What Is an Application Manager? (Plus Duties and Skills)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 22 September 2022 | Published 9 May 2022

Updated 22 September 2022

Published 9 May 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.

Application managers are essential members of many software and hardware-focused organisations. This role requires extensive IT knowledge and business management expertise. Learning about what an application manager is may help you decide if this role is the right choice for you. In this article, we discuss what an application manager is, what duties they perform, how to become one and what skills they commonly possess.

What is an application manager?

An application manager is an individual who manages the use of applications, such as by determining which computer programmes to instal or how much time to allocate for such use. Application managers also monitor the operation of programmes and may regulate their priority in relation to one another. For example, when a user is running multiple programmes at the same time, the application manager may allocate more processor time to more essential applications.

Additionally, an application manager may be responsible for a company's software licensing plan. They may ensure that all employees understand their individual licensing agreements and that they comply with these agreements while using software without going over specified limits on usage.

Related: How to Become a Technical Manager (Plus Common Skills)

What does an application manager do?

Here's a detailed list of application manager responsibilities:

  • create strategies for carrying out IT initiatives and policies

  • build, maintain and manage application management infrastructure for a large enterprise

  • plan and implement enterprise applications

  • develop and support the software applications that underpin business processes

  • design, create, deploy, monitor and administer databases

  • develop business rules and define data structures

  • manage development life cycle from concept to retirement

  • define systems architectures and design, build and support system components that meet requirements of disparate systems

  • create performance standards in accordance with established technical standards

  • coordinate and direct the efforts of technical personnel involved in the design, development, implementation and maintenance of computer system components

  • coordinate and direct the efforts of technical personnel involved in the design, development and operation of computer systems

  • perform cost-benefit analyses for proposed system enhancements

  • develop and implement quality standards for testing new software products

  • ensure that their team meets customer service requests with fully operational products

  • act as project managers for assigned projects to ensure they execute proper plans with respect to schedule, budget and performance objectives

  • schedule staff to meet software development commitments

  • perform tasks associated with the recovery of production data after a disaster or other major incident

Related: Common IT Interview Questions: Example Answers and Tips

How to become an application manager

Here are some steps you can take to become an application manager:

  1. Pursue an undergraduate degree: To start the process of becoming an application manager, you may complete an undergraduate degree in a relevant field such as computer science, business or communications. These programmes may include courses such as information technology, management information systems and data structures.

  2. Apply for a master's degree program: Once you've completed your undergraduate degree, you may apply to a Master of Science in information systems programme which is available in many universities. This programme may require a practicum or internship period that provides the opportunity to gain experience as an application manager or other related IT professional.

  3. Complete an information technology certification test: After completing a master's degree programme, you may pursue certification by passing the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) examination from ISC2 or the Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) examination from the Institute of Internal Auditors.

  4. Gain relevant professional experience: Next, you may gain more experience by working in IT support or consulting. If you want to learn more about an actual role as an application manager, you can become a systems administrator or network administrator at a company.

  5. Start looking for employment: Your next step is to find an application manager position that's suitable for your experience and educational background. Along with this step, you may also consider contacting employers directly who may have job openings for a particular type of application manager.

Related: What Does an IT Project Manager Do? (With Duties and Salary)

9 Application manager skills

Here are some hard and soft skills that application managers may possess:

1. Systems analysis

Application managers use systems analysis skills to adhere to IT initiatives and policies. Some of their common tasks are prioritising, scheduling and monitoring projects, handling hardware and software, implementing business processes and developing computer system architectures from the design stage to retirement. They may also use system analysis skills to select computer hardware and software and to evaluate computer system design features.

2. Technical planning

To ensure that their teams use enterprise applications efficiently and effectively, application managers use technical planning skills. They may also employ technical planning skills to set development priorities and monitor the progress of IT projects. In addition, application managers may use technical planning skills to create project management plans that define the method and schedule for completing an assigned IT project.

Related: What Does an IT Engineer Do? (Plus Common Skills)

3. Quality assurance

Application managers assist businesses in meeting their quality standards by employing quality assurance skills. In addition, they ensure that their team meets customer service requests with fully operational products. This helps their team achieve common goals and ensures customers have high levels of satisfaction.

Related: What Does a Quality Assurance Manager Do and How to Be One

4. Project management

Application managers perform tasks associated with the recovery of operations after a disaster or other major incident by employing project management skills. When undertaking these duties, application managers often understand the roles and responsibilities of various business units involved in the recovery effort.

5. Business management

Application managers use business management skills to determine the best way for the business to provide IT services or support. Some of their common tasks are ensuring that systems are fully operational, evaluating applications for usability, establishing software licensing policies and managing software assets with respect to license usage rules and compliance. They may also conduct meetings to help inform team members about best practices for application usage and to inform other managers on how to train new employees on applications.

Related: What Does IT Support Do (With Steps to Enter the Profession)

6. Network management

Application managers use network management skills for the deployment of computer systems in a company and for supporting various customers with technical support. They achieve this task by configuring routers, switches, firewalls, wireless routers and other equipment that they implement to establish communication between multiple networks inside the enterprise. They may also assist in installing cybersecurity measures and resolving network disruptions.

7. Communication

Communication skills are important for application managers as they often provide guidance to team members about multiple tasks. They may also handle customer service requests and technical support issues. Along with this, they may also collaborate with other managers and employees to plan and implement IT initiatives at their company.

8. Problem-solving

Application managers use problem-solving skills to identify IT issues and recommend solutions. They achieve this by solving technical problems that may arise during IT product installations, upgrades or implementations. In addition, they're in charge of resolving network disruptions and other critical situations that threaten the availability and integrity of specific applications.

Related: What Is an IT Consultant (With Tips and Steps to Become One)

9. Customer service

Application managers provide customer service to both internal and external customers by interacting with them on a regular basis. This may require them to assist in troubleshooting software issues for their users or customers who need help when using application products. They may also use customer service skills to resolve internal or external disputes related to their assigned applications or services.

Example application manager job description

Here's an example of a job description that an employer may provide for an application manager position:

Archibald Technologies is seeking an experienced application manager to lead an IT team in the company. The selected candidate should have a minimum of 3 years' experience in supervising various employees, managing multiple projects and identifying issues that may occur during the application development process. The staff member will also monitor system performance and will be responsible for planning, implementing and supporting applications. Strong communication skills are a requirement for this position as application managers provide technical support to both internal and external customers.

Responsibilities:

  • supervise up to 20 employees including network administrators and other roles such as help desk technicians, software engineers and website developers

  • conduct project planning and tracking through the development life cycle, including system design and implementation

  • identify and resolve technical issues related to products

  • perform network management functions

  • maintain ground servers and storage devices to support enterprise applications

  • provide technical support to employees on a regular basis

  • monitor application performance to ensure that the business processes are running smoothly with required system configuration requirements

  • develop disaster recovery plans whenever necessary in coordination with other IT managers in the company in case of emergencies

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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