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Become an Information Technology Manager in 5 Steps

Explore the career requirements for an information technology manager. Get the facts about education requirements, certification, and salary to determine if this is the right career for you.

What Does an Information Technology Manager Do?

An information technology manager plans, installs, and monitors computer and communications systems. You will be in charge of ensuring the technology used at an organization is working properly, as well as recommending any upgrades if needed. Digital security will be a major concern, as will be directing other IT employees in their specific duties to the company. You will need to research new technologies and weigh the costs and benefits to implementing them into the workplace, as well as try to negotiate the best prices from vendors when that time comes.

The following chart provides an overview of what you need to know about entering this field.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree
Education Field of Study Information technology; management information systems; computer science
Key Responsibilities Explore project feasibility; address IT needs of an organization; hire and train staff
Job Growth (2018-2028) 11%* (computer and information systems managers)
Median Salary (2018) $142,530* (computer and information systems managers)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Is an Information Technology Manager?

An information technology (IT) manager is a technical expert who plans, implements, and monitors computer and communications systems. Your objective would be to see that information systems function properly so information flows through and can be used effectively by an organization. Your duties might include evaluating the feasibility of proposed projects, conferring with workers, managers, executives, and vendors about their IT needs, developing information systems tailored to the needs of an organization, reviewing plans, recruiting, hiring, training, and coordinating technical personnel, and staying current with new technology.

Step 1: Earn a Bachelor's Degree

A bachelor's degree is the minimum level of education you'll need to be an IT manager. Relevant majors include IT, management information systems, and computer science. A bachelor's degree program in computer science will examine theories of computation and information processing, and engage you in the process of applying scientific theories to the solution of computing problems. Possible course topics include programming languages, data structures, operating systems, and systems architecture.

A bachelor's degree program in information systems will train you to understand how businesses and organizations deploy computing technology, design new or modify existing systems, and analyze the effectiveness of information systems. Courses may cover system testing, database management, and project management.

Step 2: Work an Internship

Internships provide an opportunity to observe a professional IT operation, build a network of contacts and gain experience managing and troubleshooting problems with computers, computer networks, and related technology. An internship could lead directly to a job after you graduate. Some schools include internships in their bachelor's degree curriculum, and they may also have existing relationships with businesses that hire interns.

Step 3: Consider Earning a Master's Degree

A Master of Science in IT Management or a Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a technical emphasis could improve your job prospects. A master's degree program in information technology and management explores ways of using technology to solve business problems and would train you to lead a team of IT specialists. Course topics might include IT security, data management, and system engineering.

Step 4: Pursue a Job

Computer services firms and consulting firms are the top employers of IT managers, but you can also find positions with financial institutions, manufacturing companies, insurers, colleges, and universities, and government agencies. An estimated 391,430 IT managers held jobs in 2018, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). Employment was projected to increase 11% between 2018 and 2028. As of May 2018, computer and information systems managers earned a median salary of $142,530.

Step 5: Advance Your Career

As you gain experience you can move into positions that require more responsibility and pay higher salaries. Advancement may take place either through promotion within your employer's organization or by moving up at a succession of companies. Obtaining industry certification could also increase your ability to advance.

Cisco offers five levels of network administrator certifications, including the Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician and Cisco Certified Network Associate designations. As of January 2017, Oracle offered certification for MySQL and Microsoft offered the Microsoft Certified Professional, Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert, and Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer credentials.

What Are Some Related Careers?

Chief information officers are responsible for managing all technology utilized by a business, and chief technical officers (CTO) are in charge of previewing new technology that could be of use to the company. Between the two, a CTO is usually the more technically experienced position. IT directors coordinate an organization's entire information technology department, usually managing a team of specialists. IT security managers work with the executives to plan the company's digital security safeguards.