How to Learn IT Management
In today’s fast-evolving digital era, it’s becoming increasingly important for businesses to employ IT management experts. It’s an essential part of keeping a business relevant and competitive, regardless of the industry.
Most mid- large-sized companies around today have an information department. The people who run these departments must stay up-to-date on new technology, and should know how to implement these tech developments across the company.
What Is IT Management?
Information technology covers computerized operations within a business or organization. It refers to the handling of information and hardware systems, financial transactions, data storage, and communications.
IT managers keep abreast of all recent tech developments and find ways to incorporate them into the company’s operations. They also communicate with other department managers and staff to implement IT developments.
IT Management Skills
IT managers must be proficient in technology. But most companies require far more of their IT managers. These professionals are also expected to have soft skills such as those listed below.
The IT manager is in charge of keeping all staff in their department motivated. To do this, the manager may use team-building exercises that ensure team members can trust each other when working together on assignments.
Managers must be able to assess and evaluate a situation accurately before making a decision. For example, the IT manager must take risks and costs into account before purchasing a new piece of software.
Managers in the IT sector must use all of their resources and information to act in a way that will benefit their employer. They must weigh factors such as team members and budgets when determining what action should be taken. A good IT manager will be able to build a game plan with this information by addressing questions such as those below.
- Which employee is the best choice to lead a new project?
- Is it too early to upgrade to the latest technology? Will it fit into the budget?
Communication isn’t just sending carefully-worded emails and having meaningful conversations. Managers must also be skilled listeners, and should be able to read between the lines. Strong communication also means being proactive in addressing challenges. Social interaction, team building, and making workplace policies available to all staff are good ways of encouraging communication among an entire team.
What Is an IT Manager?
In an organization, an IT manager will organize, schedule, and perform computer-related activities by reviewing the organization’s IT needs. Based on those needs, the manager will develop or source computer systems.
Sometimes, the job of an IT manager will deal mainly with computer networking inside the company. Other times, the emphasis may be on managing external communications that support the company’s services, such as telecommunications.
To meet their goals, an IT manager will have to collaborate with both technical and non-technical staff.
Roles and Responsibilities of an IT Manager
IT managers play a vital role in maintaining the day-to-day functions of a company. Below are some of the responsibilities covered in this position.
- Managing IT personnel by communicating work requirements, tracking performances, and recruiting new employees.
- Making sure the IT budget is cost-effective.
- Monitoring operations by checking hardware, applications, and server operating systems.
- Installing and updating infrastructure.
- Selecting new hardware and software.
- Testing and debugging information systems.
- Generating operating system efficiency reports.
- Making sure IT operations are being carried out in accordance with company rules and state and federal laws.
- Analyzing potential technical threats and establishing backup protocols.
- Keeping up with technical developments and best practices in the industry.
IT Manager Job Opportunities
Over the next few years, jobs in IT are expected to rise steadily. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, work opportunities in the sector were forecasted to increase by 13 percent between 2016 and 2026. This rate is nearly twice that of the overall labor market, which was predicted to achieve growth of only seven percent.
If you aspire to manage a team and are enthusiastic about technology, then aiming for a career in IT is a wise choice.
IT Manager Salary
According to PayScale, the average salary for an IT manager is $88,518. This salary will vary based on experience and certifications, as shown below.
- An IT manager with less than one year of experience can expect to bring in an annual salary of $63,750.
- A manager with one to four years of experience in IT will receive a gross annual salary of $68,422.
- A manager with five to nine years of experience in IT will receive a mean gross income of $79,625.
- An experienced IT manager who has 10-19 years of experience will bring in around $94,176.
- After 20 years, an IT manager may earn $100,404 annually.
Learning IT Management
Technological expertise is not enough to become an IT manager. To get hired in this role, you must have a degree in IT. A bachelor’s degree is usually sufficient, but most companies will give preference to applicants who have completed a master’s degree.
A master’s in business administration with a concentration in technology is the ideal program if you want to become the head of an IT department.
How Long Does It Take to Learn IT Management?
It will take about five years to fully learn IT management. This includes the time you will spend earning a four-year bachelor’s degree, and completing an internship to gain the necessary work experience.
Generally, to land a mid-level job in IT management, you will need to have two to three years of work experience in a related job. You can get an entry-level IT management job with just a bachelor’s degree and one year of work experience. But to get hired at a reputable company, you will need to have certifications as well as six to eight years of experience.
How to Become an IT Manager: Step-by-Step
Below are some steps you can take to get started on your journey to becoming an IT manager.
- Set goals. Think of where you want to be in ten years. Many IT managers who start in mid-level management will gradually shift to administrative positions, such as IT director or chief technology officer.
- Join a bachelor’s program. Choose an accredited course that is of interest to you and will help you meet your goals. Enroll right away to get started on your learning process.
- Find relevant internships. Internships are a vital way to get real work experience in IT. This experience is the key to unlocking better job opportunities, as it will set you apart from your competition. Try to gain as much experience as possible while you are still attending college.
- Get certified. When you’re working, you can still expand your knowledge by taking IT courses for professionals and earning certifications. Depending on your preference, you can sign up for online certification programs, or attend one in person.
IT Management Certifications
To become an IT manager, you will need to have sufficient technical knowledge, and the skills to manage staff and operations. But to further your career, you should get a certification to demonstrate your expertise. Below are a few of the IT project management certifications.
Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)
- Provider: The Project Management Institute
- Fee: $225- $300
Although this is technically a project management certificate, a CAPM covers many of the same skills needed in IT management. By passing the test, you will prove your ability in organizing a team to carry out a project.
This credential consists of a 23-hour course in project management and an exam.
Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)
- Provider: ISC2.Org
- Fee: $599
Cybersecurity is a major concern for any company, and once you are employed as an IT manager, it will become a top priority. A CISSP certificate will validate your IT security skills.
In studying for this credential, you will cover issues like organization, budgeting, risk control, tracking, and execution. You will also learn how to work with other departments and remote teams and will study possible approaches to tackling large-scale projects. Keep in mind that this certificate expires after three years.
- Provider: CompTIA.Org
- Fee: $239
The CompTIA Project qualification is a highly regarded test that covers a range of management methodologies, structures, and principles. It will help you learn how to organize most projects.
Getting a CompTIA Project+ certificate will demonstrate your expertise in project development cycles, change management, and resource strategies.
Online IT Management Resources
There are many online resources such as blogs, publications, tutorials, and podcasts that will provide you with additional knowledge on IT management. Below are a few of the resources you can look into if you have questions.
- Computer Weekly. Computer Weekly is a news website that focuses on all things IT, covering topics such as project management, provision management, and new IT legislation. It’s a great place to learn more about IT.
- David Storm. David Strom is a web and networking technologies specialist who writes this blog in which he interviews industry experts to get their thoughts on information security, big data, and UX. Simply scanning headlines in this blog is a good way to stay up to date on important IT issues.
- Managing Information Technology Resources. This book by Mehdi Khosrow-Pour explains how the IT industry should be handled as it develops. In the text, IT leaders and researchers give their take on how to introduce new ideas to improve a company’s performance.
Should You Learn IT Management?
If you love tech and teamwork, then you should learn IT management. Extensive experience and skills are necessary to get a job in this industry, but the stability and high-income opportunities that come with the job will make it worth your while.
A bachelor’s degree in computer science or information technology will set you up with all the practical skills you’ll need to solve basic IT problems and get hired at an entry-level IT job. After you have closer to five years of experience in IT, you’ll be qualified for a lower management job at many companies.