System support managers are information technology (IT) professionals who supervise activities and staff involved in maintaining a company’s computer operating systems and sub-systems. Because this position requires both technical proficiency and strong leadership capabilities, individuals with a background in computer systems and business management will have the best chances for success. Enrolling in a bachelor’s degree in business administration program with a specialization in computer information systems can be the first step to a rewarding career as a system support manager.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that overall employment of computer and information systems managers, including system support managers, is expected to be very strong in coming years. Businesses will need sophisticated computer systems, networks and software applications to remain competitive in an increasingly complex and global environment, which is why demand for system support specialists and managers should continue to grow.
System support managers are charged with developing a company’s strategic plan for computer systems according to established goals. They also ensure that related hardware, software and other components are properly selected, developed, implemented, tested and deployed. In addition, they are responsible for monitoring systems to detect deficiencies, and recommending changes and solutions. System support managers are generally skilled at estimating resource requirements and implementation costs. They are often required to present management with proposals or presentations identifying system needs and outlining return on investment.
Other system support manager job duties may include furthering business objectives through interactions with other department heads, external consultants, and software and hardware vendors. Professionals in this role are usually expected to provide project status reports to senior management. System support managers also supervise system support specialists, providing direction and guidance. Another important aspect of this occupation is explaining computer system projects to executives and other non-technical employees in a manner they can understand.
Often reporting to a chief information officer (CIO), system support managers may also have frequent contact with operations, sales or production departments, depending on the industry. System support managers usually work in an office setting and put in a standard 40-hour week. However, overtime may be necessary to meet deadlines or to address any problems if the system goes down. A fast-paced work environment is typical for this profession.
According to BLS reports, the median annual income for all computer and information systems managers, including system support managers, was $113,720 as of May 2009. The middle 50% earned between $89,240 and $143,590. Salaries for the lowest 10% were around $69,900, while the highest 10% brought in upwards of $166,400. Recent bachelor’s degree program graduates will typically start out in a system support specialist role, and can move into a higher-paying manager role with experience and advanced education.
System support managers generally require technical expertise as well as an understanding of business and management principles. Most positions require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in a computer-related field; however, some employers prefer to hire candidates with a dual major in business administration and computer information systems.
A system support manager career can begin with earning a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a specialization in computer information systems. Coursework typically includes programming in Java and C++, essential business skills, management information systems, international management and survey of software systems.
Employers can be confident that graduates of a business administration program with a specialization in computer information systems are able to:
Many employers offer opportunities for continuing education. It’s possible to gain an entry-level position with a bachelor’s degree and use a tuition assistance program to further your education.
Successful system support managers are outstanding leaders, capable of making sound business decisions. Excellent communication skills are essential for assigning work to team members and explaining technical subject matter to colleagues in other departments. A bachelor’s degree in business administration/CIS program can help you develop the computer expertise and management capabilities required to excel in a system support manager career.