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MIS executives keep companies moving forward by implementing and overseeing technology infrastructures. Typically, MIS executives manage large staff of technology professionals. To become an MIS executive, you must earn an education in a computer-related discipline and have years of technology work experience. The MIS executive profession offers a comfortable income and excellent job prospects.
What is an MIS Executive?
A Management Information System (MIS) executive serves as the head of her organization’s information technology operations. She leads teams of technology professionals, which may include software developers, computer systems analysts, technical support specialists, information security analysts, network engineers, web developers, software testers and technical consultants.
Typically, an MIS executive reports to the chief executive officer, chief technology officer or chief information officer, depending on the size and structure of his organization. In some organizations, the MIS executive is the top technology employee.
While a chief technology officer often represents the public face of an organization’s technology division, particularly in large companies, an MIS executive spends much of his time working closely with the staff who implement and manage the organization’s computer infrastructure. Oftentimes, technology department managers and directors report to an MIS executive.
The MIS profile varies in every organization. The responsibilities and duties of an MIS executive often change as technology advances, and the day to day job of an MIS executive often expands as her company grows. For example, a startup online retailer may need to add satellite locations as its sales increase, requiring the MIS executive to expand and manage the company’s network infrastructure.
MIS executives often manage the operations of multiple types of technology, which can include desktop computers, network infrastructure, imagining technology, telephone systems and data storage and distribution. Most MIS executives have experience working with industry-standard technologies such as Microsoft Exchange Server, structured query language, customer relationship management programs and enterprise resource planning software.
Many MIS executives work regular business hours, but the demands of the job sometimes requires them to work more than 40 hours per week. Some MIS executives must work nights and weekends, particularly when implementing new technology or resolving issues which impede their organizations’ computing operations.
MIS Job Responsibilities
It is an MIS executive’s job to ensure that her company’s information technology infrastructure remains functional at all times. Some MIS jobs require the executive to manage teams of employees in multiple locations. She must provide the resources and training that all her employees needs to perform their jobs. As a member of upper management, she must ensure that all of her employees comply with company policies, as well as health and safety laws and regulations.
MIS executives analyze the computing and networking requirements of their organizations and develop systems to meet those needs. Once they implement a computer or network system, they must create and manage maintenance and software update schedules.
MIS executives create and manage budgets for hardware, software and staffing needs. They must stay abreast of industry standards to stay current with new technologies. In some positions, MIS executives must ensure that proprietary software meets current compliance standards. For instance, an MIS executive for a bank must make sure that loan-processing applications produce documents that include current federal and state legal disclosures.
MIS executives oversee digital security, ensuring that desktop computers and servers maintain up-to-date antivirus software and proper firewall settings. They manage data storage and oversee the operation and maintenance of document servers and information repositories such as intranets and extranets.
MIS executives determine staffing needs for various information technology departments. Many write job postings and participate in the interview process. They hire new employees and terminate the employment of workers who display discipline or performance problems. They also interview and hire contract workers and establish contracts with equipment vendors. Some MIS executives negotiate outsourcing contracts with companies that provide services such as technical support and cloud storage.
MIS executives who work for internet companies oversee the creation, operation and maintenance of company websites. They manage internet security to protect users’ data and guard against attacks from hackers.
Typically, MIS executives must submit regular operational and progress reports to their superiors. They also establish reporting requirements to their subordinates. Following proper reporting standards plays a critical role in maintaining a functional technology operation.
MIS Executive Education
Most employers look for MIS executives who have at least a bachelor’s degree. Common undergraduate degrees among MIS executives include computer science, information technology, network administration and computer engineering. Some companies prefer MIS executives who have earned a master’s degree in a technology-related discipline and others look for candidates with a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) degree.
Some colleges and universities offer MBA programs designed for technology industry professionals. For example, Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne, Florida, offers an MBA in Information Technology Management program. The Florida Tech program features technology and business coursework, which includes data management, strategic planning, emerging technologies, conflict management and multinational business policy.
Most companies prefer MIS executives who have at least five to 10 years of technology-related work experience. MIS executives who seek chief technology officer positions often need 15 or more years of experience to qualify. Many MIS executives start their information technology careers at lower positions and work their way up the corporate ladder within one or more companies.
Many MIS executives specialize in management within a particular industry. For example, some MIS executives work exclusively for healthcare companies, while others choose career paths in industries such as banking or e-commerce. By specializing in a particular industry, an MIS executive gains expert knowledge in areas such integrating industry-standard software.
MIS Executive Essential Skills
MIS executives must have education and experience to land a job, but they also need certain personal and professional skills to succeed in their careers. They must possess good written and verbal communication skills to lead their teams and to convey technical information to laymen.
MIS executives need good leadership skills to direct employees in multiple technical areas. They must possess excellent analytical skills to solve problems, as well as good business skills to manage budgets, create long-term plans and implement projects.
An MIS executive must maintain a calm composure when systems break down. They must have the ability to motivate their teams when problems arise.
Additionally, MIS executives must have good research skills to keep up with rapidly changing technologies and the ability to comprehend and retain complex technical information.
MIS Executive Salaries
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a government agency that collects and reports job data, does not offer information specific to MIS executives. However, the Bureau estimates that all information systems managers earned a median income of nearly $140,000 in 2017. The median wage represents the center of the information systems manager pay scale. Top earners took home more than $210,000, while managers at the bottom of the pay scale made around $84,000.
Companies in the information sector paid the highest salaries, followed by financial institutions, insurance companies and computer systems businesses.
MIS Executive Job Outlook
The BLS does not offer job outlook data specific to MIS executives. However, according to the Bureau, jobs for all types of information systems managers should increase by around 12 percent, from now until 2026. The high demand stems from the rapid growth of digital platforms among most industries. More specifically, businesses and government agencies will increase information systems staffs to tackle cyber security issues and to implement and manage cloud-computing platforms.
Michael Evans’ career path has taken many planned and unexpected twists and turns, from TV sports producer to internet project manager to cargo ship deckhand. He has worked in numerous industries, including higher education, government, transportation, finance, manufacturing, journalism and travel. Along the way, he has developed job descriptions, interviewed job applicants and gained insight into the types of education, work experience and personal characteristics employers seek in job candidates. Michael graduated from The University of Memphis, where he studied photography and film production. He began writing professionally while working for an online finance company in San Francisco, California. His writings have appeared in print and online publications, including Fox Business, Yahoo! Finance, Motley Fool and Bankrate.