How to Maximize Your IT Manager Salary

IT managers (also known as information technology managers) have an intensely important role within a given company. Simply put, they must ensure that the company’s network and tech stack remain in good order, usually by directing IT teams of varying size. Aspects of the job overlap with that of network administrators and sysadmins, although many IT managers are more focused on managing and overseeing their teams than actually tweaking the systems themselves.

In exchange for such an important role, how much can IT managers earn in salary? Let’s dig in and find out.

Are IT managers in demand?

According to Burning Glass, which collects and analyzes millions of job postings from across the country, the average time to fill an open IT manager position is 46 days, which suggests an elevated level of demand. To assess overall “time to fill,” Burning Glass relies on four metrics: time to fill a position, number of job postings, salary, and “location quotient,” or the measure of “concentrated” demand for a role within a particular geography.

By comparison, a senior software developer/engineer—by any standard, a role much in demand—takes an average of 49 days to fill, while it might take a company 41 days to fill an open DevOps engineer position. In other words, there’s clearly a lot of demand for IT managers, and companies must spend quite a bit of time finding an available one.

What is an IT manager’s starting salary?

At the beginning of their careers (i.e., with zero to two years of experience under their proverbial belts), IT managers can earn a median of $86,000, with an overall range of between $70,000 and $100,000 (this is also according to Burning Glass). As you can see from the below chart, that compensation can rise considerably with experience: 

What is an IT manager’s average salary?  

According to Burning Glass, the median salary for an IT manager is $100,886 per year, although that can vary considerably depending on skill-set, experience, and the company you work for. Those IT managers in the 90th percentile for salary, for instance, can make $133,435 per year. 

Education level doesn’t seem to play a huge factor in how much IT managers get paid, but as you can see from the chart below, the degree you possess does have some effect on how much you get paid. Roughly 87.9 percent of open IT manager jobs ask for a bachelor’s degree, and very few ask for any advanced degrees. 

Is IT management a dying profession?

In short, the answer is “no.” As long as companies have tech stacks to manage, they’ll need IT managers in order to get things done. Without that kind of highly specialized management, some of the most critical IT tasks facing companies simply wouldn’t get done. 

After crunching the data, Burning Glass came to the conclusion that IT management as a profession will grow 9.3 percent over the next decade. That’s pretty healthy, especially when you consider how cloud-based apps and services will necessarily eliminate or minimize many corporate IT tasks once done completely in-house.

What do IT managers make in comparison to other popular tech positions?  

IT manager salaries are pretty comparable to other in-demand tech roles. For example, software engineerscybersecurity engineers, and other kinds of developers and engineers also make six-figure salaries, especially once they’ve built up enough skill-sets and experience. 

IT managers do a little better than some management roles such as project coordinator, where truly high salaries are generally unlocked only with decade-plus tenures in the role. If we go by Burning Glass’s data, most typical IT manager salaries are also significantly higher than the median salary for systems administrator ($76,080) or network administrator ($74,627), which is natural—after all, IT managers have a heavy management focus, as opposed to administrator roles that center mainly on tactical implementation. 

In other words, if you’re still wondering about which tech career to pursue, IT managers offer a combination of solid salaries and growth that’s definitely worth considering.