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Information Technologies Importance

Information technologies are among the fastest developing field in the world. As an industry, the term information technology implies various meanings, where “information technology is an umbrella term that describes all fields relating to the organization and dissemination of information, from the worker who lays cable wires to the telephone switchboard operator to the engineer who designs the circuits in your computer” (WetFeet.com Careers in Information Technology). Being a computer related career path, it can be stated that there are many technology areas which belong to the field of information technology, one of which is information systems (IS).

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IS, as a discipline, can be considered a gap between information technologies, computer sciences and management. In that regard, IS can be defined as the discipline that “examines more than just the technological system, or just the social system, or even the two side by side; in addition it investigates the phenomena that emerge when the two interact” (Avison and Elliot 5). Being a discipline that faced a controversy establishing its identity (Bakshi), it can be stated that there are many fields that can be related to IS. In that regard, the present paper reports the results of an investigation into two fields within the discipline of IS which are web development and project management, providing an overview of jobs and careers related to the aforementioned fields.

Project Management

Project management within the field of information systems can be related to the area titled Computer and Information Systems managers. In that regard, IS project manager is one of the roles of Computer and IS managers, distinguished by the duties within the organization (US Bureau of Labor Statistics “Computer and Information Systems Managers”). Such role is usually titled IT project manager, with other titles related to the same filed including directors of information technology, MIS directors, chief technology officers, chief information officer, etc (US Bureau of Labor Statistics “Computer and Information Systems Managers”). The duties of IT project managers, as the title implies, is managing IT projects, including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Development of projects’ requirements.
  • Development of projects’ budgets.
  • Development of projects; schedules.
  • Coordination of IT projects through various stages.
  • Working with company’s IT workers, clients, vendors, and suppliers (US Bureau of Labor Statistics “Computer and Information Systems Managers”).

In terms of salaries, it can be stated such position as IT project managers fit within the general growth in the IT sector in general. In that regard, the specialization of computer and information systems managers is “expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations” (US Bureau of Labor Statistics “Computer and Information Systems Managers”), while if taking project managers in particular in that filed, it has an expected 10-year job growth of 16%, being ranked at the fifth place in the Money/PayScale.com’s list of best jobs in America (Money.com). For computer and information systems manager in general the median annual wages, as of 2008, were $112,210, with variations dependant of the specialty and the level of responsibility (US Bureau of Labor Statistics “Computer and Information Systems Managers”). For IS project management in particular the median salary is about $98,700 for experienced project managers, with $140,000 being the top pay in such industry (Money.com). It can be understood that the salary is largely influenced by managerial levels, experience and to a degree by the geographical location. Accordingly, it should be noted that for the IT sector in general, project managers are advanced positions in which the manger is a supervisor, while entry level positions implies working under supervision or on a team with experienced workers (WetFeet.com Careers in Information Technology 41).

The academic requirements of this position can be seen in the managerial and technical division within the field, and thus, the general requirements include a bachelor or masters degree in a computer related field, with the latter being preferable. Management of information systems (MIS) along with computer science or information science is a common undergraduate degree required for such specialization (US Bureau of Labor Statistics “Computer and Information Systems Managers”). Five to seven years of technology experience is a pre-requisite for such job, while project management certification can be seen as an essential aspect as well (Money.com). Education and certification are two essential components of a career in IS project management, where a special emphasis is put on certification; “Product-specific, vendor-specific, and task-specific certifications are all useful as long as the material to be mastered helps you in your daily workload” (Spencer).

Technical requirements include such courses as “finance, marketing, accounting, and management, as well as systems design, networking, database management, and systems security” (US Bureau of Labor Statistics “Computer and Information Systems Managers”). Non-technical requirements can be seen typical for managerial positions, including leadership and communication skills (US Bureau of Labor Statistics “Computer and Information Systems Managers”).

Web Development

Web development can be considered among the creative positions of information technology. Being also a broad term, the web development specialization covers a range of positions revolving around creation and management of websites. Job titles related to web development include web designers, web producers, web programmers, web project manager, etc. In that regard, in the context of IS, web development is related to the creation of web applications for information systems, their management, development and support. Nevertheless, the core aspect of web development is technology, where such positions might not require technical skills, rather than familiarity with the technology; they nevertheless, require a technical background. The nature of IS web development can be seen in conceiving the web strategy for an organization, with duties that include, but not limited to, the following:

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  • Outlining the strategy for the website.
  • Working in consultation with the decision makers in the company.
  • Creation and execution of project plans (Energy Solutions).
  • Developing the hardware and software requirements for the website.
  • Coordination between front-end and back-end developers and working with the users and the designers of the website.
  • Understanding the industry and the organizational context for the developed content. (WetFeet.com “Web Development”).

As web development implies several positions overlapping each other, it can be stated that there are several roles related to web development which can evolve into others. In that regard, the technical requirements might vary within each role of web developers. The general technical requirements for IS web developers include the knowledge of web development tools such as Acrobat and Dreamweaver, and web and application development languages such as HTML, JavaScript, XML CGI, etc (WetFeet.com Careers in Information Technology 40). Academic requirements might vary as well, where a degree in a computer related field, usually computer science, information science or management information systems are required. Web development skills if not integrated in a program can be acquired through an associate degree or a certification (US Bureau of Labor Statistics “Computer Network, Systems, and Database Administrators”). A variety of non-technical skills are required for web developers positions, which include problem solving, analytical and communication skills as well as organizational and project-management capabilities (WetFeet.com “Web Development; US Bureau of Labor Statistics “Computer Network, Systems, and Database Administrators”).

The range of salaries is usually determined through the nature of the task performed by web developers. As stated previously, these tasks vary greatly, and in that regard, the range of salaries can vary between $25,000 to $60,000 for web designers, and $90,000 to $135,000 for e-commerce strategy managers (WetFeet.com “Web Development”). In addition to roles and duties, other factor influential in determining the salary for web developers include the size of the company, the location, and the industry. In terms of the latter, wired telecommunications carriers has the highest median annual wage among the industries employing the largest number of network specialist (US Bureau of Labor Statistics “Computer Network, Systems, and Database Administrators”).

Conclusion

Analyzing the aforementioned job positions it can be stated that the controversy with the identification of information systems as a discipline is largely justified. The latter can be seen in the range of the technical and academic requirement for each position, which generally overlaps with different specializations falling within the range of information technology. The distinguishing factor of the IS positions can be seen in the management aspect, which demand varies through various industries and positions. As a concluding remark, it can be stated that information systems is more of combination of essential courses teaching skills that are currently in demand by the IT industry. However, it should be stated that such industry does emphasize how these skills would be obtained.

Works Cited

Avison, David, and Steve Elliot. “Scoping the Discipline of Information Systems “. 2005. Cite Seer. The College of Information Sciences and Technology. 2010. Web.

Bakshi, Sumit. “Crisis in the Information Systems Discipline: A Reflection”. 2006. SSRN. Working Paper. Social Science Research Network. 2010. Web.

Energy Solutions. “Information Systems Web Developer”. Energy Solutions. 2010. Web.

Money.com. “Best Jobs in America”. 2010. Cnn Money.com. Cable News Network. Web.

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Spencer, Don. “It Project Manager Salary Survey”. 2010. PayScale. Web.

US Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Computer and Information Systems Managers”. 2010. U.S. Dept. of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. Web.

“Computer Network, Systems, and Database Administrators”. 2010. U.S. Dept. of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. Web.

WetFeet.com. Careers in Information Technology. Insider Guide. 2009 ed. San Francisco, CA: WetFeet. Print.

“Web Development”. 2008. Wetfeet. UNIVERSUM USA. 2010. Web.

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