The question: How do I become a general IT manager?
I have worked in IT for 20 years, primarily in software development. I have been a solutions architect, team leader, project lead and part of a management team. I want to move into general IT management, but I lack experience in budget management and hardware/networking/telecoms/VoIP. I have applied for several roles, emphasising my hardware and team-leading skills, but I have not been shortlisted for interview. What do you suggest?
The solution: Be specific about previous experience
You mention a move into more general IT management but worry that you lack the relevant experience. Be specific about your team and project leader roles, and your spell on the management team. Provide a breakdown of your experience within management and budgets, however small - you will probably surprise yourself. It is important to promote this strongly in your CV and at interviews.
Look for opportunities in your current role that allow you to build on these skills. If you feel this is not viable, a specialist IT management course is a great way to gain these skills quickly and show you are keen to move into this area.
Finally, be prepared to consider a short-term salary drop. Aiming for a more entry-level IT management role can be a good route to general IT management.
Quickly proving your capability should then lead to a better salary as your relevant experience grows, your market worth increases and becomes more traditionally recognised.
Solution by Jane Binner, associate director at Computer People
The panel: Computer People, Hudson, No Limits Coaching, The Training Camp, Wreay Group
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