Questions on Career Path in MIS Answered in Essay Form
Searching on Craiglists for openings in the field I am pursuing connected the academic pursuing of a certain qualification with its application in the real world. I found a job on the Pittsburgh Craiglist page that was looking for a Diretor of Information Technology & Systems. The company, OnDemand Energy Solutions, is one of PA’s fastest growing companies and would be an exciting organization to become a part of. Their primary service is to help business customers mamage energy needs on both the supply and demand side of the meter. This service is currenly lacking in the US, since we do not have many areas that use a smart grid. Smart grids save energy and are a green solution to the countries growing energy crisis. The focus of the posted job was someone who can provide “effective utilization of the IT infrastructure and resources and the identification of technology solutions to support changes and evolution in the Company’s business model for sales, sales support, marketing, accounting and finances department” (Criagslist Job Posting).
The title of Director of Information Technology & Systems, is an attractive ones, but it is just one of many titles associated with a career in Management Information Systems. Others include IP Engineers, Data Technician, System Monitor, Systems Analyst, Senior Support Engineer, IP Support Engineers, Systems Administrator, Systems Engineer, Network Administration, IT Manager, Systems Technician, Mapper Analyst, Data Security Analyst, Production Technician, Data Security Analyst, Networking Administrator, Technical Operational Analysts; and this list could go on and on.
MIS has been a growing field for some time, keeping pace with the every growing technologies that define the world we currently live in. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are currently 482,040 people employed in a capacity such as the ones listed in the preceding paragraph. The year the statistics were taken saw both an employment rise and wage rise. The mean hourly wage for such a career is $40.20 per hour with an mean annual wage of 83,800. In other words, it is a well compensated career.
I wish to persue a career of management of information technology systems, much like the listing expounded upon above. I would enjoy working with a team, perhaps managing it to find solutions for IT infrastructure that best services the needs of clients paying the company to provide them with an IT powered service. I like work that is results based, that starts with a problem and forces me to come up with a solution. Specifically, I would like ti implement existing technology in new ways that create novel markets. Flexibility and adaption is a requirement as this line of work is constantly in need of learning new technologies and new implementations of existing technologies to keep pace with the emerging ones.
Over the next five years technologies are going to be changing rapidly. I do not believe that education ends with the classroom. Those who belief that will become obsolete in three years. I would like to work on both expanding my technical knowledge and my theoretical understandings of how various systems work and how different systems can be integrated.
It might be difficult to start off as a director of information technologies right after college, since management positions are generally only given to people who have a lot of experience within the field. In looking at various postings, it seems that someone involved in a task of system monitoring, might lead to being noticed within a company.
A systems monitor is in charge of monitoring life systems as they operation. It requires working and thinking quickly, taking reports of performance conditions, pouring through raw generated data and putting it into meaningful reports for team members. (Eclipse.org)
A systems monitor is essentially on the front lines and is able to make themselves notice by forcing potential problems before they happening and reacting with speed an agility to any problems which may arise.
Requirements for such a job would be a degree in information’s technologies, management and information systems, computer science and networking. Part of a job like this, requires working with a team. Being able to communicate both verbally and with text is important. In this day and age it is possible that other members of a team might be working in another part of the world. It is not just possible, but even likely that English will likely be a second language for them, so it is important to have the ability to communicate clearly in written text any problems, reports or memos that are needed to be communicated to them.
One strength I have is that I am a quick thinker. I find that I can often spot problems sooner than my peers can. I also am a good communicator, and find that I like language to work as code—it needs to have the necessary components to do it’s task but has no need for additional “filler” words.
I do have some experience in management, but I would like to further increase my management experience and gain supervision or personnel control. The management experience I have is from working for my family as a retail store manager for two years. In this role I maintained responsibility for the overall daily operation, managed, stocked and merchandized, as well as rotated stock. IT does not always lend itself as easily to this type of work as other career paths. Friend who work part time at a restaurant are sometimes easily promoted into being a bar manager, or managing the restaurant floor for a night when one of the salaried managers is on vacation. In IT, they do not turn over staff to “guest managers” as frequently. In terms of packages, there is still a long way for me to go to become an expert at programs like Excel and Adobe Photoshop. These programs have a very high ceiling and I am somewhere midway to getting there but am not yet there.
Outside of management experience, this career path makes up for it in online certifications and learning that can be done easily online after university. Below I have developed a plan to improve upon the skills that I need in order to continue to advance on the ladder of my chosen career.
3 Year Plan
One strength that I have is language. I speak English, Chinese and some Japanese. In the IT world, there are three very important language. I would like to continue learning and perfecting this skill because I believe that if I were to become fluent in Japanese, that I would have more job prospects available to me. So to this end one of my goals is:
- Continue to study Japanese until I achieve the level of fluency.
Another way to get this sort of experience, and one that having on a resume would show an employer that you are serious about taking on such roles would be to enroll in a course, either actual or online, in leadership and complete it until certification.
- Enroll in a leadership class
In a certain job there are always ways to grow if you are willing to take on tasks voluntarily that do not necessarily fit with your job description or are jobs that your would technically not be required to do without offering. This not only will cause me to learn more skills, but it will let management notice that you are seriously committed to the company.
- Always be open and active in going over an above and volunteer
Continue ongoing education. It is one thing to stay up on new technologies and put them into practices one’s own, but the problem is there is no accountability. I know myself well enough to know that when there are grading and instructors who test you on your knowledge, that I am more aggressive about making sure I know what I am supposed to know.
- Continue to grow with onging education, taking a few classes here and there, even after I graduate.
Microsoft offers eCertifications which would not only look good on resumes, but also would allow me to grow in my understanding of the programs that I feel I could continue to grow in. They offer eBooks, online instruction, videos, and numerous other resources at all levels of their pograms. (Microsoft.com).
5. Enroll in Microsoft certification programs for the programs that I could still grow in understanding of.
Craiglist Job Posting: http://pittsburgh.craigslist.org/sad/4057922934.html
MOS Certification | Microsoft Learning. (n.d.). Microsoft Corporation. Retrieved September 10, 2013, from http://www.microsoft.com/learning/en-us/mos-certification.aspx
.Bureau of Labor Statistic:http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes151121.htm
O*net online: http://online.onetceter.org