How to Become an
IT Manager

Best Education Tracks, Key Skills, and Top Certifications

Information technology (IT) managers are an essential element of any company’s operations. They oversee the company’s IT network, provide upgrades, and troubleshoot when necessary. This is an in-demand leadership position with the rise of tech jobs.

This guide will cover the essential steps to become an IT manager, covering the potential entryways, skills, and responsibilities. If you want to work in technology management, this could be the job for you.

What Is an IT Manager?

An IT manager is a lead professional who maintains an organization’s IT system, including the hardware and software infrastructure. An IT manager must also evaluate and satisfy the company’s needs for new tech equipment and tools.

An IT manager’s ultimate role is to optimize internal operations by using different techniques and tech tools. A highly qualified IT manager can increase a company’s profitability by implementing effective operative solutions.

What Type of School Should You Attend
to Become an IT Manager?

An IT manager is a lead professional who maintains an organization’s IT system, including the hardware and software infrastructure. An IT manager must also evaluate and satisfy the company’s needs for new tech equipment and tools.

An IT manager’s ultimate role is to optimize internal operations by using different techniques and tech tools. A highly qualified IT manager can increase a company’s profitability by implementing effective operative solutions.

Best IT Management Education Tracks

As mentioned, there are several career paths to becoming an IT manager. You will need to be competent in computer science areas like coding or database management. Check out the following list to explore more IT management education tracks.

1

Vocational School

Most trade schools offer a variety of different subjects, including computer science. If you’re looking for a short-term path, this option may be for you. Vocational programs only last two years and are less expensive than traditional education. You can also get more hands-on experience. However, to become a manager, you might need more education.

2

Community College

Most community colleges also offer computer science and IT degrees. They usually provide associate and certificate degrees that last from six months to two years. An associate degree is shorter and less intensive than a four-year bachelor’s. It can also help you transition into a bachelor’s program later on.

3

IT Management Degrees

A Bachelor’s Degree in IT or Computer Science is a great place to start your education. However, a Master’s Degree in IT Management is the best way to enter the field. You will learn how to lead an information technology team. The Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that master’s degree holders earn more and enjoy lower unemployment rates.

3

IT Management Bootcamps

Coding bootcamps are intensive career development programs that give you the skills you need to succeed in today’s IT job market. A bootcamp is a good way to upskill or learn more up-to-date information. Bootcamps are known for being cost-efficient and short-term. Keep in mind that it is not a replacement for a degree.

4

IT Management Courses

Online course platforms are available for those who want to learn more specific IT skills. You can find free online introductory courses to help you get started. This could be a great way to learn more about the field before committing to a degree. Joining an IT management course is an excellent starting point to get familiarized with this profession.

Step by Step Guide IT Manager

How to Become an IT Manager: A Step-by-Step Guide

To become an IT manager, you will need a combination of experience and education. In the following guide, we will show you the most crucial steps to join this industry. Keep in mind that you’ll need to put in a lot of dedication during this process. 

Earn a bachelor’s degree

Education should be your starting point. You should either earn at least a bachelor’s degree along with extra courses and certification. Most programs cover software engineering, computer systems, and project management.

Get an entry-level job

IT management is usually a leading position, so you’ll likely have to get some work experience before applying. Some companies might require at least five years of experience before making a move to an IT manager level. You can start by working in entry-level information technology.

Get a master’s degree

Although this isn’t a mandatory step, a master’s degree can help advance your career. You will learn more advanced concepts and demonstrate your ability to perform challenging tasks as an IT manager. Because IT management is a higher position, a higher degree can be beneficial.

Obtain a certification

Certification can be your golden ticket to obtain an IT management job. There are many credentials that can validate your IT management skills. Read the certification section below to learn more about your options.

Apply for an IT management job

Now that you are competent in IT management and have gained real industry experience, you can start applying for IT manager jobs.

Key IT Management Skills

As a leader in technology and computer operations, an IT manager must have a large set of technical skills, including data security, budgeting, programming, and computer systems maintenance. Below, you can look at each skill in detail.

Project Management

An IT manager designs and executes projects as well as leads the IT department. That’s why it’s crucial to have project management skills. It can help managers create plans, oversee the process, and be on top of everything while ensuring everyone is following instructions.

Network and Data Security

One of the most fundamental roles of an IT manager is to run regular checks on computer and network security. Although they don’t replace the role of a network security manager, IT managers can examine the system and notify the professional in charge when required.

Reporting and Budgeting

IT managers must conduct tests and create reports about the performance of the IT department. These reports must be redirected and discussed with senior staff to identify opportunities for improvement. As an IT manager, you might also create and follow budgets based on the company’s needs and capabilities.

IT Manager Salary and Job Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that IT managers earn an average salary of $151,150. It is one of the highest-paying jobs in the IT sector. The BLS also states that most IT managers work around 40 hours a week.

According to the BLS, the demand for this role is expected to grow by 10 percent between 2019 to 2029 due to the advancement of technology tools. The projected growth is much faster than the average for other professions in the United States.

90430
Min salary

$

151150
Average salary

$

208000
Top salary

$

Entry-Level IT Management Job Requirements

The minimum requirement to work as an IT manager is to hold a bachelor’s degree in any IT-related field and have adequate experience in any computer science job. However, many companies are requiring less education. Glassdoor recently found that some top companies don’t require college degrees.

What Does an IT Manager Do?

An IT manager has multiple responsibilities. These include budgeting, training other team members, and designing plans to improve the productivity of IT operations. Take a look at the following to better understand the role of an IT manager.

Conducts Audits

An IT manager must conduct audits and evaluate the company’s IT infrastructure to see if it needs any upgrades. They also check data security to ensure that crucial information is not compromised.

Creates Reports

After examining the system, they develop reports about the performance of IT infrastructure and any possible issues. This way, they can also identify potential solutions and discuss them with leading representatives of the organization.

Designs and Implements Training Programs

The success of a business doesn’t only depend on the IT manager. All members of the team must be fully qualified for their particular responsibilities. That’s why the IT manager must design and implement workshops and training programs for other members of the IT department.

Finds New Software and Hardware

Technology never stops evolving, so there’s always a new upgrade or an updated tool to use. IT managers must evaluate the current trends in the tech sector and see which ones would be a good fit to meet the company’s goals.

Coordinates with Vendors

Once an IT manager has identified the potential tools to use, they also have to coordinate with vendors to get the best price and services. This can help make sure the IT systems are as efficient as possible.

IT Management Certifications

There are many certifications you can get to validate your IT management skills. However, you need to determine which will be best for your career goals. Below, you will see some of the most essential IT management certifications.

Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)

This certification provided by the Project Management Institute validates that you have fundamental management skills. These include time and risk management, problem-solving, and negotiation. To obtain this certification, you must have secondary education, undergo 23 hours of PM training, and pass the 150-question exam.

Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)

This credential is provided by the International Information System Security Certification Consortium. It covers different topics like software development, security and risk management, and network communication. The exam costs $699, but there are additional fees depending on where you live. You should also have five years of experience.

Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL)

This might be one of the best certifications for IT managers. It is provided by AXELOS, and the certification fee ranges from $150 to $500. You should have five years of experience in IT management to obtain this certification. This credential can help you qualify for a senior role in IT management.

How to Prepare for Your IT Manager Job Interview

There are three things to consider if you want to ace your IT management interview: technical skills, experience, and attitude. Recruiters want to know you are competent in computer science concepts, so it might be a good idea to review IT fundamentals.

Experience is also a crucial aspect because they want to know that you can solve problems in the field. Therefore, you should talk about previous difficulties you have had in the past and how you conquered them in an information technology management context. Finally, you should always maintain a good attitude and demonstrate your leadership skills.

IT Manager Job Interview Practice Questions

  • In your opinion, is it better to outsource tasks from third-party agencies or develop internal talent?
  • What’s the biggest challenge you’ve come across in your career, and how did you overcome it?
  • How do you evaluate the performance of the IT department?
  • What innovative ideas would you bring to this company?
  • Describe a time where you had to solve a technical issue on the job.

How Long Does It Take to Become an IT Manager?

It takes between four to nine years to become an IT manager. You will need at least a bachelor’s degree, which takes around four years. You will also need up to five years of experience in an IT-related job to qualify for a management role.

2
Associate degree

years

4
Bachelor’s degree

years

6
Master’s degree

years

Should You Become an IT Manager in 2021?

Yes, you should become an IT manager in 2021. IT managers are highly in-demand and technology is constantly changing. This is also a profession with reasonable compensation, so if you’re looking for a high-paying tech job, this might be the right position for you.

IT Management FAQ

What’s the difference between an IT manager and a CTO?

An IT manager works with internal IT operations, whereas a CTO’s responsibility is to develop tech products or services for clients.

What is the best age to become an IT manager?

According to a recent study from the University of Haifa, the best age to become a manager is 50 years old. This is because you will have years of experience under your belt while maintaining professional vitality.

How much do IT managers earn per hour?

Salary.com reports an average hourly rate of $60 for IT managers. However, it can be as low as $54 or as high as $72 per hour.

Can I become an IT manager without a degree?

Although most companies will require a bachelor’s degree, it is possible to get an IT management job without it.

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