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Understanding the Role of IT Director

By Steve Smith

The information presented here is true and accurate as of the date of publication. DeVry’s programmatic offerings and their accreditations are subject to change. Please refer to the current academic catalog for details.


April 26, 2024

9 min read

If you’re considering advancing your career in information technology (IT), one of the management-level roles you might have your eye on is IT Director.

This high-level role requires a significant amount of education and work experience, yet nonetheless a goal that is well worth reaching for. In this article we’ll take a close look at the role of IT Director, covering some of the most important aspects of the career. We’ll define the role, detail the typical duties and responsibilities, look at the projected job growth for high-level roles like this, and some of the skills and education you might need to get started on your way toward pursuing this role.

What Is an IT Director?

An IT Director is a high-ranking leadership position overseeing the computer and IT systems of an enterprise. The professional may supervise teams of employees, IT systems and other technical operations, and typically reports to the organization’s Chief Information Officer (CIO). IT Directors work in a variety of industries, including manufacturing, finance and insurance, government and healthcare.

Responsibilities of an IT Director

The chief responsibility of an IT Director is to ensure that a company’s technology solutions meet its needs, are aligned with its business goals and are optimally secured and configured. The director of IT may also be responsible for facilitating communication between IT and other departments.

Other daily responsibilities may include:

  • Managing the scheduling and budgeting for the IT department.

  • Identifying new technology solutions and supporting implementation of any new hardware or software.

  • Finding and eliminating security vulnerabilities with solutions that enhance the safety of the organization’s data systems.

  • Directing help desk employees.

What’s the Difference between an IT Director vs. CIO?

Many large organizations employ both an IT Director and a CIO. The CIO is at the executive, or C-suite level, which is typically a more public role and focused on understanding how technology can be used to help meet the demands of the organization. 

The CIO will spend more time engaging with their peers and developing innovative ways to transform the organization, whereas a director of IT typically has a more day-to-day, hands-on management role. The IT Director often takes responsibility for things like computer systems maintenance, vendor agreements, and responding to business requests from within the organization.

The Importance of an IT Director

The IT Director’s role is a crucial one as companies strive to keep pace with technological advancements. For its Leading IT Trends for 2024 report, NinjaOne and Omdia surveyed more than 600 IT decision makers from 10 industry sectors; their findings concluded that the role of IT has never been more critical in ensuring business security, efficiency and innovation.

Here are the key challenges identified in their research:

  • Embracing automation: Streamlining processes, reducing human error and opening up new possibilities for growth and innovation, automation is now considered a necessity for achieving operational efficiencies. About half of the companies surveyed recognized the importance of automation in improving productivity.

  • Improving security posture: As the frequency and sophistication of cyber threats increases, reducing risk and eliminating vulnerabilities has become a critical issue. According to the research, 72% of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) consider this to be a main concern.

  • Complexities in IT management: As IT infrastructure becomes increasingly complex, an urgent need for solutions like effective management tools was identified to make improvements in productivity and more efficient use of resources.

  • Budget and legacy system constraints: Limited budgets and outdated systems pose substantial potential issues for SMBs. Strategic, innovative approaches that are cost-effective and sustainable over the long haul are needed for them to thrive.

What Does Career Growth for an IT Director Look Like?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) cites the need for businesses, particularly those managing sensitive information, to initiate more robust security policies in response to increasing cyber security threats. 

As organizations are increasingly reliant on IT services and their systems, hardware and software require more oversight, the need for computer and information systems managers will continue to rise. The BLS projects employment for computer and information systems managers to grow 15% on a national level from 2022 to 2032, much faster than the average for all occupations. They also expect there to be about 46,900 job openings for these managers each year, on average, over the decade.1

1Growth projected on a national level. Local growth will vary by location. BLS projections are not specific to DeVry University students or graduates and may include earners at all stages of their career and not just entry level.

How to Become an IT Director

If you’re preparing to pursue a career as a director of IT, keep in mind that there are specific skills, educational benchmarks and work experience requirements you’ll need to meet.


As in many other careers, a mixture of technical and workplace skills is essential.

  • Technical skills: Although the IT Director’s position is primarily management-focused, it’s important for you to be on top of the technical aspects of the job. Having a thorough understanding of the inherent technologies in the systems you’re overseeing, foundational technical skills like programming, data management, analysis, network configuration and firewall installation are important in this job. If you’re moving up to this position over the course of your career, you’ve probably already acquired many of these skills.

  • Communication: To collaborate effectively, IT Directors need excellent verbal and written communications skills. As the IT Director is often a liaison between the IT department and other departments, executives and stakeholders, they may be called upon to explain complex issues to stakeholders who do not have technical backgrounds.

  • Leadership and organizational skills: Well developed leadership skills will help you lead and motivate your team and move your department toward its goals. Strong organizational skills will help you to keep priorities in order while multi-tasking or managing multiple projects.

  • Business skills: Many non-technical components of this role require business skills, which can help you create plans for working toward organizational goals and develop strategies for putting them in place.


According to the BLS, computer and information systems managers typically need a bachelor’s degree in computer and information technology or a related field. Many organizations MAY require candidates for management roles to have a graduate degree, like an MBA, as well.

At DeVry and our Keller Graduate School of Management, we offer an MBA degree program that can help get you on the path toward preparing to pursue roles like IT Director. Our Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree program blends management theory with real-world applications, exploring how to work with the technology and analytics tools that help run the businesses of today. You’ll also have the opportunity to sharpen your skills in collaboration, problem-solving and human capital leadership as well.

Our Master of Business Administration is accredited2 by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP), a mark of quality that verifies that a business education from DeVry meets the industry standards of excellence.


An IT Director’s role may require you to earn certifications. By adding an IT or project management-focused certification to the other credentials you already have, it may help you stand out among other job candidates.

Some IT management certifications you might consider earning are:

  • AMA Certified Professional in Management® Certification: This certification from the American Management Association may not be IT-specific, but it makes sense for anyone pursuing a career path in management. The program covers professional effectiveness, relationship management, analytical intelligence and other management-related topics.

  • Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)® Certification: Strong project management skills are important for IT Directors. One of several certifications from the Project Management Institute (PMI), the CAPM is an entry-level exam requiring 23 hours of project management education. The PMI also offers a higher-level certification, the Project Management Professional (PMP)® exam for those with a strong background in project management.

  • Information Technology Management and Leadership Professional (ITMLP)® Certification: The ITMLP certification is designed to validate your skills as an IT manager. A 3-day boot camp covers management-specific topics like vendor management, creating innovative solutions, managing virtual teams, funding and cost management as well as information on emerging trends such as DevOps, big data and machine learning.

  • Certified Information Technology Manager (CITM)® Certification: Offered by the Global Association for Quality Management, the CITM covers IT frameworks, software, database management, corporate IT strategy, management of personnel and other related topics. It’s designed for professionals looking to gain an in-depth understanding of IT management in the modern business landscape.

Work experience

The final component in our rundown of the IT Director’s role is work experience. Where lower-level positions may require only a few years of industry experience, according to the BLS, directors are more likely to need 5 to 10 years of experience in a related role. 

The exact qualifications like the amount of previous industry experience, specific skills and certifications will vary from one organization to another based on their needs, but these should be made clear in employers’ job postings.

Prepare to Advance Your IT Career with Help from DeVry and Keller

DeVry and our Keller Graduate School of Management can help you prepare to pursue your goals with graduate-level education designed to help you gain the skills required to enter today’s dynamic workplaces.

A Keller Master of Business Administration (MBA) can help you acquire and sharpen many of the skills leadership and interpersonal that many employers look for in management-level candidates. 

Designed for busy, working professionals, our MBA program lets you choose from 10 industry-focused specializations and the flexibility of studying online or in a hybrid format.3 

Concerned about the amount of time it may take to complete your MBA program? With at least 9 credit hours of qualifying Prior Learning Credit and at an accelerated pace, you can earn your Keller Master’s Degree in as few as 12 months, or follow a normal schedule and complete your program in 2 years and 2 months.4 

1Growth projected on a national level. Local growth will vary by location. BLS projections are not specific to DeVry University students or graduates and may include earners at all stages of their career and not just entry level.

2Student Achievement At-a-Glance - Available for all of DeVry and Keller's ACBSP accredited programs. For a full list of DeVry University's business and accounting degree programs accredited by ACBSP, please see the Accreditation page.

3Program, course, and extended classroom availability vary by location. In site-based programs, students will be required to take a substantial amount of coursework online to complete their program.

4Accelerated time to complete  requires at least 9 credit hours of Prior Learning Credit. Assumes completion of 3 semesters, enrollment in an average of 10 credit hours per semester and continuous, full-time year-round enrollment with no breaks per 12-month period. Does not apply to MBA with Specialization. Normal time does not include breaks and assumes 7 semesters of year-round, full-time enrollment in an average of 6 credit hours per semester per 12-month period. Time to complete and details vary by specialization. See the Keller Academic Catalog for complete program details.

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