How to Become an IT Manager

Career Path Guide

If you want to become an IT manager, you first need to determine if this career path is well suited to your skills and interests. If the following description sounds like you, then you’re probably well suited for this profession:


• You have a degree in a field related to computer science, or years of professional experience

• You have a natural aptitude and interest in computers, information systems and information technology

• You have strong IT skills; networking, operating systems, hardware technologies, storage, and facilities

• You have an interest in maintaining a high level of customer satisfaction and high quality of service

• You have highly developed negotiation and conflict resolution skills


Becoming an IT manager is an excellent choice for those who want a career that allows them to leverage their IT, problem solving and management skills to provide people and businesses with effective information technology and systems management.


As it is a mid-level career, it is also an excellent choice for those who have the commitment, dedication and focus to commit to lower-level jobs long enough to gain the professional experience necessary to perform the duties of an IT manager with competence.


Below we've outlined what you'll need to begin a career as an IT manager. We've also included helpful information for this career, such as job description, job duties, salary expectations, a list of possible employers and much more!



Education Needed to Become an IT Manager

In order to become an IT manager, you typically need a bachelor’s degree or vocational school diploma in a field such as information technology, computer science, computer engineering, software engineering, or another computer-related field.


Some employer’s may prefer candidates with a master’s degree, while others may hire candidates who have minimal formal education, provided they have sufficient work experience and advanced demonstrable skills in IT.


If you want to become an IT manager, it is also recommended that you supplement your technology coursework with business and management coursework, as this will help you gain necessary skills in business communications and other areas of business unit management. 





General Job Description

Information technology (IT) managers are responsible for ensuring the effective and efficient operations of an organization’s information technology systems.


They must oversee the provision of software and hardware maintenance and provide recommendations to senior management regarding upgrades or improvements for current IT systems and equipment.



Typical Job Duties

• Plan, organize, direct and evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of an organization’s IT system

• Develop and implement policies and procedures for the IT department

• Maintain current knowledge of the latest developments in the information technology industry

• Liaise with IT analysts and other specialists in order to obtain advice

• Recruit, hire, train, supervise and support IT staff

• Meet with managers to discuss system requirements, specifications, costs and timelines

• Mange the budget of the department



Experience You'll Need

The experience needed to become an IT manager largely depends on the size and staffing needs of your prospective employer. For example, you can become an IT manager by getting a job in an organization with a small IT department, such as a start-up company, wherein your IT skills you would perform a variety of roles, including that of IT manager. As the company grows you could grow with it.


If you want to become an IT manager you could also join a company with a larger IT department and work in a position with a lower level of responsibility. If you communicate your career ambitions to your manager, and you show initiative, accountability and competence in your role, you could gradually move into roles of progressive responsibility, including IT manager.


Success Tip

It is really hard to step into senior IT roles by continually changing jobs, it is much easier to do it by gaining the experience where you are, even if it is only limited experience, and then gradually moving onto roles of progressive responsibility.


Above almost all else, employers like to see that you have gained full competence in your current role, as it shows that you have the commitment and focus to gain the same level competence in your next role.





Competencies Needed to Become an IT Manager

In order to become a successful IT manager, you need to posses a certain set of skills, traits and attributes. These competencies will help you effectively perform your job duties, and they are in high demand with organizations that employ IT managers.


• An interest in maintaining a high level of customer satisfaction and high quality of service

• Ability to use a strategic perspective and understanding of stakeholder needs to develop practical short term and long terms solutions

• The confidence and communication skills to interact with internal and external groups on all IT matters

• Highly developed negotiation and conflict resolution skills

• Strong IT skills including networking, operating systems, hardware technologies, storage, and facilities

• An in-depth understanding of network technologies and perimeter security

• Proficiency with Windows Server and Desktop operating systems

• Working knowledge of UNIX operating systems, security, and integration with Windows environments

• Proficiency in storage and mobile technologies

• Experienced in back-up, recovery and disaster recover planning and testing

• Ability to effectively manage inventory



Who Employs IT Managers?

IT managers are employed on a part-time, full-time and contractual basis by small, medium and large organizations in almost every industry, although they are typically hired on a full-time, permanent basis.


Types of organizations that employ IT Managers include:


• Small, medium and large private companies and corporations

• Colleges and universities

• Hospitals and healthcare organizations

• Municipal, provincial/state and federal government departments

• Internet and telecommunication service providers

• Information technology consulting firms

• Self-employment (as consultants)

• Energy companies



IT Manager Jobs

Our job board below has "IT Manager" postings in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia.




IT Manager Salary

The salary level of IT managers can vary depending on their personal qualifications, the size and type of their employer, the specific responsibilities of their job, and many other factors.


IT Manager Salary Alberta: According to the 2018 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans working in the Information Systems Analysts and Consultants occupational group earn an average of $113,784 per year.


Salary - British Columbia: According to WorkBC (Province of British Columbia, those working in the Computer and information systems managers occupational group earn an average provincial median salary of $90,002.


Salary - United States: According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary level of American workers in the Computer and Information Systems Managers occupational group is $142,530 per year (2018 figures). The lowest 10% of salaries in this occupational group were below $85,380, and the top 10% were above $208,000 per year.



Similar Career Guides in Our Database

Listed below are careers in our database that are similar in nature to IT manager, as they may involve many of the same skills, competencies and responsibilities.


Business Analyst

IT Analyst

Network Architect

Project Manager

Systems Administrator




Please consult the references below to find more information on the various aspects of a career as an IT Manager.


Wages & Salaries in Alberta:Computer and information systems managers.” (n.d.). ALIS website - Alberta Learning Information Service. Retrieved December 28, 2019.

Management:Computer and Information Systems Managers.” (September 4, 2019). Occupational Outlook Handbook - United States Bureau of Labor Statistics website. Retrieved December 28, 2019.

Explore Careers: “Computer and information systems managers.” (July 5, 2018). WorkBC website. Retrieved February 13, 2020.

Salaries and Skills:What's it Take to Be an IT Manager Today?.” (January 21, 2017). Robert Half website. Retrieved December 28, 2019.

Information Technology Management:How to Become an IT Manager: 3 Things You Need to Succeed.” Anna Heinrich (November 6, 2017). Rasmussen College website. Retrieved December 27, 2019.



Scholarships for Becoming an IT Manager

Scholarships listed for majors that apply to becoming an IT Manager can be found on our Computer Science Scholarships and Computer Engineering Scholarships pages.


Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you even barely qualify for, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!



Relevant University Majors

Studying one of the university majors listed below is an excellent starting point for this profession. Click on the links to find out what else you can do with these majors!


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