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How Do I Become an IT/IS Manager? 371

link915 writes "For the last seven years I have moved around from job to job climbing the rungs of the IT ladder. I've worked in tech support, network operations, sys admin, and as a programmer. Two years ago I took a job with a company that has a small IT department. We are now hiring on more people and doubling the department, and along with this growth comes an IT manager. Now, I could stay and wait things out with the goal of taking over the IT manager's position someday; or I could look for a new job as a manager elsewhere. What are others' experiences with moving up the ranks in IT? Is it best to move on to another company or to stay where you are and try to get ahead there?"
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How Do I Become an IT/IS Manager?

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  • Questions... (Score:5, Informative)

    by jellomizer ( 103300 ) * on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @04:29PM (#22142938)
    1. Have you asked? If you have asked management when the company is growing if you could be an IT Manager explain why you would be a good one.
    2. Show management incentives. Do you help out the new guys by being a mentor to them? When you go to meetings bring up your own ideas. Talk to management outside of meetings about your ideas?
    3. Do you need a lot of management yourself? Make sure you do not need to be managed a lot, prove that you are self-reliant.
    4. Do you have efficient education? 4 year degree, graduate degree, PHD. Having or working on an MBA is a big plus.
    5. Do you show interest outside of IT? If not they you may want to.
    As a manager of IT your jobs is looking out for the company first then IT second and make sure they work together.

    • by khasim ( 1285 ) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @04:32PM (#22143016)
      Do you understand the company and the business? Not just IT.

      An IT manager is NOT just someone who manages IT. You have to be able to explain to the other business people how you plan to help them achieve the business goals.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by kcornia ( 152859 )
        This is an excellent point. Also, are you looking for opportunities to manage up, both by providing constructive feedback to your manager and by offering to take on tasks of his/hers to free up their time to do more important things?

        I'm not saying be an ass kisser, I'm saying go after the managerial work when possible so you can be seen as already functioning in many ways as a manager. This makes it much easier to promote you when the time comes, and also allows you to build a case if necessary.
      • Do you have experience in the Business Understanding of Language and Linguistics? If not, you'll want to take some Special High-Intensity Training course.
      • by EmbeddedJanitor ( 597831 ) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @08:07PM (#22146806)
        If he's asking the quesion on /. then he clearly does not understand how management works and what is important to be an effective IT manager.

        As much as geeks and techies might slag off their PHB, management does actually serve a function and is a non-technical skillset. Stop asking questions about Mbits and Tbytes, start asking questions about costs, market share, critical business success factors... Or, but another way: where does the company want to be in 5 years time and what other managers want to achieve; not how much bandwidth they need in 5 years time.

        The managers provide a service to the organisation and help it function. An IT manager is one step back from that: he provides service to those other managers by providing the IT tools they need to meet their goals.

    • 4. Do you have efficient education? 4 year degree, graduate degree, PHD. Having or working on an MBA is a big plus.
      What PhD is better for becoming an IT/IS Manager than an MBA?
      • Well having a PHD is good for dealing with other people who may be PHD's The MBA does have a negative connotation too, There are PHD in Business. Although the MBA is usually the good one for managers, but if you are not going to get a business degree then a PHD in your area of study works.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      2. Show management incentives. Do you help out the new guys by being a mentor to them? When you go to meetings bring up your own ideas. Talk to management outside of meetings about your ideas?
      The latter part of this point basically did it for me. Assuming you're competent, then provide them with so much valuable feedback about all areas of the business and deliver so much value that they have no choice but to invite you to be on the management team.
      • Mod parent up (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        BINGO! That's the answer. In the role of IT manager, the staff needs to respect you. If they don't WANT to follow your lead, it's a lost cause. Mentoring the new people is one way to achieve respect. No matter how good you might be at achieving your OWN goals, the manager is expected to help others achieve THEIRS. The rest of the management team wants a person who distributes accurate information about how IT really works, offers solutions in lieu of excuses, and has the respect of the rest of the de
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by SirGeek ( 120712 )

        2. Show management incentives. Do you help out the new guys by being a mentor to them? When you go to meetings bring up your own ideas. Talk to management outside of meetings about your ideas?

        The latter part of this point basically did it for me. Assuming you're competent, then provide them with so much valuable feedback about all areas of the business and deliver so much value that they have no choice but to invite you to be on the management team.

        You wanna bet ? There are many in management who see their tech people as techies and will NEVER see them as anything BUT a techie. You can give honest constructive criticism and feedback but you'll get labeled "abrasive".

        And even if you are able to start pursuing the management track, you'll get asked left and right, Are you sure that this is what you want to do ? You've always been a technical kinda guy and I just don't see you happy in that manager role.

        I'm at a point in my career where it s

    • by torkus ( 1133985 )
      I'm sorry, but a PHD for entry level management? I'd put that in the 'nifty to have if you already do' part of the chart. MBA? Good for director, AVP, VP...and so on.

      Is a degree in business management handy? Yes. Is the ability to lead, organise, motivate and mentor people more useful? Much. Also key is the ability to communicate both upwards and downwards.

      There are 100's of books written on this topic. I suggest reading some of those.

      As for the choice between promotion within or promotion while cha
    • by The Great Pretender ( 975978 ) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @05:32PM (#22144296)
      Just start doing a really shitty job in the position you are currently in. Seemed to work at my old company
      • Re:Questions... (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Heem ( 448667 ) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @05:41PM (#22144440) Homepage Journal
        Seriously... I've seen the exact same thing happen, even with verbal confirmation from the director that promoted the "not so great" sysadmin to manager.

        • Re:Questions... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Zarf ( 5735 ) on Wednesday January 23, 2008 @09:55AM (#22152364) Journal

          Seriously... I've seen the exact same thing happen, even with verbal confirmation from the director that promoted the "not so great" sysadmin to manager.

          He had soft skills.

          No really. Most IT guys seem to think that technical excellence is what you need to become a manager. It is not. You need these soft skills that aren't taught in tech programs. If you are a really good system administrator then they keep you a system administrator because they need really good system administrators. If you are a pretty good system administrator and you can coach others then you are someone that they can afford to lose as a system administrator transition to a manager.

          Personally, I have no desire to go into management.

    • ask your HR department and your bosses about it.

      My opinion is only get an MBA if:

      The company will pay for it.

      You can do your homework on the job.

      and you get it from Harvard, Yale, Wharton, Stanford ...in that order and only from those schools (The business magazine ratings are full of shit). Otherwise, MBA degrees are completely worthless. I know, I have one and it was one of the biggest mistakes I ever made.

    • Re:Questions... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by TheMCP ( 121589 ) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @06:06PM (#22144954) Homepage

      Do you have efficient education? 4 year degree, graduate degree, PHD. Having or working on an MBA is a big plus.
      I've been an IT manager at several companies and I find that a degree is unnecessary; good management skills are necessary.

      As a manager of IT your jobs is looking out for the company first then IT second and make sure they work together.
      Having not only been an IT manager at several organizations, but an IT grunt at several more, my experience has very solidly been that the #1 duty of the IT manager is to protect their employees so that the employees can get the job done without undue abuse or interference, and that this is the best way they can serve the company, because the company not only looks out for itself, it has an unpleasant tendency to chew up and spit out IT people before they can get their jobs done if the IT manager doesn't shield them.

      Let's face it, corporate culture is generally abusive toward IT workers, although most IT workers I've known have at least genuinely tried to do a good job in as much as they knew how to. My experience has been that 100% of the time, the #1 hurdle to getting important things done has been upper management interfering to demand priority service to the IT tasks they perceive as being most important (fix the VP's printer so he can stop sharing a printer with his secretary right now or you're fired!) rather than the tasks that the IT professionals think are important (installing a backup system, removing the 12 viruses from the database server that has the only un-backed-up copy of the vital corporate data). When I have, as a manager, been able to get upper management to (at least temporarily) stop interfering with my staff's work, those were the times when things actually got done.
      • Re:Questions... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Dissenter ( 16782 ) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @07:17PM (#22146148)
        I agree. I have filled positions at the Director level and CTO level and have no degree. I have 12 years of IT experience having managed multi-million dollar IT projects. No one asks for a degree anymore lol. In all seriousness, the ability to function without being managed is paramount to the ability to manage others. The other critical requirement is that you understand the business, how to relate and convey information between IT and the business.

        Basically, you need to be able to solve business problems with IT solutions, explain the issues and solutions to other management, maintain a solid budget, manage internal projects and work with IT people. I'm sure that in tech support you learned the business, but that was another company. Learn the business of your current company or the one where you want the management job. Talk to non-technical people and learn to appreciate the fact that IT exists to support business. The business is your customer to learn to talk to them and treat them as such. Project Management experience is a perfect stepping stone from the technical role to the management role. I used it 5 years ago to make my transition and it worked like magic. Find a good consulting job and over time you will learn the variety of personal and management skills needed to make the transition too.

        A word of caution. If you are on this site, you probably keep up with new technology. Business hates new technology as the answer to everything, although it is often applicable. Being inventive and finding ways to leverage technology that you already own to solve a business problem is the #1 way to demonstrate your ability to be a good IT manager.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by XopherMV ( 575514 ) *
        I've been an IT manager at several companies and I find that a degree is unnecessary; good management skills are necessary.

        IF you have 20 years of IT experience then yes, that's true if you're lucky, work hard, keep your nose clean, and communicate well. It's a hell of a lot easier to gain that position with an MBA. The reason that degree is so valuable and is so highly sought-after is that it means you've been taught good, if not great, management skills.
    • by pvera ( 250260 ) <pedro.vera@gmail.com> on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @06:10PM (#22145030) Homepage Journal
      1. Do you want to be a manager or a technical lead? If you are in true management you won't be able to put as much time into the nitty gritty, some geeks will find this distressing. A technical lead position has a leadership component but you would still have to get your hands dirty. If you play it right, you can take your pick of the most challenging or interesting work as a way to lead by example.

      2. Can you handle stress well? If you can't, don't bother because management is not for you.

      3. How are your political skills? As a manager you are doing many things: directing a group of people, exchanging resources with other departments, little turf wars, big turf wars, etc.

      4. Are you able to look a person in the eye and order him/her to do something you know he/she won't like? What about asking the person to work unpaid overtime when you know that your employee would rather be at his precious snowflake's thanksgiving play? Managers get to make these decisions, many times knowing well that there is an obvious disruption of the employee's personal life.

      5. Are you able to work a 9:00 AM - 5:30 PM work day with a 1.5 hour (working) lunch, knowing half your team is pulling 15 hours day for its third week in a row, weekends included?

      6. What would you do if you get pulled into your division VP's office and asked to reduce your workforce by one warm body every 90 days over a 9-month period? Laying off employees, many of which used to be your own coworkers, is extremely hard.

      7. Would you be able to draw the line and move on with firing an employee that doesn't measure up to your standards? Laying off people is really hard, but nowhere as hard as firing a person for cause.

      8. Are you a problem solver? If you are a real problem solver, you will be sucked into "fire fighting" drills (at a previous job each of us managers actually had a toy fireman's helmet). This is an easy way to get fast tracked even higher, but it also means you lose time you should have spent taking care of your own people and dealing with your own deliverables.

      9. Are you a territorial person? Each manager has his own little turf to share with friends and defend from intruders. Some managers are easier to deal in regards to this than others.

      10. Are you willing to act as a shit shield for your team? One of the most important jobs of a manager is to protect his/her team so they can get their jobs done with as little external disruption as possible. Think of your past bosses and try to remember which ones were more respected, the ones that protected their people (within reason) or the ones that fed them to the wolves at the first chance?

      11. Can you play golf? Regardless of sex, golf is a great way to get together with your team or other managers at your level. If the weather is nice you can schedule your meeting late in the afternoon and run it while playing 9 holes. There's bound to be a cheap course at a reasonable distance. We used to sneak out of Bethesda to play at River Road, a municipal course in Potomac. It was very nice and dirt cheap.
      • Cost reduction (Score:3, Interesting)

        by xtracto ( 837672 )
        6. What would you do if you get pulled into your division VP's office and asked to reduce your workforce by one warm body every 90 days over a 9-month period? Laying off employees, many of which used to be your own coworkers, is extremely hard.

        Thats quite true. My girlfriend is a warehouse manager for a known clothing company, she started about one year ago and it seems she has been quite good at it. About a month ago they called the managers from several departments (it is a manufacturing facility) and to
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by armada ( 553343 )
      I know this will sound overly simplistic. All the points above are important but the absolute most important one is: Ask for it. Poeple don't realize that their little slice of life is not the center of the universe and therefore not as high up on other people's conciousness as in their own. I'm not saying this as a flame but instead as a blunt explanation of how something as simple as walking in to the desicion makers office and stating you want the job is often overlooked. Don't worry about being "manage
  • by dist_morph ( 692571 ) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @04:32PM (#22142986)
    And why?
  • by blowdart ( 31458 ) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @04:32PM (#22143008) Homepage
    Buy a tie, set impossible time scales and grow a fringe/bangs; they will cover the lobotomy scars.
    • by angus_rg ( 1063280 ) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @04:53PM (#22143470)
      Don't forget to learn phrases like "I'm also gonna need you to go ahead and come in on Sunday, too..."
  • generally... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @04:34PM (#22143046)
    Generally, a company will look for someone who has experience working for that company so they'll understand what sort of management style is required for the department/position. Jumping around between companies is NOT the way to get someone to notice you. Your best bet is to stay where you are and try to get a promotion. Have you already asked and been turned down for the new job managing your current IT department? If not, then that's an excellent place to start--let them know that you're interested.
    • Re:generally... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by TheWanderingHermit ( 513872 ) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @04:45PM (#22143278)
      Actually, this was one of my first thoughts, too. Jumping around doesn't get one noticed.

      It sounds like you've moved around a lot in the past few years. If you (the OP) were applying to my company, I'd wonder if you were in a hurry to get somewhere. True, you might tell me you're in a rush to get to the position I'm hiring for, but how would I know that's true?

      From what I read and the way it sounded, my first thought was that this is a person who is in a hurry to get somewhere. He's not patient and seems to think he can move up the ladder quickly. In my experience such people are always trying to get up another rung and always thinking they'll be happy at the next level, yet never doing but so well at the current job because of such an anxiety over getting the next job.

      A history of jumping around, to me, indicates a person has trouble following through and lets me know that if I hire him, I'll be replacing him fairly soon. He may say he wants an IT management job, but if that seven years started right after college, then this is not someone who knows what it's like to stay in a job long enough to be frustrated -- or how to manage someone in such a situation.
      • by Amouth ( 879122 )
        i fully agree - where i work it takes almost 6-9 months to get a new person completely trained on all of our products. why yes we could do better in training that is how long it takes before you can let them lose and not have to watch them.

        If someone is looking to move to another job in less than 3 years then we don't even consider them.
  • by JSmooth ( 325583 ) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @04:34PM (#22143062)
    After 16 years in IT I finally accepted a management position in a large company. Yes it is more money and more responsibility but what it isn't is hands on. If you like the techy stuff then stay away from management. In just a few months I already feel like the guys I use to make fun of. If your goal is more money pick up some more certification and then start tossing your resume at the large IT consulting firms. I worked for six years traveling the country as an security consultant. Tough, difficult stuff but I was never bored.
  • Don't keep your head down.
  • by AuMatar ( 183847 ) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @04:35PM (#22143074)
    More meetings, more stress, having to deal with morons all day long. I haven't yet known anyone who went into management who's happy about it- in fact I know several who dropped out of management they were so miserable. If its about money, you can probably make more by switching companies than you can getting promoted locally.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by jawtheshark ( 198669 ) *

      I have a coworker. He's a business analyst now. He's been a bigshot. 18h work a day, no private live. Sure he had a chauffeur, the nicest apartments in European Capitals.

      He dropped all of it, sure he just make percentages of what he used to make. He's happier.... Guess what counts more.

      Of course, you might be a completely different case. Perhaps you enjoy that kind of life

    • by torkus ( 1133985 )
      Meetings? Yes. Big deal, at least there's no dusty hard drives to remove and the catered food is a nice touch.

      Stress? Little to no difference. When I was the hands-on guy dealing with a crisis I took it just as personally as I do managing a crisis. If a project is stressful you've probably mis-managed it or are taking a failed project too personally.

      Morons? I'm quite sure you'll find them in every tier of business. From the receptionist who deletes all her emails by accident every other week to the C
  • You serious? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Xzzy ( 111297 ) <sether@tru 7 h .org> on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @04:37PM (#22143128) Homepage
    Why would you want to be a manager?

    Spend all your time in meetings and nagging lazy workers to do their job? Asking for money to develop improvements and being told you can't have the budget?

    The only rewarding thing to come out of IT is getting into the guts of a computer and making it work, which is not something managers do. I've turned down several opportunities since this became my profession, and I'm glad I did because everyone I've ever seen who got moved into management became bitter, unhappy husks of what they used to be.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by filesiteguy ( 695431 )

      Someone mod that 5- funny, please!

      I just spent the better part of my "day off" yesterday working on my $8M budget and all the personnel requests that accompany it. I spent most of the time in MS Word writing justifications, duty statements, allocation categories and whatnot.

      I am an "IT Manager" over a division in a very large county. To answer the question of the OP, here's how I did it. I worked my a** off as an analyst and programmer at various companies until I got a good job running a team of prog
      • by ale_ryu ( 1102077 ) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @05:30PM (#22144250) Homepage

        I then used my contacts from the '90s to land me a position in my current company as a supervisor where I was quickly promoted to DM based on my attitude, work ethic knowledges of the business and results.

        Wow man, must be cool to work as a Dungeon Master, I don't see how this is related to the IT management stuff though...
    • by daeg ( 828071 )
      There's a flipside, though, when a company is small. Small managers can still do things hands-on. It can also be rewarding to be in a position of decision, particularly if you are managing a team with great ideas. You get to pick which great idea to implement and how. Unless you're a manager managing other managers... then all bets are off.

      On the other hand, have you asked about creating a team manager position? For instance, if you have 4 programmers and 4 system admins, what about managing your team? You
  • by The Empiricist ( 854346 ) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @04:38PM (#22143140)
    Make sure that you are documenting not only what you do, but how you do it. If you are the only person who knows how to do a set of tasks, then you will be the IT technician who does those tasks. If you ensure that others can do those tasks, then you have a better chance of convincing others to have IT technicians work for you (thus making you the manager or team leader). Remember, if they can't replace you, they can't promote you.
  • Get a lobotomy! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Threni ( 635302 ) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @04:39PM (#22143146)
    Utterly fail to understand the development process. It's just like quality control in a jam factory, right? You want the code now, dammit! Make sure the coders look like they're coding - none of that thinking, discussing, planning, prototyping. Fail to support the development/UAT/release cycle. Look impressive amongst your suit wearing goons by dictating technologies, rather than by using the right one for the job. Ensure you lose your subordinates respect by spouting buzzwords - badly - at every opportunity. Be an email warrior, and make sure you have a far more powerful pc than those who'll be developing enterprise apps.

  • The top of an organization is not the place for anyone with a clue about technology. It is the realm of pure politics, and it's worst of all in IT.
  • IT Manager (Score:3, Insightful)

    by StrategicIrony ( 1183007 ) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @04:39PM (#22143162)
    A lot of guys I know got into IT management through two ways.

    One.... work your way up... from helpdesk, there is usually a supervisor role that is not a manager, especially at large organizations. You prove to the manager that you're the most skilled or most "together" on the team, you will get that spot when it opens up. If it does not exist and there are a dozen or more people, write a proposal to create it, pitch it to the manager as taking some burden off his/her shoulders. If he likes you, he'll approve the job.

    Two... work your way out... go work for a small, fast growing company. Usually the job of "I run the whole damn business" is called "IT Manager". Regardless of whether or not you are leading people, the independent decision making and self-reliance justify the title of Manager. Perhaps as the business grows you can hire someone to help you out. Perhaps you end up finding another job in a "supervisor" or "lead" role because of your former experience.

    Regardless, getting "Manager" is not an exercise in duping people or some forumla... but it's a process of impressing the upper management and getting them to think that you are skilled, level headed and capable of being "in charge" of a mission-critical department.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Not_Wiggins ( 686627 )
      To add to what this post is saying (and generally summarize it): you'll need to work your way up and not jump jobs to get into a manager spot.

      There are always exceptions, but it boils down to this: if a company is looking to hire a manager from the outside, then it is because they are growing quickly, don't have the talent internally (a fallacy, generally, but one that companies sometimes buy into), or are looking for someone to "solve their problems" because they aren't good at managing themselves.

      In AL
  • by niks42 ( 768188 ) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @04:39PM (#22143164)
    Why not give management a go in your current employment? If you don't like it, chances are that they won't fire your ass, but they will give you a chance to slip back into a technical role. I was a manager for five years, and decided after that it wasn't for me, so I 'dropped' (some would say rose) into a Solutions Architect role. The company knew my capabilities, and were willing to cut me a little slack. If I'd taken a management role with another company, I may have been paid more, but they might have let me go rather than try me in a technical role. YMMV
  • by Vellmont ( 569020 ) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @04:41PM (#22143202) Homepage

    I've worked in tech support, network operations, sys admin, and as a programmer.

    It sounds like you haven't really enjoyed much of anything you're doing. Why else would you change positions so often? Seven years is a pretty short time to have 4 different jobs in vastly different areas. Why do you want to be a manager, and why do you think you'd be any good at it? If your answer is "to make more money/be more accomplished", you've chosen the wrong path.

    I'd say the first step in getting a management job is to show that you can do a job for more than 2 years without more "ladder" climbing.
    • Oh I don't know, I've been through 4 different positions in 7 years. All on the same project. Only one of those position changes was a promotion, the others were all cases of the needs of the project changing and me being willing and able to do what was needed to help the project succeed (for sufficiently loose definitions of success).
      • I'm not saying there's inherently anything wrong with doing something new. The OP referred to "ladder climbing" though, which sounds more like a viewpoint on the job world than it is doing what's needed for the project.
    • by starfishsystems ( 834319 ) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @05:12PM (#22143876) Homepage
      These are insightful comments.

      Each of these roles is a career path in itself. Well, not tech support, but seven years in any one of the others takes the average CS grad to somewhere around an intermediate level of professional competence.

      We've all had our encounters with incompetent IT managers, so I won't even go into the variety of forms that incompetence can take. But it is a challenging position, and in my view, absolutely requires senior technical ability. You cannot lead unless you know where you're going, and few technical people will support your initiative unless they agree with your reasoning.

      It's great to acquire broad work experience in each of these areas. I've made a point of doing that myself, and I have no regrets. But it takes considerably more than dabbling for a couple of years at one of these areas before you can begin to talk about it intelligently, let alone lead others.

      If there's one thing that characterizes junior technical people, it's that they think they know what they're doing when in fact they have barely a clue. Those kind make the worst managers. I've managed large staffs myself, and found through experience that it's invariably the most junior, least expert, people that give the most grief.

  • by monkeyboythom ( 796957 ) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @04:42PM (#22143234)

    Being a lone gunman or independent worker gets you noticed as the guy who fixes things. And as such, you will always be pigeon-holed into being that guy.

    When you start managing the people who fix things, you become that guy who knows people who know how to get things fixed. You begin to be asked for more advice as a strategic advisor and not the tactical fix-it in depth analysis. You move up the ladder many times dependent upon your group of people and how well they get things done as well as managing these same people. (do they do things without gripping or leaving? do they support you? do they keep quiet about asking for more money?)

    Once you start managing the meat effectively, you begin that slow steady climb to higher positions. And once you arrive at a certain level, networking not only saves your ass , but it also helps you to climb higher.

    Being that tech who does great things only keeps you forever in that position.

  • Run away! Run away! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Desmoden ( 221564 ) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @04:43PM (#22143244) Homepage

    IT management is the most thankless, horrible job/career path on the planet. I know this from much experience and many friends.

    I know it's very hard when you are a seasoned experienced IT person to know where to take your career, but IT management is NOT it. May I suggest some other options.

    Sales Engineer: My favorite. Great pay, good hours, lots of good lunches, some very technical and challenging problems. It's just like being in IT, but you are paid well and everyone appreciates you.

    Consultant: Takes a special personality, but hours and pay can be very good.

    Field Engineer: Better pay, hours can be rough, but if you don't like dealing with the business side it's better than the previous two options.

    Technical Marketing: Little harder to break into, but good pay (not as good as sales), great hours and you really get to make an impact.

    Whatever you do, just say NO to management.
    • by dreamchaser ( 49529 ) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @04:59PM (#22143580) Homepage Journal
      I don't know. I made the change years back. It's demanding, sometimes painful, but often very rewarding. I get a great deal of satisfaction from seeing my subordinates grow and develop. When I've had problem employees I've had a great deal of success in turning them around; another huge source of satisfaction.

      The hours suck, the demands are great, and you often feel like you are in a no win situation. There are also perks if you do your job well. Once you've gained trust in an organization as an effective manager who enjoys a good degree of loyalty from his people while also getting results you gain lots of freedom in many subtle and not so subtle ways.

      Of course this is just based on my experience and that of a few friends. I know many who've fallen into the PHB trap, and many who have just plain failed. YMMV.
  • I'm sure I'm not the only person that will echo this same sentiment. Why become an IT manager? Seriously. Have you always had a long desire to manage others, develop policy, answer for everyone else' mistakes and or eccentricities that are often construed as mistakes? Many, if not most, really good IT types do not make great or even good managers. Many make really really great senior IT people. It is not a natural line of succession. Similarly, really good techs are often unhappy in management even i
  • PHB manual (Score:5, Funny)

    by Lord Ender ( 156273 ) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @04:43PM (#22143256) Homepage
    Start reading Dilbert. The manager in that strip is an oracle of insight, and his methodology has been perfectly replicated in companies throughout the world.

    If you decide you would prefer consulting to management, a certain Dogbert would be an excellent example to study.
  • How Do I Become an IT/IS Manager?

    Grow pointy hair, replace your PC with an Etch-A-Sketch.

  • Here is the magic formula for becoming a successful IT Manager:

    1-Forget everything you know about IT
  • And by "evil", I mean "eating the still beating hearts of innocent babies", not "swearing when you stub your toe". I mean cynically manipulating people to bring suffering and misery to others for your own selfish ends. Really, properly, capital-E Evil. Then, you live a long and evil life bringing woe and suffering wherever you go.

    Then you die.

    Then you are reincarnated as an IT manager.

  • It would seem obvious that before they decided on that direction they must have considered promoting you -- you would most likely come cheaper than anyone they'd hire from the outside. There's probably two or more reasons for this:

    1. They don't think you're capable and they can do better than you
    2. One of the executive good ole boys has a friend or relative that needs a job

    There's not a lot you can do about this sort of thing now. It's probably already too late. I have witnessed some HORRIBLE hiring deci
  • what are you doing IT if you want to be a manager? you should have done a diploma in management and you'd already be ahead of 90% of the idiots who get into management with no formal management training. it's no wonder there are such strong stereotypes of managers being idiots who cant manage shit
  • Are you already in a leadership type position? Do the people you work with already accept, and respect, you as a leader? If so, you would probably do ok in management where you are. If not, do you think you can gain that acceptance and respect?

    If you don't think you can get that acceptance, then it is probably best to go else where, especially if you have never been in a meaningful leadership position before. All.....ALL managers go through that new manager floundering stage. Do it where you where and
  • consulting is best (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Phoenix666 ( 184391 ) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @04:53PM (#22143448)
    becoming a consultant in a management capacity is a good way to go. it's less of a risk for the party hiring you, because they can easily replace you. it's less of a risk for you, and easier to learn to boot, because you can focus on how to run a good team/department without being overly distracted by company politics. then you can turn around and point to your successes as a consultant in those capacities when looking to landing a full-time job.

    those sorts of consulting gigs are most often found in companies or industries that are trying to get into new I.T. areas where they have no internal expertise. an example of that sort of thing would be, say, a pharmaceutical company that wants to build a social networking site for physicians. they know physicians, pharmaceuticals, and probably even have an I.T. dept. that runs around ghosting machines and helping people with their email, but they don't know how to build a successful social network and would therefore look to someone like you.

    consulting is a better bet than trying to make the leap to management in the place where you are. there are several reasons.

    first, if you're good at what you do they'll want you to stay there instead of promoting you, because having to bring in a good I.T. manager is one thing they have to worry about, but promoting you gives them two things to worry about, whether you'll be a good manager and also where are they going to find someone to replace you.

    second, being promoted over your peers creates instant personnel/political problems for you, your peers, and the company. that is, will your peers accept you in your new role, and also will you be able to crack the whip when you need to with people you've come to consider colleagues and friends? again, this multiplies the worries for upper management.

    and nobody in upper management wants to multiply their worries. so internal promotion to management is a tough sell.

    becoming management elsewhere is also a tough sell if you don't have a track record as a manager. and when you do pull it off, it either only happens at the greenest of startups or at established places where you have a serious old-boy network connection pulling strings for you.

    so if you don't fill that bill, consulting is the best way to make that transition.

  • Speak up. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by dpaluszek ( 974028 )
    Make yourself known around the upper management by going the extra mile, managing projects, stepping up to the plate, etc. These things go along way, but there's a fine line to this. You need to make sure you aren't counted on for "everything." This in turn would make you look like the go to guy for everything which will burn you out. To resolve something like this, assuming you are a senior-level person, delegate these tasks to people under you.

    Like others said, make sure you aren't too technical, whic
  • by bfwebster ( 90513 ) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @04:53PM (#22143468) Homepage
    Buy and read the following books: Once you've read these three books, then decide whether you still want to be an IT manager. :-) ..bruce..
  • You stated "tech support, network operations, sys admin, and programming" in the last 7 years. That means you have less than 2 years of experience in each, on average. So where did you spend most of that time?

    I am guessing tech support. If so, see if you can be a tech support manager. Don't even think you have enough experience to be a manager of programmers or real systems administrators.

    Sorry, I am not trying to be rude, but the IT world is filled with non-talent "managers" who want the nice pay i
  • When I worked for a large American Airline, the expectation was that all competent IT staffers would eventually "progress" into management. My stepmom, who worked for the same company, had to actively resist being promoted -- because she *wanted* to keep solving problems with code, not with overhead-projector (pre-PowerPoint) presentations.

    I figured it wouldn't be so bad, so I moved in that direction by being the "lead" on a project. I got good feedback from our (internal) customer, so there was no reason
  • I ran the IT gambit. Ben there, done that.
    I liked programming the best.

    My current job promoted me to a manager, I figured why not?

    You win and lose.
    I grew from just me to a dozen working for me.

    At first it was fun, I got to program still (what I enjoyed) and got to have the power to make decisions.

    But as time goes on and the team grows, things change.

    First thing with being a manager - You represent the company.

    When your a programmer you can bitch with the rest of the team. Complain about things, and not worr
  • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @04:58PM (#22143562) Homepage
    ...whether this is a place you'd like to make career. You could probably go a little bit faster up the corporate ladder by jumping around for that high branch, but my experience from some years as a consultant now is that companies are different. Even companies that are in the same line of business and that you'd think are very similar are worlds apart. Some are very informal, some are authoritarian, some er beurocratic, some are indecisive, some are commiteeish, some are loose cannons and some are just bizarre. I'd get an ulcer working for some of these companies, others are really cool. If I got a job with a company I liked, I'd stay unless I felt I was seriously held back (and wanted to go into management, it's a different ballgame).
  • or a lobotomy, its cheaper with more immediate results.

    Almost forgot.

    Get your haircut short on top, short on the sides and back, long & curly at 10 & 2.
  • I knew one kid who was 19 and fresh from ITT technical school and was the sys admin at a local startup. The head developer built everything himself and they couldn't keep anyone hired to work with him because he was so unprofessional and refused to work with anyone. Eventually because that fresh faced ITT grad was the only one who could manage this developer, they gave him the title 'Software Development Manager' with no experience whatsoever.

    Getting a management position is a crapshoot of who you know,

  • by nordaim ( 162919 ) <nordaim.yahoo@com> on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @05:01PM (#22143636)
    I asked the owner of my company for the job, provided him with documentation (hierarchy chart, a detailed description of the position), and discussed him with how I felt my taking over the department would make a difference. We agreed that this would be a trial position for 3 months, to see if I could implement constructive changes. It is several months past the end of my trial and things are going.

    I found my foothold because the company is growing and there was no direct management of the IT staff, just a hodge podge of upper level managers making, often contradictory, decisions that had a negative impact on those beneath them. Since I had spent time in the trenches, I knew what it was like to be there and some things that could be done about it. I also had several supervisory roles on past jobs, so had an inkling how to do it.

    For those of you saying that it is a horrible and thankless job, generally I agree. Why did I ask for this position? Because I am interested in leaving IT in a couple of years and having manager in my title and the experience to go with it helps my long term career.

    Do I want to stay here forever? No. Is the money great? No. But it opens up a large number of doors for the future.
  • Computer programming is a one rung ladder. Once you get into management, you are no longer doing computer programming.

    A number of companies i've worked for have pushed me towards management in one way or another. My experience is that people who want to be managers should in no circumstances be allowed to do it. One good reason to do it is if your current management is so bad that something just has to be done about it. At that point, you're ready for it.

    There's a long standing argument over whether com
  • And sit....

    Nah, like you would any job. They advertise them internally and externally, but aside from the money I really don't know WHY you'd want to be in management. It removes you from useful rotation.
  • Don't forget about the other half of this power structure. Look after your subordinates. Talk a page from the military leadership book. Always protect your people. Respect and loyalty are earned. If you earn that, your people will make you look good. When they do, remember to reward them for it.
  • Do you like getting your hands dirty playing with the latest toys? Do you enjoy being intellectually challenged? Do you have a low tolerance for duplicity?

    If so, then avoid management like the plague. I've seen a lot of guys fall into the same trap you're going into. They got lured by the money and took the management position, and then all of a sudden they were buried in paperwork, kissing corporate's ass, and ordering people around. Their skillset ended up rotting. One friend of mine decided he coul
  • For the last seven years I have moved around from job to job climbing the rungs of the IT ladder.

    I don't know how it works in IT, and I don't know how many times you've jumped, but when we're hiring it's a big red flag if a guy can't stay in a job. I'd try staying where you are for a little while, feel out what your chances are at your current place.

  • by EraseEraseMe ( 167638 ) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @05:30PM (#22144258)
    Sorry Tom, you are 25 years old. Most people don't get to be IT managers until their mid-30s. Try working for a couple more years until you get more experience on the IT side of it before worrying about managing other people. Especially with your jumping around from position to position, it would take a large leap for a company to trust you with managing their IT staff. My advice: Continue doing good work in what you're doing now and take some extra outside courses in management to see if you even have the aptitude to become a manager, or it would even interest you.

    It seems the younger generation doesn't want to put in the time doing the work before they become the boss, and I say this as a 27 year old...
    • by decipher_saint ( 72686 ) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @06:36PM (#22145492)
      Age != Experience

      I've had perfectly brilliant IT managers that were my age (30) and I've had functionally incapable 45+ year old "IT" managers.

      A good IT manager will take roadblocks away so IT staff can get work done. I don't care if they're 60 or 20, as long as they "work".
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Electric Eye ( 5518 )
      Excellent advice. 25 is WAY too young. You simply don't have enough experience under your belt, bro. The best thing you could do is express your desire to be there in 10 years to this new IT manager and LEARN from him. See if you he'll take you under his wing. You need exposure to different companies, budget processes, advanced troubleshooting (networks, new appliances, firewalls, etc.), way more experience dealing with others in business (no offense, but your generation gets very poor marks in professional
  • by Mutatis Mutandis ( 921530 ) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @05:49PM (#22144622)

    I have no insights to offer on how to become an IT manager. Frankly, it seems such a thankless and boring job that I would presume a severe shortage of candidates. But I freely offer the following advice on how to stay an IT manager and not get fired:

    1. Keep your department firmly aligned on the same set of business goals as the other managers, and be transparent about what you do to achieve them. IT has a tendency to develop into a "black box department" with its own arcane rules, bureaucracy, and mysterious business objectives. It is seductive to run it that way, but your CFO won't ask whether you have implemented extreme programming. He will ask what your contribution to the bottom line is.
    2. Listen to your hands-on workforce, and make sure you maintain a good understanding with your technical staff and make a positive contribution to the success of projects. Technical success matters, and people management matters. At the end of the day, managers are far more expendable than technical leaders. If projects fail, CEOs will do what owners of sports teams do -- replace the coach. And you wouldn't be to first IT manager to be ousted after a conflict with a senior consultant software developer.
    3. Learn to budget properly: Money, resources, and time. For one reason or another IT managers always seem to underestimate the cost of projects, and then have to report huge overruns and beg for money from other groups. It's much better to be realistic, even when that involves scary amounts of money. A Swedish businessman once said: There are three ways to burn money: Horses are the easiest, women are the most fun, and engineers are the fastest.
    4. Above all, resist the urge to be kingpin of your own little world. Like the knights of King Arthur, IT managers exist to serve. Your engineers and developers do not work for you. They work for the company, and actually you work for them. The day that your engineers feel that their main task in working life is to make pretty powerpoint presentations for you, you've lost it.
  • Two routes (Score:5, Interesting)

    by hey! ( 33014 ) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @07:34PM (#22146398) Homepage Journal
    The hard way: apply for a management job, in a firm that doesn't know you, and with no management experience on your resume.

    The easy way: tell your boss he needs you in management, using the credibility you've built up with him. If you don't have any credibility, then this is the hard way.

    Generally, if you are person that makes things happen, and if people on the management team like working with you, and you have a good argument for why putting you in that position would make save money or make everyone's life easier, it isn't hard.

    The third way is probably even easier, but it backloads some drama. You simply start managing things. You find something that needs to be managed and you do it. You remove burdens from weary managerial shoulders. You fix things everybody knows are broken but nobody has the energy to do anything about. In short you become a manager. Now comes the drama: you point out that you are managing, and you want the title and a better salary. If you get both, great. If not, settle for the title, wait a decent period, then apply for a job elsewhere.

    Come to think of it, that's how I got into IT management.

    I was hired to maintain a custom software system that was written in C and an obscure database system I happened to know. The department had a backlog that nobody had ever bothered to characterize, so I did, just to figure out how much work I had. The backlog was over three years. So I went to the various people who had various things on the list which I didn't quite understand. I talked with them and heard countless stories of frustration and anxiety over various business functions. While I began to whittle down the list, a pattern began to emerge of people asking for things because they needed the answer to a problem that shouldn't exist in the first place. So I diagrammed out the worst processes, what they were supposed to do, who participated in them, and who used the things the process produced. Then I convened meetings of people who had things on the list.

    There was a lot of stuff like this: "Betsy wants a status projection on such and so. Look here. Bob, did you know when you don't get this stuff done by a certain point in the month, this other thing doesn't make it to Betsy in time, and her whole department ends up working late to make deadline? No? Well, why are you in charge of this at all? Betsy could do this, it would take a task off your plate and a load off of her mind." Then people would scratch their heads, and wonder why it hadn't been set up that way all along. There were dozens of meetings like this, where we found critical pieces of information that were never available on time because it was on somebody's desk who had no idea of its significance to somebody else. Several critical information flows that could be cut from three weeks to less than a day; several instances where incoming checks got filed in somebody's drawer because they happened to be attached to a particular form instead of going to finance to be cashed right away.

    To make a long story short, the three year backlog became a three month backlog, practically without a lick of programming. little programming and the backlog went under the 1 month benchmark. After a couple of years of taking the bull by the horns, I had streamlined most of the critical business processes, identified numerous serious problems with financial control and reporting, which I addressed by finding a tech saavy CPA and suggesting he be hired to fix them. As a result, over the course of a year a new finance department was in place, headed by a Sloane school MBA with a CPA as comptroller, and professionals with years of experience heading up AP and AR.

    Now to me, this wasn't management. It was engineering. To solve a problem, you identify what really needs to be accomplished and document the environment it has to be done in. You discover metrics by which a system's performance can be measured and improved. You persuade people to agree with your d
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Lumpy ( 12016 )
      Um yeah, I did the EXACT same thing. I even invented some apps in those 7 years that increased productivity drastically in several departments, I knew the billing software better than the company that wrote it.

      It backfired hard. Position opened up, I applied, when talking in the interviewing process I was told the standard BS, not enough experience, etc... I nailed him on that and said that was a straw man excuse.

      He told me, "you got me. The real reason is that you are too valuable where you are now, yo
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      I think the gist of this is spot-on, especially

      You simply start managing things. You find something that needs to be managed and you do it. You remove burdens from weary managerial shoulders. You fix things everybody knows are broken but nobody has the energy to do anything about. In short you become a manager.

      This is how I got most of my opportunities--both for becoming a manager, and for getting other opportunities like a technical promotion. The only difference is which/whose problems you solve.

      In addit

  • Natural Progression (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Mr Muppet ( 139986 ) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @07:54PM (#22146668)
    I've worked for my current company for 6 and a half years, the last 3 years and 10 months as IT Manager, and IT Assistant before that. On day 1 in the job, I was "Monkey Boy" to the one and only other IT staff... The IT Manager..., basically doing all the crappy jobs, and redeveloping the company website.

    Over time, our parent company demanded more time of the other guy for their needs, meaning I had more responsibility to the "child" company that actually employed us. At one point, I ended up writing his reports while he (or sometimes both of us) presented them to senior management. He then got "promoted" (the p-word is an in joke between the two of us!!) to IT Manager for the parent company full time, and so I got promoted to his old job. I took on a new assistant under me, and over time recruited another.

    I'm blowing my own trumpet by saying I'm well trusted by the senior management to do a good job and to ensure my team do a good job, and sometimes I don't feel I deserve the position because I never specifically worked towards it. But I guess that at least some of them saw that I could take charge of running a large company's IT infrastructure, managing change, and trying to make the best technical decisions even in times of crisis (like today when a server almost died).

    If you're up to the challenge of those last three points, go for it - You obviously feel you can do the job, and if this makes you stop job-hopping so much, it'll make you happier (and a happy employee is a hard-working, long-lasting employee!) It just sounds like you'll have to force the natural progression a bit more than I did!!
  • One Soul Please (Score:3, Interesting)

    by millerz1897 ( 936927 ) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @09:34PM (#22147802)
    As an acomplished IT manager http://www.linkedin.com/in/zachmiller [linkedin.com] I can tell you that you may want to pause before entering.

    There are parts to management that are really great. Growing people and building projects and budgets is fun.

    But you have to be willing to relinquish the technology and trust your fate to others.

    You have to be willing to work wiht the business and understand them and leave the technology.

    Can you do that?
  • by javabandit ( 464204 ) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @09:59PM (#22148050)
    I'm not trying to offend you, but a couple of things made me really curious about your post.

    First of all, you have been moving around all over the place inside of the realm. Too much. It seems like you haven't found a subject area that you are actually comfortable with. Most people tend to find something that they "like the most" and do it really well, get better at it, and ultimately master it. You haven't done this, yet. That's a problem.

    The first thing I would recommend you do is to choose an area of IT that you enjoy... and master it.

    Then, once you have mastered a part of the landscape... you are ready to ask yourself if you want to _manage_ that landscape and the people within it. *That* is a very difficult question not to be taken lightly. I don't think you are anywhere near ready to answer that question. I manage software developers for a living... and let me tell you... its an extremely difficult fucking job. It can be *very* rewarding when done well, but it is HARD.

    If you do make the jump early, you are going to fail. Make no mistake about it. Take your time.

  • by dindi ( 78034 ) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @10:06PM (#22148142)
    OK. had a hard programming day. Some undocumented code.... so I had a few glasses of fine red wine and I got honest...

    Small company: dream on, sometimes at the age of 85 you can get manager, when the owner/manager gets tired of the crappy part and dumps it on someone.

    Big company: lick ass, or be best friends with management.

    Other company: probably going to an other place is the best, where you enter as manager.

    HP: definitely the second option. I spent a year there, as the best tech at middleware / ITO (not modest but true), getting promise after promise, finally a promotion with the promise of "HR will tell you how much extra you get for a 3week/month on-page DTS job." After I told them to go to hell, they promoted the only guy in the group who actually stood hanging out with the managers. Managers meaning two assholes promoting each other and a small group of friends. They surrounded themselves with people without experience who need the job like no one else, and lied about technically everything from job interview till you quit upset and mad.

    When the ITO manager of HP Costa Rica (Herrera Heiser) is proud of not being able to set his home wireless network up, then you know it is time to run, and the only people who will get promoted are the ones who he plays poker with.

    Huhh,... was I too honest? Oh well, after 10+ jobs in It from all the areas you can imagine I only got fired once, and left by for the better every other time. Hey even that one place I was about to quit (you know you have to quit when yout knowledgeless colleague talks to you disrespectful in front of a client playing boss (talking shit), and you grab him by the neck) ....... oh well, those wild young times....

    Anyway, just get a small management job somewhere, usually waiting takes forever. Just my experience, but reading your post you kinda did everything and have an overview of things. If you are a man of detail and precision, being a boss will drive you nuts anyway.... been there, done that. Now I prefer to be a freelancer and also work on my retirement biz :)

  • by stmfreak ( 230369 ) <stmfreak AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @11:40PM (#22148946) Journal
    You say your current company is hiring an IT Manager. You should go ask why they didn't pick you. What could you have done/changed to be considered? I'm certain that when they decided they needed an IT manager they asked the question, "do we have anyone we could promote into this role?" At worst, you'll get on their radar, at best, you might get an interview.

    When I was younger, I often heard the phrase, "I'm not doing the work until you pay me for it." And even more often observed the work ethic that phrase describes. As I grew older, I got tired of getting the shaft and started trying to make things better for myself, my team, my department, my company. This led to me doing the work of a lead with the title of an individual contributor. That experience helped me get a job as a lead. Then I started doing the work of a manager...

    I used pursue the mission of making my boss look good. That helped for a while, until I ran into some backstabbing bosses. Lesson learned: know the terrain of your political landscape and chose your allies carefully.

    People often say that a manager's most important job is... but I find that it is often more complicated than that. Management is about building a business, making it profitable, protecting future revenues. Whether you are the CEO or a line-worker, you have the same mission; the question tends to be, what are the best practices to achieve this at your company, today?

    * Building a good team, mentoring, hiring, retaining key staff. Making it enjoyable for people to work at your company. These are critical.

    * Managing upward, communicating and adjusting expectations, negotiating achievable goals and reasonable budgets for your team. These are critical.

    * Collaborating with peers/departments, helping them build the business, knowing when and how to pitch in and sacrifice (your time or your staff) for team-wins. Knowing when to say "no" so your staff doesn't get abused saving everyone else's ass. All critical.

    * Staying focused, setting priorities and getting your tasks done. This means you cannot randomize yourself, you must have short-term goals and hit them. You cannot randomize your team, you must set short-term goals and then allow your staff to hit them. PLANNING, however you best perform that, is essential to choosing goals that you can defend until completion (most of the time).

    These practices apply no matter what level you are at in your company. And people who tend to follow them more often than not are regarded favorably. You may know a few. Those are the first people in line for promotions up the technical ladder or, should they show interest, promotions into management.

    Be the person you want to be, enjoy your job, everything else follows.
  • Apply for it (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Eskarel ( 565631 ) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @11:51PM (#22149044)
    It is extremely unlikely in this day and age that management is going to come to you and say "we have an opening in management would you like it?". Just as it's extremely unlikely that they're going to promote you without you asking for anything.

    If you want a job, be it management, support, development, or pole dancing. The best way to get it is to ask for it. Talk to the folks in charge about upcoming opportunities. Let them know you're interested in becoming a manager. If there aren't any upcoming opportunities apply for a management position elsewhere. You don't ask you don't get.

Suburbia is where the developer bulldozes out the trees, then names the streets after them. -- Bill Vaughn