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As a manager in information technology (IT) or information systems (IS), you're responsible for leading your team or department and ensuring that your company's IT systems and projects run smoothly. Organizations also look to IT and IS leaders for guidance on technology solutions and strategy. But what does it take to excel in this role? What qualities do companies look for when hiring IT managers? Let's explore some of the top qualities that can make you stand out in this field.

1. Technical expertise
Companies expect technology leaders to have a strong technical background and deep understanding of the systems and technologies their teams work with. Before taking on management responsibilities, you should have knowledge and experience with various technologies and platforms and be able to quickly adapt to new ones. This will help you to make informed decisions and provide assistance to your team on technical matters.

2. Leadership
As a manager, part of your job will be to motivate your team to put in their best efforts as they work towards the company's goals. You should lead by example, build trust with your team, and encourage a culture of collaboration, open communication, and continuous improvement. 

3. Communication
Excellent communication skills are a must-have for technology leaders and managers. In this role, you’ll need to be able to explain complex concepts in simple terms, both to technical and non-technical stakeholders. Service level agreements, corporate dashboards, and use cases are all examples of communication frameworks you’ll want to be familiar with. Being able to communicate your ideas and vision clearly with different tools will help you gain buy-in from your team and other stakeholders, which is essential for successful project implementation. 

4. Problem-solving
IT managers face numerous challenges and tough decisions every day. You’ll need to be able to think critically and creatively to solve problems quickly and efficiently, especially when time is of the essence. Beyond this, you should be proactive in identifying and mitigating vulnerabilities and risks before they become bigger problems.

5. Project management
Project management skills are vital for making sure work gets done properly. This includes developing project plans, allocating resources, and ensuring that the project is completed on time, within budget, and to the satisfaction of stakeholders. As a manager in the technology field, you must also be able to balance the needs of the project with the needs of your team, helping them manage their workload and priorities.

6. Strategic thinking
Companies expect technology leaders and managers who are able to understand the company's goals and determine how IT can support them. To succeed in IT management, you should be able to develop and execute strategies that align with your company's vision and anticipate future challenges and opportunities.

7. Adaptability
The technology world is constantly evolving. This means that you’ll need to be able to evaluate and adapt to changing technologies and environments throughout your career. Technology managers should always be open to learning and applying new skills and excited to take on new challenges as they arise.

8. Business acumen
Organizations are looking for technology managers who have a firm grasp of the business and industry in which they operate. If you want to climb the ladder in the technology field, you must be able to align technology goals with business goals and articulate the value of your team’s initiatives to senior management.

9. Team building
Building a strong and cohesive team is imperative for leaders in every field. If you’re leading an IT team, you should be prepared to recruit, train, and mentor your team members. This includes helping them learn and continually grow their skills in current and emerging technologies. Fostering a positive environment where your team feels supported and motivated in their work will also be important.

10. Customer focus
As an IT manager, user and customer needs should be a constant priority. You’ll need to be able to assess and understand customer requirements and expectations. Armed with that knowledge, your job will be to guide your team in designing and delivering high-quality services that meet those needs.

Level up your skills for growing your technology career
If you’re interested in taking your IT or IS career to the next level, South University’s Master of Science in Information Systems program can help. In this program, you’ll explore both the business and technical knowledge required to help organizations enter and advance into the current age of information. 

If you’re just getting started in your career, our Bachelor of Science in Information Technology can also offer a solid foundation for growth and learning. In our bachelor’s degree program, you can choose between three IT specializations – Comprehensive, Cybersecurity or Management – focusing on one particular interest or obtaining a broad set of skills across the IT field.

Request information to learn more about South University and our online and on-campus programs today!