As artificial intelligence becomes more sophisticated and automation steadily eliminates jobs, the world of IT is raising questions. Of course, complete automation in today’s world has only had a few successful examples.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk even tried his hand at it, failed and accepted his failure by saying, "humans are underrated." When it comes to technology, some level of supervision is necessary.
Regardless of the field, IT managers are just as fundamental as the technicians themselves.
Yet, what is the real difference between IT technicians and IT managers?
Well, it has quite a bit more to do with skills than seniority. The profession of an Information Technology Manager requires an understanding of basic tech to help businesses and organizations meet their goals. This is an area where the two careers are on the same page.
However, the IT manager career goes further by requiring excellent organizational, people, and communication skills to keep technicians working. Tech managers also have to know how to manage monetary funds and projects. Furthermore, these managers need to be able to put the success of others ahead of their own.
Read on to learn more about a career in IT management and whether it's a smart choice for you.
IT Management versus Project Management
Those who might be trying to get a grip on what an IT manager does might confuse them with project managers. After all, both of these require knowledge in the field, excellent communication, and knowing how to keep workers on the ball.
However, project managers lead their teams through projects from beginning to end. That's the key, beginning to end. Once a project ends, the project manager's work is more or less over.
Conversely, IT managers are in charge of the ongoing IT services at their place of employment. There are no clear start or end dates because they do not work on a project-by-project basis. On the contrary, IT managers have to continually check in with the superiors and subordinates to see that both groups are happy. These managers might even have to do damage control or provide coaching to team members who are lagging.
Data is another big difference between these two management jobs. Information technology managers have to deal with a vast amount of data on a regular basis. Knowing all about Data Governance may be one of the most critical tasks for this profession. Tech managers are often responsible for managing data for an entire organization or company.
Techies looking to climb the ladder are likely to be eyeing a position in management. Armed with some knowledge and a lot of gusto, they are ready to take that leap of faith. Although, plenty of times, they find themselves needing some extra credentials to fit the bill. Luckily, there are various ways to gain the knowledge, experience, and credentials required for an IT management position.
Project managers and IT managers are different; however, project management certifications can help you apply for an IT management position.
IT professionals with Project Management Professional or Certified Associate in Project Management certificates can benefit from these credentials. That's because these certificates require knowledge of working with people, schedules, requirement analysis, and budgets. Furthermore, they teach professionals how to design and deliver projects, which is the bottom line for most information technology managers.
There are some advantageous certifications for those looking to become IT managers.
Titles, like Certified in the Governance of Enterprise IT and Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control, are very valuable. Information technology governance is what allows businesses to use IT properly and effectively.
Those looking for something more comprehensive might also consider a Master of Business Administration.
Advantages of IT Management
The business landscape of today is continuously changing. Regardless, tech is always in the mix somewhere. So, at least for now, a career in IT management comes with a promise of longevity. This is because of three main benefits that IT management brings to businesses:
Information technology management is economical, plain and simple. It helps businesses save not only money but also time. That is extremely valuable and therefore very sought after. If business professionals had to do this on their own, they would waste funds and effort.
Businesses also benefit from IT management in that they can rest assured that their technology works as it should. Correctly managed IT will lead to less troublesome tech and more productivity. This way, they avoid ''quick fixes'' that can lead to trouble down the line and educate employees at the same time.
Furthermore, information technology management allows businesses to stay at the forefront of technological innovations. Experienced managers and technicians will take care of updating and troubleshooting new technology. This can make way for a business to have more capabilities, as well as capacities. Things like expanding a business, upgrading systems, and finding the best solutions for a company all benefit from IT management.
Disadvantages of IT Management
Indeed, it would be unfair to discuss the upsides without the possible downsides, too. Since technology is evolving so rapidly, some argue that IT will eventually become automated.
Is there a way to be sure that IT management positions won't go the way of the dodo?
For now, informational technology managers can rest assured knowing that many businesses would prefer a person over a machine. In the end, computers are only as good as the minds that program them. As we have seen over time, initial automation can lead to more issues than resolutions.
When it comes to IT, losing that human touch in business relationships and security can be glaringly obvious.
However, that brings up the debate of so-so information technology management or none at all.
Is it better to have no IT management over IT management that is subpar? Well, honestly, that's a valid concern for business of today in terms of security. The smallest breach in tech security could be disastrous for big companies that deal with sensitive information on a daily basis.
Security systems that can are accessible via the internet are especially vulnerable to hacking and cyber-attacks. If a business employs less-than-great IT management, they stand no chance of keeping their sensitive information safe. Consider the North American department store Target and its 2013 security breach that led to massive amounts of data getting stolen. This security breach was so significant that it affected approximately a third of American consumers.
Those looking to follow their IT management dreams have many things to consider. Although, before analyzing the specifics, a little bit of introspection has to happen. IT professionals looking to make a career change need to ask themselves some big questions beforehand. It's important to personally evaluate their skillset and decide whether they have what it takes. Skills can be learned, of course. Although, in order to truly feel fulfilled, you must want to do complete the required tasks.
Additional Resources for IT Job Seekers
Below we have included a few additional resources that we felt might be helpful to your job search.