IT management remains a highly desirable role, and with the IT sector continuing to thrive, there’s never been a better time to look for jobs in this area.

What does an IT manager do?

In simple terms, the IT Manager (or information systems manager, as the role is sometimes known) is responsible for making sure that the company's IT infrastructure is fit for purpose. In reality this may mean ensuring that staff have the machines and software that they need to carry out their duties, that all the requisite network connections function effectively; and that the business has a suitable IT strategy in place to continue to meet the demands of the market in which it is operating.

Which companies require an IT manager?

IT managers are sought after in situations where the information technology demands of the business are too complex or too resource-intensive to be the
preserve of the individuals 'on the floor.' In the public sector, higher educational establishments and schools of a certain size will also typically hire an IT manager. 

What does an IT manager do, day-to-day?

The day-to-day activities of an IT manager can vary quite substantially.  This is, indeed, one of the reasons that it’s such a popular role. Successful candidates will be expected to take on tasks such as liaising with senior members of staff within the firm, hiring new candidates for lower level tasks, strategising and planning new ICT projects and training new members of staff.  They will also be working with employees to help trouble-shoot problems.

Essentially, an IT manager is similar to any other people manager.  Whilst they will be responsible for ensuring that the necessary needs of the company are met, day-to-day they’re unlikely to spend time actually doing things like programming and database administration.  Their responsibility is instead to ensure that those responsible for actually completing those tasks are able to do so.

Whilst an IT manager might not get involved in the nitty-gritty of a project, it doesn’t mean that they are able to get away with not understanding the more in-depth aspects.  A big part of their role will be helping employees to deal with issues that arise, which they won’t be able to do unless they have a working knowledge of the technical elements of information technology. 

What skills should an IT manager have?

Educational.

Typically, an IT manager will need to be educated to at least an upper second degree level in one form of computing.  Qualifications include computer programming, system analysis and software engineering, but other IT qualifications will often be considered depending on the specific requirements of the company.

Workplace.

An IT manager must be able to demonstrate both a working knowledge of people and project management with good communication skills, as well as knowledge of standard IT skills such as database management, programming and software engineering.  This mix of the technical with the personal is key to being a success in this role. 

Variations on the IT manager role.

As noted above, the IT manager role encompasses both the personal and the technical, meaning that variations on the role are quite common. Some firms, for instance, might seek to hire a candidate solely to supervise the technical implementation of their project, with issues like hiring, firing and training all taken care of by other departments. It can also be the case that the role is more specialised, so rather than seeking a general IT manager, a company looks for a JavaScript manager. Essentially, the role still involves both people management and technical skill, but is more focused.