Information Technology (IT), primarily software applications and computer hardware encompasses the study, design, development, implementation, support or, management of computer-based information systems. IT refers to the use of computers, storage, networking, and other physical devices in dealing with abundance electronic data. According to the industry professionals, in most companies, the needs for information technology staffs in the IT department have been greatly emphasized to ensure the operation of the company runs smoothly as planned. The IT department offers the service to all users who need access to the computer systems of the organization. The role of the information technology staff in dealing with the information systems and electronic data is usually planned, monitored, and managed by an IT manager in the company. This highlights the importance of having a qualified and good IT manager to ensure that the operation of the computer-based information systems can run smoothly as planned. Let’s have a closer look at what the role of an IT manager entails.
What is an IT Manager?
IT managers are experts in information technology who plan, guide and, oversee activities that deal with the computer and information systems of a company. They coordinate the hardware, software, and network jobs that the business undertakes. IT managers hold the responsibility in the computer-based information systems related tasks in the company especially in monitoring and guiding the work of the teams that manage network technology, IT security, and the software platforms used by the company. IT managers’ roles are essential as they are actively involved in coordinating, planning, supporting, storing, securing, and managing all forms of electronic data in the computer systems.
IT managers are seen as the head of the IT department where they play an important role as the source of reference for the staff in the department when any technical difficulties or disruption occurs. With technology serving a crucial role in the development and performance of the company, it is vital for the IT manager to be well equipped with vast knowledge in computer sciences and information systems, as well as literate in computer and data security. It is critical for IT managers to be skilled and capable in computer-based information systems security in securing the company’s confidential information from being access by any trespasser.
In becoming a good IT manager, one must also be well equipped with management knowledge and skills because the responsibilities of an IT manager are not only in managing the computer-based information systems, but also the performance of the staff members in the IT department. Aside from that, IT managers’ also participate in the collaboration with different department heads and management teams as the IT manager functions as the representative of the IT department. The role of the IT manager is vital because it greatly influences the performance and efficiency of the IT department as a whole.
Usually, IT managers work in an office environment and spend a large portion of the day on a computer at a desk. They often work in a fast-paced environment, while other internal stakeholders will visit them frequently for meetings and discussions on IT solutions and system updates. In a multitude of sectors and companies that use technology and software to conduct business, IT managers are highly required as one of the important figures in the company that may influence the performance of the company.
IT Manager Job Description
IT Managers hold several significant responsibilities in the company, especially in the IT department as the leader of the team. IT managers are the ones who monitor, manage, and lead the IT department in a company as well as ensuring the computer systems and networks run smoothly. They are responsible for hiring and training IT staff members, designing and implementing policies and procedures, preparing and executing installations and updates, and defining areas for enhancement.
The following are some of the common responsibilities of an IT manager:
- Running regular checks on network and data security
- Identifying and acting on opportunities to improve and update software and systems
- Developing and implementing IT policy for the company
- Developing and overseeing the security measures and best practices for the company
- Designing training programs and workshops for staff
- Conducting regular system audits
- Running and sharing regular operation system reports with senior staff
- Overseeing and determining timeframes for major IT projects including system updates, upgrades, migrations and outages
- Managing and reporting on allocation of IT budget
- Providing direction for IT team members
- Evaluating the organization’s IT needs and finding ways to improve the products and systems
- Troubleshoot hardware and software issues related to internal IT
- Recommending upgrades and enhancements to top management
- Identifying opportunities for team training and skills advancement
While these are some of the most common jobs for IT managers in general, some other tasks that are not listed here may be listed in the job description posted by companies depending on the requirements.
IT Manager Skills
In becoming a great IT manager, there are several skills that should be honed in developing the good qualities needed. Attributes such as accountability, crisis management, and capability in prioritising, are deemed as crucial in developing the skills to be a high-performing IT manager for the company. IT managers have to possess well-rounded skills and experience that empowers them to deal with technical difficulties such as IT problems and data security issues, as well as with other stakeholders involved in business management. Besides that, it is also equally important for the IT manager to possess great complementary skills aside from the fundamental technical skills because they are required to work closely with the stakeholders in the IT field in the company.
The following are some of the examples of skills needed to become an efficient IT manager as well as the reasons why it is necessary to possess such skills:
- Organizational skills
- Problem Solving
- Work experience
- Time Management skills
- Project management skill
Leadership and organizational skills are deemed as crucial skills to be instilled by IT managers as they work closely in an organization and they held the responsibility as the leader of the IT department in the company they work. These skills are necessary to be equipped in handling, monitoring and, managing the staff members in the IT department effectively. In successfully managing the team, IT managers should apply conflict-management strategy through good leadership which helps in maintaining a positive working environment.
Communication skills are also highly important when working with other people, be it in a small team or a big organisation. By possessing good communication skills, IT managers can enhance their ability in providing effective assistance to others when there is any technical disruption occur. This allows the people with less technical expertise from other departments to understand the process and solutions explained by the IT manager. As the manager of the department, one must possess good communication skills and use clear communication in providing guidance and delegating tasks to the IT staff members.
In handling the company’s budget on IT aspects, IT managers play a vital role thus highlighting the importance for them to have good budgeting skills. They have to apply their knowledge of the company’s budget and able to find the effective strategies that can be employed and are within the resources of the company. Their budgeting skills can be developed from their experiences working with the company as they will have a better understanding of the company’s budget and allocations.
Other necessary skills that should be instilled in IT managers are time management skills and project management skills. IT managers must carefully plan and schedule the upgrades and updates of the system, as well as the training and delegating tasks for the staff members in a suitable timeline. Proper time management will assure the stakeholders that the IT systems are available when they are most needed and taken down at the most suitable times for maintenance. Hence, it is important for an IT manager to be well equipped with all of the skills mentioned in giving their best performance for the company.
IT Manager Salary
The following are the salaries for the IT manager based on the locations in US and from the experiences.
- Average base salary in US
Based on the data retrieved from PayScale, the average salary of an IT manager is $88,549 per year. The base salary may range from $55k to $134k while the bonus a software development manager may earn is from $1k to $20k. The total pay, on the other hand, is the combination of the base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, commissions, and any other case earnings range from $51k to $142k.
- Pay by Experience level
An entry-level IT manager with less than 1 year of experience can expect to earn an estimated gross salary of $64,080 based on 112 salaries (including tips, bonuses, and overtime pay). An early IT Manager with 1-4 years of experience earns an average total salary of $68,485 based on 2,120 salaries. Next, based on 3,226 salaries, a mid-career IT manager with 5-9 years of experience earns an annual total salary of $79,691. An experienced IT manager with 10-19 years of experience in information technology may earn an estimated total salary of $94,250 based on 6,628 salaries. As for the IT manager who has 20 years and higher working experience, the average total salary one normally earn is $100,392.
Data retrieved from Payscale (www.payscale.com)
Certifications for IT Manager
To become a high-performing software development manager, one needs to be literate with technical skills in information technology and computer-based information systems, as well as knowledge in management. There are some certifications available that can assist in improving one’s employability as an IT manager which may increase their potential to earn a higher salary.
Listed below are some examples of certifications you may want to review:
- Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)
- Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)
- CompTIA Project+
- TOGAF 9 Certification
- Certified ScrumMaster (CSM)
- Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL)
- PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)
- Six Sigma Certification
System and Tools for IT Manager
In assisting the job of an IT Manager, there are various tools available that can be incorporated to make the job less taxing. Since the responsibilities of an IT manager are manifold, it is highly recommended to incorporate the IT management tools which can improve the work performance.
Listed below are some example of the tools that can be incorporated by an IT manager:
- InvGate Service Desk
- IT Manager
- Intuit QuickBase
These tools mentioned can provide great help to the IT managers where it assists in making work more automated and organized, as well as allowing the managers to gain access to the information needed easier and faster.
IT Manager Education and Career Requirements
IT managers have complex responsibilities involving a thorough understanding of business, management, and information technology. In applying for this position, one must have experience in the IT field and have at least a Bachelor’s degree in information technology, computer science, management information system (MIS), business management, or any related field. Most employers generally require a few years of experience in information technology as a staff member in the IT department before promoting the position to be an IT manager.
Some employers may prefer a graduate IT manager who has a Master in Business Administration (MBA). Although it takes about two years to pursue a full-time MBA, one may choose to pursue their MBA while gaining job experience in an IT-related position. By choosing this path, it helps them to gain an income when pursuing a master’s degree, although this route takes a longer time. In addition, most IT managers are expected to be proficient in troubleshooting, information systems, and technology, as well as the hardware, software, and network that the company employed. It requires several years of educations and experience for one to be qualified for this job.