Becoming an IT manager is a career choice worth considering. It can be an opportunity to advance in your career.
Naturally, you might consider how to become an information technology manager. In light of this, we have laid out many of the requirements for management positions in IT you need to propel your career forward: skills, experience, and an information technology manager-caliber of education. However, first, let us cover the basics. Precisely what is an IT manager?
What Is an IT Manager
It is the job of a manager of IT projects job to oversee and direct the activities of information technology projects, including executing a project communication plan, managing personnel, and overseeing budgets and schedules. In a nutshell, a manager of IT projects is there to make sure day-to-day work in a tech department happens as smoothly as possible.
Information technology management may also be referred to as computer and information systems management, and IT management qualifications include a bachelor’s degree and considerable amounts of experience and on-the-job training.
Most computer and information systems managers work full-time, with overtime commonly reported as projects’ needs require. Although many IT professionals can telecommute, project managers generally have to report to an office setting to supervise their team and the project generally.
How to Become an IT Manager in 2021
So, how do I become an IT project manager? Let us go through each of the various steps required.
Step 1: Earn an Information Technology Management Degree
Managers of IT projects must possess at least a bachelor’s degree in computer science, information technology, or IT project management. The courses in these 4-year programs cover topics, such as
- Database management systems
- IT security
- Management information systems
- Principles of project management
- Programming fundamentals
- Project procurement management
Elective classes may include quality management, organizational behavior, and information storage management.
You may choose to complete an internship. An internship allows students to interact with experienced information technology managers like a computer project manager while practicing to complete some of the same tasks they will perform when working in the field. This experience and these networking opportunities may make it easier to find a position in IT management immediately after graduation.
Step 2: Gain Experience as an Information Technology Manager
Most computer and information systems managers have years of work experience in the field. Employers often seek candidates who possess a bachelor’s degree and have experience working in project or people management in an information technology department.
Step 3: Work as an Information Technology Manager
After 3-5 years of experience working in an IT-related area, many individuals may advance in their careers. IT project managers oversee IT projects by planning the project and managing staff. More research into how to become an information technology manager from a software engineer may interest those looking into this step as well.
To be a manager in information technology and improve employment prospects is to consider earning a master’s degree. A number of computer and information systems managers have a Master of Business Administration degree, as many employers may prefer this degree. These programs usually require two years of study beyond a bachelor’s degree.
Step 4: Pursue Career Advancement
Essentially, with enough management experience, information technology managers can advance and become chief technology officers or even chief executives.
What does an IT manager do?
While many other high-level IT positions demand specializing in advanced technical skills, IT management is all about people skills. You will still need enough technical knowledge to communicate effectively with your staff.
However, your main priorities are communicating with business executives, managing a budget, negotiating with vendors, and planning and directing department needs and upgrades. Depending on the department or industry, you could oversee computer systems analysts, network security analysts, computer support specialists, software developers, or all of the above.
The IT space is fast-moving. If you don’t commit yourself to learn as an IT manager, you will fall behind on the latest technology. Becoming an information technology manager enables you to leverage your valuable experience to lead and develop a team.
In addition, IT managers have a much higher-than-average earning potential. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs are presumed to grow at the faster-than-average rate of 10 percent through 2029.
What Information Technology management skills are required to succeed?
To become an IT manager, you will need a foundation of practical knowledge and communication and leadership abilities. Information technology managers need a variety of skills. They should understand enough about the technology they are overseeing to recognize nonsense when it comes their way, but they do not need to be the best engineer.
IT managers also need political skills to showcase their team’s value to the rest of the company. In addition, they need customer service skills to work with and manage client expectations and financial skills to understand how to create and follow a budget.
Generally, the ideal IT management candidate should possess a healthy balance of technical know-how and broadly relevant soft skills. The technical skills in demand include the following:
- Business process analysis
- Project management
- Information security
- Information Systems
- Software development/engineering
- Staff management
- Strategic planning
- Systems engineering
The soft skills in demand include the following:
It is obvious that an information technology manager needs a versatile blend of abilities. While knowing the technical part of IT systems and technologies is undoubtedly helpful, IT managers also need practical business abilities to ensure their teams create effective solutions to meet the organization’s needs.
How relevant is experience for IT managers?
Do not expect to stroll into a management position as a fresh graduate without any relevant work experience. Like other management positions, you will need experience working in the field first before supervising other employees and overseeing the direction of their work.
In fact, below 70 percent of job postings sought candidates with six or more years of experience. Do not let that seemingly high bar discourage you if you are not quite in range, in any case. Experience is just a factor for potential employers to consider, and job postings can often look like idealized wish lists—so being a year or two of experience short of the requirement might not seal your job search fate.
Nonetheless, even working in relatively simple entry-level IT jobs can provide a worthwhile experience for the future. Use what you have learned from lower-level roles to pick the brains of management—let them know your career goals and find out what they did to reach their positions. It might feel intimidating, but note that people generally enjoy mentoring and aiding in the professional development of their coworkers.
As you are working to build your experience up, begin to think like a manager and think about how other leaders in your field do things.
If you want to be a manager, concentrate on associated skills to help you in this field. The client does not need to know precisely the compression ratio of a file but needs to see why it is being done. You will find projects go incredibly well when you break them down.
How much education do IT Managers require?
Different levels of education can help you land a job in technology; maybe you already have a degree, or perhaps you do not. You have gotten this far already and have acquired the necessary knowledge to succeed in your current position. However, to stand out among the crowd, it may be essential to advance your education. Consider enrolling for a dual master’s degree program to get diverse double degrees within a short period.
Most employers prefer candidates to have at least a Bachelor’s degree. A primary way to meet that demand is to get a Bachelor’s degree in IT Management.
What are some problematic parts of the job for an information technology manager?
- Understanding and adapting to client needs
- Managing relations among hardware, software, data, and users
- Dealing with consequences of unplanned software or hardware updates
- Looking for and identifying faults in security
- Communicating IT problems with those outside the field
How Much Does an IT Manager Make?
You can earn very well as an information technology manager. IT managers made a median salary of $146,360 in 2019. The best-paid 25 percent earned $185,610 that year, while the lowest-paid 25 percent made $113,110.
What does the future of IT project managers look like?
With the improvement of AI and technology, project management roles may decrease in work, specifically with tasks having to do with collecting, tracking, and reporting data. This should improve the output of completing a project by increasing the quality of interactions.
The role is going through a gradual evolution as technology progresses. The hope is to create a role that will use these technological advances to master the management of projects more than before.
Basically, IT managers oversee and direct the activities of information technology projects. Employers typically require a bachelor’s degree, but a master can help one’s prospects. Work experience is vital for this role, and optional certifications include the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification, Certified ScrumMaster (CSM), and PRINCE2 certifications.