What an IT manager does and how to become one
“Have you tried turning it off and back on again?”
Back when IT managers only had desktop computers and servers to worry about, this might have been the only question needed to solve a problem. While this method might still be a viable solution, it certainly isn’t the only one anymore.
Just as times and technology changes, the role of the IT manager has grown and evolved drastically since its start. There are always new technologies to learn, many areas to stay up to date on and additional disciplines to study.
IT managers must ensure they have teams capable of both producing results and keeping a workforce running by fixing laptops, phones and connective applications like Slack and Trello. Not only do they have to maintain a building, but the rise in flexible working means they need to help telecommuters working from home or in remote locations.
Perhaps most importantly, with the world of technology rapidly changing the world of business, the IT manager has a responsibility to ensure their organisation uses the best products it can, the latest software available and the appropriate hardware to keep their business competitive.
To do all this an IT manager must lead a team of techno professionals, software developers and system analysts, and ensure the entire department is an efficient unit.
Their role will also include working with IT vendors or resellers to guarantee they are getting the best deals on equipment and systems, and that every piece of technology solves a problem the company has.
Other duties include evaluating the viability of proposed projects, talking with staff and managers about their IT needs, and developing systems customised for the needs of an organisation. IT managers also are expected to review plans and recruit, train, and coordinate technical personnel.
An IT manager can also be responsible for creating training materials to help new employees understand how to make the best use of technology within an organisation. This ranges from designing in-house training manuals, to walking staff through using essential applications and logging into systems.
A day in the life of an IT manager
An IT manager’s daily activities vary. For the most part, it will involve personnel management as opposed to tasks like programming and database administration. An IT manager will also be responsible for ensuring the people responsible for such tasks are able to complete them.
Additionally, they will keep track of budgets and update senior management and key stakeholders on the progress of any current projects or upgrades. Another daily task will be to stay alert for any possible security breaches to the infrastructure and take appropriate action if an incident happens.
How to become an IT manager and the skills you need
Most organisations will require their IT manager to have a degree in computer science or an equivalent. To be a manager, organisations will also want evidence of work-related experience.
In general, the first steps to becoming an IT manager involve becoming a team leader, rather than a fully-fledged manager. This guarantees that by leading a team of web developers, for example, a future-manager would remain comfortable with technical details while also honing management skills.
It is also recommended to supplement technology training with business or management courses as this will help in gaining the necessary skills in management and communication.
In the long term, success as an IT manager rests on how well the team performs. Make them perform to the best of their abilities, and you will shine as a manager as well.
How much are IT managers paid?
An IT manager in the UK can expect to be paid around £46,000 a year on average, and companies will likely include other bonuses and incentives as well. However, this amount can range from £30,000 to £76,000 depending on the company and the IT manager’s level of experience.