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Technology job titles

Posted on 2006-11-02
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Last Modified: 2008-01-09
I have a slight disagreement with another person in my company on the proper job title for someone in charge of an IT department - and whether it's and IT department or not.

This other person thinks in terms of "IS" as in Information Systems, as in MIS without the M.

I keep saying the "new" term for MIS is IT as in Information Technology, and nowadays IS means "Information Services" as in the folks that take care of where all the paper files are stored, and maybe also takce care of scanning paper documents into a document management system.

What is the "feel" out there for IS versus IT.  Is this place where we have the servers and programming staff and take care of the network infrastructure and keep the ERP system running the "IT department" or the "IS department?"  

Would the guy in charge of that department be the "IT Manager" or the "IS Manager?"

Or would "Manager of Information Technology" or "Manager of Information Systems" be more appropriate in your view?

What does YOUR company use?  MIS, IT, IS or something else?
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Question by:ShineOn
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17 Comments
 
LVL 16

Expert Comment

by:dhsindy
ID: 17862691
Well, we have an IT Department headed up by a CIO (Chief Information Officer).  The IS way just seems old fashion or me.
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LVL 27

Accepted Solution

by:
David-Howard earned 150 total points
ID: 17862857
I.T. Defined:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Information_technology
I.S. Defined:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Information_systems
;-)
I had the same issue with my last job. A few of the "I.T." people followed the managers lead and referred to themselves as I.S..
I found this rather odd as our analysts referred to themselves in the same way.
I kept to the I.T. convention.
As for titles; our manager was known as the Manager of Information Services AND Technology.
Per the definition though....it's I.T..
:-)
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LVL 4

Expert Comment

by:Wwysdom
ID: 17862960
How about Mgr ITS?
Manager IInformation Technology Systems
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LVL 5

Expert Comment

by:Austin Texas
ID: 17863146
MIS = what you call an unmarried young lady
MIT = what you protect your hand with while cooking
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LVL 5

Assisted Solution

by:Austin Texas
Austin Texas earned 50 total points
ID: 17863175
Honestly, I call it IT; probably just because it's minutly easier to say.  I think that's all I hear these days.

Regarding titles, as head of my dept I had some latitude to choose my title and I chose Managing Engineer.  Some have commented that my title was somewhat modest for my position but I tend to like that it doesn't put a huge target on me to sales people.
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LVL 4

Assisted Solution

by:programmer1024
programmer1024 earned 50 total points
ID: 17863954
Where I work, I'd call it IT, but we're still referred to as IS. BS if you ask me. IT SHOULD BE IT!!!!
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LVL 57

Assisted Solution

by:giltjr
giltjr earned 200 total points
ID: 17864088
Well it all up to the company.  I know of of some companies where it is "Information Technology" and other where it is "Information Services" no matter what.

I was taught (20+ years ago):

IT:  The group/groups or people that support the comptuer hardware and system level software.  System level software being Operating Systems, DBMS, security systems, and application server software.  Application Server software are things like Apache, J2EE severs (SunONE, Weblogic, WebSphere), CICS, IDMS, IMS, IIS, ect.  People that do this are typically called system programmers, security administrators, system adminstrators, computer operators, network operaters, and system engineers, DBAs.

IS: The group/groups or people that write/develop applications used to provide information to end users.  People that do this are typcially called application programmers, application developers, systems analysts, data analysts.

So the guy that installs and maintains a server, OS, and Apache is a IT person the the person that develops the web pages, and applications that allow you and me to see results is a IS person.
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LVL 35

Author Comment

by:ShineOn
ID: 17866713
So someone that manages the department that has both IT and IS functions would be the... ?

I suppose that distinction giltjr drew would apply to the "C" level, too, where there's the CTO and the CIO.  One handles the strategery regarding leveraging technology to improve the business function while the other handles the processes that provide analysis, presentation and preservation of information in general, whether it be technology-based or not?

There's an actual definition for "MIS" out there that I've seen, that actually is an academic discipline - the business side of technology as opposed to "computer science" which is the science behind the technology.  It used to be the department that was in charge of the mainframe systems and the application programmers that supported the business systems running on the mainframe, as well as all of the peripheral equipment.  That basic structure still stands, with servers, pc's, networks and the Internet all balled together along with their support and maintenance instead of, or in addition to, the mainframe systems.

I suppose it comes down to how the job description is written...  

If the job description leans more IT than IS then I'd hope the title is IT and not IS, because that would tie into salary survey data, too, AFAIK.

Who gets paid more - an IT manager or an IS manager?
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LVL 5

Expert Comment

by:Austin Texas
ID: 17866866
"Many IT professionals are climbing the career ladder with the ultimate goal of becoming a CIO. But the CIO job doesn't necessarily result in the most recognition or the highest salary. Chief technology officers are getting better raises, and VPs of IT earn more than executives who hold only the CIO title, according to InformationWeek Research's annual salary survey."
http://www.informationweek.com/800/salary.htm
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LVL 57

Assisted Solution

by:giltjr
giltjr earned 200 total points
ID: 17867262
I would say that if somebody's title is "Manager of I?" or "I? Manager" that the company is most likely small and they both get paid about the same.  

The exception maybe the banking industry or other very large corporations.  They typically have a "pay scale" title and a "working" title.  They pay scale title maybe "Manager of I?", which puts them in a pay range and they could have 10-20 of these positions.  Their working title tells you want they really do, like "Manager of I?, Application Development Accounts Receivable",  "Manager of I?, Application Development Home Loans",  "Manager of I?, Network Management",  "Manager of I?, Network Administration" and so on.

In fact in a few small companies I have seen those titles like "I? Manager" or "Manager of I?" that are not "managers" in the sense they manage people, but they actually manage the systems, what I would call a system admin positions.

Every environment is different.  I used to be "Manager of Networks", which in a lot of companies means that you handle distributed severs (Windows, Linux, and Unix).  Well at my company we handled the network: routers, switches, firewalls, remote access severs, data circuits, mainframe networking definitions and network monitoring and management software.  Another group handled distributed servers.

As the reference that TexorcisT points out, titles like CTO and VP of IT get paid more than CIO's.  Why, because today it is generally seen as the IT guys are looking at what infustructure they need to get to "tomrrow" and how to support what you have today.  Whereas the IS guys "programming jockies that generate reports for users."  This is not my view, but this is the view that a lot of the users I deal with have.

In a lot of companies today the IS functions are under the CTO or VP of IT and either directly or indirectly CIO's report to the CTO.

The lines get blurred and the titles change based on what is considered new and hot.

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LVL 5

Expert Comment

by:Austin Texas
ID: 17867300
Indeed, how many people you manage is a much greater influence on your pay.
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LVL 24

Assisted Solution

by:SunBow
SunBow earned 50 total points
ID: 17869566
Ditto the stream going of changing from IS to IT to (not confirmed yet)
Also the managers, Chiefs, all with same # letters in title should have same pay level whether they do or do not.
When you have employees then you can be
Manager, IT
"Manager" means staff of workers, not just "overhead" employees, but those with real projects to help direct business needs, the department comes last in title. Same for

Chief TO
VP _______ owns chiefs

With CTO, CIO, CEO, CFO all should be equal but CEO usually gets backing to have the extra salary and everyone else beneath him, some places that means all the other Officers and even VPs.


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LVL 35

Author Comment

by:ShineOn
ID: 17869918
I thnk those people you consider just "overhead" employees would take exception to the concept that they're not workers, especially if they're non-union.  ;)

The concept that if you don't directly contribute to the bottom line (sales, production) you're "just overhead" is an ancient one that has got to go.  Everyone that has a role to play is a worker, and their jobs have value, even the receptionist in this day-and-age of automated attendants has value.

Everyone is part of "overhead," even all of those C-level execs.  Whether it's direct labor, indirect labor or non-product labor, it's labor overhead.

"Manager" means department-level, not director-level.  If you have budget and policy decision-making responsibility for a department, you're a "manager" whether you have project-oriented subordinates or not.  Even if you don't have direct reports and only supervise consultants, if you have budget and policy responsibility for a department, you ARE a "manager."

Below "Manager" would be "Supervisor," which is usually reserved for those that directly supervise hourly workers, or some sort of a "lead" person, which could apply to professional as well as non-professional people, as in "project leader" or "lead operator."
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LVL 35

Author Comment

by:ShineOn
ID: 18021445
OK, I'll close it.  I was kind-of hoping for more than what I got, but...
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LVL 24

Expert Comment

by:SunBow
ID: 18028544
> Below "Manager" would be "Supervisor,"

similarly. title then dept, no longer IS, you can spell it out or abbreviate

Mgr, IT
Supv, IT
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LVL 24

Expert Comment

by:SunBow
ID: 18028555
(although those like Supervisor probably will use alternate part of sub-organization to their smaller group)
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