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CAREER PLANNING

5 Ways An MBA Will Advance Your IT Career – And 5 Ways It Won’t

Technology is the future. A software degree is the modern day equivalent to a medicine and law degree. 

However, there’s almost 30,000 computer science graduates each year. Not to mention other equally qualified graduates from advanced collegiate schools and business schools with a major in IT. Competition for job positions is at an all-time high.

While getting an entry-level job is not so difficult, there are several factors that can impact the advancement of your IT career. Getting an MBA is one of them. 

Today, we will address:

  • The information technology career path
  • Job outlook and prospects
  • Salary expectations
  • The pros and cons to getting an MBA

All  to help you decide whether investing in an online MBA is worth it to advance your career as an IT manager.

Let’s get to the facts.

Understand the IT Manager Career Path

The IT manager career path is unconventional. There are different directions you can take which will lead you to different positions which require different skill sets. 

The most sought-after positions in IT management are Chief Technological Officer (CTO), Chief Information Officer (CIO) or IT Director.

As a typical IT manager, you will be responsible for the management of tech systems, managing teams and providing solutions to hardware and software glitches. 

You need exceptional problem-solving skills and leadership skills to help with technical issues.

Communication skills are also vital for your IT manager career since your task involves explaining complex issues to members of your team in different levels of the company.

To help you make a better decision on which direction to take on your IT career path, you should understand the typical progression of an IT manager.

IT Manager Career Ladder

There’s a continuous 15% growth in demand for IT managers every year. However, one of the best parts about a career in IT is job security and flexibility to work on innovative projects.

However, the IT Manager career path is difficult. Being an IT manager comes with the responsibility of overseeing teams and project management. You must have an analytical mindset as well as strong business intelligence. 

Here is what a typical IT manager career ladder looks like.

The IT Manager Career Ladder

#1. Chief Information Officer 

The highest-ranking executive responsible for managing and implementing information and computer technology systems of a company.

#2. VP Information Technology

Responsible for the design, development and implementation of organizational information systems, software development, and IT support and infrastructure systems.

#3. Director of Information Technology Services

Responsible for strategic planning and management of information technology resources.

#4. Senior Project Manager, Information Technology

Account management, employee and external consultants supervision, planning and administering budgets, tracking program expenditures and controlling income and revenue.

#5. Program Manager, Information Technology

Coordinates organization’s projects. Supervise software engineers.

#6. Software Engineer

Designing and implementing systems, improving system quality and enhancing applications

Software Engineer

As a software engineer, your job and responsibilities include research and analysis for programming solutions and providing technical documentation. You’ll also be responsible for designing software and code implementation for the overall product infrastructure. 

Once products are released to the market, they require continuous iteration and therefore, support. It’s your job as the software engineer to fix bugs when they arise.

Program Manager, Information Technology

This is a people-oriented role. You’ll need excellent organizational, planning, and communication skills to excel in this role.

Here is a breakdown of the roles and responsibilities of an IT program manager.

  • Organizing programs and activities to achieve the mission and goals of the company.
  • Developing new programs and managing long-term goals to support the strategic direction of the organization.
  • Budgeting and operations management for the program.
  • Developing an evaluation method to assess program strengths and identify areas for improvement.
  • Managing teams with a diverse array of talents and responsibilities usually made up of software engineers and ensuring projects are completed on time.

Senior Project Manager Information Technology

Senior IT project managers are responsible for developing project plans and overseeing budgetary needs. They are the go-to person for project managers and serve a supervisory role which includes conducting meetings with other team members on a regular basis.

They are responsible for account management and track program expenditures in order to control the company’s income and revenue.

Director of Information Technology Services

The director of IT services is responsible for the management, strategy and execution of IT infrastructure for the company.

The roles and responsibilities in this job include:

  • Overseeing technical projects to ensure they are in line with organizational goals
  • Managing business activities and supervising teams while working closely with managers.
  • Creating financial budgets and presenting capital project proposals to senior executives for approval.
  • Sourcing for new market opportunities and spearheading efforts to improve IT processes.

Vice President, Information Technology

The vice president of information technology’s main responsibility is planning the information technology future for the organization and implementing and maintaining the current systems. 

They have to ensure maximum reliability and stability in the company’s computer systems and networks. In a nutshell, the role is about technology leadership, and the VP of IT must be able to organize teams around the technology plan and path for the company.

Chief Information Officer

This is the highest-ranking executive position with responsibilities that match the title. 

With big titles comes great responsibility.

The roles include:

  • Managing all employees in the IT department by monitoring progress to ensure maximum productivity.
  • Overseeing implementation of new systems and networks such as new CMS systems or intranets.
  • Staying up to date with industry changes in trends and new IT technologies by reading reports and studying new technologies that could be implemented in the company to be at par with competitors.
  • Working in liaison with company officials to form company best practices.
  • Forming and maintaining business relationships with IT vendors for smooth supply-chain and approving IT devices purchases.

MBA Information Technology Management Jobs

Getting a job in this era is not easy with the growing population and number of graduates entering the market each year.

The good news?

The IT industry is an ever-growing industry. You might not get the exact job you want on the get-go, but getting your foot in the door is significantly easier than other fields.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of information technology managers was projected to grow 10% from 2019 to 2029. That is faster than the average for all occupations.

Businesses are expanding their digital platforms and scaling up every day. As a result, the demand for computer and information systems managers has grown and will continue to grow.

Taking an online MBA course with Quantic might be the best decision you ever make for your career. Not only will you get a comprehensive curriculum but learn valuable business administration skills and connect with top employers in the industry. Sign up today.

Trisha Hautéa

Trisha Hautéa

TUFTS UNIVERSITY

MIT, Program Facilitator

“I quickly learned how legitimate and challenging the Quantic MBA program is. It’s comprehensive and I learned way more than anticipated.”

How Long Does it Take to Get MBA Management?

An MBA full course curriculum usually takes two years to complete if you’re studying full-time. Part-time can take up to 3 years depending on the credit units you complete in an academic year.

If you have more time on your plate, an accelerated online MBA program is a good option since it can take between 12 to 18 months to complete. 

MBA IT Management Salary

Professionals with an MBA in information technology, in general, earn more than those who don’t. In the US, MBA holders earn an average of $102,100 which is higher than the national average of $74,378. 

The deal gets even better for IT professionals with an MBA. Job positions in information technology are the top three highest paying salaries for MBA holders according to US News, ranging between $100,000 to $150,000 a year.

IT Manager With No MBA vs MBA Salary

Here is the salary breakdown according to US News.

JobMedian Salary
IT manager with MBA$156,390
Software Developers$111,620
Computer Systems Analysts$96,160
Database Administrators$93,750

5 Ways An MBA Will Advance Your IT Career

A bachelor’s degree in information systems can help you secure a great job with great benefits. Professionals dedicated to growing their careers seek MBA programs for that extra edge.

Yet, balancing work and study is one of the most difficult tasks. Is it really worth it?

To help you make that decision, here are 5 ways earning an MBA will help advance your IT career and 4 ways it won’t.

An MBA Will Teach You Business and Analytical Skills

Chief Information Officers (CIOs) and Chief Technology officers (CTOs) are responsible for the overall business administration. They require a business education and skills to propel their companies forward and give them a competitive edge in the market.

MBA course curriculums are comprehensive. Quantic’s online MBA program includes courses in accounting, finance, leadership, marketing, supply chain and operations, data analysis and decision-making, economics, strategy and innovation, and entrepreneurship. 

As an information technology manager, the higher up the career ladder you go, the more you’ll be called upon to step into a leadership role. An MBA teaches you analytical skills that will help you step into that role and execute it with maximum efficiency. 

An MBA Will Earn You a Title Bump

Doesn’t it sound nice to have that MBA title in your name? Well, getting an online MBA earns you that by default. 

Is it just a title? No.

With an MBA title to your name, you earn more respect as an expert in your field. In IT, you’ll be thought of as a tech guru and business professional even without proving it first.

How does this help your career?

When you’re regarded as an expert in your field, you have more access to opportunities. It’s easier to get a promotion to a senior role since it’s apparent you can handle more responsibility.

An MBA Will Increase your Income

Information technology managers with MBAs earn more than those without. An MBA increases your likelihood of getting a promotion to a senior role (such as business administration) which comes with a higher salary and benefits. Likewise, there are firms that offer their staff a pay increase if they obtain an MBA. 

An MBA Program Provides you Active Learning

Active learning is an instructional approach that actively engages students with the course material through discussions, problem-solving, case studies, role plays and other methods. 

Getting an online MBA enables you to gain and retain vast knowledge through active learning. It puts you in a unique position to be able to actively practice your skills, making it easier to apply them at work. 

An MBA Allows For Pedagogical Advancements

Learning and teaching methods are gradually improving with the incorporation of technology. 

Acquiring an MBA will help you gain more knowledge not only from educators but from peers as well. 

Employing the same techniques on the job can help you improve communication and collaboration skills that may improve outcomes in the work environment.

Moreover, access to information and learning tools is far easier today than before, with online classes and programs.

4 Ways An MBA Won’t Advance Your IT Career

While getting an MBA has a great advantage, it’s not the be-all and end-all for your career.

MBA’s Are Expensive

The average cost of an on-campus MBA is $100,000- $200,000. This is a huge expense and might strain your budget and put you in debt for the next couple of years. Although online MBAs are cheaper to an extent, it’s still a hefty expense.

Quantic’s online MBA is $9,600 which is radically affordable. We also have scholarship initiatives that provide partial and full funding for students who need financial aid. 

We also have a built-in career network where companies pay to recruit our graduates, helping offset tuition fees to students.

Our dedication is to reduce and often eliminate student cost through an innovative and generous employer-funded tuition model.

Tough to Find Time for Classes

An on-campus MBA is time-consuming and intellectually demanding. Finding time for classes after work can be a challenge. An MBA is best suited for those who don’t have a full-time job. With that in mind, however, as a working professional, an online MBA is a great choice.

While traditional MBA programs take up to 2 years for completion, Quantic’s online MBA takes 10 months to complete and 12 months for an Executive MBA. In addition, it offers more flexibility with online courses, allowing you to work on your own time.

To learn more about the pros and cons of traditional versus online MBA programs, click here.

You May Be Too Far Along in Your Career 

IT is the newest and fastest-growing industry. Many who have been in the industry from the beginning have seen tremendous growth and learn many skills on the job. The longer you work in a field, the higher you go on the career ladder.

If you’re already high up in your department, there may be no need for you to get an MBA. Your work ethic and your position are sufficient to scale you up if need be. Online MBA programs may be more necessary for lower-level positions looking to grow.

Certificates Don’t Guarantee Success

Ever heard the saying that education is not a measure of intelligence? This is what we mean by certificates don’t guarantee success. 

Getting an MBA might get you a foot in the door but whether you stay in is dependent on your ability to get the job done. Understand that learning a skill is not equivalent to having the skill.

You have to be self motivated and driven to prove yourself and earn your way to success. No shortcuts.

Bearing all of that in mind. If you still want to take an MBA here’s what is on offer.

MBA Course Curriculum & Syllabus for IT Managers

Before selecting an MBA program, it’s important to look into the curriculum. A good MBA curriculum should cover business administration essentials that includes these core aspects:

  • Business. Leading in an executive position, you’ll be responsible for the company’s finance and budgeting. Since you’ll be directing and managing engineers responsible for the design and development of new products, marketing skills are important to help you understand customers’ needs and wants.
  • Strategy. Managing and directing teams requires an understanding of strategic planning in order to align teams’ operations with the company’s goals and mission.
  • Decision making. Data analytics is an integral part of information technology management. Professionals need to understand how to analyze data and make critical decisions for the good of the company. This requires knowledge of statistics
  • Leadership. CIOs and CTOs and their prospects are responsible for managing teams to ensure the overall success of the company. They require leadership skills in order to understand different behaviors and personalities and form effective and productive teams.

MBA vs MS IT management

MS is Master of Science while MBA is Master of Business Administration. Pursuing an MS allows you to attain in-depth knowledge in a specific subject or discipline while an MBA is more general and gets you acquainted with the business and management side of things. 

The table below shortlists the key differences.

CriteriaMBAMS
Required time 10 months – 2 years2 years
FocusAcquiring business and management skillsAcquiring technical skills in a specific field
Work experience2 – 5 yearsGenerally not required
Employment opportunitiesFinance, consulting, operations, investment banking, private equity.Engineering, Math and sciences, computer science.
Average basic salary $100,000 – $150,000 $75,000 – $82,000

Which one is better, MBA or MS? 

Well, that in large depends on what your interests are. If you’re more of a scientist, MS is a definite go-to, but if you’re more of a manager and your end goal is to run the company at CIO level, then definitely take the route. 

Quantic is an accredited institution for business and technology with trusted partner programs, providing you the best online education. Ready to get started on your online MBA? Apply here for free. 


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