5 Steps to Become a Computer and Information Systems Manager

Here are five steps for securing a job as an IT manager (computer and information systems manager) and what you need to know for your career.
As companies have become more reliant on technology for everything from financial analytics to sales lead development, the role of computer and information systems managers have increased as well.
IT managers play a vital role in the future of every organization because they not only lead the teams that manage the expansion of their information systems and oversee cybersecurity initiatives, they also provide the strategic direction for long-term IT needs.

What do computer and information systems managers do?

A computer and information systems manager, or IT manager, leads an organization’s IT department, overseeing all computer-related activities and working with important leaders within the company to assess and constantly improve upon current IT practices. They often provide oversight and direction on technology upgrades and consult with top executives on how to use technology to improve business operations.
The number of information and computer-related managerial positions is increasing every year. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that employment for information systems managers will increase by 12 percent from 2016 through 2026, adding more than 44,000 new jobs.

How much can I make?

Pursuing a position in IT management can be a lucrative career choice. According to 2018 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), IT managers earn an average annual salary of $152,860 per year ($73.49 per hour).
Recent graduates just entering the field in an entry level position will need to work their way towards earning a salary in this range. How much you can make depends largely on where in the US you are employed and the responsibilities of the specific management position. Find the average salary for an IT manager by state.

How do I become an IT manager?

Becoming a computer and information systems managers requires a background in technology as well as a passion for solving problems, strong project management skills and the ability to lead and motivate others.
Here are five steps for securing a job as a computer and information systems manager:

Step 1: Enroll in a technology bachelor’s degree program

A bachelor’s degree in computer science or information technology is a requirement for most computer and information systems (CIS) managerial positions. Computer programmingsoftware development, and network administration are all important skills and knowledge areas for computer and information systems managers.

Step 2: Find an internship in the field

Competition for IT jobs is tough, which is why an internship – which gives you real-world experience with CIS managers – is so important. You’ll have hands-on insight regarding network administration, software engineering and more before you even begin your official job search.

Step 3: Gain work experience

Like every profession, securing a managerial position requires some experience. For example, many individuals start out in an IT support or IT help desk role, learning the ins and outs of the organization as they pursue a higher-tier position.
From their experience, they are able to achieve a well-rounded perspective of an organization’s IT needs, and build up their arsenal of strong technical skills in order to become a top-notch information technology manager one day.

Step 4: Continue your education

Many employers require a master’s degree in computer and information systems management. Consider an MBA program that focuses on technical, strategic, and managerial concepts. An MBA in Technology Management is a good option for those who want to advance their IT career. Additionally, look into post-master’s certificate options that explore project management and technology management.

Step 5: Get the job

With the right experience and education, you can become a skilled computer and information systems manager, helping organizations prepare for and respond to the IT needs of the future. Often, computer and information systems managers that start out in mid-level management positions can eventually advance to executive or C-suite roles, such as IT director or CTO.
If you find that a career in IT management isn’t the right fit for you, there are a variety of similar professions that you can explore. Consider opportunities in computer programming, cybersecurity or computer networking – all of which are valuable, high-growth careers that are becoming increasingly important in today’s technologically advanced world.