(7.1 out of 10)
|Number of Jobs:||55,800|
|This Job is Ranked in|
|Best Technology Jobs||#7|
|The 100 Best Jobs||#20|
Computer and information systems managers are the people you frantically call when your office computer breaks, sends you a strange error message, or otherwise doesn't do what you need it to do. These professionals, also known as IT managers, may arrive at work to find an inbox full of these requests and need to decide who best to correct the issue, or at small companies, fix it himself. But the job goes beyond troubleshooting problems. IT managers also install and upgrade an organization's computer system and protect the office network from hackers and malware. When the job is done well, many employees won't even notice the work involved. But if you haven't had an email interruption or server meltdown in the past few months, you probably have an IT manager to thank for it.
While the highest-profile jobs are in computer systems design, almost all organizations need IT managers, especially financial and insurance firms, manufacturing firms, and federal, state, and local governments. The rapidly growing healthcare industry is also expected to greatly increase its IT use, resulting in newly created positions. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts strong employment growth of 18.1 percent between 2010 and 2020. This growth will be driven by organizations upgrading their information technology systems to newer and faster networks and striving to avoid cyber threats. An estimated 55,800 new IT manager positions are expected this decade.
IT managers typically need a bachelor's degree in computer or information science, including coursework in computer programming, software development, and mathematics. Many organizations also require their IT managers to have a graduate degree, such as a Master of Business Administration (MBA). Most spend five to 10 years in an IT occupation before being promoted to manager, but smaller companies generally do not require as much experience as larger companies. Successful IT managers can further advance to IT directors, chief technology officers, and perhaps even chief information officers.
Computer and technical skills are essential, but equally important are management abilities. IT managers need to analyze a problem and pick the best and most cost-effective solution. They need to additionally lead and motivate departments of people to meet the goals of the company. "The most important thing about IT management is knowing enough about a lot of things so you can manage a lot of people who know about different things," says Kapil Patnaik, senior director of IT at TechAmerica. "If you decide to go into management, you have to learn how a system works rather than how a particular project works."
You can distinguish yourself by learning how to solve problems outside your initial area of expertise. "When something breaks, they don't always have to wait on somebody else to manage a simple situation," says Patnaik. "If you expose yourself to different technology and a myriad of situations, then when you start to manage people, you can understand their pain points and where people you are managing are coming from."
|Upward Mobility||Above Average|
Last updated by Emily Brandon.