Information systems (IS) employees are essential components of modern organizations. In a foundational sense, they oversee the networked infrastructure used by a business, including user devices, servers, cybersecurity systems and more. Those with IS degrees have the technical acumen to manage these systems, monitor metrics and execute any essential improvements to them.
Degree holders have a strong grasp of both technical computing knowledge and business savvy, as opposed to computer scientists, who tend to specialize chiefly in programming. Possible areas of concentration for an IS program include cybersecurity management and business analytics.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the IS job market is expected to grow by 15% from 2021 to 2031 ― much faster than the average profession. An additional 682,800 jobs are expected to be added to the job market over the next decade. With a median salary of $97,430 in May 2021, IS is a lucrative career choice ― and one that may become even more profitable for those with a graduate-level degree.
1. Chief Information Officer
A chief information officer implements and oversees information systems and other employees within the technology department of an organization. CIOs are focused on the long-term goals of an organization as it pertains to information systems. Chief information officers can work in a variety of industries, but typically in larger organizations. According to the BLS, the median annual salary of a chief executive was $98,980 per year as of 2021. The career is expected to grow at a rate of 6% between 2021 and 2031.
2. Computer Network Architect
Computer network architects design, customize and maintain a variety of computer networks, such as LANs, WANs and intranets. Computer network architects can work in a variety of industries, but typically in larger organizations. According to the BLS, the median annual salary of a computer network architect was $120,520 per year as of 2021. The career is expected to grow at a rate of 4% between 2021 and 2031.
3. Database Administrator
Database administrators maintain and secure databases, as well as delegate tasks related to database maintenance. Database administrators can work in a variety of industries, but typically in larger organizations. According to the BLS, the median annual salary of database administrators and architects was $101,000 per year as of 2021. The career is expected to grow at a rate of 9% between 2021 and 2031.
4. Information Security Analyst
Information security analysts plan, implement, update and maintain various technical security efforts. Information security analysts can work in a wide variety of industries, but especially in industries that deal with highly sensitive information, such as healthcare and financial institutions. According to the BLS, the median annual salary of information security analysts was $102,600 per year as of 2021. The career is expected to grow at an incredible rate of 35% between 2021 and 2031.
5. Information Systems Manager
An information systems manager oversees the daily technical operations related to information systems in an organization. Information systems managers can work in a wide variety of organizations in a range of industries. According to the BLS, the median annual salary of computer and information systems managers was $159,010 per year as of 2021. The career is expected to grow at an impressive rate of 16% between 2021 and 2031.
6. IT Director
In some organizations, the CIO and IT director amount to effectively the same role. However, some organizations maintain both roles, with the CIO focusing on long-term strategy and acting as the face of the organization, while the IT director focuses more on internal operations. IT directors are executives who can work in a variety of industries, but typically in larger organizations. Since the BLS categorizes IT directors in the same way as other chief executives, IT directors earn a median salary of $98,980 per year as of 2021, similar to chief information officers. The career is expected to grow at a rate of 6% between 2021 and 2031.
7. Business Analysts
Business analysts use an organization’s data to find ways they can improve their processes and efficiency. Many companies hire business analysts internally, but they can also be contracted out as consultants. According to the BLS, the median annual salary of business analysts, also known as management analysts, was $93,190 per year as of 2021. The career is expected to grow at a rate of 11% between 2021 and 2031.
8. Software Engineer
Software engineers develop, design and test new and updated software. Software engineers work throughout the technology industry, but they may also be hired on a third-party basis to develop apps or other types of software for a variety of different organizations. According to the BLS, the median annual salary of software developers, quality assurance analysts and testers was $109,020 per year as of 2021. The career is expected to grow at a brisk rate of 25% between 2021 and 2031.
9. Technical Support Specialist
Technical support specialists help various end users troubleshoot problems with their computers and networks and navigate software. They often work for technology companies as a third-party service, but may also work for a variety of organizations as their in-house IT support. According to the BLS, the median annual salary of computer support specialists was $57,910 per year as of 2021. The career is expected to grow at a rate of 6% between 2021 and 2031.
10. Web Developer
Web developers create and maintain websites. They often work for technology companies as a third-party service, but may also work for a variety of organizations. According to the BLS, the median annual salary of web developers and digital designers was $78,300 per year as of 2021. The career is expected to grow at an above-average rate of 23% between 2021 and 2031.
Industries for Information Systems Professionals
With information systems permeating every area of modern life, there is no shortage of opportunities for professionals in the field. The basic concepts of programming, database management, networks, systems analysis and IS security can translate across virtually any business or government environment.
Grand View Research reports that the global healthcare information system market size is expected to reach $1,097 billion by 2030, expanding at a growth rate of 13.3% from 2023 to 2030. Clinical data is just part of that equation, with financial, legal and administrative information also playing a role in the upsurge. Data analysis is a key role in healthcare information systems work, with predictive analytics helping to reduce medical errors, lower healthcare costs and improve care delivery.
Another trend driving job growth in the healthcare IT field is continued investment in cloud computing services, particularly in the areas of data storage and remote access. Software investments also continue to be robust as hospitals look for newer and more efficient ways to share data with providers and patients across multiple platforms.
According to a report from Fortune Business Insights, the global airport information systems market size was $3.17 billion in 2020. Three key factors driving this expansion include investment in research and development in aviation manufacturing, the need for improved financial performance (including cost-cutting and commodity pricing strategies) and growing demand for onboard passenger connectivity and communication systems.
These are hands-on positions that require networking and online systems knowledge to install, troubleshoot and repair onboard Wi-Fi and connectivity solutions.
Consumers have become accustomed to online banking and financial management tools and expect to have their transaction and account balance data available at their fingertips. Meanwhile, businesses look for quicker and more streamlined ways to accept payments and conduct other transactions.
With increasing demands from customers, this is a disruptive time for the financial services industry as it strives to mature in response to ongoing fintech digitization trends. Fintech — financial technology — includes all aspects of how money is managed across banks, investment firms, payment companies, lenders, insurers and related businesses.
Both established firms and start-up companies have challenges to overcome. Banks in particular need to get beyond legacy technology with investments in innovation, while new ventures need to find a way to reconcile their breakthrough technologies with an overwhelming regulatory climate.
Above all, however, cybersecurity remains integral to all aspects of transaction processing, particularly as increasing amounts of digital data migrate to the cloud. As such, information security is a prominent area of opportunity for IS professionals who are interested in the financial services industry.
Manufacturing is not often the first industry to come to mind when you think of information systems careers, yet opportunities exist from coast to coast, at companies large and small.
Whether you call it computer-integrated manufacturing (CIM) or digitized manufacturing, both hardware and software expertise are integral to the industry. Information systems skills and knowledge prove valuable to companies using industrial assembly robots, computerized machinery, 3-D printing, automated product handling systems and other innovative solutions.
While there has been a lot of talk about how computerization is destroying manufacturing, the reality is that replacing manual processes and retraining employees to use more efficient technology-enabled tools can actually increase productivity and hiring.
Is a Master’s Degree in Information Systems Worth It?
Many people wonder just how important a master’s degree is in regard to future career success. Demand is growing for those holding computing degrees, including in information systems. However, there is still a substantial shortage of talent in the technology field. Businesses, schools and other organizations are driving the demand for high-level computing degree holders and IS degrees are no exception.
A master’s in information systems degree will open up many more opportunities that may be out of reach for those with only a bachelor’s. According to some estimates, a master’s degree can increase a professional’s earnings throughout their career by 20% compared to those with bachelor’s degrees.
In IS, a Master of Science degree can open up several different paths, including that of a researcher or upper management. In addition, it puts you on track to possibly teaching the subject of information technology at universities ― though most professors get their Ph.D. due to academic teaching requirements.
The demand for graduate degree-holding computing majors is high, and having a master’s degree can give you a big advantage from entry-level to C-level. If you are looking to become a senior information systems manager or chief information officer for a prestigious company, then a master’s is the way to go.