A-to-Z Index

Careers in CIS

Careers in Computer Information Systems

Corporate careers for majors in Computer Information Systems continue to be strong and varied.  Today’s entry-level information technology professional faces an environment that is more exciting than ever before.Technology has connected people in ways that were previously unimagined, raising the possibilities to a new level. Here are a few of the exciting things going on the field today:

  • Many new technologies focus on design rather than convoluted computer code, leveraging your time and effort towards quicker and more meaningful results.
  • Forecasts by firms such as Gartner and Forrester show that a very small portion of IT jobs are being outsourced overseas, and the jobs that remain are al the more numerous, interesting, and meaningful than every before.
  • “A CIS degree from JMU provides an excellent balance of technology and business – critical skills today in a world where US technical skills are under-represented and in demand!  The job and career possibilities are endless.” Susie Bonvouloir, Director of HR, CGI, JMU CIS ‘81,

Sloan Career Resource Center logoJames Madison University's CIS program was featured as one of 21 ABET accredited Information Systems programs in an "Information Systems Overview" from the Sloan Career Cornerstone Center. As part of the resource center, resources have been created to promote a Career in Information Systems.

Information Systems Managers

This is a primary career field for CIS majors in a business school: planning, directing, or coordinating information systems, systems analysis, project management, and computer system development. Learn more by reading the profiles of senior IT managers.

Senior Management Positions

Job Titles Compensation*
Chief Information Officer, Vice President of Information Systems $175,129 (and up)
Chief Technology Officer $161,294 (and up)
Director of Systems Development $154,191 (and up)
Director of E-Commerce $150,937 (and up)
Chief Security Officer $156,463 (and up)
Internet Technology Strategist $119,376 (and up)
Director of IT Operations $113,301 (and up)

Middle Management Positions

Job Titles Compensation*
Product Manager $200,429
Information Security Manager $200,918
Application Development Manager $105,916
Database Manager $97,161
Project Manager $94,370
Data Warehousing Manager $116,462
Internet/Intranet Manager $87,674
E-Commerce Manager $109,030
IT Manager $85,707
Communications Manager $90,117
Computer Operations Manager $79,462
Network Manager $76,914
Help Desk/Technical Support Manager $75,382

Computer Information Systems Staff

These are the entry-level and career path positions leading to information systems management positions for CIS majors. Computer Information Systems, Computer Science, and Information Technology majors compete for many of these positions, but the preparation is different. CIS focuses on business application and has stronger business knowledge with an aim to promote rapidly from these staff areas into management positions. CS and IT aim more for the advanced staff positions.

Systems Analyst

Systems analysts are the architects and project leaders of an information system. It is their job to develop solutions to users' problems, determine the technical and operational feasibility of their solutions, as well as estimate the costs to develop and implement them.

Job Titles Compensation*
Project Leader $83,050
Information Security Specialist $81,2008
Business Intelligence Analyst $73,421
Technology/Business Analyst $72,362
Analyst/Programmer $68,555

Database Managers

Coordinate changes to computer databases, test and implement the database applying knowledge of database management systems. May plan, coordinate, and implement security measures to safeguard computer databases.

Job Titles Compensation*
Database Architect $105,088
Database Administrator $83,745
Storage Administrator $93,458
Database Developer $72,788
Database Analyst $66,917

Network and Computer Systems Administration

Install, configure, and support an organization's local area network (LAN), wide area network (WAN), and Internet system or a segment of a network system. Maintain network hardware and software. Monitor network to ensure network availability to all system users and perform necessary maintenance to support network availability. May supervise other network support and client server specialists and plan, coordinate, and implement network security measures.

Job Titles Compensation*
Network Architect $92,800
Network Manager $77,957
Network Engineer $74,319
Network Administrator $55,070

Computer Software Engineers

Develop, create, and modify general computer applications software or specialized utility programs. Analyze user needs and develop software solutions. Design software or customize software for client use with the aim of optimizing operational efficiency. May analyze and design databases within an application area, working individually or coordinating database development as part of a team.

Job Titles Compensation*
Systems Architect $101,308
Project Leader $83,050
Software Developer $78,218
Programmer/Analyst $68,555
Web Master $55,225

Computer Support Specialists

Provide technical assistance to computer system users. Answer questions or resolve computer problems for clients in person, via telephone or from remote location. May provide assistance concerning the use of computer hardware and software, including printing, installation, word processing, electronic mail, and operating systems.

Job Titles Compensation*
Messaging/E-Mail/Groupware Specialist $77,717
Quality Assurance Specialist $66,900
eCommerce Specialist $72,359
Technical Trainer $66,626
Quality Assurance Specialist $69,900
Help Desk Specialist $48,482

* note: salary data is from 2007 Computerworld Salary Survey