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How to Become an IT Director

If you have outstanding technical skills, experience working in IT, and proven management skills, an IT director might be the perfect opportunity for you.

IT directors manage and supervise technical operations, systems, applications, and networks for an organization. They work with other departments to assess technological requirements and implement solutions that meet company objectives and goals. They supervise team members, prepare financial budgets, discover new products and new market opportunities, and improve IT processes. 

IT directors have solid leadership skills, an excellent technical aptitude, and advanced project management skills. This job requires exceptional communication and interpersonal skills, people management skills, an analytical mind, and a strong ability to solve problems.

Sample job description

[Your company name] is looking to hire an experienced information technology director for our company. You will be expected to supervise your team members and technical projects, manage business activities by working with information engineers, develop office budgets, and identify new market opportunities. If you enjoy working in a position of leadership and have IT experience, this job could be a good fit for you. Contact us to apply today.

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Assessing technology necessities and making changes to improve
  • Heading up and implementing both long and short term IT goals
  • Creating and implementing new software and hardware deployments
  • Protecting the company from external viral threats
  • Creating and implementing IT department budgets
  • Supervising team members

Education and experience

  • B.S. degree in computer science, information technology, programming, or another related field
  • Minimum 10 years of experience working in IT, with 5 years in advanced or management positions

Required skills and qualifications

  • Thorough understanding of computer systems, networks, security, telecommunications, databases, and storage systems
  • Strong leadership and interpersonal skills
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • Strong problem-solving skills
  • Strong organizational skills to prioritize tasks and projects
  • Coding language knowledge
  • IT security skills

Preferred qualifications

  • M.S. or MBA in information systems a plus
  • Prior IT certifications

Typical work environment

The typical work environment for an IT director is in an office setting. IT directors may work for an individual corporation or an IT security firm. There are a number of industries that employ IT directors, including but not limited to: health care, government, finance and insurance, business, and manufacturing.

Typical hours

Most IT directors work the expected 9 AM to 5 PM workday. At times, they may be expected to work late nights or even weekends if an IT crisis arises. IT directors are essentially always on call, in case of a technical crisis. These types of situations can’t wait for business hours to be resolved.

Available certifications

While there are a number of certifications that can boost your career as an IT director, here are just a few to choose from:

  •  Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP). This certification requires candidates to pass an oral or written exam. Recertification is required every 3 years. 
  • AMA Certified Professional in Management. This certification only requires candidates to pass an oral or written exam. Recertification is required every 3 years. 
  • Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM). This certification requires a secondary degree along with 23 hours of project management education. Candidates must pass a 150 question exam within the 3-hour time limit. 15 earned PDUs are required every 3 years to maintain certification. 
  • Certified in the Governance of Enterprise IT (CGEIT). This certification requires at least 5 years of experience in IT Governance or Management. Candidates must pass the oral or written exam. Certification holders must earn at least 20 CPE hours annually and 120 CPE over the course of 3 years in order to remain certified. 
  • Certified Information Security Manager (CISM). This certification requires that candidates have passed the CISM exam within the last 5 years. They must also have relevant full-time work experience. Recertification is not required.
  • PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP). This certification requires a secondary degree, 21 contact hours of training in agile practices, and 8 months of agile project experience within the past 5 years. An additional 12 months of general project experience within the past 5 years is also required. Candidates must pass an oral or written exam. Recertification is required every 3 hours.

Career path

Many prospective IT directors start out their career path by earning their degrees. They then obtain multiple certifications to increase their knowledge base. Gaining experience is their next logical step, and it will take years before you are qualified to become a director. Many will work as IT analysts, managers, and more until they have the relevant experience.

US, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job outlook

SOC Code: 11-3021

2020 Employment482,000
Projected Employment in 2030534,600
Projected 2020-2030 Percentage Shift 11% increase
Projected 2020-2030 Numeric Shift52,700 increase

With the advances in technology growing by leaps and bounds, the need for network security will only increase. Becoming an IT director is a smart career choice for the future. Many of these directors will manage large teams of IT workers, and depending on the company, there may be multiple directors who manage different IT departments. Getting experience in one aspect of IT could be a smart move for the future.