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MIS director salary & career outlook

MIS director

What do MIS directors do?

Management information systems (MIS) directors are responsible for managing all computer resources and technical departments within an organization. They monitor and improve information systems to ensure data is available, accurate and secure. MIS directors generally report to the chief information officer and manage other information technology employees.

Because they oversee multiple departments in their effort to improve data systems, MIS directors should have both management and technical skills. They must be able to solve problems and improve productivity across departments. MIS directors work in a variety of industries, including computer systems design, insurance, finance and government.

MIS director salary

MIS directors play a crucial role in organizations, and they are paid accordingly. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), computer and information systems managers, including MIS directors, earned a median annual salary of $115,780 in 2010. Salaries varied by industry, location and experience, and the BLS reports that the top quartile earned a median income of $146,080 in 2010. GlassDoor.com, which reports salaries from a variety of employers, posted an even broader range of MIS Director incomes, from $61,000 to $183,000 per year.

Industry plays a role in determining MIS director salaries. According to the BLS, the computer systems design industry employed the largest number of computer and information systems managers in 2010--approximately 52,000--while the information services and financial investment industries paid the highest average salaries.

The BLS reports that computer and information systems managers, including MIS directors, earned the highest average salaries in the following states in 2010:

  • New York
  • New Jersey
  • California
  • Virginia
  • Massachusetts

Silicon Valley and the San Francisco Bay area were among the highest-paying metropolitan areas for computer and information systems managers, but the relatively high cost of living means wages don't always go as far as in other, more affordable cities. According to 2010 salary data from the BLS and CNBC's cost-of-living index, the following metropolitan areas paid the most relative to cost of living:

  • Jacksonville, N.C.: $207,840
  • Arlington, Va.: $140,200
  • Kennewick-Pasco-Richland, Wash.: $140,510

The BLS expects job opportunities for MIS directors and other computer and information systems managers to grow across industries, with the majority of positions located in major cities.

How to become an MIS director

MIS directors need both technical expertise and management training to excel in their jobs. A bachelor's degree in computer science, management information systems or a related field is the minimum requirement for most computer and information systems manager positions, including MIS director.

MIS degree programs are available at the bachelor's and master's degree levels. They include coursework in database management, systems security, networking, finance, management and other business fields. According to the BLS, a master's degree or MBA with a technology focus is preferred for most MIS director positions.

Career outlook for MIS directors

As computer technology continues to be central to the operations of modern businesses, demand for MIS directors and other computer and information systems managers will grow faster than average. The BLS expects employment of computer and information systems managers to increase by 17 percent from 2008 to 2018, creating approximately 50,000 new jobs. Competition will exist for high-level MIS director positions, but applicants with technical expertise and/or an MBA with a technology focus will have the best prospects.

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