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How to Become an IT Manager

Do you have experience working with IT systems and networks? Are you looking to advance your career? If you have solid communication skills and good leadership qualities, an IT manager could be a good fit for you.   

IT managers oversee the information technology and computer systems of an organization. They ensure that the hardware, software, and networks are in place to meet company objectives. They manage the IT department and must have strong people management skills. They assess the costs and timeliness of implementing upgrades and changes to hardware, software, and networks, and maintain existing systems. 

IT managers must be good communicators and able to motivate people. They need an excellent knowledge of IT systems and networks. Their interpersonal skills should be solid as they work with other departments to assess company IT needs. They must be good with numbers and able to produce budgets. If you fit these qualities, your next career should be working as an IT manager!

Sample job description

We’re currently searching for a candidate that strives to ensure the IT department runs smoothly. We have an opening for an IT manager on our team. The ideal candidate will be well-versed in IT development, software, and have experience managing a team. This role is responsible for the effective and efficient delivery of IT systems and services to internal teams and external customers of the organization. The role also works with various leadership personnel, key business units, and other IT professionals to ensure effective operational governance and control structures are developed and maintained. If you’re a manager with experience in IT, this could be the perfect position for you.

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Manage the personnel, policies, and procedures within the IT department
  • Analyze an organization’s information technology needs
  • Develop strategies concerning an organization’s IT capabilities
  • Plan and manage support for incident management tools and processes
  • Make recommendations to optimize an organization’s software and hardware systems
  • Identify, develop, and implement IT strategies to meet business objectives
  • Ensure IT systems are functioning effectively within the cost and time limits of an organization
  • Negotiate with vendors for the highest level of service
  • Manage the work of incident support staff 

Education and experience

  • Bachelor’s degree in computer science, IT, or a related field
  • 5 years experience in contract development, management, or administration, human resources, or related field

Required skills and qualifications

  • Awareness of current IT technologies and methodologies
  • Expertise in critical thinking, problem-solving, and decision-making
  • Negotiation experience
  • Proficiency in written and verbal communication
  • Ability to lead colleagues to meet objectives and manage projects
  • Ability to understand business needs and identify areas for optimization
  • Demonstrated expertise in ITSM processes and principals

Preferred qualifications

  • Solid technical infrastructure experience
  • Service-oriented approach to IT operations
  • 3+ years of experience of managing IT service delivery using an IT service management methodology, such as ITIL
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills, including the ability to explain technical concepts and technologies

Typical work environment

IT managers will work long hours at a desk, often ensuring that the networks and software are performing to the best of their ability. They may have their own office or work on the floor with the rest of the IT staff to ensure that they can communicate with them whenever needed.

Typical hours

The typical work hours for an IT manager are Monday through Friday, 9 AM to 5 PM. However, some IT managers will have longer hours or work swing shifts depending on the size of the company. Because IT emergencies are unpredictable, larger companies may have someone working around the clock to prevent these things from happening.

Available certifications

As an IT manager works in a variety of industries, many institutions offer certifications, including:

  • Certified Information Technology Manager (CITM). With 30 hours of education, the CITM is one of the best certification that managers can receive. The course covers corporate frameworks, software, databases, information systems, communications and management of personnel, allowing future employers to see that you have the skills and knowledge needed to perform as a manager.
  • AMA Certified Professional in Management. Becoming certified as a manager is extremely beneficial. Though IT is different than managing a team of retail or other workers, you’re still managing a team. This certification by AMA shows you have the skills needed and are advanced as a professional manager.

Career path

This position requires a bachelor’s degree in a computer-related field. Employers may prefer candidates who have a master’s degree and those with extensive on-the-job experience. You’ll also need to be experienced with managing a team of workers. The IT manager position may be a pinnacle position for multiple career paths, including IT director. However, both IT directors and managers have the opportunity to advance to positions such as chief technology officer (CTO), chief information officer (CIO), and vice president of IT.

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

The field of information technology is continually growing as businesses become more innovative. Organizations across all sectors are becoming more reliant on information technology, which means IT managers will continue to be vital team members. According to industry website Computer Science Online, organizations seek talent in big data, security, and mobile technology. The demand for IT managers will rise to navigate this transformation.