As information technology becomes an increasingly vital tool for businesses worldwide, the demand for knowledgeable directors of information technology (IT) continues to increase. These professionals provide the leadership that companies in all industries need to remain competitive. Professionals who wish to pursue a director of IT position can stand out from the crowd by learning the must-have skills through a Master of Science in Information Technology degree program.
Job Outlook for Information Technology Directors
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for the category that includes directors of information technology is projected to grow substantially in coming years. Growth will occur as the increasing use and complexity of technology spurs demand for knowledgeable information technology professionals. Job seekers with specialized technical knowledge and advanced degrees should have the best prospects.
Planning a firm’s technology needs and strategy is an integral element of success. Information technology directors are typically responsible for developing, implementing and supporting both short- and long-term information technology plans. They often create and administer IT policies and procedures, and audit information system use for compliance and security.
Working closely with upper management, directors of information technology often work to improve existing systems by reviewing users’ requests for changes, analyzing needs and budgets, and making recommendations for updates, replacements or enhancements. These IT professionals may also manage the contract negotiations, purchase and installation of new systems.
A director of information technology may also be required to: consult with management, clients and staff; supervise the IT department staff, including hiring and training; provide technical support; and conduct feasibility studies for information technology projects.
Directors of information technology usually work in offices, and a 40-hour week is standard. Travel to industry conferences and trade shows, or to vendor locations or satellite offices could be required.
According to national salary data on PayScale.com, as of January 2011, directors of information technology earned a median total annual income of about $104,283, with those in the 25th to 75th percentile earning between $72,752 and $135,814 in total pay.
PayScale.com data also indicated that earning a master’s degree can significantly impact earnings. In fact, based on 75th percentile salary figures, earning an MS degree boosted IT directors’ salaries to $155,076 per year, while those with a bachelor’s degree earned $118,027 per year – a differential of over 31%!
With additional experience, IT directors can move into roles of increasing responsibility, resulting in much higher potential annual pay. A sampling of executive IT salaries on PayScale.com in January 2011 showed that VPs of information technology and chief information officers in the 75th percentile of earners brought in approximately $190,332 and $200,262 per year, respectively.
The data show that top salaries generally go to those with the experience and advanced education to help businesses compete in a changing global environment.
Education and Training Requirements
Most director of information technology positions require at least a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field. Many employers show preference to candidates with master’s degrees or advanced training.
Enrolling in a Master of Science in Information Technology program is a great way to obtain the knowledge and advanced skills top employers want. Coursework typically includes: cases in database systems management, global information technology management, advanced management of information systems, and introduction to information security management.
Employers can be confident that professionals who have earned an MS in Information Technology are able to:
- Handle complex projects with up-to-date information technology knowledge.
- Apply leadership skills to identify and implement solutions to real-world business issues.
- Determine which new technologies are needed to successfully solve problems.
- Implement a process-based approach to meeting organizational goals.
- Leverage advanced knowledge and skills to succeed as a director of information technology.
Is a Director of Information Technology Career In Your Future?
Does the fast-changing world of information technology appeal to you? If you’re good at math, have a knack for computers, are able to work well with all levels of management, and have strong verbal and written communication skills, a career as a director of information technology could be a great fit. Earning a Master of Science in Information Technology can give you the top job skills needed to land the most in-demand positions and transform your career!