IT Management Career Guide
IT management careers continue to boom as the digital age transforms the national economy with the rise of mobile technology, cloud computing and big data, among other factors.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) long-term outlook projects faster-than-average growth for jobs in the computer and information technology sector, where salaries also outpace the national average.
The rapid pace of change in the information technology field highlights the need for professionals with specialized training and knowledge in IT management. Attaining a Master of Science in IT or an MBA in Information Technology Management can strengthen a candidate’s position for IT jobs and promotions across a variety of career paths.
An MS in Information Technology is prized by many employers looking for professionals with advanced degrees, practical leadership abilities and a broad understanding of emerging technologies in the IT field. By pursuing a specialization in Database Administration or Enterprise Resource Planning, students also can focus on emerging disciplines.
The graduate-level program can prepare professionals for positions including:
For IT professionals pursuing management and executive opportunities, the MBA with a specialization in Information Technology Management combines the advanced technical skills, and proven business and management principles employers seek for positions such as:
- IT Director
- Chief Technology Officer
- Management Information Systems Director
- Vice President of Information Technology
- Information Technology Management Consultant
Rewards and Challenges of IT Management Careers
Although the BLS projects 12% employment growth in computer and IT fields between 2014 and 2024, there will be strong competition for these sought-after jobs. For graduates of an MS in Information Technology or MBA in IT Management program, there are multiple factors to consider when pursuing a career in IT management.
- Compensation. Earning potential is determined by a candidate’s work history and educational qualifications, as well as by regional market conditions and the industry type. Overall, the median annual wage for computer and IT workers nationwide was more than $81,000 as of May 2015, federal statistics show. That’s more than twice the median for all occupations.
A report by the global staffing firm Robert Half found the following salary ranges for specific job titles in 2016:
|Information Technology (IT) Manager
||$105,750 to $159,000
||$122,750 to $185,000
|Chief Information Officer (CIO)
||$172,000 to $268,250
|Vice President of Information Technology
||$141,000 to $225,000
|Chief Technology Officer (CTO)
||$147,500 to $229,000
|Project Manager, Applications Development
||$95,250 to $146,500
|Project Manager, Software Development
||$105,750 to $152,750
|Applications Development Manager
||$105,750 to $160,500
|Director, Consulting, & Systems Integration
||$123,750 to $190,250
|Practice Manager, Consulting & Systems Integration
||$125,000 to $173,500
|ERP Business Analyst
||$92,500 to $132,000
|Information Systems Security Manager
||$129,750 to $182,000
|Senior IT Auditor
||$116,000 to $164,250
||$118,000 to $170,500
- High profile projects. Professionals with an advanced degree and specialized knowledge may be positioned to assume increasing levels of responsibility and lead key organizational initiatives.
- Leadership opportunities. The central role of technology in the 21st century marketplace means IT professionals could see greater opportunities to pursue C-suite roles such as CTO or CIO.
- Accountability. In an IT management role there’s no room for finger-pointing when something goes wrong. You take the responsibility for your team and your ability to manage is measured by performance.
- Deadlines. The workload of the typical IT management professional is anything but typical. Projects are generally mission-critical to the organization, with tight deadlines to meet and numerous tasks to juggle.
- Managing. As an information technology manager you are responsible for your team’s career development, job satisfaction and performance. That can involve coaching individuals who have a difficult personality or a less-than-enthusiastic work ethic.
Mastering the IT Management Job Search
Securing employment opportunities in a competitive market calls for reaching beyond the typical option of scanning online job sites. Consider incorporating some of these suggestions on how to search for IT management jobs:
- Participate in IT industry and management groups on LinkedIn. By joining the conversation, sharing information and posing questions, you can position yourself as a knowledgeable, proactive contributor – in other words, an attractive candidate for employment. Additionally, seek suggestions from group members on where to find information technology management jobs.
- Activate your networks. This means social networks as well as traditional face-to-face networks. Tell neighbors, relatives, college friends and former colleagues that you’re seeking an IT management job. Direct referrals and recommendations can make the difference in a job search.
- Check your social media. Employers and recruiters are not only looking at your résumé, they’re likely monitoring your LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter accounts before extending an interview request or job offer. They may also be looking for clues to your suitability as an employee by checking the social networks of your friends for potentially questionable photos and comments. So, do a little cyber cleanup before you send out a résumé and ensure you’re putting your best foot forward online.
- Get hunted. Introduce yourself to IT management executive search firms and other recruiters and highlight your qualifications, skills and experience.
- Follow up. If you don’t hear anything from a hiring manager, it’s OK to follow up a week or two later. However, don’t turn a potential friend into an enemy by bombarding the recruiter with phone calls and emails.
- Be entrepreneurial. Research information technology salary projections and industry trends, read company press releases, and study local and national trade publications to uncover where there might be a need for your IT management skills. Has a particular company just launched a new product or acquired a competitor? This information can be mined for potential employment opportunities.
- Consider IT management contract work. Some staffing firms specialize in connecting information technology professionals with short- and long-term IT management positions.