IT Operations Manager Job Description

An IT operations manager oversees and directs the day-to-day activities of an organization’s information technology (IT) department, ensuring that systems, services, and infrastructure work reliably and securely. IT operations managers lead teams that develop and implement networks and servers, respond to user help desk requests, and monitor system stability and performance.

The IT operations manager provides guidance and leadership to the IT department and its technicians, but also directly supports end users by handling escalations, resolving user issues, and monitoring the performance of business-critical systems to prevent delays and outages and quickly resolve ongoing issues.

 

IT Operations Manager Duties and Responsibilities

Based on postings that we analyzed, IT operations managers tend to have several core duties across industries and organizations:

Monitor IT Servers and Systems

One of the primary responsibilities of the IT operations manager is monitoring an organization’s servers, networks, and computer systems for irregularities and performance issues. The IT operations manager assesses system data and error logs, along with user reports, to determine areas for improvement or repair. In this aspect of the role, an IT operations manager may also determine when systems or servers are due for upgrades.

Direct IT Technicians

Another important duty of the IT operations manager is directing the activities of IT technicians, both to directly support end users and to assist with IT department upgrades and directives. An IT operations manager assesses current department needs and help desk inquiries and assigns personnel to resolve each issue. In organizations that require 24-hour IT support, the operations manager may also develop and implement technician schedules.

Develop Department Policies

Many IT operations managers develop IT policies and procedures to ensure that the department operates effectively and reliably. In some IT departments, this process can include developing service level agreements (SLAs) for the help desk. An IT operations manager may also develop guides for users and technicians, such as FAQ documents or employee handbooks for IT department personnel.

Resolve Help Desk Escalations

IT operations managers may provide direct user support by handling help desk or service desk escalations. If IT technicians are unable to successfully resolve a user’s issue, the IT operations manager will assess the situation and devise a solution to the problem, which could include equipment replacement or repair if the problem is related to the end user’s hardware or software.

Negotiate Vendor Contracts

Many IT operations managers also play a direct role in negotiating contracts with IT service providers. In this aspect of the role, the IT operations manager assesses department and business needs related to equipment and services and presents them to vendors. The IT operations manager compares pricing and vendor bids with their department’s budget, determines which vendors offer the most advantageous terms, and negotiates rates with those vendors.

Oversee Upgrades and Installations

Finally, IT operations managers support IT department activities while upgrading systems and servers and migrating the organization’s data. They may introduce new methods to streamline the upgrade process, monitor the system to ensure that it remains stable and usable, and maintain data security through the migration process.

 

IT Operations Manager Skills and Qualifications

IT operations managers balance department leadership and policy creation with direct, day-to-day user support. Companies tend to hire candidates with at least a bachelor’s degree, several years of IT experience, and the following skills:

  • Technical skills – IT operations managers should have extensive training on computer software and hardware, including servers and systems, to successfully lead IT departments
  • Team leadership – because they direct and lead teams of IT technicians, IT operations managers should be able to effectively manage IT personnel and set department priorities
  • Process enhancement – in this role, IT managers develop and implement policies and procedures for the IT department, so some familiarity with assessing and improving processes is vital
  • Communication skills – IT operations managers should also be strong written and verbal communicators, able to communicate with team members, management personnel, and end users throughout the organization
  • Problem-solving skills – this role also requires excellent problem-solving skills, especially when it comes to directly addressing user issues with software, hardware, and servers
  • Budget management – IT operations managers oversee department budgets and capital expenditures, so they need strong financial management and budgeting skills

 

IT Operations Manager Education and Training

IT operations managers typically need at least a bachelor’s degree in a related field, such as information technology, computer science, or management information systems. Many also receive a master’s degree in one of these fields or in business administration to prepare for the leadership aspects of this role. Typically, IT operations managers have extensive experience within an organization’s IT department working as technicians or analysts, along with some management experience.

 

IT Operations Manager Salary and Outlook

While the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not provide salary estimates specifically for IT operations managers, several other sites have gathered data. Glassdoor estimates that the average yearly salary for IT operations managers is $97,792 based on 21,527 reported salaries. PayScale’s estimate is somewhat lower, with a median annual salary of $88,132 based on 1,615 reported salaries.

The BLS estimates that employment for computer and information systems managers, which includes IT operations managers, will grow 12 percent through 2026.

 

Helpful Resources

If you’d like to learn more about working as an IT operations manager, there are many resources on the web to find more information:

Association of Information Technology Professionals – AITP offers opportunities to connect with other professionals, access continuing education materials, and keep up with industry developments

Foundation of IT Operations Management: Event Monitoring and Controls – authors Prafull Verma and‎ Kalyan Kumar explore methods to monitor and assess IT infrastructure and keep systems running reliably

Search IT Operations – this industry blog covers topics related to IT operations and explores new technologies and emerging methodologies

ServiceNow IT Operations Management – read this book to learn about the service-focused approach to providing IT support and operations management

 

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