IT Managers vs IT Project Managers

Information Technology (IT) Managers

An information technology manager is in charge of planning, coordinating and directing the computer and technology-related areas of a company or organization. IT management positions mix computer science-related skills with business-minded leadership. The responsibilities of an IT manager include:

  • Determining needs for the IT department that will help the organization meet its mission
  • Managing teams of IT professionals
  • Overseeing technology budgets
  • Assessing the benefits of new projects

IT managers work with other managers and executives to make recommendations concerning the information technology goals of their organization and how to implement best practices that will meet the goals.

IT managers not only analyze how a company uses technology but also strategize on changes to improve efficiency. They work with and sometimes oversee teams of other IT professionals like computer systems analysts, software developers, information security analysts and computer support specialists.

Types of computer and information systems managers include chief information officers (CIO), chief technology officers (CTO), IT directors and IT security managers.

Career Growth

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that jobs for IT managers will increase 15 percent by 2032. This is in part because more industries are expanding operations to digital platforms and the cloud. Organizations need IT managers to help with the transition. IT managers who are versed in security and protocol are in demand because of cyber threats and hackers.

Salary Potential

The median annual wage for computer and information systems managers is $169,510, according the BLS. Those who work in the information industry make $183,370, followed by manufacturing at $175,540 and finance and insurance at $173,090. The BLS reports that most IT managers work a full-time schedule, though some positions require overtime when difficult problems arise.

Education Required

Most IT-related jobs require at least a bachelor’s degree for entry-level positions. IT management positions often require a master’s degree as well as advanced work experience in the field.

IT Project Managers

IT project managers direct IT departments and teams that focus on information technology in their organizations. They oversee software and hardware development and changes, telecommunications strategy and more.

In general, a project manager’s job is to take a project from an idea to full implementation. Project managers delegate responsibilities, set timelines and coordinate work in departments and organizations. They monitor the progress of a project in order to better strategize and solve problems, and they ensure that their team has the resources and skills to complete their tasks, taking on a leadership role when necessary.

IT project managers need skills like communication and leadership in order to succeed. Communication is key because project managers must be able to clearly explain what is expected of everyone working on a project. Their main task is to be able to ensure that everyone has the same end goal and vision for a project. They do this by communicating the mission and reasoning behind the projects.

IT project managers need leadership and conflict resolution skills in order to keep their team on task. These skills, along with hard skills in information technology and computer science, are essential to success.

Career Growth

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that job growth for computer and information systems managers, including IT managers and project managers, will expand 15 percent by 2032. That is much faster than the average for all occupations. The median annual wage for computer and information systems managers is $169,510. Many project managers move on to administrative roles, like chief information officer.

Education Required

Generally, individuals must have at least a bachelor’s degree to acquire an entry-level position as an IT manager or IT project manager. However, many companies prefer to hire IT professionals who have a graduate degree. An online M.S. in Computer Information Systems (CIS) is an ideal degree to prepare professionals for this career. Pursuing a master’s degree online allows students to maintain their careers while learning the skills needed to succeed in an IT management position.

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