The role of technology has grown increasingly more ingrained in our industries, organizations, personal lives, and economy. With continuously evolving technological advances, there is a growing need for individuals who understand how to use technology in an efficient and effective manner. Technology management is a multidisciplinary field that combines management skills with a foundational understanding of technological systems and operations.
Demand is booming for technology managers. Earning a technology management degree online is the most popular educational path to becoming a chief technology officer (CTO). According to the website PayScale.com, a CTO is one of the top paying IT careers, enjoying an average salary between $104,00 and $177,000. Other popular technology management positions include the director of information technology, a position that covers the coordination of internal computer information systems within large corporations, and the project manager.
THE CAREER PATH
A career in technology management can provide the perfect path for individuals seeking a job that mixes their people-management skills with their interest in technology. Technology management can open doors of opportunity for IT professionals who want to reach into the realm of managing technology departments. Likewise, it offers a path to using technology to advance competition in other types of industries. Technology management offers many different options across a diverse array of industries and sectors. In general, technology management professionals will need to be prepared to comfortably integrate computer systems into business models.
If a professional decides to focus their career on their information technology (IT) strengths, they my find themselves in a position that involves planning, directing, and implementing all of the computer-related activities of an organization. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, they may operate in roles that can include these types of management:
- Chief Information Officers (CIOs) – Determining goals, and strategizing the appropriate implementation of technology in order to meet those goals
- Chief Technology Officers (CTOs) – Designing, evaluating, and recommending the appropriate technology solutions for an organization
- IT Directors – Running the logistics of an IT department, such as the finances, employees, and activities
The skills of technology managers can typically also be applied in other vital roles that incorporate both technology and business such as database administrators, and management information systems (MIS) directors. Like other careers in management, technology managers tend to be on the higher end of the professional ladder. Competitive qualities tend to be gained through experience in the field. They are some of the highest paid professionals, making more than $130,000 each year on average.
It’s the perfect time for potential professionals to start developing their career in technology management. As the technology industry continues to play a bigger role in the economy and the way that businesses are run, technology management positions are expected to be some of the fastest growing businesses careers, anticipated to grow by 15% in the next decade.
WHO IS THE IDEAL CANDIDATE?
Successful technology management professionals are not simply tech-savvy or business-savvy, but have a skillset that includes concepts of both fields. Professionals who want to develop a career in technology management need to be trained in system development, business strategy, as well as the techniques that are unique to technology management.
Professionals that take this career path tend to be comfortable with math, technology, and analytical thinking. They also usually have a strong sense of communication and customer-service that bring their skills together.
WHAT SHOULD I LOOK FOR?
There is no one technology management degree plan for all tech managers. The most common online technology management program plan focuses on management in the IT sector, which includes computers and information systems. But a few tech management degrees are taught by engineering schools. These programs focus on quality assurance and project management in engineering.
Skilled technicians—programmers or software developers, for example—may find a bachelor's program that offers a tech management major a good fit for moving up from applied technical work into team or project management. Consider a master's degree if you already hold a business degree and want to move into IT or engineering at the executive level. There are both online MBA degree programs in technology management and general master’s of science in area such as commercially developing technology products across all sectors. If you're interested in a computer-based career, you may want to consider related programs such as the online information systems degree, an online information technology (IT) degree, an online MIS degree or the online project management degree.
Online technology degree programs, regardless of one’s discipline, provide a strong core foundation in computers and information systems, quality management, leadership and project management. Expect core courses to stress skill building in logical thinking and systems analysis. Communications is another popular offering, as are cost accounting and finance. Classes will also cover systems analysis, networking and telecommunications. Business law and operations management could also be offered. The program as a whole should prepare students for supervisory roles. Upon graduation, managers may work either in corporate settings or as private consultants in their specialty area.
Some programs will hold programmatic accreditation from The Association of Technology, Management, and Applied Engineering (ATMAE) but may be more expensive. Graduates can also pursure certifications offered by ATMAE and some of the required courses may be included in certain degree programs.
When researching programs, make sure that you get as much bang for your buck as possible: keep an eye out for things like capstone projects, which may help you gain experience or job opportunities; accreditations to add credibility; and the potential for certifications that may add value to your resume.
A four-year bachelor's degree in technology management can cost as little as $20,000 or as much as $130,000. The price can vary depending on criteria such as private schools versus public universities, the resources that are offered, and the narrowness of your specialization.