What Is Management Information Systems (MIS)? Your Career Guide

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Businesses rely on data and need control over both hardware and software systems to help them make decisions. Learn more about MIS and how to get started in this career.

Management information systems (MIS) is the study and application of information systems that organizations use for data access, management, and analytics. For MIS to be effective, you must understand and carefully map out business processes. Data must be accurate and timely, and hardware and software must be able to store and manipulate it. 

A good MIS depends on the people who design, implement, and use it. If you're considering a career in management information systems, learn about the major, the skills you need, and the various job roles. 

What is a management information system?

An MIS is a system that provides managers with the necessary information to make decisions about an organization's operations. The MIS gathers data from various sources and processes it to provide information tailored to the managers' and their staff's needs.

While businesses use different types of systems, they all share one common goal: to provide managers with the information to make better decisions. In today's fast-paced business environment, having access to accurate and timely information is critical for success. MIS allows managers to track performance indicators, identify trends, and make informed decisions about where to allocate resources.

Importance of management information systems for businesses

MISs allow businesses to have access to accurate data and powerful analytical tools to identify problems and opportunities quickly and make decisions accordingly. A management information system should do the following:

  • Provide you with information you need to make decisions

  • Can give you a competitive edge by providing timely, accurate information

  • Can help you improve operational efficiency and productivity

  • Allows you to keep track of customer activity and preferences

  • Enables you to develop targeted marketing campaigns and improve customer service

MIS salary and job outlook

As an MIS professional, you can expect to earn a high salary. MIS professionals tend to be some of the highest-paid employees in many organizations. The median annual salary for MIS managers is $164,070, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) [1]. It is also an in-demand field, given that the growth rate is 15 percent and much higher than the average for all jobs [1].

Are you considering starting a career in MIS? You can start risk-free by enrolling in a free online program like Information Systems Auditing, Controls and Assurance offered by the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. In just 8 hours, you could master core concepts like information security (InfoSec), auditing, and risk and change management.

Key skills for an MIS career

Some key skills you can expect to develop include analytical, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills. You'll also need to be able to communicate effectively with other MIS team members and others who use the system. Essential skills you'll need to develop to get to the management level include: 

  • Understand the role of information systems in organizations

  • Expertise with various information systems concepts and tools

  • Analyze business problems and identify potential solutions using information systems

  • Design, implement, and evaluate information systems solutions for business problems

  • An understanding of the ethical, legal, and regulatory implications of information systems

Benefits of a career in management information systems

Here are some potential benefits of this career path: 

  • Demand for trained professionals: The market for management information systems (MIS) professionals will likely grow, driven by trends with the internet of things (IoT), data science practices, artificial intelligence, and other new and emerging technologies.

  • Job satisfaction: MIS professionals often report high levels of job satisfaction. The reason for such appeal includes challenging work, an opportunity to use creativity, and a chance to make a significant impact for an organization.

  • The opportunity for creativity and innovation: As an MIS professional, you’ll likely have the chance to be creative and innovative. You can develop new ways to use information technology to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your organization.

  • The ability to make an impact: MIS professionals have the ability to make a significant impact on their organizations. Your work can help improve customer service, increase sales, and reduce costs.

5 career paths in management information systems

As a management information systems major, you could choose to pursue various professional roles. You might work as an information technology consultant, helping companies implement and use new technologies. You could also work as a project manager, overseeing the implementation of systems within an organization. Here are some general paths you could follow after an MIS major: 

*Average annual base salary is sourced from Glassdoor as of January 2023*

1. IT manager

Average annual base salary (US): $119,214

IT managers help businesses by advising them on using information technology to achieve their goals. An IT manager will understand business and technology and bridge the gap between the two.

2. Information systems manager

Average annual base salary (US): $128,858

Information systems managers are responsible for keeping an organization’s information system technology running optimally. This includes ensuring that systems are secure, efficient, and effective. They typically oversee a team of information system professionals and make sure users have high-quality support. 

3. Business intelligence analyst

Average annual base salary (US): $85,068

Business intelligence analysts help organizations improve performance by analyzing their business processes and recommending solutions. Analysts typically have strong analytical and problem-solving skills, as well as the ability to understand the needs of different areas of the business.

4. Systems/software developer

Average annual base salary (US): $109,113 

Systems/software developers design, develop, and maintain software applications. This type of developer must be good at coding and have strong technical skills for this role. This role requires knowledge of programming languages to perform everyday tasks.

5. Web developer

Average annual base salary (US): $82,787

Web developers create websites and web applications to access management information systems. Having strong technical skills like programming may be helpful to being a good web developer. Web developers typically have a clear understanding of business processes to gather the functional and testing requirements for front-end systems.