Career Potential for an MIS Graduate
Business and other organizations have a strong need for individuals who understand the various business functions and who also understand the role of computers and other information technologies in modern organizations. Given the rate of technological advances and the increasing amount of information available today, there is every reason to expect there to be a wide range of opportunities for MIS professionals within nearly every department of organizations of all sizes and industries.
People who do well in these positions enjoy solving business and technical challenges, working with teams and individuals across an organization, and are comfortable with an ever-changing technological environment. Among the many skills required for success in MIS careers are analytical thinking, effective oral and written communication, project management, interpersonal relationship management, and teamwork.
Long term, many MIS majors move into general management or technology leadership roles, including the Chief Information Officer position. However, typical entry level jobs include:
Systems analysts analyze business information requirements, manual and automated procedures, and business problems and opportunities in order to design improved information services. This involves working with other business professionals or clients to analyze their current operational procedures, identify problems, and learn specific input and output requirements. Systems analysts write a detailed description of client needs and then design the information processing steps required to provide the needed information. Additionally, they will review computer system capabilities, workflow, and scheduling limitations to determine if the requested information services are possible within the existing system. Work is done in teams of information technology experts and business managers.
A business analyst works with clients to overcome their business challenges through the application of technology. Typically, a business analyst will need to apply relationship skills, project management ability, and a rich knowledge of functional areas (such as accounting, management, or marketing) to improve the way a company functions using information technology. A business analyst’s job responsibilities often includes such tasks as traveling to client sites worldwide, defining the scope and resources for a given project, working with other IT and management personnel to design and implement a business solution, making presentations to clients, and monitoring the status of the project through completion.
A software engineer researches, designs, and develops computer software systems in conjunction with hardware product development. Additionally, a software engineer analyzes software requirements to determine the feasibility of the design within time and cost constraints. They consult with computer hardware engineers and other engineering staff to evaluate the interface between the hardware and software, and evaluate the operational and performance requirements of the overall system. They develop and direct software system testing procedures, programming, and installing.
The programmer/analyst plans, develops, tests, and documents computer programs, applying knowledge of programming techniques and computer systems. The programmer/analyst evaluates the business requirements for new or modified programs to determine feasibility, costs and time required, compatibility with the current system, and computer capabilities. They work with system users and others to resolve questions of program intent, data input, output requirements, and inclusion of internal checks and controls.
An e-commerce developer designs, implements, and maintains the internet and e-commerce presence associated with an organization. They identify the appropriate technologies and tools to meet the business requirements and works with the appropriate IT professionals to implement an e-commerce presence to meet these requirements. E-commerce developers work with other teams within the firm (e.g. marketing, senior management) to ensure that the online presence and capabilities of the organization are aligned with its business needs.
A database analyst applies knowledge of database technologies and tools to manage, organize, and utilize the vast amount of information available to an organization. Using a variety of software tools and processes, an analyst will create and maintain database systems to ensure the availability, integrity, and security of an organization’s data resources. These analysts are typically involved at every phase of an information system’s lifecycle, from design to implementation to ongoing performance management.
Business Intelligence Analyst
Business intelligence (BI) analysts use analysis tools to query and model data in repositories and present reports and charts. These reports and charts help managers make better business decisions faster by identifying trends and patterns in a company’s stored operational data and purchased external data sources. This data are usually stored in companywide repositories called data warehouses or in smaller departmental databases. A BI analyst may design daily reports, such as those that sales managers use to track demand for specific products in different geographic regions. A BI analyst can also discover, through modeling and statistical analysis, information the company needs to identify problems, evaluate alternative solutions, and make informed business decisions.
Information Security Analyst
An information security analyst performs security audits, risk assessment and analysis on an organization’s information systems assets. Among their job responsibilities, they make recommendations for enhancing data systems security, research attempted breaches of data security and resolve identified security weaknesses. They also may formulate security policies and procedures for managing user accounts to various systems and applications, administering security hardware and software, and ensuring all necessary network security updates, patches and preventive measures are in place.
IT or IS Auditor
IT or IS auditors are responsible for reviewing assets, including information systems, technology, and related business procedures, to assess risk exposure in areas beyond security. These risk areas include those arising from government regulation (e.g., SOX, PCI, HIPPA, EU privacy, etc.), systems operations (e.g., uptime, efficient use of resources, retiring of old technologies), data integrity (e.g., quality of interfaces, data conversions), and governance (e.g., internal policies and procedures). They use their relationship skills, project management ability, and knowledge of business processes and functions (such as accounting or finance) to work proactively with business units or clients to ensure audit recommendations are implemented in a timely manner.