How to Become an IT Operations Manager

Learn how to become an IT operations manager. Research the education and career requirements, training information and experience required for starting a career in IT operations management.

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Should I Become an IT Operations Manager?

IT operations managers are responsible for overseeing IT technicians. Managers may be responsible for planning and coordinating IT directives, promoting employee development, and ensuring services comply with policies. They are responsible for negotiating with vendors and determining departmental needs. Some managers may have to determine staffing needs and upgrade computer software.

Most IT operations managers work in an office setting, although there may be some telecommuting opportunities available. The majority of such managers work full-time, logging at least 40 hours per week, and are required to stay overtime when specific IT issues demand their immediate attention.

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Career Requirements

Degree Level Bachelor's degree is standard; master's degree is a plus
Degree Fields Management information systems, computer science or a related field
Experience Five or more years of experience in IT field; two or more years of management experience
Key Skills Strong oral and communication skills, ability to work independently, attention to detail, problem-solving and troubleshooting skills, leadership and organizational skills
Computer Skills Experience with ITSM tools, Frameworks, Windows PC and Server Systems Operations, Microsoft Office Suite, Cisco Networking, Linux Server Operations, VMWare
Additional Requirements Travel may be required
Salary $136,280 mean annual wage (May 2014)

Sources: Monster.com Job Postings (July 2012), U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Step 1: Earn a Bachelor's Degree

Undergraduate degree programs in information science, computer science, information technology or management information systems are the most common for this occupation. These programs provide students with a background on subjects such as computer engineering and programming, mathematics, computer science, statistics, systems security, database management and networking.

Success Tip

  • Develop strong leadership and communication skills. Since most employers require managers to have the ability to diffuse emotional situations or support employees, strong foundational skills in leadership and communication are important. Some programs may offer students coursework in leadership and professional development, such as interpersonal and teamwork skills, negotiation and cross-cultural communication.

Step 2: Work for Five Years in an IT Field

Most employers call for managers to have at least five years of experience in an IT field. However, some employers may be looking for eight or more years of experience. While not all employers may require managerial experience, working in a management position is also important.

Success Tip

Earn entry-level experience in a lower-level management position. Lower-level management positions within smaller companies may allow you to gain more experience in a managerial position with fewer years of experience. Since smaller companies don't typically require as much experience as larger companies, prospective managers within smaller companies can gain management positions more quickly and use that experience to build their resume.

Step 3: Earn a Master's Degree

While a master's degree isn't required to gain most positions within IT operations management, employers do look favorably on applicants with a Master of Business Administration (MBA), Master of Arts or Master of Science in a related field. Master's degree programs in IT management or technology management are available and provide students with advanced coursework in operations management, management of information technology, marketing and strategic management. Within an MBA program, students will also gain an advanced business education in business economics, financial analysis, business law and human behavior in organizations.

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