for all occupations. The reasoning behind the job growth is simple — as businesses continue to expand their digital footprints, the need for more professionals who understand how to plan, coordinate, and direct technological activity increases.
Other notable career paths one can consider with a bachelor’s in information systems include computer network architect, database administrator, information security analyst, and software developer.
What skills are necessary and important to gain while pursuing a degree in information systems?
Information systems professionals should have a deep understanding of technological management, such as overseeing advanced networks, communications platforms, and key applications. They should also have a grasp on many of the soft skills tied to information systems roles, such as decision-making, problem-solving, planning, coordination, and other management strategies.
Take the position of computer and information systems manager as an example: As the BLS noted, these individuals are responsible for analyzing computer needs, recommending necessary technology upgrades, installing and maintaining hardware and software, ensuring security, and assessing costs. However, many professionals in this role are also expected to 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 the technological needs of a business or organization.
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.
A number of different competencies can be included within management skills. When it comes to the area of information systems, some of the most important and high-demand skills, according to Business News Daily, include:
- Team management, including delegating and overseeing the responsibilities and activities of an internal department. (This also encompasses motivating and mentoring employees.)
- Goal targeting, planning, and directing the necessary steps to achieve key objectives.
- Communication and negotiation, via digital channels as well as in person.
- Controlling and supervising expenditures and financials.
- Decision-making supported by analysis and critical thinking to plan for the future.
- Organization and time management.
UAB’s online Bachelor of Science in Information Systems 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 UAB’s bachelor’s in information systems program courses and key objectives
Students who are interested in pursuing a degree in information systems at UAB can benefit from understanding what classes they will take and how each course can help them later in their careers.
Let’s takes a closer look at a few of the classes that information systems students take when enrolled in UAB’s online program, and the associated management skills they may learn in the process:
- Essentials of Financial Literacy: Information systems professionals may be responsible for managing IS-related financials, including overseeing expenses, overall cash flow, internal technology costs, and IS budgets. Within the BSIS foundational courses, students 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 and deployments.
- Management Processes and Behavior: This course, included in the BSIS upper-level core curriculum, gets to the heart of IT management skills and processes. Within this course, students learn about the 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 navigate different job attitudes and learn about professional communication in a business or organizational setting. This course builds up the 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 on general operations management. This includes strategies and approaches for supervising operations in manufacturing and non-manufacturing settings. Students will expand their ability to 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 directly in information systems or leverage their degree in another field, 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 can 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.
The curriculum of 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 long-term success.
Not only are the courses designed to prepare students for real-world experiences, UAB’s Collat School of Business is an accredited and recognized institution. Specific accolades include accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, as well as being named one of the Top 10 Universities in the United States for Diversity for four consecutive years by The Princeton Review. These notable accomplishments not only ensure you’re getting the education you need to succeed, but they also stand out on a resume, making you more attractive to future employers.
With a focus on leadership, innovation, and entrepreneurship, our technology-driven instructional methods and curriculum are designed to prepare students for a successful career in the digital age. What’s more, our online learning platform makes it easier for full-time employees to earn their degree without skipping a beat.
Online Bachelor of Science in Information Systems – The University of Alabama at Birmingham Online Bachelor of Science in Information Systems – The University of Alabama at Birmingham Course Descriptions