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How to Become a Computer and Information Systems Manager

By Steve Smith

The information presented here is true and accurate as of the date of publication. DeVry’s programmatic offerings and their accreditations are subject to change. Please refer to the current academic catalog for details.


April 26, 2024

4 min read

Organizations rely heavily on Computer Information Systems (CIS) to manage increasingly large amounts of data, which they use electronically to perform a variety of functions related to operations and market competitiveness. CIS is a broadly-used term that describes the systems by which organizations manage the communications between computer hardware and software on data storage and management devices. CIS architecture may include cloud-based storage, databases and servers. At the center of this digital ecosystem and managing its technical and human capital are the computer and information systems managers.


In this discussion, we’ll focus on computer and information systems managers. We’ll examine their role in information systems and information systems security, and describe how to become a computer and information systems manager. If you’re interested in a career in CIS, this article could be of interest to you as we explore the different types of CIS managers working in today’s data-driven organizations, the typical duties of the CIS manager and the skills needed for the occupation. 

What is a Computer and Information Systems Manager?

Sometimes called IT managers or IT project managers, computer and information systems managers are responsible for planning, coordinating and directing the computer-related activities of an organization. Considering the extent to which most organizations rely on their computer information systems in our interconnected, Internet-of-Things economy, this is a broad area of responsibility. These managers help to set the IT goals for their organizations and are responsible for implementing the computer systems required to meet those objectives.

Types of Computer and Information Systems Managers

Because of the breadth of IT-related activities, responsibilities and functions, larger organizations may have different CIS managers to handle different areas of their systems, or be structured with layers of management. Here are a few examples of the different types of computer and information systems managers. 

IT security managers

IT security managers are responsible for oversight of an organization’s data security and network, which may include a large number of remote workers. They develop programs that keep employees alert to security threats and are also expected to promote an organization-wide  culture of information security. Their responsibilities are also likely to include overseeing or conducting investigations of cyberattacks or data breaches after they occur.

IT directors

While directly supervising IT department team members, IT directors help determine the department’s IT systems requirements. They are typically responsible for hiring new department employees and planning and overseeing the department’s budget.

Chief information officers (CIOs)

The role of the chief information officer is to determine an organization’s technology goals and provide oversight of all areas of the organization’s IT implementation. The CIO is often a co-equal with the chief information security officer (CISO), a role that has shifted dramatically with the rise of cyberattacks and heightened measures to safeguard data systems.

Chief technology officers (CTOs)

Another member of the “C-Suite,” the chief technology officer is responsible for assessing new technologies and determining their worth in relation to the organization’s goals. They recommend and design new technology solutions and collaborate with other departments to implement the organization’s technology strategies.

What Does a Computer and Information Systems Manager Do?

The everyday duties of computer and information systems managers may vary based on the size and type of organization they work for. You may be wondering, what do computer and information systems managers do? Their duties typically include:

  • Analyzing and planning for an organization’s information system requirements and recommending potential upgrades to their executive leadership.

  • Planning and directing the installation and maintenance of computer hardware or software.

  • Ensuring the security of their organization’s network and data.

  • Learning about new technologies and looking for ways to upgrade their organization’s IT systems.

  • Planning and directing the work of other IT professionals, which may include computer systems analysts, software developers, support specialists and information security analysts.

  • Determining the short-term and long-term personnel requirements for the IT department.

  • Negotiating with vendors who provide various contracted services related to their organization’s information technology.

Skills Needed for Computer Systems Managers

As in many management roles, computer systems managers require a mixture of hard (technical) and soft (workplace or interpersonal) skills to get the job done. 

Hard skills for systems managers

  • Network management: Systems managers often oversee their organizations’ wireless networks, cloud storage and other data storage or communication systems.

  • IT support: Providing IT support to an organization’s employees requires the technical skills to troubleshoot problems or train employees on new systems or software, and get them up-and-running quickly. 

  • IT management: Systems managers generally oversee the functions of their organizations’ IT departments. The size of organizations and their departments will vary widely, but the manager’s responsibilities may require skills in the management of daily operations or working interdepartmentally to provide necessary support wherever it may be needed. 

  • Microsoft office: Systems managers should have strong proficiency in the widely used Microsoft Office suite of applications to help them create spreadsheets, track budgets, compose reports and create presentations. 

  • Analytics: Strong analytical skills help systems managers gather information to evaluate technology requirements and to analyze problems and recommend ways to solve them.

Soft skills for systems managers

  • Organization: As managers of both human and technical resources, these professionals need to be highly organized. This means having the capability to keep a well-organized schedule and multitask effectively as they manage or oversee multiple projects. Sharp attention to detail is another positive trait under this skills category. 

  • Communication: Strong written and verbal communications skills are crucial in this position. Systems managers may be called upon to prepare and present reports to colleagues and upper management, and to prepare instruction manuals or other technical content when required. They will also call upon strong communication skills when making technical information understandable to stakeholders with limited technical experience.

  • Leadership: Strong leadership skills are indispensable for systems managers, enabling them to effectively lead teams of IT professionals like software developers, systems analysts and IT security professionals. The ability to motivate team members, provide feedback and lead by example with a positive attitude are crucial leadership traits.

  • Business acumen: Financial and business-related concerns should be top of mind for business-savvy managers. To do their part in reaching organizational goals, systems managers need to consider long and short-term business outcomes right alongside technical considerations. 

How to Become a Computer and Information Systems Manager

If you’re planning to pursue a career as a CIS manager, your journey will begin with education to acquire the necessary skills. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), computer and information systems managers typically need a bachelor’s degree in computer and information technology or a related field, such as engineering technology. These degree programs include courses in computer programming, software development and mathematics. Management information systems programs usually include businesses classes alongside computer-related courses.


Here at DeVry, our Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Information Systems can prepare you to pursue a career path to this role. Infused with our tech-powered learning approach, coursework covers topics like computer ethics, complex problem-solving, information systems security planning and audit, AI and data foundations and more.


If you’re thinking about pursuing a role as a computer and information systems manager, you’ll be glad to learn about the versatility of this bachelor’s degree program. It allows you to select one of seven career-focused specializations to align your education with your professional goals:

  • Computer Forensics
  • Software Programming
  • Cyber Security Programming
  • Web Development and Administration
  • Database Management
  • Web Game Programming
  • Information Systems Security

Our Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Information Systems is also skills-focused, with coursework elements aligned with industry certifications such as CompTIA A+, Linux+, Network+ and Security+. It’s just one of many online technology degrees and certificate programs we offer at DeVry.


What experience is required for the role of a computer and information systems manager? The BLS notes that to qualify for a job as a CIS manager you may need to acquire several years of experience in a related IT role, and that most CIS managers start out as lower-level managers and advance to higher positions within the IT department. Lower-level management positions may require only a few years of experience, according to the BLS, and directors are more likely to need 5 to 10 years of related experience. This will vary according to the size or maturity of the organization they work for, and the size of their information systems or IT departments.

Prepare to Pursue Your Career in Information Systems with DeVry

Turn your passion for digital technology into a profession with the technical and administrative skills you’ll learn in our Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Information Systems. Covering topics like web application development, database management and information security, this bachelor’s degree program allows you to choose the career-focused specialization that aligns with your goals. When you study with DeVry, you’ll immerse yourself in the Internet-of-Things world and gain hands-on experience with IoT, cloud, software and security technologies and systems.

This program is available 100% online, or via a hybrid model that combines online learning with an in-person experience at one of our campuses.1

Our commitment to your success doesn’t stop on graduation day. Career Services support like career coaching, virtual career fairs, resume building and help with your job search are included with your DeVry education. Classes start every 8 weeks.

1Growth projected on a national level. Local growth will vary by location. BLS projections are not specific to DeVry University students or graduates and may include earners at all stages of their career and not just entry level.

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Classes Start Every 8 Weeks

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