The Importance of Business Skills for IT Managers
For those who aspire to IT management jobs, leadership and important business skills are as valuable as technical skills. In a management role, IT managers must focus on integrating IT into an overall business strategy. Success requires not only understanding technology but also how to put technology to use to achieve business goals.
A quality Master of Science in Computer Information Systems program prepares graduates for these critical management roles. Businesses now work IT into everything they do, from recruiting talent to making data-driven decisions on new products, services, and markets. Working as an IT manager presents many challenges and the need for a specific set of skills.
That’s one reason IT managers are in demand. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the number of IT managers to increase by 11% between 2018 and 2028. Annual salaries for the position reached $146,360 nationwide in May 2019.
What Skills Are Needed To Be An IT Manager?
IT managers must first have excellent technical skills. New England College’s graduate degree program allows students to concentrate in areas such as data modeling and analytics, networking, PegaSystems, programming, project management, and web technologies.
However, becoming a manager requires taking your skillset to a new level, beyond the technical skills needed for the job. Some of the important business skills for IT managers include the following.
Soft skills rank among the most sought-after skills by businesses, especially for those who want to work in management. The term soft skills cover a broad range of abilities. They include the ability to communicate well, practice active listening, consider a variety of opinions, practice positive non-verbal communication, and remain open-minded.
Another key part of this area is the ability to explain IT to those without in-depth technical knowledge. This is especially important when explaining the potential for leveraging IT to make business operations more efficient or to support data-driven decisions.
People work harder when they trust and have confidence in a manager. Communication plays into this area, as well, because employees feel motivated when business strategy and their role in executing it are clearly communicated. The reverse is also true – if people don’t understand why their work has value, they will do less work. Managers build trust by keeping their word and providing a role model that employees can emulate.
As the IT manager, the responsibility for decisions falls to you. Every day, managers make decisions on hirings, promotions, budget expenditures, project team personnel, tasks, and scheduling. An important business skill for IT managers is the ability to assess a situation, consider various options, and choose the best course of action.
Know The Industry
In most organizational structures, executives develop strategy and managers execute strategy. However, IT managers should prepare themselves to participate in strategic planning because of their expertise in an area that increasingly has an impact on every phase of an operation. This requires understanding not only the details of your department but also how your organization competes in its industry.
As noted by Forbes, “many managers have no idea how their organizations compete. They know a lot about their department but very little about the industry, the world, or current events. That’s a big problem!”
How a Master’s Degree Prepares IT Managers
In addition to offering specialization, the NEC MS in Computer Information Systems degree program also offers courses that allow graduate students the chance to hone important business skills. Courses include Organizational Leadership in Technology and IT Project Management.
Student outcomes for NEC’s program include the ability to analyze IT-related challenges and develop solutions in areas such as programming, database structures, data communication networks, and protection against software and hardware systems.
However, in addition to expertise in these technical issues, New England College graduates also have prepared to manage complex projects that serve organizational goals. They will know how to effectively manage team members and develop important business skills in team building, time management, budgetary considerations, and scope management.