Get started Bring yourself up to speed with our introductory content.

IT career advancement: The move to management

As businesses increasingly embrace technology as a strategic advantage, IT career advancement will rely on tech professionals' untapped skills as they strive for management roles.

With 2017 in full swing, it's time to take a fresh look at our professional lives to assess where we are in our...

careers and where we want to be.

For tech workers, the unemployment rate is low: about 2%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Tech talent is in demand, but as employers search for strong candidates they face shortages. Government reports show that 500,000 to 1 million IT jobs go unfilled every year.

With the field thriving, professionals can configure their IT career advancement in various ways. As businesses increasingly embrace technology to create strategic advantage, drive productivity and stay competitive, there is a growing need in the IT management role.

IT professionals who have demonstrated ability to bridge the gap between the technology side and the business side of the house are highly valued, and often promoted to leadership roles. But for many IT professionals, advancing up the ladder poses unique challenges. While they excel in technical and the entry IT management role, it's not so easy to make the transition to leading larger groups across diverse functions and reach the highest levels in the organization.

To be a leader who drives growth and innovation in today's complex, rapidly-evolving global businesses, IT experts must go beyond their traditional strengths of technical acumen, analytical thinking and love for diving deeply into details.

What skills do tech professionals need to step into leadership and the IT management role? Here are some tips to move forward with your IT career advancement:

Leaders learn to make effective decisions without first-hand knowledge and often with incomplete or conflicting information. They integrate information from multiple sources to arrive at the best decisions in a timely manner.

Think strategically. Technical leaders need to get out of their silos and think big picture. Effective leaders have the vision to inspire high-performance teams focused on business goals, not just on technology-related or functional goals. They manage a project portfolio that responds to and even anticipates organizational needs and customer trends. Effective IT leaders help to build competitive advantage through the company's IT infrastructure and revenue-generating products.

Hone soft skills. Navigating the human dynamic is vital for a leader. This means understanding the culture, motivation and agenda of others; managing conflict; and giving feedback that advances progress toward shared goals. Leaders with strong people skills communicate effectively, influence diverse stakeholders and successfully compete for resources within and across organizations.

Tune up decision-making. Stepping away from a position where you actually do the work, or at least understand it, into one where you empower others is a familiar challenge for technical professionals. Leaders learn to make effective decisions without first-hand knowledge and often with incomplete or conflicting information. They integrate information from multiple sources to arrive at the best decisions in a timely manner. Superb leaders also consider how power dynamics and their own biases impact decision-making.

Take a global perspective. Despite changing geopolitical forces, technology is bringing countries, competitors and markets closer together. Today's most effective leaders think globally. They adapt to changing technology markets and increased global competition. They lead diverse teams and cast a wide net to source ideas and innovation, and ultimately develop transformative technologies with global value.

As scientific and technological innovation reshapes the global economy, the future is bright for industry professionals who move beyond their traditional technical or engineering training. Technical professionals who transcend their silos and expand their perspective will accelerate their careers, broaden their impact and propel their businesses forward in 2017 and beyond.

Next Steps

More on IT career advancement:

Modern IT leaders tasked with more than technical concerns

Transferring database admin skills into leadership roles

IT management role: Becoming a relationship-driven CIO

This was last published in February 2017

Dig Deeper on CIO career development and career paths

PRO+

Content

Find more PRO+ content and other member only offers, here.

Join the conversation

2 comments

Send me notifications when other members comment.

By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

Please create a username to comment.

What do you think are the most important skills that contribute to IT career advancement?
Cancel
The unofficial rule is to quit your current company, then get re-hired back 6 months later at a larger payscale and post...

That said, you must be able to schmooze and get along with all the other project leaders and senior management.  Then you must deliver success on often impossible or unrealistic tasks.    The most important thing is to always be positive and smile.  Your ability to inspire and lead others will then take you where you want to go... no real technical knowledge necessary!  That's how many of the managers @ Lowe's do it from what I observed.
Cancel

-ADS BY GOOGLE

SearchCompliance

SearchHealthIT

SearchCloudComputing

SearchMobileComputing

SearchDataCenter

Close