Information systems, Web sites, and networks are central to the modern business model. The effortless storage, retrieval, and analysis of data that professionals in large businesses may take for granted often requires a complex system of networked computers. These information systems include everything from research databases to complex financial modeling software.

Businesses rely on IT professionals for all of their technology needs; from systems and network support and security to programming, Web design, and research. The application, development, and strategic implementation of these and other technological innovations are in the hands of experienced and highly trained business information specialists.

In 20 years, the internet has become a major force in business and society, and businesses need qualified IT professionals to keep up with dramatic changes to marketing, sales, and cooperation capabilities.

Whether through an interactive internet marketing campaign or a comprehensive employee database, next generation information systems provide businesses with technologically advanced ways to communicate, store information, and maintain records.

Business Information Systems Career Opportunities

Related Careers: Computer Systems Analysts, Computer and Information Systems Managers, Computer Network, Systems, and Database Administrators

As with most employees in technology fields, business information system specialists will enjoy a faster-than-average growth rate. Information systems are everywhere, and so are the professionals that tend to them.

Many business information specialists work as computer systems analysts, computer and information systems managers, and computer network, systems, and database administrators. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, each distinct field will see strong, above-average job creation.

The BLS reports that there were 532,200 working computer systems analysts in 2008. As businesses seek to maximize efficiency and profit through effective data and communication management, the field is expected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations. The BLS predicts that there will be an additional 108,100 new positions over 10 years, for a 2018 total of 640,300. That's a 20% growth rate.

Computer systems analysts will experience a robust occupational growth rate from 2008 to 2018.Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Computer and information systems managers will see similar growth, according to the BLS. With a total 2008 employment of 293,000 and an expected faster-than-average growth rate of 17%, 49,500 new positions are expected over 10 years, for a 2018 employment of 342,500.

Computer and information systems managers will experience a 17% occupational growth rate from 2008 to 2018, more than double the 8.2% predicted expansion of the civilian workforce over the same time period.Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Computer network, systems, and database administrators will see the fastest growth, with an expected 30% expected expansion. The BLS reports an employment of 961,200 in 2008. The field is expected to add 286,600 new positions over 10 years, for a 2018 total of 1.25 million positions.

Computer network, systems, and database administrators will see a 30% occupational growth rate from 2008 to 2018, much higher than the predicted 8.2% expansion of the entire civilian workforce over the same time period.Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Real job opportunities for qualified candidates in business information technology fields will be even better than those robust growth rates. The Occupational Information Network combines new jobs and a prediction of the number of existing positions that will be vacated by retirement, career change, early termination, etc.

According to the Occupational Information Network, from 2008 to 2018 there will be:

  • 222,800 job openings for computer systems analysts
  • 97,100 job openings for computer and information systems managers
  • Almost 1 million openings for computer network, system, and database administrators

Business Information Systems Earnings

Though earnings vary widely by experience, educational achievement, and employer industry, earnings for business information system professionals are generally high.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, computer systems analyst earned median annual wages of $75,500 in 2008. The middle 50% of the field earned between $58,460 and $95,810, while the bottom 10% earned less than $45,390 and the top 10% earned more than $118,440.

Computer and information systems managers commanded even higher salaries, according to the BLS. Computer and information systems managers earned median annual wages of $112,210 in 2008. The middle 50% of the field earned between $88,240 and $141,890, while the bottom 10% earned less than $68,750 and the top 10% earned more than $166,400.

Computer network, systems, and database administrators earned median annual wages of $66,310 in 2008, according to the BLS. The middle 50% of the field earned between $51,690 and $84,110, while the bottom 10% earned less than $41,000 and the top 10% earned more than $104,070.

Earnings for business information systems professionals varied by position, but were generally excellent in 2008.Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Business Information Systems Educational Benefits

A bachelor's degree is typically the minimum requirement for entry-level business information systems positions. A master's degree may be required for managerial positions at larger, high-profile corporations, though a combination of strong work experience and a post-secondary degree and/or certification will be sufficient in some cases.

Most business information systems (and related fields) bachelor's degrees take 4 years to complete. Master's degrees, associate's degrees, and graduate certifications take 1 to 3 years to complete.

According to the Occupational Information Network, the majority of computers systems analysts – 68% – have a bachelor's degree or higher. 25% have some college, including associate's degrees and diplomas in information technology, while the remaining 7% have no formal education beyond a high school diploma.

Only 7% of computer systems analysts have no formal education beyond a highschool diploma.Source: Occupational Information Network

Similarly, 72% of computer and information systems managers have earned a bachelor's degree or higher, according to the Occupational Information Network. 23% have some college, including associate's degrees and diplomas in information systems, and the remaining 5% have no formal education beyond a high school diploma.

95% of computer and information systems managers have some college education; most have a bachelor's degree or higher.Source: Occupational Information Network

Business Information Systems Programs Online

Degrees Possible: Associate's, Bachelor's, Master's and Doctoral Degrees

Business information systems degrees of all levels are offered online. Some are stand-alone Bachelor or Master of Science (BS or MS) programs, others incorporate general management or technical degrees (like an MBA in business information systems or a Master of Science degree in IT: Business Information Systems).

The best online business information systems programs provide an education as good as one pursued at a local ground school, in a more flexible format that may be better suited to working students. As with all expensive and important educational decisions, do your research when choosing an online business information systems degree program at any level. Is the school accredited? Do credits transfer? What are people saying about this program specifically and this school in general? The answers to many of these questions can be found on this family of Web sites, but don't be afraid to ask your admissions counselor pointed questions.

Business Information Systems Skills and Abilities:

Most business information systems students already posses moderate to advanced technical skills, especially with digital networks and Web sites.

Because business information system managers input and analyze massive amounts of data, good organizational and analytical skills are useful.

Business information systems professionals often work closely with other business managers and consultants. Strong communication and interpersonal skills are conducive to effective management in any area.

Business Information Systems Qualifications and Advancement

Completion of an associate's or bachelor's degree in business information systems (or a related field) and work experience generally qualifies candidates as entry level Computer Network, Systems, and Database Administrators.

While a bachelor's degree and strong work experience may qualify some candidates as entry level Computer Systems Analyst and Computer and Information Systems Managers, an increasingly well-trained workforce means that those with graduate degrees, including MBAs, will be most competitive.

Additional Information

The National Workforce Center for Emerging Technologies maintains a Web site at http://www.nwcet.org.