Technology management school programs: What you could learn
Technology project management is the art and skill of creating and managing information technology projects at a business or organization. Technology project managers serve as liaisons between the company or organization's management and the technical teams of database administrators, software developers and network architects. These technology managers can be responsible for meeting project budgets, goals and deadlines while maintaining the desired standards for the company or organization.
In general, the education required to become a technology manager is the same as any high-level project manager. Technology managers may have years of experience in technology management as analysts or programmers and a bachelor's degree in an information technology related field (bls.gov/ooh). Some managers may have earned a graduate degree in management or a project management certificate. According to O*NET Online, 84 percent of respondents said technology managers should have completed a bachelor's degree, while 16 percent felt a master's degree should be required (onetonline.org, 2012).
Graduate degree programs in project management, while not required, may help a technology manager's advancement potential up to a company's network architect or chief technical officer (CTO) or help manage multiple projects as a technology management consultant (money.cnn, 2009). Graduate degrees, such as an MBA in project management generally take two years or more to complete and require a bachelor's degree prior to enrollment. Project management certificates can take less than two years to complete and may be beneficial for those who may not have time to earn a postgraduate degree. Certificates can be offered by professional agencies such as the American Management Association.
What skills are involved in the job?
Since the position of a technology manager is to oversee technology projects, managers should expect to need both communication skills as well as technical skills. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and O*NET Online, the following skills and abilities may be useful or needed for technology managers at any level of employment:
- Communication skills - Serving as a liaison between the technical teams and executives can require relaying management deadlines to subordinates or explaining work to managers who may not understand technical details.
- Analytical thinking - Many of the problems associated with technology infrastructure require data driven solutions and as such, the ability to analyze data may be required. This can require understanding mathematics, computer code and software systems.
- Time management skills - Technology managers may be responsible for multiple projects across multiple time zones.
- Creative thinking - Managers may be required to think outside of the box to solve technical problems and implement solutions.
- Leadership skills - As leaders of various technical departments, technology managers may be responsible for motivating technical teams and multiple IT departments to work efficiently together.
- Technical skills - Some managers may be required to understand the finer workings of the systems they are managing.
What tools do technology managers use?
According to O*Net Online, IT managers can expect to encounter some of the following types of tools during their job.
- Computer servers - such as those made by Microsoft or Oracle
- Database software - such as SQL, Microsoft Access
- Development software - such as COBOL or Tigris
- Project management software - such as Basecamp or Zoho Projects
- Multi-line telephone systems - such as Cisco communicator phone software or other VOIP programs
However, the types of tools used by technology managers can change depending on their level. For instance, CTOs may not utilize anything more than their laptop while entry level managers may have to help create databases.
Employment outlook for technology managers
As of May 2012, the national median annual wage of computer and information systems managers was $120,950 with the highest 10 percent earning up to $187,199 and the lowest 10 percent earning up to $74,940 (bls.gov/oes, 2013). States with the highest employment levels were California, New York and Texas.
According to O*NET Online, the projected national job outlook for information technology project managers is expected to be bright (onetonline.org, 2012). The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that from 2010 to 2020, computer and information systems managers are expected to experience an employment outlook growth of up to 18 percent nationally, more than twice the rate of other management positions during the same time period (bls.gov/ooh, 2012). This growth is expected to be the result of organizations upgrading their information technology systems and switching to more up to date infrastructure. Many of these jobs are expected to be created in the health care industry.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition, Computer and Information Systems Managers - http://www.bls.gov/ooh/Management/Computer-and-information-systems-managers.htm
O*Net OnLine, American Job Center Network, Summary Report, Information Technology Project Managers, 2012 - http://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/15-1199.09
Money Magazine, CNN, Best Jobs 2009 - http://money.cnn.com/magazines/moneymag/bestjobs/2009/snapshots/5.html
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2012, Computer and Information Systems Managers - http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes113021.htm