Becoming an IT Director
So you think you might like to become an IT director. Information technology (IT) directors manage information and computer systems. This type of occupation may also fall under the title of chief information officer, chief technology officer or IT security manager. The responsibilities of an IT director depend on the size and needs of a company. Directors in this field may oversee information technology departments, ensure coordination of data and network services and handle departmental budgeting. An IT director also helps determine the information technology goals for an organization, such as information security and upgrades of hardware and software.
So what are the career requirements for an IT director? Employers look for someone with at least a bachelor's degree, but many employers may prefer someone with a master's degree. The degree field should be in information science, computer science or a related field. Microsoft, Cisco and CompTIA offer several certification programs that employers may require. Most employers look for someone with 5-10 years of related IT experience.
The key skills you should have include analytical and organizational skills; the ability to lead and motivate staff; strong attention to detail; knowledge of operational and capital budgets; strategic planning and project management experience; familiarity with information system programs and software, such as Microsoft Server platforms, MS Office Suite and Adobe Creative Suite; practical knowledge of IT systems and infrastructure, such as networks, database administration, help desk, software development and telecommunications. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for an IT manager is $131,600.
Step 1: Earn a Bachelor's Degree
Individuals need at least a bachelor's degree in information or computer science, or a related major, to become an IT director. However, employers may prefer applicants who have a graduate degree. IT management programs are available at universities, colleges and technical schools. Undergraduate courses in IT management may include database management, electronic business infrastructure, software production management, networking fundamentals and server applications.
Find schools that offer these popular programs
- Information Systems Security
- Networking Management
- Systems Administration
- Webmaster and Multimedia Management
Step 2: Obtain IT-Related Job
Individuals need several years of experience working in information technology to become an IT director. Individuals may gain the experience needed through several entry-level occupations. These jobs include computer programmer, computer systems analyst, database administrator, information security analyst, software developer and network systems administrator.
Step 3: Seek Certifications
Individuals may want to obtain professional credentials to demonstrate their skill and knowledge in certain software programs, systems and applications. Several software companies, such as Microsoft, Cisco and Apple, offer certification programs for individuals who use their software applications and systems. Also, the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA), a vendor-neutral industry association, offers certification programs on a variety of brands at the mastery, professional, specialty and basic levels.
Step 4: Pursue IT Director
Some employers require or prefer applicants with a graduate degree. Applicants need to be exceptionally self-motivated and directed, as well as have superior analytical and problem-solving abilities and strong communication skills. They also need to know how to manage and motivate IT staff, prioritize projects and develop IT budgets.
Step 5: Continue Education
Individuals employed as IT directors may improve their knowledge, skills and advancement opportunities by seeking continuing education. Those without a graduate degree may want to pursue a master's degree in information technology management or a related major. Chief information officer and IT management graduate certificate programs, as well as certificate programs in project management, are also available.
Obtain a bachelor's degree, get an IT-related job and work on certifications are the steps that allow you to start a career as an IT director.