Information is a valuable resource for many organisations. Consequently, it needs to be managed, stored and distributed effectively. This is where information officers come in. These methodical individuals work for all kinds of organisations, from blue chip companies and law firms to government departments and hospitals.
Responsible for managing and maintaining databases, information catalogues and web resources, information officers use their expertise to make sure that the information they manage is safe, secure and easily accessible.
Information officers aren’t only responsible for storing, categorising and maintaining databases; they’re also responsible for identifying and procuring information which would be especially valuable for their organisation.
Computer literacy is essential for information officers, as a large part of their time will be spent working with digital resources, such as content management systems (CMS), electronic document and record management systems (EDRMS) and other databases.
Information officers may even be responsible for project managing the design, development and implementation of new information management systems from time to time.
Information officers are usually the main point of contact for other people who wish to access information. Indeed, they act as information gatekeepers: responding to people’s requests, picking out the right pieces of information for them, or training people how to use the organisation’s internal databases and catalogues.
To make sure that the security, accessibility and quality of the information remains consistent, information officers are also responsible for conducting information audits from time to time.
Salary & benefits
Starting salaries for information officers range from around £18,000 to £27,500, while senior information officers can earn up to £72,000 and beyond.
Information officers tend to enjoy a nine-to-five working schedule. However, it really depends what kind of information you are working with.
Indeed, if you work for an international financial services organisation, your working hours may need to coincide with the activity of different financial markets. Weekend work is rare.
You can begin a career as an information officer with an undergraduate degree in any discipline. However, a relevant degree in information management, information science or archive administration can really boost your chances of securing an entry-level position.
Completing a relevant postgraduate qualification after you’ve finished your first degree is another great way of breaking into this line of work, especially if specialist knowledge in another area will help you to thrive in your chosen area of information management.
Training & progression
The majority of your initial training will involve getting to grips with in-house systems and processes. However, once you have settled into your role, you may have the opportunity to attend training courses offered by organisations, such as the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) and the Association for Information Management.
After gaining several years of experience, the majority of information officers become chartered members of CILIP; some even go on to become chartered fellows of the organisation. This professional status is vital for progressing up the career ladder.
Once you have gained sufficient experience as an information officer, the next logical step up is into the position of information manager.
Alternatively, you might choose to specialise in a particular area of information management, such as the development of IM computer systems.
Freelance consultancy work is another option.