“Have you tried turning it off and on again?”
While this might feel like every interaction you have with the IT team, there’s so much more to it than that.
Advancements in technology such as cloud computing and an increase in remote working have completely changed the role of IT in a business.
The IT team, and IT Managers in particular, now hold a lot more responsibility than ever before.
The omnipresent risks caused by security threats such as viruses and malware require constant monitoring.
IT managers often hold the responsibility for protecting a company against these threats; a job that shouldn’t be underestimated.
There is also a wide range of tech problems to solve daily as well as regularly reviewing the IT hardware in place to make sure it’s still fit for purpose.
Does this sound like something you think you’d enjoy? Here’s some more information about the role of an IT Manager.
What Is An IT Manager?
An IT manager is responsible for managing everything computer-related in an organisation. This will include coordinating, planning, and leading operations.
They help to determine the IT needs of a company and are then tasked with putting a plan into action to meet those unique requirements.
This may involve choosing new hardware and software or upgrading servers.
The responsibilities of the role will often vary depending on how the organisation runs and what its operations are.
It’s usually a role taken by an experienced IT professional and will involve line management responsibilities.
What Are The Responsibilities Of The Role?
An IT Manager will be fully trained to handle almost any IT task thrown at them.
They will also be responsible for hiring new members of the IT team as and when this is needed.
Generally, the day-to-day responsibilities of an IT Manager might include:
- Managing a team of IT professionals
- Developing and overseeing the IT policy and system security at the company
- Supervising large IT projects such as implementing new systems, performing updates and upgrades, and server migration
- Regular testing of the IT system and overseeing routine maintenance as required
- Working with IT vendors to negotiate the best deals on equipment
- Talking with other managers and staff about their IT requirements to get a better understanding of business need
- Recruitment and training of staff as well as creating training materials
- Staying alert to possible security breaches
- Troubleshooting issues with both hardware and software
Do You Need Qualifications?
This depends on the type of company. Many roles now requires some level of qualification, from a Certificate III, to a to a bachelor’s degree in an IT-related subject.
For example, this could be a BA in computer science, computer engineering, or information science as well as having relevant work experience.
Due to the seniority of the position and the responsibilities / technical knowledge required, businesses need to sometimes look for someone with an MBA.
As with any job you apply for, there will usually be other specific requirements relevant to the scope of the role.
It is usually the result of a long IT career.
This will mean considerable experience gained through time spent learning while “on the job”.
Skills learned throughout this time such as troubleshooting, and software/hardware knowledge will be essential.
Desirable Skills Of An IT Manager
To be successful in an IT manager role, the ideal person will have a good mixture of both hard and soft skills.
IT is integral to business operations. The repercussions of an IT failure or data breach could be catastrophic.
As a result, the role is a competitive one and businesses are always on the lookout for the best talent they can get.
Some of the skills that businesses look for in an IT Manager are:
Consistently And Proactively Keeping On Top Of Their Subject Knowledge
Security threats are of a constant concern to businesses and IT teams in particular.
IT Managers should strive to always be learning about the latest threat facing the cyber world.
This means proactively researching security issues affecting the world at large. It also involves taking preventative action where appropriate to protect the business against any ongoing risks.
Strong Technical Skills
You’ll need to have a solid background in computer hardware, software, and networking.
This will put you in the best position to analyse the current IT assets of a business and put together a plan with suggestions for improvements.
These skills also help you to appropriately manage your team.
You’ll be able to offer technical assistance where an Analyst or Technician can’t solve an IT problem.
Leadership And Negotiation Skills
As an IT manager, you are responsible for your team. This means making sure they are well looked after.
Your experience in the field will help you to negotiate reasonable deadlines with senior management so that the team are not overstretched and undervalued.
A Love For Problem-Solving
Troubleshooting technical issues is a big part of a role in IT.
Employees will be calling with IT problems daily. Some will be simple to resolve, and others will require more investigation.
If you don’t love this process of figuring out what a problem is and how it arose, a job in IT might not be the one for you!
Project Management Skills
As an IT Manager you will be responsible for leading IT projects, some of which might be difficult and expensive.
You’ll therefore have to adhere to project deadlines and strict budgets.
You must be able to manage your own time and make sure that your team is also working to schedule.
Delegating tasks is an essential part of project management.
Your experience will tell you how long things will take and how many people you will need. It will also tell you who the right people are to take on a particular project.
Your job will be to make sure projects are completed to a deadline while also making sure daily operations are not affected.
Listening And Communication Skills
Every day will involve talking with both internal and external stakeholders.
It’s therefore essential to have good communication skills.
IT can often be a very technical subject to discuss and if you’re talking to employees who have a system issue, they might not know how to tell you what’s wrong.
The ability to listen patiently and tell someone the steps to take in resolving an issue is therefore key to a role in IT.
The senior position of an IT Manager also means that you will spend a lot of your day speaking to other senior members of staff.
These staff may not understand IT like you do or appreciate the value of what you do.
It’s your responsibility to explain and persuade why you’re suggesting taking the action that you are in an easy-to-understand way. This will be key where the action you’re looking to take costs money.
Coaching And Mentorship Skills
As you’ll be managing a team, you will want to get the most out of them.
This is where having good coaching and mentoring skills come into play.
You can give your staff development opportunities to help them progress in their own career.
You’ll also want to help your staff see their own potential and perform as well as they can in their role.
What Is The Salary Like?
The average salary of an IT Manager in the US is about $80k – $100k depending on experience. This salary appears to stay relatively consistent no matter where you are based.
The complexity and demands of the role itself, and the size of the company you are working for, may vary the salary slightly.
It’s a senior role that is usually carried out full-time. There is the potential for a lot of overtime, especially where there is a major fault that is causing system downtime.
Is There Career Progression?
Once you’ve spent some time in an IT Manager role, you will probably be wondering what’s next for you.
As the position is relatively senior within an organisation, the opportunity for a promotion may be limited.
This might mean moving into a more specialist role depending on what you enjoy and your experience.
Some options for progression for IT Managers are:
A Director of IT position is the most obvious next step for an IT Manager.
It’s more of a strategic role than an IT Manager and involves overseeing the company’s IT infrastructure.
The IT Director will have fewer line management responsibilities but will usually directly manage the IT Manager.
The Director will create the plans which will then be passed down to the IT Manager to execute.
While it’s obviously a role that requires significant IT experience, this position differs in that it will need you to be more involved in the overall business strategy than before.
Chief Information Officer
CIO is about as high as you can go in an IT role within an organisation and is usually a promotion suited to an experienced IT Director. It’s a role that’s the equivalent level of CEO and CFO.
The responsibilities of the position include coordinating and managing IT strategy at the highest level.
You’ll be expected to oversee the entire IT team and provide technical expertise as and when this is needed.
How To Get Started In the Role
If you don’t already have an IT qualification, working towards a Certificate IV in Information Technology or Diploma of Information Technology which will stand you in good stead for being considered for any IT role.
The skills that you learn at degree level will be essential in helping you deal with the day-to-day issues you face within the role.
Get Work Experience
As mentioned above, an IT Manager position is not an entry-level role. You’ll be responsible for making critical decisions at an organisational level.
Being able to do this requires significant IT experience.
If you’re just starting out in this career, you can look for IT analyst or Technician positions that get you some hands-on experience. You can then work your way up to a more senior role as you go.
If you’re an IT professional, or are researching a career in the field, get in touch with Monarch today and discuss your future in IT.