Those with expertise in MIS will earn a median salary of $135,800
As seen in the Rochester Business Journal: Management Information Systems – Connecting Business and Technology
Organizations and their business managers love their data. And they are rolling in it. As we have covered in previous columns there is no shortage - we live in a world of Big Data. Literally, every move we make creates another data point, as smart phones and smart watches count our steps and our movement. From the Internet-Of-Things (IOT) of machine and appliance sensors, to marketing and sales data we capture digitally and online, to the floods of real-time social media – there are endless amounts of data to capture, measure and analyze to drive business decisions.
With the help of computing power, computer scientists and software engineers are creating technological breakthroughs that emerge to help us with software applications offering the potential to process data in meaningful ways.
Sitting at the center of business and technology is Management Information Systems (MIS). This business discipline, not a household name like other business fields such as accounting, marketing, finance, management or even entrepreneurship – serves to fill a critical gap. So although this field may not be something that is often discussed at the dinner table, optimizing that interface between business and technology helps us to gain and maintain a competitive edge in business.
At RIT, MIS is now the largest, and fastest growing, business discipline. Many other business schools are also focused on growing their faculty expertise in this area. MIS students are among the most sought after graduates in business and command high salaries.
According to the Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook, the prospects for MIS graduates has been increasingly bright in recent years. The job outlook for ‘Computer and Information Systems Managers’ for instance has a 12% projected growth between 2016 and 2026 (a faster than average rate). The reported median pay in 2016 was an incredible $135,800 a year, up $4,200 from just one year before.
We find a portfolio of skills sets meeting up in the middle between business and technology in MIS careers - employees with a strong foundation in business combined with expertise in computer applications and analytics. They ultimately find themselves at the center between technologists and management in companies, bridging the communication gap between the computer scientists and business managers to effectively plan, design, strategize and implement information system solutions.
MIS professionals need to understand the core business tenets of finance, marketing, and accounting, as well as an increasingly important understanding of today’s technology. Not to mention a willingness and ability to keep pace with new technologies. They often utilize software like Tableau, SAP, and R, in support of more standard tools like Excel, which gives them the ability to monitor complex business processes and practices, and gain new levels of insight into the data.
To emphasize just how important MIS professionals will remain, a growing and always important discipline within MIS includes information security management. Beyond the skills needed to understand and fight hackers are the corresponding business decisions and strategies needed to keep our information systems safe.
Facebook and other social media empires are discovering the perils of also managing the ethics of data and information. Beyond all the technical marvels of what we can do with information systems, companies are grappling with what they should do with this data. Judgement will be needed in the continued development of our information systems.
There is a big need for well-conceived management information systems. The issues and opportunities that MIS can help address are seemingly endless. Perhaps this was driven home by the recent Google Cloud commercials touting, “Know What Your Data Knows.” The frequency of these commercials during the March Madness NCAA basketball tournament hint at how much of a market there is for information system solutions. In creatively applying MIS to identify winning traits among winning teams, the power of MIS demonstrates how other businesses can also unlock their potential and win.