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What Is an Information Technology Director?
The role of an information technology director is divided into two main components: resolving technical issues and managing a team of IT professionals. On the technical side, directors are expected to ensure IT technologies can meet a business' needs and troubleshoot problems. On the management side, they are expected to communicate with executives, manage schedules, organize budgets, and lead employees.
|Educational Requirements||Bachelor's degree|
|Job Skills||Technical programming knowledge, interpersonal communication and problem-solving skills, analytical reasoning ability|
|Median Salary (2018)*||$115,755|
|Job Outlook (2016-2026)**||12% (All computer and information systems managers)|
Source: *Payscale.com, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Aspiring IT directors are required to have a bachelor's degree. Candidates should focus on fields related to information technology or computer science, with examples of majors including software engineering, mathematics, and computer programming.
Depending on the size and requirements of the employer, IT directors may also be required to have a graduate degree, such as a Master of Business Administration (MBA), to help them navigate the management side of the job. These degrees are usually less technical and focus on business and management principles.
On the technical side of the IT director position, knowledge of the IT field is crucial. Most directors initially serve as lower-level employees, such as network analysts or software programmers, where they cultivate their programming and quantitative skills before moving up to the management level.
As with most management positions across all industries, directors will need leadership capabilities in order to manage their teams. Resolving conflicts, balancing schedules, and promoting a positive culture are all required duties. Directors are also expected to communicate with executives and other superiors to provide projections and updates on overall performance.
IT professionals looking to move up the ladder should focus on selecting an industry and learning more about it, as opposed to hopping from one field to another. For example, someone looking to work as a director at a cybersecurity firm should have a background in information security, or someone looking to be a director at a hospital should have experience working in data science from a healthcare perspective.
Career Outlook and Salary
Being an IT director requires extensive knowledge and experience, but employees in this field are well-compensated for their efforts. Payscale.com reported that the median salary for all IT directors was $115,755 as of December, 2018. The overall salary range was $64,996-$165,546, meaning that even directors on the lowest end of the scale can expect to receive an impressive salary.
The future of the profession is in good shape as well. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not publish career information specific to IT directors but does list the career outlook for all computer and information systems managers. The BLS predicts that employment of computer and information systems managers will grow 12 percent from 2016 to 2026, a rate that is faster than the average for all professions.
The BLS attributes this growth to the trend of using digital platforms to manage operations. As more and more companies take their business online and conduct their operations in a digital space, they will need to hire IT professionals (including directors) to oversee this development and implement the new practices.
Other careers that feature similar skills and responsibilities as IT directors include: