More About Management Information Systems
The rapid integration of computer technology into business and industry has generated a continual demand for those with the ability to support business operations through computerization. According to the 1998-1999 Occupational Outlook Handbook, employment of computing professionals is expected to increase much faster than average (36%+) as technology becomes more sophisticated and organizations seek competitive advantages though technology. Database administrators and computer support specialists; computer engineers; and systems analysts are projected to be among the top 20 occupations in the number of new jobs created from 1996 to 2006.
The Management Information Systems major at Shippensburg University focuses on preparing students to enter the computer profession through a strong background in the business functional areas (e.g. accounting, finance, statistics, management, marketing, economics) combined with a competency in programming, systems development, database management and telecommunications. More importantly however, emphasis is placed on preparing the student for the life-long challenge of adapting to a rapidly changing environment. Communication skills, teamwork, creativity, and self-motivation are key factors in any profession, but especially those dealing with business clients and technology integration.
Selected Career Opportunities for Management Information Systems Graduates
Specializes in designing and developing information systems utilizing computing and communication technologies for business applications.
Typical activities include:
- working with managers and other business users to analyze the computing needs of the organization
- interviewing organizational personnel to determine activities and tasks
- devising systems to convert manual procedures to computer systems
- analyzing existing computer-based information systems to determine more efficient flow of information
- configuring hardware systems to meet the needs of an organization
- planning for integration of computer resources, such as data, software, and hardware within an organization
- preparing cost-benefit analysis and return-on-investment data for proposed systems
- managing information systems development projects
- supervising computer programmers and technicians in the development of proposed information system
Provides support to an organization's employees using software for the personal computer/user workstation.
Typical activities include:
- meeting with personnel to define computer system objectives
- designing hardware and software configurations to meet user objectives
- analyzing and recommending purchase of hardware and software
- evaluating new software applications and packages
- assisting with planning and installing local area networks (LANs)
- installing and implementing software
- presenting system proposals orally and in report form
- providing training for users in the operation of hardware and software and providing on-going support as problems arise
- writing procedures or documentation for users of information systems.
Writes and updates computer programs to provide information to an organization for more efficient and effective execution of business operations.
Typical activities include:
- writing programs for specific systems within an organization, such as inventory control, segmented marketing, and accounting systems
- testing and debugging new programs to insure correct output
- updating existing programs to meet the changing requirements of the organization and/or new government regulations (programming maintenance)
- revising, enhancing, and/or adapting off-the-shelf software such as spreadsheets and databases
- preparing manuals for those who use the software
- accessing information in the organization's database
Management of the communications facilities of an organization, which are mostly computer-based and may include telephone systems, closed-circuit television, computer networks (including connections to networks outside the organization, such as the Internet), facilities for teleconferencing via satellite links, etc.
Typical duties might include:
- designing facilities (equipment, wiring, connections, software, etc.)
- evaluating and selecting components of the facilities
- negotiating with communications carriers such as AT&T, MCI, Sprint, and cellular phone and cable TV companies for the provision of services
- installing and maintaining facilities
- providing technical support such as problem-solving
- establishing and maintaining procedure for the use of facilities
- training users of facilities
- registering users
- preparing and maintaining user directories (like your phone book)
- planning for the future evolution of facilities
- configuring hardware and software components
Database Administration Staff
Management of one of an organization's most valuable resources X its data X and the computer-based system used to store it in a database and make it available.
Typical duties might include:
- designing facilities for the management of data (hardware, software, the database itself, etc.)
- dealing with suppliers in the evaluation and selection of facilities
- establishing and maintaining standards for data and policies and procedures for its use
- training users of the data in proper procedures
- assigning privileges for the use of data
- providing technical support such as integrity of data
- verifying and maintaining the quality and integrity of data
- verifying and maintaining security of the database
Focuses on the technologies and development required to support Internet activities. This may include the design and maintenance of company's home page or the execution of electronic commerce transactions.
Activities may include:
- designing web pages through HTML programming or commercial program
- analyzing information business clients to determine support requirements --maintaining web page content and computer links with other sites
- applying Internet technology to improve internal communication, enable remote and telecommuter access, and provide a link to customers
- ensuring confidentiality of data through encryption and digital certificate technology
Careers in Management Information Systems
- ability to think logically
- problem solving skills
- effective communication skills (oral and written)
- ability to handle details
- background knowledge in business
- ability to work with ideas and people
- enjoyment of project-oriented work
- appreciation for technology and how its use can improve existing procedures and systems
- interest in staying current in a dynamic industry
- project-oriented work
- interaction with people and frequent involvement in team projects
- variety of responsibilities and activities
- clean comfortable working environment
- travel opportunities
- high demand/salary
- job mobility
- rapid and continuously changing technology
- constant need to update skills
- vast amount of detail
- pressures of deadlines and possibly a need to work extra hours
Career Paths for Business Information System Majors
Entry Level: Typical Salaries
- Computer Support Specialist $36,000
- Application Programmer $35,000
- Marketing/Customer Support Representative $36,000
- Consultant/Trainer $28,000
- Junior Programmer Analyst $37,000
- Programmer/Analyst $45,000
- Systems Analyst $63,000
- Database Analyst $60,000
- Webmaster $43,000
- Telecommunications Specialist $48,000
- Database Administrator $62,000
- Project Manager $59,000
- Telecommunications Manager $50,000
- MIS Director $77,000
- Chief Information Officer $111,000
*Source: Computer EDP Statistics & Occupational Outlook Handbook data. The above salary figures will vary according to geographical location, size of company and level of job responsibilities.
The College of Business at Shippensburg University administers an internship program for all business majors. This program provides BIS majors who have earned 55 or more credits with an opportunity to expand their knowledge of information systems in the business world and to further develop interpersonal skills, self-learning skills, and professional behavior. It also gives students a realistic setting in which to assess their interest and aptitude for the type of work activities required for success in this field. Most of these internship positions are for the summer months; however, some employers prefer a longer internship period. By carefully scheduling the course requirements, it has been possible for students desiring an extended internship experience to do so.
Many of the internship positions are in central Pennsylvania with some in other areas. However, with prior approval of the internship director and the Management Information Systems faculty, students are able to have appropriate positions in other geographic areas approved for an internship.
At the end of the internship experience, each employer/supervisor is asked to evaluate the intern. The overwhelming majority of the employers have rated the intern's performance as exceptional/outstanding or very good. Furthermore, many of the interns have been hired by the business organization after graduation, and a number of interns were retained as part-time employees during their senior year.
The placement surveys conducted by the College of Business asks graduates to evaluate the importance of nine factors typically considered to be important to future employers when evaluating applicants. The factor perceived to be most important by all business graduates was knowledge of the computer; the second most important factor was work experience. The business internship program available at Shippensburg University is an excellent way for Business Information Systems majors to attain work experience and to do so in their major field.
Sample Job Descriptions of Business Information Systems Graduates
These job descriptions were solicited from recent business information systems graduates representing a sampling of job titles.