A degree may open the door to a variety of opportunities and diverse career paths. The degree programs offered at AIU will not necessarily lead to the featured careers. This collection of articles is intended to help inform and guide you through the process of determining which level of degree and types of certifications align with your desired career path.
The computer systems design and related services industry, more commonly referred to as information technology (IT) services, has seen an increase in employment growth despite challenges that have slowed other fields. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports employment in the IT industry grew by 37% between 2003 and 2013, with just a slight decrease (only 1%) during the recession of 2007-2009.1 Coupled with the BLS's projection that the number of management occupations across all industries is expected to increase by 9% from 2016 to 2026 in response to general private-sector growth and the creation of new businesses, it may prove advantageous to consider pursuing a management role in the IT sector.2
Technology management jobs cover a wide variety of industries and types of companies and can range from team-leading middle management roles to high-level positions.
Working in Technology Management
What are technology management careers like? Depending on the specific position, work may be in a business environment interacting with employees from many different departments. Certain positions, such as database administrators, may interact primarily with their own IT departments; however, other technology management roles require communicating between IT professionals and other departments, as well as upper-management.
Useful qualities for technology management jobs include:3
- Analytical Skills – Most technology management jobs involve assessing everything from complex computer networks to simple software issues in order to find weaknesses, errors, or other possible bugs. An analytical mindset is therefore essential for those who desire to advance into a management role.
- Clear Communication – As an IT professional, you may have to explain complex computer science and coding concepts frequently to upper management, not all of whom may have an information technology background. Thus, being able to explain these complicated issues and ideas in clear, simple terms is a worthwhile skill.
- Solid Organization and Multitasking Abilities – Technology management is rarely a matter of dealing with one clearly defined task at a time. You may juggle several smaller equipment issues, a set of essential software patches, and a larger network or database assessment all at the same time and on any given day. Hence, the ability to prioritize and multitask can be very important.
Consider an Online Technology Management Degree
If you're currently working in the computer or information science field, it can be hard to take time off work to go back to school through a traditional campus-based program. Online technology management degrees can be a great option for those who need the flexibility to study on their own time. Moreover, adaptive learning platforms may allow you to skip over course materials you've already learned from your current job experience.
Those looking to move into a middle or upper-management role should also note that such positions (see below) may require an additional emphasis on core business concepts and methods. In these cases, pursuing an MBA in technology management online may help you supplement your existing information science experience with the knowledge and skills needed to advance your education. Completing an MBA in Technology Management online also has the added benefit of being able to work at your own pace, therefore making it a convenient option for those with family obligations in addition to current full-time technology management jobs.
Possible Technology Management Jobs
Whether you're looking to move into a more advanced role at a specialized technology management firm or you want to manage a team of IT professionals at your current company, there is a wide variety of roles and career paths from which to choose.
Below are some of the possible jobs you may pursue in technology management:
Information Technology Project Manager3
IT project managers help plan and direct the development of software, hardware, and other products for a company. They typically work with software engineers, developers and computer programmers, ensuring that each stage of the design, production and testing process goes according to plan and on budget. This may be a position one advances to after several years of experience, as it requires a comprehensive knowledge of all stages of a product's development.
Employment of IT managers and IT project managers is projected to increase 12% from 2016 through 2026. If this is a position of interest to you, then a bachelor's degree in computer science or an IT-related field may be required, though some IT programs offer an IT project management specialization. (Some employers may require a master's in IT project management degree, however.)
Network and Computer Systems Administrator4
Network and computer systems administrators deal with the specific hardware and software an organization's IT department needs in order to function. Administrators maintain and repair any hardware or software issues, watch out for incompatibility issues, update computer systems, and help employees with equipment setup and security. Systems administrators also work to upgrade and install any new hardware and software that a company's chief technology officer (CTO) and chief information officer (CIO) decide to implement. Additionally, network and computer systems administrators may work with the IT director to train employees on new equipment or programs.
Employment of Network and computer systems administrators is projected to increase 6% from 2016 through 2026. If this position interests you, then a bachelor's degree in computer science or an IT-related field may be required. However, an online networking degree or computer engineering degree may also qualify.
Computer Systems Analyst5
Computer systems analysts often bridge both business and information technology disciplines, as they're responsible for assessing the efficiency and effectiveness of a company's IT systems and processes. A computer systems analyst is primarily concerned with how IT processes could run more smoothly in order to save a company money and reduce budgeting. For this reason, a computer systems analyst may work with the IT department and make recommendations to the CTO to help determine when new technology is needed versus when existing systems can simply be upgraded to add functionality.
Depending on the industry and company, you may encounter specialized systems analyst roles. For example, a software quality assurance (QA) analyst is responsible for testing IT systems for weaknesses or errors, and may then report his or her findings to management in order to improve efficiency and reliability. Programmer analysts, however, crossover with the skill sets of computer programmers and software developers and test, debug and update vital IT systems and company applications.
Employment of Computer system analysts is projected to increase 9% from 2016 through 2026. If you are interested in pursuing this field, a bachelor's degree in computer science or another IT-related field, with an emphasis on business classes, may be required. Additionally, some employers may prefer an MBA with a concentration in information systems.
Database Administrator (DBA)6
Database administrators (DBAs) are in charge of the software and systems a company uses to store and access customer data. Because this data may contain financial records and other confidential information, DBAs must be aware of all cybersecurity protocols as well as relevant state and federal privacy regulations. Administrators also work to ensure customer data is accessible to those with approved access, and that a company's important and sensitive records are backed up in the event of hacking or hardware failure.
Sometimes DBAs specialize in a particular aspect of database management. Two common areas of specialization are system database administrators and application database administrators. System DBAs work with the actual database and network hardware a company uses to store and backup records, upgrade systems, and install patches when necessary. An application DBA is responsible for specific applications within a larger database, such as e-commerce applications, which collect and store a customer's payment information or customer service platforms.
Employment of Database administrations is projected to increase 11% from 2016 through 2026. Those interested in pursuing this field may be required to have a bachelor's degree in computer science or another IT-related field, and have a strong proficiency with database languages like Structured Query Language (SQL).
IT directors oversee a company's information technology department, all IT employees, and often the financial aspects of the department (like budgeting). They are responsible for making sure IT systems run smoothly, including dealing with troubleshooting issues and helping implement new technology and protocols from CTOs and CIOs. An IT director's job is personnel based. Therefore, in addition to working with IT teams on particular business goals, IT directors are often responsible for training and hiring.
Employment of Computer and Information Systems Mangers is projected to increase 12% from 2016 through 2026 and require a bachelor's or master's degree in computer science or another IT-related field. Additionally, IT directors may be required to have 5-10 years of relevant work experience.
The growth in employment within the computer systems design and related services industry illustrates the opportunities that may be available to those in the IT sector in the future. Which one will you pursue?
1. "Careers in the Growing Field of Information Technology Services." U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved from: https://www.bls.gov/opub/btn/volume-2/careers-in-growing-field-of-information-technology-services.htm#_edn2 (Visited 6/15/18).
2. "Management Occupations." U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved from: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/ (Visited 6/15/18).
3. "Computer and Information Systems Managers." U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved from: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/computer-and-information-systems-managers.htm (Visited 6/15/18).
4. "Network and Computer Systems Administrators." U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved from: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/network-and-computer-systems-administrators.htm (Visited 6/15/18).
5. "Computer Systems Analyst." Bureau of Labor Statistics. U.S. Retrieved from: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/computer-systems-analysts.htm (Visited 6/15/18).
6. "Database Administrators." Bureau of Labor Statistics. U.S. Retrieved from: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/database-administrators.htm (Visited 6/15/18).
American InterContinental University cannot guarantee employment or salary. For important information about the educational debt, earnings, and completion rates of students who attended these programs, go to www.aiuniv.edu/disclosures.
Classes Start August 8, 2018