How To Get Into IT Management?

Part 5 of 7 in the Series: How To Become A Project Manager

Get Into IT Management
Get Into IT Management
There comes a time in your career when you will have to take a serious look at the possibility of moving into management.

This may be preceded by a time of dis-satisfaction with the status quo either because:

  • You are beginning to feel that you have hit a glass ceiling
  • You are thinking that you would do a better job than some managers you’ve worked for
  • Or someone is presenting you with an opportunity to move into management.

Personally, I never gave it much thought because I was hired into a Business Process and Technology Management Job a few years out of college.

That aside, if you are seriously considering a career in management, then this post was written for you.

Career Advice Column: How Do I Get Into Management

Here is a question from a reader on how to get into management.

If you have a question or challenge, be sure to ask for our help using [Ask IT Career Coach] and I will answer it for you.

What is the first step i should take to work in IT Management.

I deal with server related tasks on a daily basis but want to learn more.

I know taking classes is the best way but what should i do to start.

Ive looked into some different sites but would like some guidance if at all possible.

I want to further my career and i really enjoy this kind of stuff.

I work in Advertising now and i love solving computer related issues that others have no idea about.

Is Management The Right Career Move For You?

It is understandable that you feel the way you do about your current job.

However, my question to you is: “Are You Ready For Management?

The main challenge that you are facing is a desire to learn or do more.

But moving into management is not necessarily the logical next step.

How about you changing roles or jobs for a position that allows you to do more of what you like, which is: solving computer related issues?

I say this because your question suggests that you are really looking for more technical challenges and not necessarily for management type challenges.

Basic Skill Requirements For Management Type Jobs

Becoming a manager requires a set of skills which are unlike those required to succeed in a technical job.

As a manager, you get your satisfaction out of helping others or your team to succeed.

As a technical professional, your success depends more on how much of a star player you are.

So, if you job satisfaction comes more from solving technical problems as opposed to leading, motivating or getting things done through others, management may not be for you.

The Mindset Of A Manager

You do not have to be a manager to succeed in your career.

There are many technical professionals (business analysts, computer programmers, etc.) who are not managers and yet they are satisfied with their job because they excel at it!

Here is a reality check for you. What do you answer to these questions?

  • Do you like leading, motivating, coaching or inspiring your colleagues at work? Have you made a habit of that?

  • Do you mind taking a back seat and letting others succeed?

  • Do you spend time thinking of how your team will succeed instead of how you alone will succeed?

  • Do you care more about people or about technology?

  • If you were to spend the majority of your time solving people problems instead of computer problems, how would you feel?

  • Do you spend time planning before you execute projects or does planning take a lower priority in your day?

  • Do you take responsibility for outcomes? Do you take on problems or issues beyond your immediate assignment or do you typically assume that it’s someone else’s responsibility?

If you can say yes to these questions, you have the mindset of a manager otherwise you may not be quite ready to make the leap into management.

How To Break Into IT Management

If you want to break into management, get the mindset of a manager and learn the art & discipline of project management.

If you can learn project management and develop the mindset of a manager, you will become qualified for a management job!




2 Responses to "How To Get Into IT Management?"

  1. JT   September 2, 2010 at 2:22 am

    Is there a situation where a Project manager (PM) will be needing to use Crystal Reports or SQL know-how to get his/her job done?

    Was in conversation with a few folks from the DOL (Dept of Labor) and they felt there is no correlation between a PM and Business Analsyst or Crystal or SQL knowledge.

    Please advice

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    • IT Career Coach   September 2, 2010 at 2:26 am

      A Technical Project Manager (TPM) has a deeper knowledge of software development tools like Crystal Reports or SQL. Being a PM does not make or require you to be a TPM.

      Depending on the industry that you specialize in, technical knowledge may or may not be necessary.

      However, a good PM can still succeed in a technical domain without in-depth technical knowledge … it is on a case by case basis.

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