Think IT – a career for now and for your future

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One of the biggest challenges an IT manager faces is to accept all kinds of complaints about systems, staff, networks etc, and get them sorted out without taking any of the complaints personally or to heart.


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Read about a day in the life of an IT manager, Shaun Hart

Designation: National ICT Manager, Boston City Campus

Why did you choose this career?

For as long as I can remember, I have always had an interest in technology and so my career path in Information technology was the logical path to follow.

What formal training did you undergo, and where?

I completed a computer technician certificate, diploma in systems development, and a number of short learning programs from a number of resources (online, seminars, etc.). Be warned – A career in IT means lifelong learning. You always need to update and upgrade your skills in order to remain relevant.

What does your job entail?

I oversee the entire network of Boston (that has over 47 support centres nationwide) as well as all information technology systems to ensure our business and academic systems run smoothly without error. I work closely with a number of service providers day to day, investigating new systems and improving on current systems. I oversee the IT staff members’ tasks to ensure resources and time are used optimally.

What do you enjoy most?

The tasks I enjoy most about my career is, investigating and configuring new systems. There is nothing better than sourcing and implementing a new system that helps make everyone’s lives in the company a little easier.

What do you least enjoy?

I love my job its really cool! So it’s difficult to even come up with a list of things I don’t really enjoy. But if I had to name one it would be having to investigate connectivity issues on the service provider’s side. When this part of the system fails, I am hounded by the staff!

Describe an average day?

An average day for me consists of responding to A LOT of emails, while assisting with IT Projects on the go. As a manager my job entails a lot of admin. Should there be an issue with any of the systems I would also assist the support to in investigating the cause to get everything up and running as soon as possible.

3 important qualities that your position requires?

Important qualities to have as an IT Manager would be people skills, multi-tasking abilities and leadership skills. These are often learned on the job, which is why it is important to start at a technical level using your skills and learn managerial skills on the job. I would also recommend leadership and managerial courses such as Boston BCom, Diploma in Business Management or the Higher Certificate in Business Management.

In 1 sentence, describe your job?

Working under pressure to ensure all networks and systems run optimally without fail.

Experience vs Training?

Both Experience and training are equally important. You require the training of a particular system to understand how it works, but experience with it to know how it needs to work for the company.

The same goes for the technical skills. The Boston Diploma in Network Systems and the Boston Diploma in Systems Development cover managerial as well as IT skills so they provide an excellent entrance to ICT positions.

What qualifications do you recommend?

Boston offers the Diploma in Systems Development and the Diploma in Network Systems. These diplomas require a commitment of time and energy - but they will deliver skills and career opportunities on a local and global level. Of course, there are other shorter qualifications which require shorter time commitments, and these are good for getting into the job market quickly, and gaining more skills as you work. Remember that ICT is a lifelong learning career, but luckily it is also an international one high in demand.

Type of personality that would enjoy this kind of career?

The best personality traits to have for this position would be: a positive attitude, prioritisation abilities, accountability, honesty and patience.

What challenges have you had to overcome?

One of the biggest challenges an IT manager faces is to accept all kinds of complaints about systems, staff, networks etc, and get them sorted out without taking any of the complaints personally or to heart.

Advice for grade 11 and 12 learners considering this career?

If you are considering a career as an IT Manager then you will need to learn how to take responsibility for someone else’s actions. In the end, you will be the one everyone looks at when something goes wrong with infrastructure or systems, even if it is not your fault or a fault of the I.T. department you will ultimately need to accept responsibility and sort out the issue. And the best advice? Get started with your studies !

Is continuing education and further studies important in your type of career?

It is always important to study further to improve your skills in IT and to learn new systems

Does the Industry (and your type of position) that you are in, face gender bias?

I would like to think not, but the ratio of men to woman in the IT industry is much higher. I would like to think that a company employs the best candidate for the position and not base the decisions on gender.

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