If you have a background in IT support, you might want to learn how to become an IT manager. This could be the perfect career path for you. Those with technical skills looking to get into management will fit right in.
IT managers usually start in a technical job before moving into management. However, there are many benefits to becoming an IT manager. Let’s look at the job duties for this career and the steps to become an IT manager.
Job Duties of an IT Manager
As an IT manager, you’ll work with the company on computer-related issues and solutions. You might be called an IT director or a CIS manager. The actual title depends on the industry you work in.
When you become an IT manager, you will work with high-level computer issues and solutions. Your responsibilities will include managing an IT team, as well. Some of the common job duties of an IT manager include:
- Managing the budget of the IT department
- Communicating with other company managers
- Planning for the needs of the IT department
- Negotiating contracts with vendors
- Overseeing a team of IT professionals
- Enforcing company and departmental policies
Your responsibilities and job duties may vary, depending on your industry. For example, it’s common to take on IT support roles when necessary, also.
How To Become an IT Manager in 5 Steps
Step #1 – Get Your High School Diploma
Before starting down the career path as an IT manager, you need to finish high school or get a GED. Then, take any computer science classes you can. Coding classes and anything else in the technology world can also help you.
Getting good grades in science and math courses in high school. High grades and good SAT or ACT scores will help you get into a better degree program. Consider using a prep course before taking the SAT or ACT.
Step #2 – Get Your Bachelor’s Degree
The next step to becoming an IT manager is to get your bachelor’s degree. You want a degree in computer science or information technology. You can also get a degree in management information systems or something related.
Getting your bachelor’s degree is vital to your career as an IT manager. You might be able to work in IT support with an associate degree or a certification program. However, it’s hard to become a manager without at least a bachelor’s degree.
Step #3 – Start Working in IT
Before you can become a manager, you will need to gain some experience. Working as an IT support specialist is the most common path. However, any entry-level IT job will help you along the way to becoming an IT manager.
As you gain experience, you should develop your computer skills. Gaining more certifications will help.
Step #4 – Get your Master’s Degree
While it’s not required, if you want the best chance to become an IT manager, you should get a master’s degree. This type of degree will put you above others when applying for IT manager jobs. In addition, some employers seek out managers with master’s degrees.
Step #5 – Earn Certifications
Along with your degrees, you should gain certifications to boost your resume. An IT management certification will go a long way to help show your expertise. There are many other certifications in specific computer programs you can also earn.
Some of the most common certifications to consider include:
- CompTIA Project+ – This certification will give you the skills to handle small to medium size projects. You will likely need about a year of project management experience before taking the exam. The exam will include 95 questions and must be completed in 90 minutes.
- TOGAF 9 Certification – TOGAF (The Open Group Architecture Framework) methodology is used for enterprise software development. This certification comes from third-party vendors and can be helpful for IT managers.
- CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional) – You will need at least five years of experience with two or more of the eight domains making up the (ISC)2 (SQUARED) CISSP Common Body of Knowledge. Then, you will need to pass an exam, which will cover all eight of the domains.
- CAPM (Certified Associate in Project Management) – The PMI (Project Management Institute) provides the CAPM certificate. This certificate requires at least a high school education, 23 hours of project management education, and passing the exam. The exam is 150 questions long and takes about three hours to complete.
Common Skills Necessary for IT Managers
There are certain soft skills you need as an IT manager. You will also need to develop specific technical skills too. Some of the common skills you need include:
- Writing and public speaking
- Active listening
- Financial and budgetary
- Technical computer skills
- Conflict management
- Project management
- Organizational skills
These specific skills will help you become a more successful IT manager.
Frequently Asked Questions About Becoming an IT Manager
How much will I earn as an IT manager?
The average salary for an IT manager is about $85K per year. There may also be some bonuses or profit-sharing for this position. Your salary will depend on who you work for, your location, and your experience, as well. Those with 10+ years of experience tend to make an average salary closer to $92K per year.
Some of the top employers will pay well over $150K per year for IT managers. Washington D.C. has the highest average salary of about $111K. Columbus, Ohio, and Denver, Colorado are next on the list at just under $100K each.
Which skills will help me make more as an IT manager?
If you have specific skills, you can enjoy a higher salary. The top skills for IT managers include:
- Enterprise Architecture
- Software Development
Any of these skills or licenses can help you land a higher-paying job as an IT manager.
What type of benefits will I get as an IT manager?
Most IT managers enjoy paid time off and a 401(k) with employer matching. It’s also common to get health insurance with dental, vision, and life insurance options. In addition, some IT managers get to work from home, and some even get tuition reimbursement.
Are IT managers in high demand?
Yes. It’s predicted that the position of an IT manager will grow by about 10% over the next ten years. This is about twice as fast as the average growth of all occupations.
How long will it take me to become an IT manager?
Since an IT manager position isn’t an entry-level job, it may take several years to earn this position. However, you will start with the right degrees and certifications. It will also take a few years of experience working in the IT department.
For most IT managers, it will take about 10 years of experience to move up the ladder. However, you can earn your degrees during this time. Some companies will even pay for your tuition to get advanced degrees.
What is the work environment like for IT managers?
As an IT manager, you will likely work in an office environment. For example, it’s common to work at a desk with a computer for long periods.
IT managers will also make visits to other departments often. You may need to help with system updates or discuss the solutions you can offer for other departments.
The environment will likely be rather fast-paced. You will have deadlines, limited budgets, and problems needing to be solved regularly. As an IT manager, you may work in many different industries for several types of companies. For example, it’s common to work in healthcare, security, or for the government in this field.
Is it possible to become an IT manager without any experience?
While it may be possible, it’s highly unlikely. Most companies seeking to hire an IT manager want years of experience. They also want to see that you have received the necessary education.
Most employers will require a bachelor’s degree and at least a few years of experience. However, many prefer a master’s degree and at least five years of experience in an IT-related position. It’s rather uncommon to become an IT manager without experience, even with a master’s degree.
Can I advance my career as an IT manager?
Yes. The position of IT manager is often a step on the path towards becoming a CIO (Chief Information Officer) or CTO (Chief Technical Officer). Many IT managers work their way up to senior leadership positions. You may get promoted to an IT director position after a few years of experience.
If you enjoy working with computers and solving problems, a position as an IT manager might be perfect for you. This type of job allows you to make a high salary and move up the ladder. However, it’s not an entry-level position, and you will need to get at least a bachelor’s degree.
Those willing to work towards this type of career gain many benefits, however. It’s becoming rather common for IT managers to work from home or even remotely. You will also gain a high salary and plenty of advancement opportunities. If you want to become an IT manager, use the steps above and gain the necessary experience.
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