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Careers in IT - Information Technology Management

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					Careers in IT - Information Technology
Management

In the previous "IT Diversity" articles I discussed Information Technology's two main career
paths - IT Systems and IT Application Development. While you can spend a lifetime working on
the basics in either of these sectors, people often desire to advance their careers and move up the
ladder into Information Technology management positions. In this article I will cover some
important considerations to keep in mind while pursuing this path, and briefly explain some
useful educational programs to help you prepare for the journey.

Information Technology management jobs exist at many levels within an organization. In a large
organization, you could serve as an IT manager in just one portion of an IT department (network,
help desk, or application development manager, etc); you could be the director of the entire IT
department, or a senior executive such as a Chief X Officer (CXO) - where X = I for
information, S for security, C for compliance, T for technology, K for knowledge, etc. In a
smaller organization, you might find yourself as the only IT manager and be tasked with
overseeing all aspects of the Information Technology environment.

Experience required for the various levels of IT Management generally include but are not
limited to:

- For any level IT managerial position you will be expected to have in-depth experience in at
least one specialized area (i.e., systems, networking, security, application development, etc.)

- For higher level positions, the more cross-functional IT experience you have - the better

- The higher level you seek, the more in-tune and knowledgeable you need to be with the
enterprise's mission, vision, and business processes.

As an IT Manager, several skills and competencies are critical to your success:

- People management: People problems can become an overwhelming concern.

- You likely will not have or maintain the level of expertise needed for all the people you are
responsible for, so you need to hire staff who have the right staff expertise.

- Information Technology is critical to the success of most enterprises, so you will often be
under-the-gun to keep things working and get new projects completed on time. If you don't
manage your staff properly, treating them with respect, professional courtesy, and making sure
that they get continuing education, they will burn out quickly and/or not enjoy their work, and
look for employment elsewhere.
- You will need to remove or fire unnecessary or problematic employees. A disgruntled worker
can destroy the teamwork required for a successful Information Technology project.

- Collaboration and facilitation abilities: Most Information Technology areas require interaction
between the IT staff and the business sector. From experience I can tell you that both of these
groups often have very little understanding of each other's situation.

- The IT staff generally does not understand the reasons or priorities of business processes.

- The business staff rarely understands the capabilities of what Information Technology can or
cannot do for them.

- Effective program management abilities will help immensely. Many IT projects are very
complex, involving multiple functional areas across different business practices.

- Strategic Planning: Information Technology managers at all levels must be able to identify IT
lifecycle needs based on current capabilities, while planning for future IT requirements and
upgrades.

- IT Managers must also be capable of convincing their colleagues that the Information
Technology department's needs are essential to the enterprises bottom-line, to ensure proper
prioritization of limited resources.

- Maintain IT Currency: Managers must keep abreast of IT developments to keep the enterprise
and its technology relevant in both current and future environments. Failing to do so could cause
the company to lose its competitive edge.


By Paul Capicik

				
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posted:3/9/2012
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