As the extent and complexity of computer-based networks and systems have increased, so has the demand for individuals with information systems skills. Industry and government offer wide-ranging positions for information system professionals. Some information system professionals will be involved in advancing the technology itself; developing software and systems to enhance the ability of individuals, business, government and industry to better utilize information systems in their daily tasks. Others are more directly involved in developing and implementing information systems to meet specific needs, such as for business applications, transportation network needs, environmental applications, or local government needs. Some information system professionals are involved in managing or operating an information system for an organization with perhaps increased responsibility for personnel management, financial planning, interactions with clients and developing proposals. Yet others are self-employed developing new innovative products and services for sale to consumers or other businesses in the marketplace. From entertainment and health industries to engineering and business communities, career opportunities are diverse, rewarding, fun and intellectually stimulating.
Demand for Information Systems Professionals
The demand for graduates of information systems programs both in-state and nationally is very high. Information technologies are key to enabling the growth of businesses. Individuals in all areas of private and public enterprise rely on information systems for communication, planning, control and decision support. The advanced knowledge provided by information systems programs is needed across a wide range of commercial settings.
Sorted by annual number of predicted openings, the job category of network and computer systems administrators is ranked within the top six of high-wage, in-demand jobs in Maine in a recent study (An Analysis of High Demand, High Wage Jobs in Maine, Center for Workforce Research and Information, Maine Department of Labor, June 2008). Many other states predict similar high demand, high growth employment over the next decade for information systems applications developers, analysts and managers (example: http://worknet.wisconsin.gov) and we see the same predictions nationally (see http://www.careervoyages.gov/infotech-main.cfm).
Similarly, the Maine Innovation Index of 2002 (published by the Maine Science and Technology Foundation) stated that “Information technology is one of Maine’s top growth industries.” This and several more recent reports substantiate a strong marketplace demand in Maine for increased numbers of graduates that possess high levels of information systems expertise.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected employment demands through the year 2014 (see http://stats.bls.gov/) and predicts a strong and growing demand for information systems professionals throughout this period [see Occupational Outlook Handbook]. For major employment classifications germane to the information systems program, employment opportunities are expected to increase much faster than average. (See Computer Systems Analysts, Engineers and Scientists at http://stats.bls.gov/oco/ocos042.htm and Information System Managers at http://stats.bls.gov/oco/ocos009.htm). A salary survey for information system professionals and the computer industry in general shows that graduates will be highly valued in the economic marketplace (see the Salary Survey).
The future business climate in Maine and the rest of the nation will be characterized by rapid technological change, intense global competition, faster product life cycles and more complex, specialized markets. In such an environment the information needs of organizations are increasingly complex and rapidly changing. Individuals with information systems expertise who can design and develop information systems, manage sophisticated information resources, work on interdisciplinary teams and communicate effectively with business managers, engineers and other end-users are in short supply. This program produces individuals who can make significant contributions to Maine’s economic development as well as that of the nation by ensuring that businesses have the information systems expertise needed to remain competitive.