IT Manager: Education Requirements and Job Description

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become an IT manager. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs, job duties and work experience to find out if this is the career for you.

In a world where there's a computer in nearly everyone's pocket, information technology (IT) is a rapidly growing and increasingly important field. As an IT manager you'll oversee the computer technology needs of a company or organization. While some of these jobs can be obtained with a bachelor's degree and significant work experience, a master's degree is often required.

Essential Information

IT managers, also known as information technology (IT) directors or management information systems (MIS) directors, supervise the implementation and maintenance of a company's computing needs. They also supervise other employees in a company's IT department and assist with project management. Aspiring IT managers usually hold at least a bachelor's degree in a computer-related field, although a master's degree may be required for some positions. These professionals also need to have IT work experience, and requirements may range from five years of experience for director positions to more than 15 years for chief technology officer positions. Voluntary IT certification in operating systems and other technology products is available.

Required Education Bachelor's or master's degree in a computer field
Other Requirements Five or more years of IT work experience
Certification Optional product or system certification
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 15% for all computer and information systems managers
Median Salary (2015)* $131,600 annually for all computer and information systems managers

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education Requirements for an IT Manager

Some IT managers can be hired with only an associate degree and ample work experience; however, a bachelor's degree in computer science, MIS or a similar computer-oriented major is generally a minimum requirement for an IT management position. Coursework for either degree can include computer engineering, programming, networking, mathematics or database management.

Many employers require their IT managers to hold a master's degree, and some look specifically for an MBA with a focus on computers or similar technology. MBA programs take two years to complete and focus on business classes such as marketing and accounting, though an IT manager candidate would benefit from additional coursework in systems management and electronic business management.

Certification Options

Though not required, product or system certifications could benefit an IT management applicant. These professional certifications are often offered by software or hardware companies and can be used to demonstrate expertise in a specific technology.

Job Description for an IT Manager

IT managers can enter the computer technology field as network administrators, IT consultants or project managers who focus on technology-related projects for their companies. An IT manager often supervises a team of these lower-level IT employees who address a company's computer, Internet, software and network security needs. In addition to managing their IT team, these managers oversee the planning and execution of all projects developed by a company's technology department. Such projects could include software implementation, data security measures or website development.

Salary Information

In May 2015, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimated that the annual median wage for computer and information systems managers, which included IT managers, was $131,600 (www.bls.gov). The BLS predicted that employment of computer and information systems managers as a group would grow by 15% from 2014-2024, which was faster than the average for all occupations.

If you know you want to end up working as an IT manager, earning a master's degree or MBA can increase the job opportunities available to you. Before you become a manager, you'll need at least five years of work experience in addition to your degree. Software certifications can also be beneficial when seeking a managerial position.


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