How to Get a Job as an IT Manager
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."
What is the Job Like?
IT managers are likely to juggle requests from multiple people who claim to urgently need their problem fixed. You will need to prioritize the help desk requests and efficiently allocate the company's resources to them. IT managers frequently work overtime to troubleshoot issues, and 24 percent worked more than 50 hours per week in 2010. "It's not always as glamorous as launching a project," says Patnaik. "You are the men in black. You make sure the backbone of your company is functioning correctly."