Computer and information systems managers are the guides that help organizations navigate the always-changing labyrinth that is modern technology. Known as IT managers, these all-important employees are counted on to deliver short- and long-term visions for the company's technology needs and goals. Even though most IT managers have the technical chops to execute the various jobs of the workers they supervise, they are more likely to be caught in a meeting room than a server room. Coordinating technology-related matters with top executives, planning upgrades of existing software or hardware and negotiating with vendors for the service of current products or the purchase of new ones are all common tasks IT managers encounter. IT managers also install and upgrade an organization's computer system and protect the office network from hackers and malware. When the job is done well, many employees won't even notice the work involved. But if you haven't had an email interruption or server meltdown in the past few months, you probably have an IT manager to thank for it.
While the highest-profile jobs are in computer systems design, almost all organizations need IT managers, especially financial and insurance companies, manufacturing firms and federal, state and local governments. The rapidly growing health care industry is also expected to greatly increase its IT use, resulting in newly created positions. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts strong employment growth of 15.3 percent and an estimated 50,900 new positions to be filled between 2012 and 2022. The chief drivers of this growth will be organizations upgrading their information technology systems to newer, faster networks and striving to avoid cyber threats.
IT managers earned a median of $120,950 in 2012, or about $58.15 per hour, according to BLS data. The best-paid earned more than $187,199, while the lowest-paid brought home a still-respectable $74,940 in 2012. The best-compensated jobs are located in Jacksonville, N.C. or the Bay Area, specifically San Francisco and San Jose, Calif.