How to Become a Technical Manager (Plus Common Skills)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 23 November 2022 | Published 3 January 2022

Updated 23 November 2022

Published 3 January 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Technology is a constantly growing field and many companies are reliant on technology to operate effectively. The job of a technical manager is to provide support and vision for a company's growing technological needs. If you want to advance your career in technology, you can become a technical manager. In this article, we discuss what a technical manager is and how you can become a technical manager.

What is a technical manager?

A technical manager is a professional whose job is to foster the growth of a company's technology department. This can involve handling budgets, hiring technology staff, creating IT systems, creating procedures for system use and setting goals for IT employees. Technical managers may work closely with business managers to determine how to best use technologies in the business. To address developing trends and exhibit leadership within their company, technical managers often have a solid understanding of how these developing trends affect their organisation.

Where do technical managers work?

Technical managers often work in information technology, but companies in other industries also may benefit from having a technical manager. Any business that uses computers and a variety of software on a day-to-day basis might hire a technical manager to oversee their programs. Having a technical manager on staff can make it easier to prevent technical issues and resolve those issues quickly. There's a wide range of industries that employ technical managers. Industries that hire technical managers include:

  • telecommunications

  • automotive

  • media

  • entertainment

  • healthcare

  • financial services

  • retail

  • education

  • software development

Related: 10 Jobs with Computers (Plus Duties and Salary Information)

What does a technical manager do?

Technical managers handle the overall success of a company's computer systems. Some of their responsibilities typically can include:

  • maintaining and developing computer systems

  • monitoring the security of computer systems

  • hiring and leading an information technology team

  • delegating tasks and conducting performance reviews

  • coordinating with other managers

  • installing software and training employees to use new programs

  • creating and leading computer system projects

  • running performance checks on current systems

  • creating standardised procedures and producing reports

  • creating and following schedules and budgets

  • monitoring and troubleshooting computer systems

  • providing support and training to the general public

  • establishing IT policies and procedures to ensure efficient use of software

Related: What Does a Technical Programme Manager Do? (With Skills and Job Duties)

How to become a technical manager

You can use these steps to become a technical manager:

1. Learn a relevant field

There are no specific educational requirements for a technical manager, but most technical managers have at least a bachelor's degree in a computer- or technology-related field. People typically work in other information technology jobs before becoming a technical manager, so choose a major that may help you get the entry-level job you want.

Common degrees for technical managers include a bachelor's degree in computer science or information technology. Your education may teach you how to:

  • operate computer systems

  • use coding languages

  • perform hardware and software maintenance

  • troubleshoot technical issues

Related: How To Learn Coding Online: Benefits, Tips and Guidelines

2. Gain experience

Before becoming a technical manager, get experience in the field. You might begin in an entry-level position like help desk analyst, quality assurance analyst, technical writer or another similar role. These positions may allow you to become adept at handling technical issues, using code and teaching people to use computer programs. As you develop your skills, you might move up to a mid-level position like a project manager or software engineer before becoming a technical manager.

Although management experience can be helpful, employers don't always require it for a technical manager position. Many technical managers may prove their abilities through hard work in their current roles. Showing your skills, knowledge and interest in technology can make you a suitable candidate to become a technical manager. Even if you're not working in a management position, you can show leadership by taking initiative in your current position by:

  • attending technology conferences

  • creating new ideas

  • finding tech solutions

  • teaching your coworkers new skills

Related: 15 Project Management Skills a Project Manager Should Have

3. Prepare for your interview

The position of technical manager is still fairly new, so many companies do not have this position, which means many technical managers come into this career by being promoted at their current company. If the job of technical manager does not exist in the company you work for, you might propose the idea to your manager. You can treat this conversation as an interview for the position and craft an interesting pitch.

Determine specific goals that you can work towards if you were the company's technical manager and describe them to your manager. You can explain how this position may add value to the company and why you're the best fit for the job. If you're applying for a job posting at another company, you can research the company's values and structure before your interview. It's helpful to first determine in what areas the company may need improvement and create a plan for how you can help as a technical manager.

Related:

  • How to Write an Engineering Cover Letter (With Example)

  • 36 Technical Product Manager Interview Questions

8 technical manager skills

Here are skills you can develop to be successful in this profession:

1. Leadership and communication

Technical managers often lead a team of systems analysts, software engineers, network engineers and other technology professionals. They often understand the process and goals of each person they work with to ensure they complete projects on time and ensure that the quality of the end product is satisfactory.

In addition to this, technical managers often communicate with employees in their department or elsewhere when necessary to make sure everyone is moving forward in the same direction. This means they often have excellent communication skills when interacting with other employees. Technical managers often mentor junior employees, guiding them in their education and skills, but also making sure they complete all their initiatives successfully so that the company's reputation remains positive.

Related: Common Responsibilities and Expectations of Managers

2. Creativity

Tech managers often produce creative solutions that lead to tangible results for a company. They can do this through system design and performance improvement and by creating new products and business opportunities for the company. Creativity is important because it drives innovation and continuous improvement in technology across multiple aspects of the business, including marketing, production technology and technology development.

Related: What Does an Innovation Manager Do and How to Become One

3. Customer service

Technical managers often interact closely with customers in their department or within the company. It's important that this experience is positive for customers, whether it be through a live telephone conversation or email correspondence. A company may distribute software and machinery through the internet, which makes serving and communicating with customers an important function of this position.

Related: Executive vs. Manager: Definition, Differences and FAQs

4. Budgeting

Managing budgets is an important role for technical managers. They may oversee budgets related to their department, business units or entire companies. This includes keeping track of spending and ensuring that the budget stays within its limits. Timely reporting of expenses can help avoid unexpected financial problems or allow for additional funds if necessary. Budgeting involves making sure they report needs to management regularly and ensuring the organisation manages the finances correctly.

5. Technology knowledge

Technical managers often are experts in both hardware and software technology, especially anything that relates to their department, product or services offered by the company as a whole. They often know how to use technology to enhance business processes for themselves and their company. This includes understanding the latest computer hardware, networking technology and software applications, including coding languages.

Related: What Does a Technical Project Manager Do? (With Salary)

6. Research skills

Technical managers often have strong research skills to understand the current needs of their team or company, including any problems that may arise. They also often are able to observe new technologies in the industry and apply them to their own work to keep up with changing trends. This includes researching new business opportunities.

Related: Guide to Writing a Manager Resume (With 10 Examples)

7. Project management

Technical managers often lead the projects of their department, product or business unit. They often work with employees to ensure they meet their needs and project deadlines. This means technical managers often know how to coordinate the work of people who report directly to them to complete important tasks. Since project management involves multiple departments within an organisation, the technical manager may understand the goals and priorities of each department and what works best for each area of a project.

Related: How to Be a Good Manager in the Workplace

8. Critical thinking

Technical managers often think critically to solve problems and identify new ideas for the company. This means that they need strong decision-making skills, including how to prioritise specific tasks, while also making sure people are doing their part of the work. This requires good communication skills to listen and delegate tasks to others when needed.

Related: 9 Essential Critical Thinking Skills and How To Develop Them

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