Virtually all enterprises across the world require some level of technology to function, profit, and grow. Because of this, organizations in every industry need IT leaders, managers, and professionals who can leverage technology to drive business value—from directing online operations to overseeing network security. When you decide to pursue an education that prepares you for an IT management career, you open the door to a variety of roles and industries.
To better illustrate this, the UW Extended Campus team talked with four IT leaders whose roles showcase the diversity and complexity of the field:
David Cagigal is the former CIO of the State of Wisconsin. According to his LinkedIn profile, David has more than 25 years of experience in IT visioning, strategic planning, and management. He focused on identifying and implementing the appropriate change management processes and risk mitigating strategies based on specific needs of businesses.
When asked in an email interview about the advice he would give to people who want to pursue an IT management career path, David wrote that understanding overall strategies, requirements, and expectations specific for each business is crucial, as well as monitoring consumer technologies to keep pace and anticipate customer needs.
“Become accustomed to change and working within teams,” David wrote. “Lastly, develop project management skills to effectively deliver solutions in a timely and cost-effective manner. Communication skills, including listening, are also important. When you practice all of these skills to satisfy customer needs, it can be very rewarding.”
Banking and Finance
Joel Williquette is a former vice president and CIO of a major credit union based in Wisconsin. Currently, Joel is the senior VP of operational risk policy at Independent Community Bankers of America. Joel has managed operations and projects in six countries in industries as diverse as retail, consulting, manufacturing, logistics, IT consulting, transportation, education, and now banking and finance.
When asked what skills are crucial for IT professionals, Joel wrote that they should not only focus on traditional IT technical skills, but also on soft skills, such as communication, project management, and customer service.
“Strong IT management is important not only for my industry, but for all industries so that we can effectively combine the best people, training, and technology,” Joel wrote. “IT is a challenging field, but IT is no more difficult than any other field, and it is one of the most rewarding.”
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Economic Development and Security
Karen Jackson is the former Secretary of Technology for the Commonwealth of Virginia, where she led a dual role of overseeing the state executive branch infrastructure and focusing on economic development. She identified emerging industries and technologies that aligned with Virginia assets and advanced their adoption. Specifically, she led the charge in cybersecurity, data analytics, unmanned systems, and smart communities.
In her email interview with UW Extended Campus, Karen wrote that the most important skills that she needed to succeed in her role were leadership, marketing, writing, and communication—translating tech speak into layman’s terms.
“The ‘techies’ are the heart and soul of the IT function—they code and troubleshoot, but it is equally important to have management that can advocate for what needs to be done when things go awry and to handle the day-to-day non-technical work,” Karen wrote. “Don’t forget your soft skills, and remember that usually the C-suite or other stakeholders within a company are business people or politicians, so make sure to work on your skills that help fit messages to the audience.”
Sports and Entertainment
Kenny Ansel has been the Director of IT for the Green Bay Packers since 2007. He oversees all stadium and business information security, systems, infrastructure, and support.
In his email interview, he wrote that the unique aspects of his IT management role included working with different aspects of compliance, such as NFL Stadium Security and HIPAA, along with the massive infrastructure change seen between a normal work day and a game day.
“You must be able to keep up with the technology both on and off the field,” Kenny wrote. “All professional sporting events are major targets for technology threats. Having around 100,000 people in a stadium poses a great risk, and that’s why IT management roles are important to have.”
The above is just a sampling of the countless industries and roles of an IT management career. Earning a master’s degree in IT management could be your first step, and the 100% online University of Wisconsin Information Technology Management program is a smart choice for busy working adults.