Inside IT Manager Careers

Things you need to know, but nobody tells you

Biggest Surprises

"Ever Changing Technology...
I am most surprised by the speed at which skill sets become outdated. Constantly refreshing your knowledge is essential." (IT Manager; 2013)

Career: 22 years of experience, currently based in New York, male
School: Studied Business Management at Farmingdale State College in New York; completed Bachelor degree in 2005

"What surprised me the most was the speed at which technology was and still is changing. I remember for example learning a flash course, then on the last week of the class, our lecturer told us that a new and totally different flash program had been released and that the course we were about to complete had already become outdated. Even to date, technologies are fast changing and some requiring new training. The speed still sometimes catches me unawares." (Information Systems Management; 2013)

Career: 6 years of experience, currently based in California, male
School: Studied Information Systems And Technology at Alliant International University in California; completed Bachelor degree in 2002

"High Demand Job...
I was surprised how easy it was to find a job. I am contacted fairly often still with job offers from companies looking for IT Managers." (IT Manager; 2013)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in Washington, male
School: Studied IT - Software at Western Governors University in Washington; completed Bachelor degree in 2012

"IT Customer Service Guru...
- I was surprised by the fact that the technical knowledge I learned in school becomes more and more obsolete over time. As technology changes, so much an IT professional continue to educate themselves on new products. - I was surprised to find that" (IT Manager; 2014)

Career: 10 years of experience, currently based in Washington, male
School: Studied Information Systems Management at University Of Phoenix in Arizona; completed Master degree in 2007

"As A Tech Support Employee, I Learned It Takes Patience And Understanding To Assist Other Employees...
I was surprised how much patience it takes to work with employees of varying computer knowledge. Sometimes it takes a lot of understanding to remember that they do not have as much computer knowledge as you do. Working with inadequately trained personnel can be frustrating." (Information Technology Manager; 2013)

Career: 13 years of experience, currently based in Missouri, male
School: Studied Business Administration at Missouri Baptist University in Missouri; completed Bachelor degree in 2012

"Commitment To Job...
Most surprising were the amount of hours required in this profession. It is a 24 hour job 7 days a week--I am always on call for emergencies and always responsible for the results. Another surprise is how ungrateful my employer is for my work--no amount of progress ever seems to be enough. It is frustrating at times but seems to be an occupational hazard." (IT Director; 2013)

Career: 30 years of experience, currently based in Michigan, male
School: Studied Finance at University Of Michigan in Michigan; completed Bachelor degree in 1978

"People Are More Computer Illiterate Than Ever...
I was surprised at how much you have to dumb down the technological language for people you are supporting to understand what you mean. It also surprising how dirty people keep their desks!" (IT Manager; 2013)

Career: 9 years of experience, currently based in Texas, male
School: Studied Computer Support And Networking at John A Logan College in Illinois; completed Associate degree in 2001

"When I tell people that I work in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) they immediately thing that I make maps. They entirely miss the Information Systems part of the name. Most people would be surprised to learn that on a daily basis I spend most of my day as a DBA. People would also be surprised to learn the extent and variety of programming I have had the opportunity to learn. I am lucky enough to be in a profession that I get to learn and do something new everyday." (Geographic Information Systems; 2013)

Career: 15 years of experience, currently based in Tennessee, male
School: Studied Geosciences (GIS) at Murray State University in Kentucky; completed Master degree in 2003

"What surprised me the most about my profession is the tasks and jobs I did not know I'd be doing. Other than computers and infrastructure, I am responsible for an all related expense account. I am on call 24/7 in case of emergencies. Just a bunch of little surprises that keeps you on your toes." (IT Manager; 2013)

Career: 3 years of experience, currently based in California, male
School: Studied Data Communication Systems Technology at ITT Tech in California; completed Bachelor degree in 2010

"People Depend On Us...
I was surprised at how important it is to be present in the everyday lives of the people I'm supporting. Many people see IT or help desk as a black box where broken stuff goes in and fixed stuff comes out, and sometimes pulling back the curtain on that goes a long way toward gaining their confidence in what it is that we do." (Help Desk Supervisor/Lab Manager/Intranet Manager; 2013)

Career: 3 years of experience, currently based in Massachusetts, male
School: Studied Spanish at Middlebury College in Vermont; completed Bachelor degree in 1997

"Dealing With People And Not Computers...
Management is much more complicated than just fixing computers. Dealing with multiple department communications is difficult." (Technical Support Manager; 2013)

Career: 11 years of experience, currently based in California, male
School: Studied Computer Science at CSU, Hayward in California; completed Associate degree in 1996

"Ecommerce: The Perfect Mix Of Technical And Creative...
Most people think IT related jobs are dry and logical and not creative at all. However, in ecommerce, there is a great deal of strategic planning, creative development and visual presentation skills needed." (Ecommerce Manager; 2014)

Career: 8 years of experience, currently based in North Carolina, female
School: Studied English/Mass Communication at University Of North Carolina in North Carolina; completed Bachelor degree in 1987

"IT Directors Must Maintain Technical Knowledge And Management Skills...
It is surprising how difficult it is to maintain a balance of management and technical work. It is critical to maintain a detailed knowledge of technology, and to assimilate all of what is going on in the industry; yet the opportunity to put your hands on the technology is small. I was also surprised by how little IT people in general are trained to communicate. In IT it is critical for everyone to communicate with each other. The face to face communication was extremely lacking. Many, if not most, communication encounters were via email." (IT Director; 2013)

Career: 24 years of experience, currently based in Massachusetts, female
School: Studied Technical Management at Southern New Hampshire University in New Hampshire; completed Bachelor degree in 1998

"IT Requests Slow...
I was surprised by how slow upper management can be to respond to infrastructure requests and emails. I was also surprised by the high level of security the company has." (Network Systems Analyst; 2013)

Career: 4 years of experience, currently based in Iowa, male
School: Studied Management Information Systems at Iowa State University in Iowa; completed Associate degree in 2012

"Communications Skills Are Just As Important As IT Skills...
One thing that is not stated when learning IT is all of the support that comes along with it. There were a lot of people in my graduating class and friends at other universities that didn't realize the second job that most IT professionals have to take on when getting into this line of work. It doesn't matter what field you are working in, so long as you're in IT, you will be supporting something and helping the entire companies populace with tech related questions at all levels. IT is more than just working on computers or programs, it is also helping peers in every part of IT. Big surprise to some." (Information Technology; 2014)

Career: 6 years of experience, currently based in Ohio, male
School: Studied Computer Information Systems at Ohio Dominican University in Ohio; completed Bachelor degree in 2010

"Technology Advances Quickly, Don't Loose Touch...
I was surprised how quickly I was able to fall into this position but now its difficult because the market for IT specialists is so saturated. I am even more surprised that a lesser degree/certification or little to no training can get you into the same position I am in now." (IT Manager; 2014)

Career: 10 years of experience, currently based in Utah, male
School: Studied Network Management at ITT Technical Institute in Utah; completed Certificate degree in 2007

"I was surprised to see that my job sometimes consists of helping people to get along. I work with a very competitive group, and a different type of culture." (Solutions Delivery Manager; 2013)

Career: 15 years of experience, currently based in Pennsylvania, female
School: Studied Business at Robert Morris in Pennsylvania; completed Diploma degree in 1979

"I'm surprised that the IT Manager has to manage egos just as much as the hardware and software of the company." (IT Manager; 2013)

Career: 6 years of experience, currently based in Massachusetts, male
School: Studied Computer Information Systems at University Of Phoenix in Arizona; completed Master degree in 2012

"Expertise In A Single Skill Set Is A Must...
I was surprised at how many fields of expertise there are in technology. Once you get into IT it is best to pick one area (i.e. networking, desktop support, server management) and learn as much as you can about that. Always brush up on your skills, if you learned something keep using it even if it is just practice because if you don't you will forget a lot about how to do it quickly as there are so many other things you will be working on." (IT Director; 2013)

Career: 10 years of experience, currently based in Idaho, male
School: Studied Business Information Systems at University Of Idaho in Idaho; completed Bachelor degree in 2003

"Lots Of Responsibility...
I was surprised over the responsibility that was presented to me at the IT specialist of the company. Any decision I make is the direction the company will go, and that there is no "safety net" to double check my decisions to make sure it is indeed the best choice." (IT Specialist; 2013)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in Virginia, male
School: Studied Information Technology at Hood in Maryland

"Math Was Unnecessary For My Career...
I was reluctant to take a computer science major because of the math involved. After college I have forgotten 90% of the math I learned as it does not apply directly to my job." (IT Manager / Network Administrator; 2013)

Career: 12 years of experience, currently based in California, male
School: Studied Computer Science at Allan Hancock College in California; completed Associate degree in 2002

"Truth About IT Directors...
What surprised me the most was how uninformed people are. Simple tasks and everyday routines are always major issues. Even with proper instruction, they still cause errors. Also, people always claim to know nothing about electronics, yet they're always trying to fix problems when they come across it during the day and not calling the IT staff. With all that said, I was surprised how easy and clean this job really was. As an IT manager, its a lot easier budgeting the cost for the department, than it is to be requesting items like the administrators are. Being an IT Director is easier than being an IT Administrator." (Network Security Analyst; 2013)

Career: 5 years of experience, currently based in Florida, male
School: Studied Network Security at ITT Technical Institute in Florida; completed Bachelor degree in 2012

"People Skills Very Important To I.T. Career...
I had always feared that a career in I.T. meant that I wouldn't get a chance to work with people and help people. The opposite proved to be true; I constantly deal with people who need my help. I'm not trapped in a cubicle hidden away from the world all day, as I had feared I might be." (Systems Administrator; 2014)

Career: 8 years of experience, currently based in Michigan, male
School: Studied Information Systems at Appalachian State University in North Carolina; completed Master degree in 2007

"Learn From Business Requirements...
What surprised me most about my current career is the amount of business user knowledge that I gain though requirements analysis and report writing. In order to provide business users with what they need I have to fully understand what outcome they are looking for. Communication is very important." (Systems Manager; 2013)

Career: 6 years of experience, currently based in Tennessee, male
School: Studied Computer Science at Colorado Technical University in Colorado; completed Bachelor degree in 2006

"Career Requires As Many Interpersonal As Technology Skills...
I was surprised by the amount of people-skills that are required in the profession. Most of the class work involved very technical projects: building a mock-up CPU, programming, how networks function, etc. In practice, all that becomes automatic and I spend most of my day either talking to people who have problems or gathering requirements for a new project or things like that. It's not what I expected." (Information Technology Manager; 2013)

Career: 18 years of experience, currently based in Florida, male
School: Studied Computer Science at University Of North Florida in Florida; completed Bachelor degree in 1995

"What really surprised me is that sometimes find myself second guessing my happiness within the position I am in. It gets rather boring sitting and waiting for a phone call or email to come in. What positively surprised me is that you have freedom to expand and explore your career opportunities, and the goals of career expansion is limitless." (Computer Coordinator; 2013)

Career: 5 years of experience, currently based in Indiana, male
School: Studied Computer Information Technology at Ivy Tech Community College Bloomington in Indiana; completed Associate degree in 2011

"Job Requires Versatility...
I was most surprised at what all being an IT Manager at a small company entailed. I found myself in charge of purchasing, installing, configuring and maintaining all network hardware. This included computers, servers, IBM midrange, printers, switches, firewall, and phone PBX. I am also in charge of all software purchasing and implementation and support including operating systems, databases, ERP software, antivirus and remote access. I love how versatile my job is, never having a chance to get bored. I have also found that my education is never finished, constantly learning to improve our network." (IT Manager; 2013)

Career: 19 years of experience, currently based in Tennessee, female
School: Studied Electronics Technology at Prairie State College in Illinois; completed Associate degree in 1982

"Management Skills Learned On The Job...
I was surprised to find that being an effective manager took many years of trial and error. My boss was at first reluctant to let me manage. When he took a new position elsewhere I assumed his role and have flourished." (Director Of Infrastructure And Systems; 2013)

Career: 5 years of experience, currently based in Illinois, male
School: Studied Information Technology at Western Illinois University in Illinois; completed Bachelor degree in 1998

"I'm surprised at the pace of change in the telecom business. My job is teetering on the brink of extinction due to changes in technology." (Telecommunications Manager; 2013)

Career: 30 years of experience, currently based in Arizona, male
School: Studied Business Administration at University Of Phoenix in Arizona; completed Bachelor degree in 1996

"Client Trust...
Being in the IT field has taught me a lot about interpersonal skills. As a designer I need to gain the trust of all my clients." (IT Manager; 2012)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in Tennessee, male
School: Studied Information Technology at University Of Phoenix in Tennessee; completed Associate degree in 2009

"I was surprised how many busineses in my profession have very limited knowledge with technology. If you are looking to get into a tech field I HIGHLY recommend getting into a form of technology that is specialized and not a common degree. If you get your masters over a BS degree you will make a lot more money. One important aspect you must learn with this field is the better people skills you have, the better you will move up in your career. Another surprising aspect of my career is the amount of other work you will do with the company. Being an IT Director is does not mean you will only be doing work in which you studied. Be prepared to help with advertising and some administration work as well." (Information Technology Director; 2012)

Career: 9 years of experience, currently based in Pennsylvania, male
School: Studied Marketing at Montgomery County Community College in Pennsylvania; completed Certificate degree in 2004

"I was surprised that: 1. There is more sabotage of business projects at work among those that utilize the infrastructure managed by IT staff than anyone would guess 2. The most successful IT people do not become a vendor droid. In other words, there are many people that are helped by vendors that would like to sell your company their products. Occasionally, they become powerful in your company. They never become the overall manager or IT executive." (IT Manager; 2012)

Career: 8 years of experience, currently based in California, male
School: Studied Information Technology at Southwestern College in California; completed Professional degree in 2012

"The thing that surprised me most was how relevant customer service skills are in the IT industry. You always picture it as people in front of computers and never interacting with internal or external customers, but that has rarely been the case where I've been." (IT Manager; 2012)

Career: 6 years of experience, currently based in Ohio, male
School: Studied History at Black Hills State University in South Dakota; completed Bachelor degree in 2004

Best & Worst Things About This Career

CEO Of Small Business: "The best part of the job is that my hard work benefits me. The worst part of the job is that hard work does not always produce profits. Sometimes work we do is not appreciated or paid for. The best part of the job is that I love what we do. The worst part of the job is that we only deal with issues. Clients never call to say "everything is fine" they only call when there is an issue." (2011)

Supply Chain Systems Design Manager: "The best part of this job is definitely the variety that it offers. Rather than being limited to working in a very narrow, specific part of the business, this job provides the opportunity to work with individuals from nearly every part of the company. It requires developing an understanding of the various parts of the business and what their most critical business requirements are. The worst part of the job is that it can be times when it may be virtually impossible to meet the different (competing) needs of different organizations. For examples, some companies might need to have a system designed to perform a particular activity one way, while a different organization might need the ability to have same activity performed in a completely different way. It can be both challenging and uncomfortable to help those two organizations reach a compromise." (2011)

Director, IT: "One of the best parts of my jobs is the ability to work from home. This allows for tremendous flexibility during the day. For example, if I have to go to the dentist, I do not need to take time off or vacation time to accomplish this. As long as the work is completed I have all the flexibility I need. This also is one of the worst parts of my job for two reasons: 1: If you work from home, typically expectations are higher than they would be in an office setting. This usually means long days during the busy parts of the year. When your office is less than ten feet from your TV, work tends to take up more time than it probably should. 2: It took me a very long time to adjust to working from home. Think about it - it's Monday morning. You've had a very long and tiring weekend. You get up, make your coffee and head to the office. All you can think about is putting work off to get some sleep, or watch TV, etc. It takes a tremendous amount of discipline to make it work" (2011)

IT Manager: "I learn something new every day. Things are always changing and I get to see tons of cool new technology. I love working with people and the challenges of motivating a team. I don't like the fact we are constantly under pressure to reduce costs and improve efficiency. We almost always have more work than we can handle and spend a lot of time placating people who are waiting for our help, as it is." (2010)

Director Of Program Management: "The best part of this job is getting to work with different people from different cultures. Relationship-building is fun and rewarding from both a personal and professional perspective. I'm also learning a lot about the company and how each part of it works and interacts with the others. The worst part of this job is getting people to change. When someone has been doing a job for a long time and you ask them to perform it differently or do a different job, he can be reluctant, unwilling or unable to change. This resistance takes a number of different forms and can appear to be something quite different. There tends to be wasted time and energy when you don't realize that the behavior is a resistance to change." (2010)

CIO: "As part of running a division, I get to meet with a lot of different customers. This is fun, because I get to meet new people, see how other companies operate and mostly hear how my team has helped them solve their problems. Another part of my job that I really like is when another manager presents me with a problem and I design a software solution. Seeing satisfied customers (both outside the company and inside makes me feel satisfied with my work. I also like to "coach" newer and younger employees and help them do their best. The worst parts of my job are dealing with unhappy customers who are difficult to please. Our technicians perform over 1000 orders in the field a day and show up on time or are successful in resolving the customers' problems more than 98% of the time, but the other small percentage represents 10-15 orders a day and those 10-15 unhappy customers are difficult to deal with." (2010)

IT Director: "The best part of my job is meeting new and interesting people throughout the company. Our organization employs around 5000 people and there's hardly a day that goes by when I don't meet someone new. The worst part of my job is dealing with people who don't do what they say they're going to do. We have to trust each other to get things accomplished. When someone doesn't perform as expected, it is very frustrating." (2010)

Chief Technology Officer And Founder: "The best part of my job is that I have total control over my destiny. Everything I do, every single day affects the business and the employees. I know that my every action is important and I get great satisfaction from this. The worst part of my job is that it is very stressful. Only rarely can I truly escape thinking about work. There are far more things that must get done than I have time for, and I can't "pass the buck." Hard things like letting employees go are part of my job." (2010)

Director Of IT: "The best part of my job is the satisfaction that comes from building a highly stable and reliable infrastructure. It is also great to have a balance of older systems to maintain and new technologies to investigate, pilot, and deploy. The worst part of the job is that when you do it right, infrastructure is invisible to your "customers". There is little thanks and appreciation for what you do. However....if something goes wrong, everyone is screaming." (2009)

Career Background

IT Manager

  Job Tasks
  Work Environment
  How to Prepare for the Job
  Job Outlook

Career Tips

"IT Trendsetting And Methods...
If you are choosing a career in IT or computer technology keep up with the current trends and methods being used at larger corps like Google and IBM. Just as in the world of fashion there is always a trend setter. Find them and follow their designs and methods!" (IT Manager; 2014)

"Smiling IT Engineer...
Know that, by the time your customers are reaching out to you, they are not happy. Why? Because their computer isn't working properly, therefore they can't be productive. Most customers won't take it out on you, but be prepared to keep a smile on your face during trying times." (IT Manager; 2014)

"Look To The Future...
Because technology is constantly changing and there are always new ways to complete the work, be sure to make the investment in your career by looking forward and learning new things. Think of it as a continual improvement loop for yourself." (Ecommerce Manager; 2014)

"Don't Neglect People Skills If You Are Pursuing An I.T. Career...
Be sure to develop your people skills. I.T. professionals often have a stereotype associated with them about not being good with people; if you show you don't fit that mold you will likely find yourself with a much better working environment." (Systems Administrator; 2014)

"Learn Everything You Can And Make Yourself Marketable...
If you're looking to be successful in IT, make sure to sell yourself better than anyone else. If you don't know everything that comes along with position you're applying for, sell yourself with confidence that you're still the right pick for the job and that you can learn anything. This confidence will make or break a lot of people in interviews and advancing themselves within this field. Learn everything you can and make yourself marketable." (Information Technology; 2014)

"Don't Just Be A Programmer...
It's important that you know how to fix your own computer when things go wrong for you or a co-worker. An IT person who cannot fix their own computer when a problem arises is as useless as a carpenter without a hammer and saw." (Systems Manager; 2013)

"Learn How The Company Operates...
Learn as much about the other positions in the business in order to effectively prioritize job tickets." (Network Systems Analyst; 2013)

"Learn Time And Project Management...
Take courses in time and project management. You will spend a lot of time with it. In the beginning of your career, you will have to put in a lot of time and energy to "do your time." In addition, most people in this career are on call 24/7 at least some of the time." (IT Director; 2013)

"Stay Up To Date...
Learn new technologies. Don't get comfortable with what you know. Constantly improve your skills and learn new things." (IT Manager; 2013)

"Fine A Skill You Like And Stick To It...
Find a skill set within IT that you are interested in and become and expert in that. You can then pick up bits and pieces of other skills along the way." (IT Director; 2013)

"Update, Educate, Train...
Take advantage of every chance to gain new knowledge. You will never know enough to rest on your laurels." (IT Manager; 2013)

"Management And Communication Dynamics...
Take some management and communication courses" (Technical Support Manager; 2013)

"Satisfaction Is Everything...
I would work for a small company first. This gives you an opportunity to "own" your work and will give you more satisfaction. I wouldn't worry too much about the pay--the money will come with success--concentrate on job satisfaction and expectations of the employer." (IT Director; 2013)

"Don't Be Exclusively Technical...
In addition to the technical classes, I would take as much training in communication that I could get my hands on. Customer service, technical writing, giving presentations, all that kind of stuff is as important as your skill on the computer itself in terms of advancing your career." (Information Technology Manager; 2013)

"Small Companies Offer Job Security...
Finding a career with a small, family owned operation can provide for great job security and a high potential for bonuses and rewards." (Information Technology Manager; 2013)

"Enough Isn't Enough...
With the field always changing, and new technology as coming out. Don't limit yourself to one aspect of this field. Get as much information as you can about everything, that way when it comes time to apply for a job, you have a little bit of knowledge about everything. Once you get in, the amount of information you know is irrelevant because you have learn that specific companies way of doing things, and how they operate." (Network Security Analyst; 2013)

"Qualification Tests Better Than School...
take as many qualification tests as possible." (IT Manager; 2013)

"Experience Over Education...
Experience is more important than any degree or certification in my business. We need intelligent people who learn and adapt to new technologies efficiently." (IT Manager / Network Administrator; 2013)

"Experience Trumps Education...
To excel in the IT world, experience is valued more than education. Find your area of expertise, learn it well, and make it known to everyone." (IT Specialist; 2013)

"Ask Questions...
Go in early and stay late. Ask questions if you don't know the answer. Do not try to "reinvent the wheel." Write it down. Take notes regarding frequently asked questions; managers frown on being asked the same question over and over again." (Director Of Infrastructure And Systems; 2013)

"Broaden Your IT Knowledge...
It is okay to become a master in one area but try to branch out and learn something about as many different aspects of the technology field as possible. You never know what will be required of you or help you get ahead." (IT Manager; 2013)

"Motivate Yourself To Learn...
Be prepared to be a self-starter. People aren't just going to come up to you and ask you to learn new things before you can help them, so the more you bone up ahead of time on things that you know might affect the areas you support, the more confident you'll be in helping them." (Help Desk Supervisor/Lab Manager/Intranet Manager; 2013)

"Know Your Professors...
The best way to succeed is to get to know your professors. Especially early on." (IT Manager; 2013)

"Gain A Good Base Of Knowledge...
You should learn as much as you can. It is great to have a broad knowledge of many different technologies." (Solutions Delivery Manager; 2013)

"Flexibility Will Make You More Valuable...
Be prepared to wear many hats. IT is not generally looked at as a source of income for companies, so you might find yourself doing more than one job." (IT Manager; 2013)

"Certify When You Can...
Apply for as many internships as you can. Employees look for field experience for the most part in the IT career field. If you find yourself with down time explore all your certification opportunities." (Computer Coordinator; 2013)

"Programming And Database Courses...
My honest advice, if you plan on getting into GIS, is to take either some programming or some DB classes. I was required to learn these on the fly and you will progress faster and have more job opportunities with this type of experience." (Geographic Information Systems; 2013)

"Tips For Keeping Up-To-Date...
You got to keep yourself updated constantly with the latest changes happening in your area of specialty. Join online forums, subscribe to technology magazines that keep you updated on new IT systems that are ever being invented. When you feel like you have become "outdated" take some refresher training courses. Do all you can to be up to date with current technologies." (Information Systems Management; 2013)

"Never Too Old To Learn New Tricks...
Don't be afraid to make a change. It is never too late to go back to school. Through dedication and perseverance, you'd be surprised at what you can accomplish. You will being enjoying yourself in your new career in no time." (IT Manager; 2013)

"More People Work Than Computer Work...
I was surprised how much more I help people make efficient use of Information technology rather than actually work to keep the network and systems up. I would suggest some experience with working on customer service because you will deal more with people than computers." (Information Technology; 2013)

"More Than One Correct Path To A Solution...
Always look at issues from multiple sides. As a technician it helps to understand how stressed the person calling you is - so you can empathize and explain that everything will be okay. Respect others point of view. There is more than one way to accomplish the same task. Being different doesn't make their perspective wrong. Experience and book smarts are two different things. Make sure you can practice what you want to do before you have to do it for real." (CEO Of Small Business; 2011)

"Need To Clearly Communicate Business Requirements...
1. Developing good communication skills is one of the most important things that you could do to prepare for this role. This includes both written communication skills and oral communications skills. It is absolutely vital that you are able to clearly and succinctly communicate business requirements to the information technology organizations in such a way that they can develop solutions that meets the needs of the company. 2.) Learning how to accurately document business processes is another important part of the job. To accurately determine an organization's business requirements, it is often necessary to develop business process diagrams that show exactly what the organization does. It is only after that has been documented that the information technology organization can begin to develop the systems that are needed to improve those business processes. 3.) Finally, it is important to remain current on the latest technologies so that you can help organizations identify opportunities for using technology to reduce costs or improve business productivity." (Supply Chain Systems Design Manager; 2011)

"Succeed In School Studying IT And Business...
IT is a great career and is only expected to grow in the future. But to be successful as a project manager you must be successful in school first. That means going to school for both IT and business. As an IT professional it is imperative that you know the business environment that you are working with. I would suggest majoring in an IT field and minoring in business." (Director, IT; 2011)

"Be Nimble...
Focus on gaining a broad range of skills so you can be versatile. You have to be able to shift and retool quickly in IT as technology is changing constantly. Make sure you learn about methodology. For example, to build a system you must define the problem, lay out the requirements, create a design, then implement and support what you've designed. If step 1 is to insert the CD and start installing software then you run the risk of creating something that does not actually solve the original problem. If you are not actually helping the company make money then stop and go back and figure out how you are helping the company earn a profit. If you don't know if you are, then you probably are a risk the company may not be able to afford." (IT Manager; 2010)

"People Skills Important Too...
Don't overlook the importance of interpersonal skills. While technical skills are important, real success depends on working well with people. There are customers in almost all professions. Learn to listen to your customers, seek to understand their problems and how you can fix them. You can't solve all problems for everyone, but try to put yourself in their shoes. Enjoy what you do and do it to the best of your ability every day !" (Director Of Program Management; 2010)

"Seek Out The Info You Need...
1. Listen to those with more experience and don't hesitate to ask for help or clarification. The best employees I have seen make sure they have enough information to do their job, and if they don't they go and get it. Most older and more experienced people are happy to share their knowledge and help out. 2. Turn failure into a positive. If you make a mistake or do something incorrectly, don't dwell on it. Figure out what caused the problem, learn from it and move on. Sometimes, you learn more from failure than success. 3. Regardless of what you want to do, take advantage of opportunities to work on public speaking now. Whatever you do, you will likely need to be able to "sell" your ideas to people you do not know, and the more practice you get the better." (CIO; 2010)

"Shift From Specialist Skills As You Move Up...
It's best to always start as an "expert" in a particular field of interest and be prepared to become a "generalist" as you climb the managerial ladder. The higher you go the less technical skills and more people skills are required. What becomes most important is to develop an ability to be very organized and look at any subject area holistically. Never be afraid to ask questions. The more you know the better your decisions will be and thus, the better off your employees and your company will be." (IT Director; 2010)

"Take Some Risks To Advance...
In order to be successful in this job, you have to have a few key skills. First, you must be very technical, with a deep understanding of computers. For this, I highly recommend taking computer classes, and try to apply that knowledge by creating some programs that solve some interesting problem you or your family might have. Second, you must be self motivated. You can't depend on just passing a class to get here, you need to try to go above and beyond: create a more sophisticated program with more features than is really required. Third, you must be a risk-taker. Be willing to make mistakes. Don't wait for somebody to give you approval or say you did a great job. Drive yourself to get out there and do something. Last, you need to build an understanding of business. For me, this was best done by doing it. I wrote a small, interesting program... and started selling it. For example, write a fun application for the iPhone and then think about how you might get people to be aware of it (marketing) and even talk to people to see if they will buy it (sales)." (Chief Technology Officer And Founder; 2010)

"Self-Motivated Learning...
1. Self-motivation is a must. This career is a moving target. You can't be waiting for someone to teach you, because if you do, what you were taught will be old and outdated. 2. Read about tech. Get yourself a few machines and/or virtualize a sandbox where you can install new software and tools to stay current and see how things fit together. 3. The first two (which I really focus on) do not help with professional relationships and interaction. So my third bit of advice is, get out and stay in touch with the business and your co-workers. This will help you advance and to grow your career. I've seen many great tech people who just have no interpersonal skills." (Director Of IT; 2009)