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The career expertise you can gain from an online information management degree

Information management is one of the most rapidly growing career fields of the 21st century with employment expected to rise 12 percent from 2016 to 2026 — a rate faster than the national average for all occupations — according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This uptick equates to approximately 367,600 new jobs over that time. These estimations align with current industry trends, as many organizations, including private enterprises, governments, small businesses and more, need experts in this increasingly vital area of business.

Earning a master’s-level information management degree online can help technology professionals acquire the skills and expertise needed to achieve leadership positions in this evolving field.

Careers students can pursue with an advanced information management degree

Graduates of a master’s degree in information management may be able to qualify for roles that involve technology and programming as well as strategic and decision-making responsibilities. Possible information management careers and duties, along with average salaries according to PayScale, include:

  • Senior systems analyst: Implements and analyzes complex software design, programming and maintenance. Earns an average salary of $87,026. Requires competency in multitasking, troubleshooting, budgeting, risk management and organizational skills.
  • Enterprise architecture director: Directs all technical architecture design and development. Earns $146,478 on average. Part of the job includes cooperating and sharing data with management teams, leading departments, operating within strict deadlines, mentoring, reporting to high-level executives and more.
  • Vice president, software development: Supervises all teams responsible for software development, purchases and sales. Earns $154,219 on average. This position requires multitasking capabilities and some administrative or human resources duties, such as providing feedback, creating teams, motivating direct reports and more.
  • Chief technology officer: Leads the business’s entire technology department and works closely with IT staff members. Earns $154,244 on average, and requires leadership skills, self-motivation and the ability to work well in demanding situations.
  • Chief information officer: Tracks and manages all operations and employees involved with the company’s information technology framework. Makes an average of $154,476, overseeing all technology purchases, upgrades and decision-making.

Through innovative coursework, hands-on projects and expert faculty guidance, an online Master of Science in Information Management can help professionals acquire the advanced technical skills and strategic business expertise needed to achieve one of these or other high-ranking positions. 

 

Expertise needed for advanced information management careers

For those who seek to advance in an information management career path, in-depth expertise is required in several key areas:

Information systems

A master’s in information management program can teach students how information and technology best contribute to a company’s overall goals through subject such as:

  • IT governance: This formal framework ensures that IT strategies align with business strategies. Accounting for a business’s needs and interests, its shareholders and its staff, IT governance supports strong decision-making and helps prevent corporate fraud and deception. Proper IT governance, such as mandates in the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, keep businesses compliant with the law. Therefore, companies need competent leaders to navigate these types of regulations.
  • Strategic IT planning: As businesses increasingly rely on technology to accomplish daily tasks, they need systems and networks that operate as efficiently as possible. Processes must avoid redundancy, and software and hardware must be tailored for maximum performance. Further, as businesses increase in size, they need their IT systems to scale in a way that doesn’t cause complications. Such organizations require skilled IT professionals who know technology best practices and can anticipate successful strategies and potential roadblocks in the future.

Data analytics

Information management specialists must understand how big data is affecting the way businesses operate. They can build upon their existing knowledge with a graduate degree in information management, studying analytics that include:

  • Big data: Businesses generate and collect massive amounts of data every day.  Professionals in information management sort through this information and extract valuable insights. They must be able to understand programming languages, high-level mathematics and ideal business outcomes to deduce relevant information.
  • Data mining: Closely connected to big data and its analysis, data mining requires teams to sort through large sets of information, identifying patterns and relationships that lead to actionable next steps. Through data mining, businesses can make informed decisions about elements such as customer touch points, marketing strategy, financial projections and more.
  • Data modeling: Built during a project’s design and analysis phases, data models represent complex computer systems in a way that’s easy to understand, showing data flow between systems. This important step can minimize application errors and help optimize pathways before code is written. Information management specialists must be able to create simple yet comprehensive models to best guide software projects.

 

Emerging technologies

Professionals pursuing leadership roles in information management need to evaluate innovations in the market from a comprehensive business perspective.

“IT professionals, especially those who specialize in information management, need to understand that technology is advancing at a breathtakingly fast pace,” said Alan Simon, faculty director for the ASU Online Master of Science in Information Management program. The pace of change and advancement in technology means these professionals, “need to be self-learners who frequently refresh their skills with the latest technologies, architectures and products.”

An information management master’s degree can help students comprehend:

  • Enterprise systems architecture: Key to business operations, information management professionals must be able to evaluate, implement and even scale various enterprise technologies. A good system aligns with decision models and frameworks to standardize processes, as well as adapt to meet users’ specific requirements. These professionals may need to build, test, monitor and improve security measures, databases and business analytics tools as part of a complete IT infrastructure. Mastery of these related systems can help information managers assess and integrate emerging innovations for improved corporate efficiency.

Effective information management graduate programs prepare students with a variety of expertise. Simon noted, “IT professionals need to understand a wide range of technologies… not just those one might specialize in, but also a number of related technologies that make up a broader ecosystem.” Through coursework and collaborative projects, students of an online Master of Science in Information Management can gain new technical knowledge as they share their learnings and experiences with classmates. Participating in group work also helps to improve students’ soft-skills so they can develop as leaders.

Earning an information management degree online from ASU

From the W. P. Carey School of Business, ASU Online offers a Master of Science in Information Management program  that can prepare students to take the next step in their careers by using IT in a more proactive role that will help their companies gain a competitive edge.

“Preparing students to understand business acumen in combination with IT language, this program serves as a highlight on graduates’ resumes to help them reach influential roles at their companies,” said Naomi Aide, senior associate director of operations for the W. P. Carey Graduate Programs Admissions.

Classes in the information management master’s degree curriculum can help students acquire or improve various technological skills, such as programming, data modeling, infrastructure management and more. Students can also develop their business expertise to lead companies to success through information management and analysis, and they can graduate ready to start an advanced role in a fast-growing, rapidly innovating field.

Sources:

Enterprise Architecture Director Salary by PayScale
Senior Systems Analyst Salary by PayScale
Vice President (VP), Software Development Salary by PayScale
Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Salary by PayScale
Chief Information Officer (CIO) Salary by PayScale
ASU Online – Online Master of Science in Information Management

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