The number of IT job vacancies and roles being made available today is growing, and there is a good reason for that. Businesses are making the leap to digital and new technologies, so it is only natural that many of those businesses now invest in their own internal IT teams. Aside from IT specialists, every good business needs an IT manager or Head of IT. The role is a leadership role and is often considered as a mid- to top-level management position, depending on the structure of the company.
For many who are in IT, becoming an IT manager is a goal. That said, there are specific requirements that need to be met before you can fill the strategic position. We are going to discuss those requirements and other considerations to think about becoming an IT manager.
A degree in information technology is more than likely to be mandatory if you want to fill the role of IT manager, but an IT degree is far from the only qualification you need to have. In fact, degrees in IT or computer science are just the beginning. You can pursue a computer science degree to get started. Uni Compare, a leading university search tool, has a detailed article on how a computer science degree can help you start a career in IT and, eventually, pursue the IT manager role.
Other degrees can help you get to the managerial position faster. There are IT management courses from top universities. You can also pursue business-related degrees if you want to combine your IT prowess with business know-how. More importantly, you need a specific set of skills to help you excel in this role. That brings us to our next point.
The degree requirement for this role is only the beginning. You can find suitable programs to take – and the right degree to pursue – with the help of online resources. Now that most programs are also available online, you can earn the degree of your choice while trying to land the management job.
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Essential skills are just as important. For starters, you want to have good leadership skills. As an IT manager, you will be leading a team of specialists, each with their own experience, preferences, and work habits. You have to be able to organise your team and construct an effective one. You also want to master project management. All of the tasks that you will handle as an IT manager can be seen as small projects to complete, which means you can organise them better when you have a good project management background.
Resource planning is the next skill to master. After all, as an IT manager, you are responsible for organising IT-related resources for the rest of the company, including deciding which business solutions to integrate and how to best leverage their use.
That brings us to the next essential skill, which is research. Comparing business solutions requires deep research. You cannot fully understand business needs and identify the business solutions that best fulfil those needs when you don’t know how to collect and process relevant information.
An IT manager is also responsible for maintaining information security, so you know you have to have this skill under your belt. Most IT managers have information security certification or obvious reasons. The growing number of cyberattacks targeting businesses is one of them. Lastly, we have budgeting as an essential skill that every IT manager must-have. It is up to the IT manager to allocate funds to different IT needs. IT managers are also responsible for monitoring and maintaining IT operations to make sure that they are within budget and efficient.
The education background and essential skills discussed earlier act as the foundation that helps you perform well as an IT manager. When you have these qualifications, you have the opportunity to push your career forward and earn a management position, which means you can become an IT manager sooner than you think.
Before you decide to pursue this career path, however, you also need to understand the scope of work and responsibilities of an IT manager. Knowing the responsibilities of an IT manager before filling the role allows you to prepare for the job better. Among the responsibilities of an IT manager, particularly the day-to-day ones, are:
- Plan strategic IT initiatives that are based on innovation and align well with business objectives
- Understand and document business IT needs
- Lead day-to-day IT operations, including allocating resources to IT projects and specific tasks
- Create an IT budget and oversee its implementation
- Interface with top management and identify specific IT needs
- Collaborate with other departments in creating a safe and robust IT environment
- Create and enforce IT-related policies, especially policies related to information security