IT Managers...Any Advice?

100k100k Posts: 196Member
Hello TE Fam!

I am ready to take on my next and biggest challenge and that is to become an IT manager. I am currently a System Engineer (3 yrs exp) for a small company with no opportunities to get leadership experience unfortunately. Only experience comes from being a Manager in my previous career. I have set a very ambitious goal...Manager before the end of 2018. I am very serious about this goal...

I plan to start and finish my masters at WGU next year so any knowledge you can share or any thing that you think will help me get it done in a year is welcomed. Share your experience if you don't mind so others may learn:D. Any questions you need to ask me feel free.


Here you have one man filled with a burning desire and overflowing with motivation. If you think I can't get it done that is fine but please share why you feel that way so I know what challenge I need to overcome.

Comments

  • TechGuru80TechGuru80 Posts: 1,539Member ■■■■■□□□□□
    Advice....go to a company you can get exposure to leading technical projects as these can be a way different beast.
  • UncleBUncleB Posts: 417Member
    100k wrote: »
    I am currently a System Engineer (3 yrs exp) for a small company with no opportunities to get leadership experience unfortunately.

    This tells you that you have to move elsewhere to get the experience. Plan and prepare for the move and hunt down a position where you can leverage your historical management experience and technical experience to lead a team doing similar things to what you are now.

    This will give you the practice to see if you actually like mixing the two because as you move higher and get more minions to muster, you do less and less of the technical work and more meetings / reports / staff admin / organising events / hiring etc, the sum total of which can lead you to lose the technical skills with time.

    If you are OK with this then go for it - mentoring your team can be almost as rewarding as doing the technical work at times.
  • 100k100k Posts: 196Member
    TechGuru80 wrote: »
    Advice....go to a company you can get exposure to leading technical projects as these can be a way different beast.
    Thanks for the input I will look into that.
  • 100k100k Posts: 196Member
    UncleB wrote: »
    This tells you that you have to move elsewhere to get the experience. Plan and prepare for the move and hunt down a position where you can leverage your historical management experience and technical experience to lead a team doing similar things to what you are now.

    This will give you the practice to see if you actually like mixing the two because as you move higher and get more minions to muster, you do less and less of the technical work and more meetings / reports / staff admin / organising events / hiring etc, the sum total of which can lead you to lose the technical skills with time.

    If you are OK with this then go for it - mentoring your team can be almost as rewarding as doing the technical work at times.

    Thanks for the info. Not sure what position that would be as there are not a lot of Lead System Engineer positions around. I know I would like the work as I find fulfillment in being a manager. It is the planing and preparation I am having an issue with. All I have so far in my plan is to finish my masters by next year. Oh I did forget that I oversee our help desk team of two if that counts for anything.
  • TheFORCETheFORCE Senior Member Posts: 2,297Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    What is the underlying reason for wanting to become a manager? Is it money? Fame? Anything else? What type of manager? Someone that has people under him or someone that manages projects?

    I have applied to a few managerial type roles and worked in others.

    The roles that require you leading people will usually have as a pre requisite a similar position where you were managing people and at the same time will need usually 5+ years in that role.

    For example, you are now a manager of a small team 1-2 people report to you. You can use this experience to get another manager role where you manage a bigger team 4-5 people and so on.

    The other side is being a manager without having direct reports. These are roles again that require some years of experience usually 5+. In this type of roles you infulence indirectly another team. This is basically resource management that dont directly report to you but help you complete your projects.

    Its not an easy transition and takes a company some convincing but if you have manager experience in a different field it might be looked as something positive.
  • 100k100k Posts: 196Member
    TheFORCE wrote: »
    What is the underlying reason for wanting to become a manager? Is it money? Fame? Anything else? What type of manager? Someone that has people under him or someone that manages projects?

    I have applied to a few managerial type roles and worked in others.

    The roles that require you leading people will usually have as a pre requisite a similar position where you were managing people and at the same time will need usually 5+ years in that role.

    For example, you are now a manager of a small team 1-2 people report to you. You can use this experience to get another manager role where you manage a bigger team 4-5 people and so on.

    The other side is being a manager without having direct reports. These are roles again that require some years of experience usually 5+. In this type of roles you infulence indirectly another team. This is basically resource management that dont directly report to you but help you complete your projects.

    Its not an easy transition and takes a company some convincing but if you have manager experience in a different field it might be looked as something positive.

    Why do I want to become a manager? I like the job more than just being technical, really think I would be great at it and I find fulfillment in leading others to complete objectives. In short I would be happier doing that then being a Sr. or technical lead. Never really thought overseeing the two man Help Desk team really counted for much but now I am thinking about it this maybe my way into Managing a small team then going from there. Not even sure how I would redo my resume...Going to give it a shot and post it here.

    Thanks btw for sharing that nugget of info. I don't know anyone that has been an IT Manager so it is hard to get solid info on what needs to be done.
  • EANxEANx Posts: 1,078Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    A lot depends on what type of "IT Manager" you want to be:

    Team Lead: Senior person on the team, mentoring and leading junior staff
    Operations Manager: Official oversight over a team, setting priorities and reporting up
    Project Manager: There are several types of these, ranging from someone little more than a note-taker all the way to someone who gets personnel allocated for a certain amount of time
    Non-hands-on managers: These could be people that rose higher than Operations Managers and are now Directors or VPs or they could be business people overseeing IT and hoping the people reporting to them aren't blowing too much smoke. No matter the type, these are the people who set broad direction, deconflict priorities and control the budget.
  • 100k100k Posts: 196Member
    EANx wrote: »
    A lot depends on what type of "IT Manager" you want to be:

    Team Lead: Senior person on the team, mentoring and leading junior staff
    Operations Manager: Official oversight over a team, setting priorities and reporting up
    Project Manager: There are several types of these, ranging from someone little more than a note-taker all the way to someone who gets personnel allocated for a certain amount of time
    Non-hands-on managers: These could be people that rose higher than Operations Managers and are now Directors or VPs or they could be business people overseeing IT and hoping the people reporting to them aren't blowing too much smoke. No matter the type, these are the people who set broad direction, deconflict priorities and control the budget.

    Well I want to work my way up to VP later down the line. So I want to be whatever manager that will get me closer to that end goal. To make the 1 yr goal (difficult but not impossible) I would need to skip the team lead part and just start at Operations Manager and work from there I guess. With a Masters in IT Management and supervising these two great help desk guys I hope I can score an interview. That is all I need...just a chance to show how I can add value and further market myself in person.

    I want to attack this challenge as if my life were on the line. I really really want to make this happen so I humbly come back to TE as you all have provided me invaluable incite that has accelerated my career growth...
  • ira.aira.a Posts: 29Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    Lmao, you can have my old job!

    I personally went back to school so that I could go on the other side of the career ladder and get a job that doesn't include being a babysitter and doing the work of 3-4 people. I didn't need a tech degree (much less a Masters) to do what was asked of me most days.

    Consider getting leadership training, that's the thing that most jobs never give you, but you need the most.
  • EANxEANx Posts: 1,078Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    Skipping your way up the ladder is nice when you can do so, just don't forget to go back and work on the skills that you would have earned in the jobs you skipped. For instance, a team lead learns that they tend to be responsible for the group. Not officially mind you but in a "how could you let that happen" sort of way. That then leads to mentoring and working to keep personnel issues off the boss' radar and fixing them before they become "problems".

    An Ops Manager is the official one responsible for the group. Have you ever fired someone? Ever recommended someone be fired? How would you feel about doing that? Are you able to call someone into the office and terminate their employment a week before Christmas in such a way that is compassionate but firm?

    The switch to full management takes a very different set of skills than most techs train for, it took me a long time to get there mentally and emotionally. Managers deal with budgets, personnel problems and projects. If you want to succeed in management, start taking classes in those three else your project will be over budget because it was under-scoped and then it will be late because of EEO complaints against an engineer by the admin assistant. And if you're serious, plan to look into professional liability insurance just in case the admin assistant thinks the reason why the engineer had the time to harass her was because he wasn't being managed properly... by guess who?
  • 100k100k Posts: 196Member
    EANx wrote: »
    Skipping your way up the ladder is nice when you can do so, just don't forget to go back and work on the skills that you would have earned in the jobs you skipped. For instance, a team lead learns that they tend to be responsible for the group. Not officially mind you but in a "how could you let that happen" sort of way. That then leads to mentoring and working to keep personnel issues off the boss' radar and fixing them before they become "problems".

    An Ops Manager is the official one responsible for the group. Have you ever fired someone? Ever recommended someone be fired? How would you feel about doing that? Are you able to call someone into the office and terminate their employment a week before Christmas in such a way that is compassionate but firm?

    The switch to full management takes a very different set of skills than most techs train for, it took me a long time to get there mentally and emotionally. Managers deal with budgets, personnel problems and projects. If you want to succeed in management, start taking classes in those three else your project will be over budget because it was under-scoped and then it will be late because of EEO complaints against an engineer by the admin assistant. And if you're serious, plan to look into professional liability insurance just in case the admin assistant thinks the reason why the engineer had the time to harass her was because he wasn't being managed properly... by guess who?

    Yes I have fired someone before and honestly I felt bad at first but then I got over it pretty quickly after the next one. Thanks for the info about the classes!
  • 100k100k Posts: 196Member
    I have shared a link to my resume. If you have any ideas on how I can improve it so I can get that Manager interview I am all ears:D

    https://drive.google.com/file/d/18Kb5gRlTnuPJDhvHMJ9APXRZZnXLRaLC/view?usp=sharing
  • EANxEANx Posts: 1,078Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    The resume reads like you're looking for a technical job, not a managerial one. The same job needs to be written in two very different ways. For instance, you have:

    Troubleshoot Windows computers, servers, networks and printers for 16 stores.

    While I would go with something more like:

    Responsible for ensuring IT business continuity for 16 locations, to include infrastructure (networks and servers) as well as users and printers.

    Was the Transition to Life Academy a part of the job or was it simply done at the same time?

    There are far too many bullets. Managers know how to write, you show you can by using paragraphs for most of your job entries.

    Remember what I said above, people, projects and money. For a management job, write as much as you can to show how you impacted one of those three. After everything you list, think to yourself "what was the impact?" and list that. If you can't think of an impact then it's probably not worth listing.
  • cbdudekcbdudek Member Posts: 68Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    You are on the right track OP. Getting your masters will help matters but your business acumen will mean a lot because being an IT Manager or Director of IT requires a lot of business related skills. Time value of money, return on investment, cost benefit analysis, and so on will be vital to your success. I had the goal of getting into management when I was still in college in 1997. I landed my first IT Management role in 2001, and expanded on that with each future move I made. I got the Director of IT position in 2011 and was happy as a clam. The thing I loved about being a manager/director is working with people in my department to be the best they could be. That is what being a successful manager is all about after all. If you develop people and they leave to go off and do bigger and better things, thats a feather in your cap.

    Earlier this year, I made the decision to get out of management and get into sales instead. Management is great if you have a budget and people, but the company I worked for cut my budget down to the bone and wouldn't pay to help develop my employees anymore. We were stuck in a rut, and I just got tired of fighting to get small changes to happen that had huge benefits for the company. In sales, I have something where I can make 2x-3x more money if I choose to stick with it. Being in sales has its own set of unique challenges and benefits that I enjoy. I don't know how long I will run with this, but so far its a great move for me.

    I do miss the development of people a lot, so I suppose I will always talk about being a manager again.
  • 100k100k Posts: 196Member
    EANx wrote: »
    The resume reads like you're looking for a technical job, not a managerial one. The same job needs to be written in two very different ways. For instance, you have:

    Troubleshoot Windows computers, servers, networks and printers for 16 stores.

    While I would go with something more like:

    Responsible for ensuring IT business continuity for 16 locations, to include infrastructure (networks and servers) as well as users and printers.

    Was the Transition to Life Academy a part of the job or was it simply done at the same time?

    There are far too many bullets. Managers know how to write, you show you can by using paragraphs for most of your job entries.

    Remember what I said above, people, projects and money. For a management job, write as much as you can to show how you impacted one of those three. After everything you list, think to yourself "what was the impact?" and list that. If you can't think of an impact then it's probably not worth listing.
    This is what I am talking about! Thank you for even taking the time to look and respond. If I knew how to give you rep I would so for now have +1
  • 100k100k Posts: 196Member
    cbdudek wrote: »
    You are on the right track OP. Getting your masters will help matters but your business acumen will mean a lot because being an IT Manager or Director of IT requires a lot of business related skills. Time value of money, return on investment, cost benefit analysis, and so on will be vital to your success. I had the goal of getting into management when I was still in college in 1997. I landed my first IT Management role in 2001, and expanded on that with each future move I made. I got the Director of IT position in 2011 and was happy as a clam. The thing I loved about being a manager/director is working with people in my department to be the best they could be. That is what being a successful manager is all about after all. If you develop people and they leave to go off and do bigger and better things, thats a feather in your cap.

    Earlier this year, I made the decision to get out of management and get into sales instead. Management is great if you have a budget and people, but the company I worked for cut my budget down to the bone and wouldn't pay to help develop my employees anymore. We were stuck in a rut, and I just got tired of fighting to get small changes to happen that had huge benefits for the company. In sales, I have something where I can make 2x-3x more money if I choose to stick with it. Being in sales has its own set of unique challenges and benefits that I enjoy. I don't know how long I will run with this, but so far its a great move for me.

    I do miss the development of people a lot, so I suppose I will always talk about being a manager again.
    Thanks for sharing! I really do need to change my perspective and think more business focused. Have a good bit to review over the holiday and redo my resume.
  • Bjcheung77Bjcheung77 Posts: 89Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    100k wrote: »
    I have shared a link to my resume. If you have any ideas on how I can improve it so I can get that Manager interview I am all ears:D

    https://drive.google.com/file/d/18Kb5gRlTnuPJDhvHMJ9APXRZZnXLRaLC/view?usp=sharing



    1) That resume looks geared for another Technical Specialist or similar position, not a managerial one.
    2) I would recommend finishing up with your Masters at WGU before applying for an IT manager role.
    The reason - you will have more "clout" with the Masters and more importantly, senior level IT experience

    3) Shorten the resume, keep the most important points listed, you've got too much info in those two pages
    4) Create a customized CV/Cover Letter for each position you apply for - geared towards their industry
    - I see a lot of people creating a "generic" one and applying to every job they can find - that's not the way to do it

    5) Keep your focus on the WGU Masters while you're gaining the experience as an engineer/specialist and the jobs will come
    6) Sometimes life gets in the way, plan for any extra certifications that you may need for your specialty
    Keep up the good work, that looks pretty good and will be great with minor modifications
  • datacombossdatacomboss Posts: 303Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    Try to get a lead engineer or junior project management role first along with some leadership, business and/or governance training and certs - upgrade Project+->CAPM>PMP; COBIT, ITIL, Lean Six Sigma, etc.
    "If I were to say, 'God, why me?' about the bad things, then I should have said, 'God, why me?' about the good things that happened in my life."

    Arthur Ashe

  • LordQarlynLordQarlyn Posts: 535Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    As an IT Manager, you need to wear many hats.
    You need to be able to manage people, not just finding the right people for the right jobs, you have to keep your employees motivated, and depending on the environment that can be a constant uphill battle. You also need to manage personality conflicts, sometimes playing the "parent".
    You need to be able solve big picture problems and develop business solutions for your company; senior management will tell you they need this, you need to figure out how it can be done, sell it to senior management, then have your team implement it. This is especially so, when your work deals with planning, implementing, and executing projects.
    If you are given a budget, you have to be very good at staying within the budget. I've known too many managers, who's performance is tied to their budget, cut out as much spending as they can, but this can end up failing to meet your targets. If you are given, say $5 million, as a budget, use it, just make sure anything you spend on is required for operations, and/or will improve operations by either cutting costs or improving productivity or a combo of both, or to complete various IT projects. Indeed, most projects you will get done are geared towards those goals, a few though may be for offering new products or services.
    Sometimes you aren't given a budget or you find a solution that exceeds your budget but it will have an ROI to justify the expense; you have to be able to deal with senior and executive management, be able to make good business cases for such solutions. Remember as manager one of the areas you will be appraised and evaluated on how much you improved your area, i.e., improve output or cut costs. Completed projects and process improvements are what you want to be able to put on your resume.
    And yes, you do have to stay abreast with technological trends, and at least have a solid understanding of the systems under you, and sometimes get hands on. Even as manager, I have pursued tech certifications.
    Edit: I forgot to mention, you also have to be able to communicate effectively with other departments, work collaboratively with other departments, especially if the company you work at is not an IT company. You have to be able to explain technical solutions to non-technical personnel. Additionally, you have to be able to manage vendors, and be a jerk if vendors are not delivering their solutions according to the SOW or contract.
  • 100k100k Posts: 196Member
    Bjcheung77 wrote: »
    1) That resume looks geared for another Technical Specialist or similar position, not a managerial one.
    2) I would recommend finishing up with your Masters at WGU before applying for an IT manager role.
    The reason - you will have more "clout" with the Masters and more importantly, senior level IT experience

    3) Shorten the resume, keep the most important points listed, you've got too much info in those two pages
    4) Create a customized CV/Cover Letter for each position you apply for - geared towards their industry
    - I see a lot of people creating a "generic" one and applying to every job they can find - that's not the way to do it

    5) Keep your focus on the WGU Masters while you're gaining the experience as an engineer/specialist and the jobs will come
    6) Sometimes life gets in the way, plan for any extra certifications that you may need for your specialty
    Keep up the good work, that looks pretty good and will be great with minor modifications

    Thanks for the input! I do customize my cover letters but now I think my resume may be letting me down. I really did put everything I could think of in that resume lol. When my tax return comes in I will use that to pay for my Masters. I wonder if anyone has pushed through to grind it out in one term. Going to have a look and if they were successful I will follow their plan of attack.
  • 100k100k Posts: 196Member
    Try to get a lead engineer or junior project management role first along with some leadership, business and/or governance training and certs - upgrade Project+->CAPM>PMP; COBIT, ITIL, Lean Six Sigma, etc.

    Unfortunately the pay cut to go to a Jr Project Management role is about 8k~10k. I like that plan though and never really thought I could move from there to an actual IT Manager position. Hmmm maybe that will become my plan B. Take the cut for greater rewards later and you were even so kind to list what certs could help...Thank You!
  • 100k100k Posts: 196Member
    LordQarlyn wrote: »
    As an IT Manager, you need to where many hats...

    Thanks for the insite! This helps in adjusting my mindset.
  • 100k100k Posts: 196Member
    Update:
    I laid it all out and tested the market for what needs to be done to get to where I want...a humbling moment overcame me where I realized that it is too aggressive of a goal and honestly I just can't do it in such a short time.
    Sucks to admit but I am working on plan B...I shall revisit this plan later...after more exp.

    Plan B is to get a Cloud Engneering job. Grinded it out and got my AWS CSAA and working to get my dev ops cert in a month.
    Any advice or tips how to make the transition from Systems Engineer to Cloud Engineering are welcomed.
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