Information Systems

Career Options

“New applications of technology in the workplace will continue to  drive demand for workers to remain competitive.”

— Bureau of Labor Statistics*

IT Industry Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects IT employment prospects to be “excellent,” according to a recent report,* citing projected job growth of 17 percent for the decade ending in 2018. The reason: it has become virtually impossible for a workplace to function without an efficient computer system. “In the modern workplace,” the BLS reported, “it is imperative that information technology works both effectively and reliably.” Dependence on skilled IT managers is intensified by the fast-changing nature of the field, as well as the reality that companies look to technology to drive revenues. The whopping growth rate far outpaces the averages for all other occupations in the United States.

Even during economic downturns, the need for IT professionals remains strong. In a 2009 private survey chief information officers reported difficulty in hiring IT managers, despite offering increasingly high salaries. Some 77 percent of the CIOs said it was at least as difficult, if not harder, to hire IT managers than it had been a year earlier, when wages were already comparatively high. The median salary for these managers in 2008 was $112,210. The middle 50 percent earned between about $88,000 and $142,000. Depending on the field, company and  employee rank, the pay can climb much higher. At the very high levels, officers in charge of IT for a large company can earn up to $500,000.

As a reflection of the demand for skilled IT workers, some 25 percent of managers worked an average of more than 50 hours per week in 2008. Job opportunities in the IT field have become even more plentiful as many Baby Boomers in these jobs move into retirement. In this fast-changing field, the importance of continuing education could scarcely be overstated, as the BLS report underscored: “New applications of technology in the workplace will continue to drive demand for workers to remain competitive.” The report predicted that companies will continue to install sophisticated computer networks and set up more complex intranets and websites. Professionals with the skills to expertly manage these emerging systems will be able to command increasingly high pay.

* Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010–11 edition

Robert Half Technology, 2009 report