How to Become IT Director


For people who have a liking for technology, computers, and data, pursuing a career in information technology is a natural fit. Moreover, rising in the ranks of the IT field can lead to rewarding career paths. 

Professionals who excel in IT try to grab the opportunity of a career as an IT director. Getting to this post may take several years of experience, hard work, and the right education.

An IT director is the head of the IT department of a company. They manage information and computer systems. An IT Director's responsibilities depend on an organization's size and requirements. An IT Director oversees information technology departments, ensures data and network services coordination, and handles departmental budgeting. 

They also help to determine the information technology goals for an organization, be it information security or upgrading hardware and software.

Information technology directors work in different job sectors and industries because almost every company, irrespective of what they sell, needs IT services. Technology has become an integral part of every operation in today's economy. Hence the IT director can work in fields such as:

  • Finance

  • Insurance

  • Information

  • Management

  • Manufacturing

These are some fields in which the IT director's services are in high demand. However, there are many other fields where you can find jobs.

Every company needs to manage its computer systems and secure the information on its network. Thus, information technology experts expect continued demand. 

IT directors take on full-time work schedules, but there are days when they are expected to work overtime. They may have to work for 40 hours a week. There are also possibilities that the schedule of an IT director can change from week to week or from season to season depending on the demand for their services in the organization they are working in. During the busy season, the work schedule is expected to increase.

A report from PayScale shows that the median base salary of an IT Director is $115k annually. This excludes any bonuses. Many components affect the base salary for the IT Director position. This may include the industry and the location of the company in which the candidate is working. At the least range, an IT Director can earn 65k, and at the higher end, around 166k.

If you want the higher end of the salary spectrum, then you will have to work for organizations based in larger cities like New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. Some top-paying industries are healthcare, financial, and cloud communications.

Responsibilities of Director of IT

Responsibilities of Director of IT

The IT Director manages, strategizes, and executes an organization's IT infrastructure. They look after a team of employees while working with the organization's management, external vendors, and advisors. 

An IT Director should possess problem-solving skills and an aptitude for organizational thinking. 

The major responsibilities in the role tend to remain the same. Below are some skills required by organizations when they are looking to fill the IT Director position. 

  • Leadership

  • IT security and infrastructure management

  • Deployment of new technology

  • Strategic planning

  • Network management/administration

  • IT/Software asset management

Here are some examples of responsibilities the role demands.

  • Lead implementation of the ITMS solutions

  • Integrate several off-the-shelf and SaaS systems to streamline transactions

  • Manage agile processes and maintain project intake from customers

  • Work with customers and internal management to create and look after acceptable SLA standards.

  • Establish a governance model with customers and senior management to ensure oversight of content and technology.

  • Implement new EHR in physician practice.

  • Supervise billing and optimize billing software for EMR.

  • Implement an automated server qualification process to improve regulatory compliance.

  • Supervise the deployment standard, QA process, UAT scenarios, and app store submission process. 

  • Find how technology can enhance core functions, process improvement, ROI, security, and control.

Educational Qualifications and Skills Required

Employees seek a candidate with at least a bachelor's degree, but many employers may prefer a candidate who has completed a master's degree. The field of degree should be in information technology, information science, computer science, or a related field. 

There are several certification programs by Microsoft, Cisco, and CompTIA that employers may require. In addition, many employers look for a candidate with 5 - 10 years of related IT experience.

Below are the key skills that employers seek.

  • Analytical and organizational skills.

  • Ability to motivate and lead staff.

  • Strong attention to detail.

  • Familiarity with operational and capital budgets.

  • Strategic planning and project management experience.

  • Knowledge about information systems, programs, and software, such as Microsoft Server platforms, MS Office Suite, and Adobe Creative Suite.

  • Practical knowledge about IT systems and infrastructure.

  • Proficiency in SaaS operations, since for modern organizations, most of the data resides in the SaaS applications.

The Career Path of an IT Director 

Following all the steps that demonstrate how to become an IT Director.

1. Gain a Bachelor's Degree

Candidates should have at least a bachelor's degree in information technology, computer science, or a degree in a related field to become an IT Director. Some employers may prefer applicants with a graduate degree who should have good experience in the IT field. 

IT management programs are available at technical schools, colleges, and universities. Undergraduate courses in IT management may include database management, electronic business infrastructure, software product management, networking fundamentals, and server applications.

2. Get an IT-Related Job

A candidate with several years of experience working in information technology is preferred for the post of IT Director. Individuals can get the experience through several entry-level occupations. Jobs like computer programmer, computer system analyst, information security analyst, database administrator, software developer, and network system administrator are some jobs that can give the required experience to become an IT Director.

3. Upskill Yourself and Obtain Certificates

Professional credentials to demonstrate skills and knowledge in certain software program systems and applications can be a plus point of a candidate for IT Director. Several companies offer certification programs for IT professionals. Some certifications you can take are:

IT managers can improve their knowledge and skills and seek advancement opportunities by pursuing more education or continuing their education.

4. Pursue IT Director

Some employers prefer applicants with a graduate degree. Candidates need to be exceptionally self-motivated and directed. They should have analytical and problem-solving abilities along with good communication skills. In addition, they should be able to manage and motivate IT staff, develop IT budgets and work on projects.

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