Preparing for an IT Manager role

I receive quite a few inquiries about how to prepare for an IT manager role.  Often, these inquiries come from a parent who wants to help a son or daughter position themselves for a successful career.

Here is a message I received just this week from a supportive parent:  “My son is studying computers and he is in his early year of computer engineering and later on he will decide which branch of IT to specialize in. I want your help to give him tips and a head start to become an IT manager one day.”

In many cases, the parent has little or no knowledge of technology or how to prepare for IT management. What they do have is concern for their child’s future and a strong  interest in helping them prepare for the future. Often I will hear, “When he (or she) gets the opportunity to manage, I want him to be prepared so he will be successful.”

It’s something anyone who wants to be an IT manager one day should think about and devise a plan to prepare for.

My response:


Here is the path I would suggest:

1.  Read the free book you receive when signing up for my Practical IT Manager Newsletter – IT Management-101: fundamentals to achieve more. This book is a good foundational starting point. Sign up at

2.  Have him subscribe to my ITLever Blog at so he receives free weekly tips and tools directed to helping IT managers achieve more success. There are hundreds of free articles, tools to download and other items to help an IT manager and I add new content every week.

A recent ITLever post will be of particular help titled, Solve the IT Management Maze with an IT Management Process. CLICK HERE to see it.

3.  Watch the 20 Minute IT Manager session titled Fast Start for a New IT Manager  at

There are 162 sessions in the 20 Minute IT Manager series, , , purchase all for $249.00 or $9.99 each. Details at
CLICK HERE for a special 50% discount offer for ITLever Blog readers – only $249.00. Included in this bundle are 12 sessions of a series titled, “12 Secrets to IT Success” that outlines the IT management process I use in managing technology resources.

4.  He will need to establish a positive record of delivering projects successfully in his technical role. My IT Project Management: a practical approach book is a simplified methodology that can help. There are 14 books in my library, , , available for $29.95 each or $279.00 for the first ten, , , $399.00 for the entire library that includes my IT Manager ToolKit.  Details are at

5.  If and when he truly decides to position himself for a manager role, he should attend the IT Manager Institute. It is available in classroom and online self study and includes Bonus items of all my books and tools.

This class will do more for his preparation in becoming an effective IT manager than anything he will find. Both the classroom version and the self study are exactly the same material and lead to an IT Business Manager Certification (ITBMC) that was co-developed by Belmont University and my company to focus on the importance of IT organizations to provide tangible business value for their company.
    Self Study  –
    Class schedule   – 

6.  Find an IT manager mentor, , , someone who is interested in helping your son learn about aspects of managing technology resources and a resource to go to for questions and discussions of interest. It is helpful to work with someone local who is willing to be a mentor at no cost, , , as long as the “mentor” knows what he is doing and has a successful track record. Poor or weak resources can actually damage your son’s career.

I have plans to provide a monthly IT manager membership program to provide mentoring services and IT manager development training because of the need we have seen. Watch my ITLever Blog or Practical IT Manager Tips Newsletter for a future announcement. Contact me at if you are potentially interested in a monthly IT manager mentoring program. I must warn you beforehand, , , it will not be cheap due to the effort required to set it up and it will be limited to a designated number of members.

7.  Your son can gain a sense of management by managing a project. In doing this he will be exposed to people management, managing client expectations, and budgeting. If he learns to manage projects well, it is good development for future IT management roles.

I hope this is of help and wish your son the best of success in his young career.


The important thing to do when preparing for an IT manager role is to start learning from someone who knows how to manage technology resources, , , and to learn about what a successful IT manager really does, , , it is not all about technology actually. Focus only on technology and not the business and you will have major difficulty in becoming a successful IT manager.

One last piece of advice is to observe others and incorporate the best of what you see into how you go about doing things. I’ve done this throughout my career and know it has made a big difference in my management career. It’s another reason why having a good mentor is so important.

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