CHOOSING A CAREER / NOV. 26, 2014
version 12, draft 12

5 Must Have Skills for Future IT Managers

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The role of an IT manager is very important. You are responsible for a lot things. Some days will be easier, some days will be an absolute nightmare. It can be a thankless job at times. Are you still interested?

Good, because it’s also an incredibly rewarding position with a lot of responsibility and very nice compensation. The IT manager will often know things that other managers simply can’t comprehend, which can make things easier in some cases but it can also cause issues when you aren’t able to express just how important a particular hardware upgrade may be when other departments are only concerned with the bottom-line and short term ROI. Not to digress, here are 5 key skills that will make life as an IT manager much easier.

#1 Project Management Skills

Along with IT manager, you’ll also wear the hat of project manager. You’ll find long-term projects, short-term projects, and everything in between are on your plate almost daily. It’s essential that you’re able to manage a team of people and to ensure that deadlines and milestones are met and that all team members are doing their share of the work.

#2 Critical Thinking 

Sometimes you’ll come across situations that just aren’t covered by the textbooks, and you’re forced to make important decisions that might not have any precedent. It’s not an easy position to be in, so being able to soberly lay out all of the facts and to critically think your way to a solution is a very useful tool. IT managers often experience things for the first time, and it’s up to them to make the right choices and stay on the feet while making critical decisions.

#3 A Willingness to Continue Education

Technology changes often. Perhaps not as often in certain corporate settings, but it’s important for an IT manager to stay up to date on what’s new, and what’s on the horizon. Somewhere out there, sitting in the corner of a messy office, is a stubborn IT manager who refuses to adapt to new technology and some day you just might be replacing them for that very reason, so learn from their mistakes.

If you want to stay up to date, you must be ready to accept a lot of new information on a daily basis, and get the necessary IT certifications. Google has a myriad of exams for IT managers, like the new GAIQ, which means you must be prepared to study intensively.

#4 An Integrated Approach

An IT manager needs to understand all of the various elements of the business in terms of their technological backbones, and how each of those different systems interact with one another. If you think about how each department is responsible for their own area, it’s the IT department that ties it all together making them responsible for everything related to technology which is essentially the core of any business nowadays.

#5 Technical Skills

When managerial skills cross paths with technical skills, you know you’re the type of person to become an IT manager. Your responsibilities will vary, you’ll be in charge of a diverse group of people, you will need to ensure that data is protected, that all systems are a go at all times, and also to be ready to patch things up whenever the ship starts to sink, so to speak. Are you ready to step up to that kind of responsibility? If that doesn’t frighten you, and better yet if it actually excites you, you may be cut from the cloth of an all-star IT manager!

We aren’t going into great detail about the technical skills, as the list is long and ever-growing, but if you enjoy technology and keeping up with it, and have a passion for managing people, then the role of an IT manager is something to seriously consider working towards. 

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