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Computer and Information Systems Manager (CIS Manager)
Computer and information systems manager or CIS manager is the title given to a person in charge of the overall computer operations of a company. This person, also know as the information systems manager or IT manager may also be a director responsible for planning, coordinating and directing all computer-related activities of firms.

Computer and information systems managers play a vital role in the technological direction of their organisations. They do everything from constructing the business plan to overseeing network security to directing internet operations. How and when organisations use technology are critical to remaining competitive.

Computer and information systems managers help determine both technical and business goals in consultation with top management and make detailed plans for the accomplishment of these goals. For example, working with their staff, they may develop the overall concepts and requirements of a new product or service, or may identify how an organisation’s computing capabilities can effectively aid project management.

These managers plan and coordinate activities such as installation and upgrading of hardware and software, programming and systems design, development of computer networks, and implementation of Internet and intranet sites. They are increasingly involved with the upkeep, maintenance, and security of networks. They analyze the computer and information needs of their organisations from an operational and strategic perspective and determine immediate and long-range personnel and equipment requirements. They assign and review the work of their subordinates and stay abreast of the latest technology to ensure the organisation does not lag behind competitors.

According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook (, computer and information systems managers are often called by different titles depending on their duties and the nature of the organisation. For instance:

Chief technology offices evaluate the newest technologies and determine how these can help their organisations to become more competitive. As such chief technology officers are constantly on the lookout for trends and developments that could benefit their organisations. Chief technology officers set the technical standards and look to continually upgrade and adapt where necessary.

Management information systems directors (MIS) are often used in firms which have a variety of user services such as, call-centre operations where employees and customers can call with questions or problems. MIS directors or managers make hardware and software upgrade recommendations and ensure that data is secure and available at all times. In South Africa where there is a growth in call centre activity there is an increasing demand for experienced MIS specialists.

Project managers as the name suggests, tend to work on a project-by-project basis. Project managers are often brought in when there is a new rollout of systems, products or processes that need direct and specialised oversight. They coordinate projects from development of the project through to implementation, working with teams of people directly involved in the delivery of the project. Teams almost always consist of computer programmers who write programs or integrate the required system components.

LAN/WAN (local area network/wide area network) managers provide a variety of services, from design to administration of the local area network, which connects staff within an organisation. These managers direct the network and its computing environment, including hardware, systems software, applications software, and all other computer-related configurations.

Information systems consultants offer their services to wide range of companies. They play a similar role to the CIS manager in that they develop and manage information systems. However, as a consultant they often come with pre-developed computer/business solutions which can be adapted and integrated into the clients systems. Where appropriate, consultants assess the fit of available applications and adapt existing software for particular uses. In some situations, they may be involved in the design or restructuring of business processes supported by information systems. To keep up to date with new developments in the computer industry, information system consultants must spend a considerable amount of time reading and attending seminars and conferences.

Satisfying Aspects
- variety of work
- intellectual challenge
- problem-solving
- creative thinking
- dealing with people
- good remuneration

Demanding aspects
- having to work long hours on occasion
- stressful when projects are behind schedule
- difficulty in keeping abreast in the field
- mental fatigue due to complexity and pressures of the job

- the ability to think logically and analytically
- the ability to pay close attention to detail
- the flexibility and adaptability required to manage change effectively
- the ability to work independently, in teams and as group facilitators
- excellent oral and written communication skills including the ability to express ideas and solutions in clear, understandable language and to deliver presentations to groups
- the interpersonal skills required to maintain good working relationships with clients and vendors.
- enjoy analysing business problems and finding innovative solutions
- enjoy taking responsibility for projects that require planning, decision-making and co-ordinating the work of others.

School Subjects
National Senior Certificate meeting degree requirements for a degree course
National Senior Certificate meeting diploma requirements for a diploma course

Each institution will have its own minimum entry requirements.

Compulsory Subects: Mathematics
Recommended Subjects: Information Technology, Computer Applications

Because CIS managers are called on to make important business they need considerable experience in both computer information systems and management. The requirements for employment are often experience with the specific software or technology used on the job, as well as a background in either consulting or business management.

Information systems consultants need a combination of technical expertise and business-related training or experience. A four year university degree in computer science is a good starting point - RU, UP, UKZN, UZ, UFH, UFS, UCT, US, NMMU, UWC, UNISA, UJ, NWU, Monash and Wits.

However, few consultants are hired directly out of university unless they have previous business experience. Most computer science graduates must first gain experience in computer programming, and acquire education or experience related to business administration or management. Information systems consultants must continuously upgrade their knowledge to keep up with changing methods and technologies.

- the information technology industry
- large computer companies
- large business and industrial organizations
- government departments
- provincial administrations
- computer bureaus
- any company or business using computer systems and networks
- self-employment, on a consultancy basis.

Computer Society of SA   
P O Box 1714
Halfway House, 1685
ICT House
546 16th Road
Constantia Park [Unit No.3]
Tel: (011) 315-1319 Fax: (011) 315-2276

ISETT (Information Systems Electronics & Telecommunication Technologies)
P O Box 5585
Halfway House 1685
Tel: (011) 207-2600 Fax: (011) 805-6833