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INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY CAREER GUIDES

IT Director Career

OVERVIEW

What Is an IT Director?


 

An IT director is the head of a company’s IT department. As an IT director, you’ll be charged with making sure the company’s day-to-day operations run smoothly. It’s a job that requires expertise in computer science and information technology, as well as years of experience working in IT.

Some companies have both an IT Director and a CIO, or a Chief Information Officer. These are similar positions and each company is different in terms of how they divide these two. But generally, an IT director will be expected to focus on the company’s technical infrastructure and day-to-day operations, whereas a CIO will be expected to spend more time on the company’s customer base and future strategy.

RESPONSIBILITIES

What Does an IT Director Do?

An IT director’s responsibilities will vary depending on the company, but some of the duties might include:

  • Overseeing the company’s network and IT services. Every company wants its operations to run smoothly and with minimal connectivity issues. An IT director’s job is to make sure that company employees stay connected and that any hiccups are addressed swiftly.
  • Guiding the implementation of company hardware and software. A good company keeps itself up-to-date and takes advantage of new developments in IT. An IT director should ensure company employees are using the computer hardware and software that will enable them to work efficiently and effectively.
  • Supervision of IT department personnel. Leadership skills are vital for running any department. IT directors might be involved with supervising IT employees, hiring new workers, and bringing oversight to any team projects.
  • Maintaining network security for the company. A security breach or network failure could be disastrous for a company. That can mean leaked information, a drop in connectivity, and loss of clients and customers. A good IT director stays vigilant and ensures that the company is protected from security failures.

EDUCATION & BEST DEGREES

How Do I Become an IT Director?

To become an IT director, you’ll need to start with a base of knowledge in computer science and information technology, and from there, you can start on your path to the top.

Step One: Earn a bachelor’s degree

You’ll need expert-level knowledge of computer science and information technology in order to advance up the ranks, and a good place to get that knowledge is with a bachelor’s degree in a related field. A degree in computer science, information technology, or IT management will be your best bet for ensuring that you have the necessary scope of knowledge to thrive. These programs will help you gain critical foundational skills in IT such as scripting and programming, understanding networks and systems, IT infrastructure and management techniques, etc.

Step Two: Earn a master’s degree.

No company is going to give you a top managerial position unless they know that you’re ready to lead a large team of people. An MBA or other master’s degree can help you learn the necessary skills. If you want to be qualified for a management position in the IT field, an MBA or master’s degree in IT management could be a critical education piece. These programs will give you important business and management skills while also enhancing your IT understanding and knowledge. 

Step Three: Look for leadership and management opportunities

Typically, an IT director needs strong leadership skills and years of management experience before they’re offered the job. Seek out ways to hone these skills whenever possible, whether that be at work or in your community.

Step Four: Stay current

Computer science and information technology are rapidly evolving fields. A good IT director must stay aware of the latest breakthroughs and know how to harness them for the good of the company.

Step Five: Gain experience

You’ll usually need more than a strong educational background and leadership skills to become an IT director. Companies expect their IT directors to already have years of experience under their belts before they’re offered the job. So be patient and try to gain as much experience as you can while you’re preparing yourself for that top job.

Best Degrees for an IT Director

Information Technology – B.S.

Award-winning coursework and value-add certifications make this online...

Award-winning coursework and value-add certifications make this online program a top choice.

  • Time: 70% of graduates finish within 48 months.
  • Tuition: $3,625 per 6-month term.
  • Courses: 36 total courses in this program.

Certifications included in this program at no additional cost:

  • CompTIA A+ 
  • CompTIA Network+ 
  • CompTIA Security+ 
  • CompTIA Project+ 
  • CompTIA IT Operations Specialist
  • CompTIA Secure Infrastructure Specialist 
  • Amazon AWS Cloud Practitioner
  • ITIL®*^ Foundation Certification
  • LPI Linux Essentials

Job titles this degree may prepare you for include:

  • Application developer
  • Business systems analyst
  • IT manager
  • Database administrator

MBA Information Technology Management

Earn the online college degree that can move your career into IT upper...

Earn the online college degree that can move your career into IT upper management:

  • Time: Graduates can finish in 12 months
  • Tuition: $4,755 per 6-month term
  • Courses: 11 total courses in this program

Sample careers and jobs this business degree will prepare you for:

  • Chief technology officer
  • Director of IT services
  • Senior systems administrator
  • Management information systems director
  • Computer and information systems manager

Learn to navigate emergencies, execute strategies, and optimize systems with the competencies within this specialty MBA.

Information Technology Management – M.S.

A degree for experienced IT professionals ready to lead....

A degree for experienced IT professionals ready to lead.

  • Time: 72% of graduates finish within 20 months.
  • Tuition: $3,940 per 6-month term.
  • Courses: 10 total courses in this program.

Included in your program—at no extra cost—is the opportunity to earn the valuable PMI Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) certification.

There are many job titles this degree can prepare you for, including:

  • CIO/CTO
  • IT manager
  • IT director
  • Information systems manager

Maximize the opportunities that your IT career path has afforded you—earn your master's and keep moving up. 

Accelerated Information Technology Bachelor's and Master's Degree

Earn both your bachelor’s in IT and master’s in IT management at a faster...

Earn both your bachelor’s in IT and master’s in IT management at a faster pace with fewer courses.

  • Time: Approximately 5 years.
  • Tuition: $3,735 per 6-month term for the bachelor's degree; $3,940 per term for the master's portion.
  • Courses: 42 total courses in this program.

Certifications included in this program at no additional cost:

  • CompTIA A+ 
  • CompTIA Network+ 
  • CompTIA Security+ 
  • CompTIA IT Operations Specialist
  • CompTIA Secure Infrastructure Specialist 
  • Amazon AWS Cloud Practitioner
  • ITIL®*^ Foundation Certification
  • PMI CAPM
  • LPI Linux Essentials

This program allows students to earn their bachelor's degree in IT and move directly into a master's degree in IT management, cutting down on the total number of courses to complete.

How Much Does an IT Director Make?

$164,070

An IT director can expect to earn a pretty lucrative salary; although the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics does not provide specific information, the median annual pay for all computer information and systems managers was $164,070 in 2022.

What Is the Projected Job Growth?

11%

Information technology is a rapidly growing field, so the job outlook for IT directors is excellent. The BLS projects that the field of computer information and systems managers will grow by about 11% between the years 2020 and 2030. As companies continue to adapt to the changing world of technology, they’ll need smart and talented IT professionals to maintain an edge over the competition.

SKILLS

What Skills Does an IT Director Need?

To become an IT director, you’ll need to combine a strong background in computer science and information technology with business management skills and the other “soft skills” that are required to run an IT department. You’ll need:

  • Expertise in computer science and information technology
  • Business management skills
  • Leadership skills
  • Planning, strategizing, and budgeting skills
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Communication skills

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Interested in Becoming an IT Director?

Learn more about degree programs that can prepare you for this meaningful career.