A computer systems manager or an IT manager (the short version of the job name) is a professional who handles and manages all computer work projects and activities within an organization. If a computer systems analyst, previously discussed here on Job Descriptions, handles the business and audit part of the job by identifying what needs to be done, computer-wise, in a company for things to run more efficiently, then a manager makes sure those suggestions turn into project and get implemented accordingly by their assigned team. Like most other IT occupations, this is a job that pays very well, but on the other hand has some pretty demanding educational requirements to match its high standards.
IT Manager Job Description
Information Technology (IT) Managers are responsible for planning, coordinating and overseeing the computer-related projects and tasks within the organization they work for. They sometimes help define the goals and targets of that organization, IT-wise, and help their place of employment attain those goals via the projects they implement. Since there are a huge variety of organizations and companies which use information technology (virtually all of them), the specifics of the job can vary accordingly. A manager working for a giant computer game developer will do a completely different day to day job than a manager working within a government agency, for example.
Still, the IT manager job description can be broken down into 4 main specializations*, depending on the type of projects they oversee and the training they focused on:
- Chief Information Officers (CIOs) – These professionals work on the overall technology strategy of the company or organization. They can have specific areas of expertise or focus, but they tend to concentrate on long-term, bigger picture type of goals, unlike the following category, the CTOs.
- Chief Technology Officers (CTOs) – These professionals are quite similar to the CIOs in that they manage and oversee the organization’s IT goals, but their tasks are far more specific. They are usually responsible for evaluating new technology and making recommendations in regards to how it could help their organization attain its goals easier.
- IT Directors – The IT directors supervise and oversee virtually everything that goes on in the IT departments (which means they also keep an eye on all the other managers described in this list). They also help the executives define the IT-related business goals and requirements of the organization and create IT policies in response to those.
- IT Security Managers – These managers have just one main concern on their minds: protecting their organization’s IT systems from information leaks, malware, spyware and any similar problem which may come up. They work closely with the top executives to plan the organization’s security policy and help enforce and promote a security culture at every work level. They also supervise the ensuing investigations in care there has been a security breach.
*According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), http://www.bls.gov/ooh/
IT Manager Education Requirements and Training
The basic requirement for an IT manager education involves a bachelor’s degree in computer science (or a related field such as information science), which requires 4 years of undergraduate study. Most organizations further require a master’s degree in the field as well, or an MBA (Master of Business Administration), which is another 2 years of study. During these 6 years, the potential future IT manager training involves courses in computer programming (in multiple programming languages), software development, IT management, mathematics and related fields (depending on the school they’re attending).
Also, you can’t get hired as a manager as soon as you graduate from the Master’s program: a manager position requires several years of work experience on a related position. Therefore, it could be said that relevant and extensive on-the-job training is a mandatory part of the manager education requirements. Directors may need 5 to 10 years of previous IT work experience, while lower management positions may get away with a slightly lower number of years. Also, the work experience needs to be consistent with the field of IT management you would be applying for: if applying to be an IT security manager, the previous work experience should have been acquired as part of an IT security team.
IT Manager Salary
The median IT manager salary was $120,950 per year or $58.15 per hour according to data recorded by the BLS as of 2012*. This is much more than the median pay for all occupations ($34,750) and even than the median pay for all management positions (which is $93,910). The median manager salary translates as the middle line between the two halves of all employed managers. That means half of these professionals earned slightly more than this median value in 2012, while the other half earned slightly less. If you’d like to know how much more and how much less you can make, the official statistics* point out that the lowest earning 10% of all managers made a bit less than $74,940 in 2012, while the top-earning 10% of them made more than $187,200. Overall, the salaries in this line of work are majorly impressive.
To further detail how much an manager makes in various business branches, we should also state that the median salary for the main five industries which hires these professionals was, in 2012*, at the following values: $133,120 for the information industry, $128,830 for computer systems design and related services, $126,680 for the finance and insurance industry, $124,260 for the management of enterprises and companies, and finally $101,960 for the government sector.
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/
IT Manager Job Outlook
Not only is an IT manager position a well-paid job, but it is also one with an encouraging outlook. The IT manager job outlook is projected by official data* to grow by 15% from 2012 to 2022 (creating a total of 50,900 new jobs), which is faster than the average for all other occupations. As technology systems become more and more important in virtually every line of work out there, managers will always be in a short supply. An additional factor which may intensify the demand for these professionals will be the growing cyber-security threats, to businesses and governments alike. Also, the tendency for various industries to use cloud IT services to enable centralized and remote location team work, as well as the implementation of advanced IT technology by the healthcare system, are another 2 main factors which will lead to this projected growth.
The only downside to the job is that the hours can be quite demanding: more than a third of all IT managers in the country are required to work extra time (more than 40 hours a week) in order to properly deal with emergencies and solve problems.
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/