IT Manager Career Info
Information technology (IT) managers oversee a company's computer-related activities. Also known as computer and information systems managers, they supervise IT workers, manage upgrades of systems and software, negotiate with product vendors, and ensure the security of a company's IT infrastructure. IT managers may hold the title of IT director or IT security manager, depending on a company's organizational structure. These managers are typically located on site for the companies they work for, although a few work remotely. Working overtime is also common in this field.
These professionals should have analytical skills, organizational skills, decision-making skills, leadership and communication skills, and strong proficiency in computer operating systems, networks, and servers. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found that in 2015, computer and information systems managers earned the higher-than-average median salary of $131,600.
Get Bachelor's Degree
Also according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, individuals need at least a bachelor's degree to be eligible to become an IT manager. Degree programs in such fields as information or computer science and information technology management are standard for this field. These programs cover technical topics, such as network fundamentals, server applications, and wireless systems. They also offer courses in math, technical writing, and project management.
There are various entry-level IT occupations that individuals may seek to gain the work experience needed to become an IT manager. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, these jobs include computer programmer, computer systems analyst, database administrator, information security analyst, software developer, or network systems administrator.
Employers may prefer candidates with previous supervisory experience. Prospective IT managers should seek opportunities to lead small projects or mentor newer IT employees and interns to gain experience leading staff.
While acquiring the work experience needed to become an IT manager, individuals may also want to obtain professional credentials that demonstrate their skill and knowledge in software programs, systems, and applications. Software companies such as Apple, Microsoft, and Cisco offer certification programs. Vendor-neutral credentials may be obtained by industry groups, such as the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA), which offers certification at the mastery, professional, specialty, and basic levels.
In addition to professional certification, a master's degree or graduate certificate program related to information technology or business management can help IT managers gain promotions to more senior-level roles. With advanced education, these professionals may go on to become chief information officers or chief technology officers.
To recap, an aspiring information technology manager should have both a bachelor's degree and experience working in information technology or computer systems. A graduate degree and some management experience can help as well.