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What are the biggest struggles while working as a Computer and Information Systems Manager?

My name is Justin, I live in Arizona, and I want to be a Computer and Information Systems Manager, but I have been wondering what the biggest struggles are while working as a Computer and Information Systems Manager. But I also wonder what the best school is to learn about Computer and Information Systems Manager in Arizona after I go to two years of community college.

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Matthew’s Answer

Hey there!

As a manager of a team of software system engineers, the first big challenge I face is the people side (coaching individuals to ensure they're doing their best work, dealing with difficult situations such as performance or attitude, etc).

The second large challenge I face is managing stakeholder expectations. Quite often, you will be asked to do more than your team can output - in these situations you have to be able to properly be able to strategically prioritise what work can be done when, but also pushback on things that aren't the right idea to do now without impacting your relationship with those stakeholders.

The above are what differentiates being a manager to being an individual contributor, and are a different flavour of challenge - but it's what makes it interesting!
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Mario’s Answer

In addition to the great advice here, I would strongly recommend you learn some basic financial skills to help you understand how to manage the IT infrastructure. There is such a strong monetary and budgetary theme to so much of what an IT manager deals with whether it is the project cost, people cost, hardware and software costs as the system get old and have to be replaced and such. Coming out of college and into the high tech field, I wish I had a lot more financial knowledge from my schooling as it would have helped me early on in my career. You certainly don't have to go too deep into the financial world, but being able to understand basic money skills in a company setting would be hugely helpful.
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Phil’s Answer

Rather than thinking of "struggles", I will consider some of the "challenges" of being an Information Technology Manager. To be effective in this type of role requires a combination of technical skills and people skills. Some IT Managers begin their careers as developers, programmers, database administrators, or network engineers and move into management positions. Others may begin as business analysts, data analysts, or as users of technology. It is beneficial to have a good knowledge of technology and how software is designed and developed. People skills such as verbal communication, written communication, negotiation, and staff management are important. There are many types of roles in IT management. Some are very project-oriented, developing and delivering new computer applications. Others can be more organizational and administrative in larger companies and institutions. In many cases, much technology work is done globally. The challenge is to coordinate activities with people in several countries across time zones. Also, there can be matrix management and methodologies such as Agile which require good negotiation skills to agree and prioritize efforts with multiple teams. Senior management roles may also involve budgeting, strategic planning, and making presentations. In addition to computer / technology courses, college classes that teach about any of the knowledge and skills I have mentioned will be valuable.
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Henry’s Answer

Hi Justin.

Depending on your personality makeup, navigating the political landscape of the company you are working for can be challenging. The also comes into play if you interact with external businesses/organizations.

Keep your ears and eyes open to what is going on around you, in meetings, in emails, etc. Pause and think before you speak. Those few seconds can make a world of difference in obtaining an outcome you are after.
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Jim’s Answer

The biggest struggles in any tech job (or ANY job for that matter) does not originate from the tech. It originates from other people. Being helpful and patient when others around you (peers, leaders, end-users) are anxious and demanding will help you earn respect. You can always find help on tech issues from Google, support resources, tech communities, and so on. Keep your cool, focus on next steps, and you'll win people over.
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