MBA Technology Management: Salary and Roles to Pursue

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A Master of Business Administration degree remains one of the major goals for professionals looking to demonstrate their knowledge and experience around corporate leadership. Pursuing a concentration within an MBA program can add further definition to individual interests and expertise.

A manager uses a laptop while graphics represent data points.

The High Technology Management concentration, for example, focuses on the tools and processes adopted by leaders in a modern, digitally connected enterprise. Technology-native employers are some of the most exciting companies around today, encompassing fast-rising startups and industry-leading powerhouses.

By taking courses that deal with the way tech-infused businesses operate, MBA program participants can seek work in this field after graduation. The roles that can await MBA graduates at these businesses can come with engaging duties and rewarding salaries, and are worth investigating.

MBA Technology Management: Salary and Duties by Role

It’s natural for potential MBA students to ask what types of jobs they could earn in their later careers. The classes in a business administration degree program prepare learners with leadership and decision-making abilities essential for leadership positions.

Focusing on concepts associated with the fast-moving digital-native companies in the high-tech space adds opportunities for MBA graduates to put their abilities to use at some of the most ambitious businesses today. By combining knowledge of complex new technology concepts with fundamentals of good management, professionals can tailor their resumes and experience to suit these organizations’ needs.

There are many types of management positions available at high-tech firms, with the following three serving as great examples of the types of jobs where experienced MBA graduates can excel.

1. Information Technology Manager

Information technology manager is a job title that has increased in importance over the past few decades. While IT was once an enabling department within more traditional organizational structures, it has since come to encompass everything a business does.

In the high-tech field, this job is especially central to everyday operations. Many companies founded in the digital age exist entirely online as applications or services delivered directly to their customers. If these companies’ IT departments fail to keep up with needs, the organizations will be highly vulnerable.

Collaboration technologies help businesses organize their teams internally, while customer-service solutions form a digital bridge between companies and their audiences. Overseeing the IT department and keeping mission-critical systems running is the IT manager’s job, and succeeding in those objectives is essential to a company’s overall health.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics explained that the related titles of computer and information systems manager, IT manager, and IT project manager all involve planning and directing digital initiatives for their employers. These duties require strong decision-making abilities. Managers must look at the company’s problems and conceptualize ways to solve them through technology.

Information Technology Manager Responsibilities

The day-to-day duties of an IT manager at a high-tech firm include overseeing both tech tools and people. Being the manager of the IT department means staffing that team and giving technical employees their day-to-day tasks and assignments.

The BLS stated that IT managers often specialize. A given organization will have one high-ranking IT official handling security, while another determines the fitness of new technology for the company and a third takes on the management and training of the people who make up the IT department. At smaller companies, there will typically be fewer management-level positions, offering more challenges and opportunities for employees with the right experience.

IT managers’ responsibilities show that leaders at tech companies must have a dual focus. These employees need to have strong interpersonal abilities to manage the people in their departments and pitch investments to the C-suite, while also having the hard tech skills to select and oversee suitable new projects.

Information Technology Manager Average Salary

IT manager jobs often come with strong salaries. PayScale reported that as of May 2021, the average base salary for an information technology manager is $88,768. Leaders who put years of experience into their IT management duties can move up in pay, with the top 10% of IT managers making more than $134,000 annually.

What should IT managers do to increase their earning potential? According to PayScale, it is highly valuable to understand important tech tools such as platform-as-a-service deployments, big data analytics solutions, and artificial intelligence algorithms. Intelligent data use is a major focus for employees today, as is mastering the most common technological frameworks.

Some of the top skills associated with higher IT manager salaries aren’t directly tech-related, and they include business strategy as well as portfolio management. This mix between IT concepts and corporate fundamentals is reflected in the curriculum of an MBA program with a technology concentration.

2. Technical Program Manager

When today’s companies launch new technological projects, for internal solutions or customer-facing products, they need people to take the lead in those efforts. That is the role of the technical program manager. As PayScale explained, this job can combine highly specific skills such as implementing and testing code with a large degree of communication and collaboration, both internally and with outside vendors.

It takes a broad skill set and an unflappable disposition to guide projects from the drawing board to deployment in today’s tech-heavy environments. A TPM must bring these characteristics to the table, setting the budget and deadlines for new initiatives.

Technical program manager is a job title closely related to technical project manager. TPM sector thought leader Priyanka Shinde described the difference: While a project manager will focus on individual undertakings that have finite schedules, a program manager will coordinate many at once, with each of the projects reflecting some aspect of achieving a major company objective.

Technical Program Manager Responsibilities

A technical program manager’s work is grounded in keeping track of many projects in various states of completion. When a high-tech business sets out to launch a system or service for its audience today, a technical program manager will take the reins and make sure the individual teams responsible for different aspects of that effort are performing up to the expected standards and deadlines.

While the TPM is not the person acting as a direct supervisor to the employees working on a given project at any time, there is still a need for soft skills related to communication and collaboration. Today’s ambitious technological projects involve coordinating many teams, internal and external, to help create polished finished products.

Employees collaborate and refer to graphs.

Agile methodologies are common among today’s digital-first high-tech businesses. This fast-moving project style involves frequent meetings to set objectives and review progress. While not leading these sessions directly, the program manager must oversee them all and keep them moving toward a united end goal.

Technical Program Manager Average Salary

The combination of impeccable coordination and technological know-how that makes a good technical program manager takes time and effort to develop. Companies understand that this is a role worth a high salary. PayScale reported that as of May 2021, the average base salary for a TPM is $125,140. The top 10% of technical program managers earn over $164,000, demonstrating a very high ceiling for this role.

The skills most likely to increase TPM earning potential reflect in-depth technological and legal know-how, according to PayScale. For instance, the top in-demand ability for these leaders is cybersecurity aptitude, followed by regulatory compliance expertise. Knowledge of network architecture, software development, and big data analytics can also help technical project managers get ahead.

While TPM is already a high-ranking role within an organization, requiring years of experience and strong education to reach, there are opportunities for promotion. PayScale noted that senior program manager roles can further expand a TPM’s influence in a company. These jobs are ways for technically minded employees to make their mark in a management capacity.

3. Human Resources Manager

Human resources departments in high-tech sectors require strong and adaptable leaders who can keep businesses compliant and employees engaged in fields that are always changing. The business models driving agile startups and cutting-edge tech firms are often experimental in nature. Imposing HR best practices on these organizations can be a challenge — and an opportunity — for well-educated and experienced human resources managers.

Roles at the head of HR demand more interpersonal skills than nearly any other positions in modern business. Human resources managers must be ready to onboard new employees, spearhead training efforts, maintain a compliant and comfortable work environment, oversee discipline, distribute benefits, and much more.

Being an HR leader in today’s tech-dominated business climate can be a double-edged sword. While professionals have access to the latest and greatest tech tools and can use these deployments to pursue their strategic goals, they must also deal with fast-moving and unfocused staffing situations: For example, some startups can break into their respective markets long before they put together enterprise-grade HR departments.

Human Resources Manager Responsibilities

According to the BLS, the HR manager has the important job of being the connector between upper management and the rest of the company. This means the HR leaders should be ready to consult with other management personnel when important issues such as harassment or inclusivity come up.

HR managers must also be the ones guiding the talent search, interview, and hiring processes. Hiring intelligently and equitably is a mission-critical area of business. Equipped with the latest technology, HR departments are tasked with finding better and more efficient ways to discover talent while maintaining fundamental fairness.

In the increasingly remote and virtual work climate that has emerged in the past few years, HR managers at companies of all kinds have had to add technology tools to their everyday workflows. Keeping employees engaged, happy, and on task is challenging when they are not based in the same location, but with the right combination of collaboration solutions, it is possible. With the global pandemic accelerating the push for remote operations, this focus on dispersed workforces has become even more central to HR leadership than it previously was.

Human Resources Manager Average Salary

The latest BLS salary survey, conducted in May 2020, revealed that the median annual salary for HR managers was $121,220. The top-earning 10% of professionals in these roles earn more than $208,000. The industry with the highest pay for HR leaders is the professional, scientific, and technical services vertical, at $138,030. Cutting-edge and high-tech firms falling under this category can be lucrative employers for HR manager candidates.

Managing an HR department is a line of work with a steady growth outlook. The BLS reported that HR manager roles are set to increase by 6% over the decade from 2019 to 2029. This is higher than the 4% growth predicted for all occupations. The BLS added that the need for HR managers will differ on a company-to-company basis. Businesses that succeed in the years ahead will need to expand their HR presence to reflect their increasing workforces.

Details of the MBA High Technology Management Concentration

Professionals hoping to seek management roles in high-tech organizations can build their experience in multiple ways. For example, when entering an online MBA program, they can add a high technology management concentration.

At Northeastern University’s D’Amore McKim School of Business, the high technology management concentration is designed to highlight issues that commonly apply to digitally advanced companies, ranging from legal musts to personnel matters and financial complexities. This could help differentiate candidates, showing that they are not only tuned into the world of management, but specifically ready to deal with the technology sector.

In addition to the core MBA curriculum, there are three elective courses associated with high technology management, each representing a specific set of issues and concerns facing these organizations today. The courses included in the concentration comprise:

  • Entrepreneurial Finance for High Tech Companies: Funding is one of the major priorities facing any growing business in the tech sector, and it can divide successful startups from slower-developing competitors. Knowing the specifics of entrepreneurship is a way to stand out from job candidates with more general knowledge.
  • Virtual, Vicious Teams: Building and Leading High Performance Teams: Personnel management in the tech sector often involves agile strategies, virtual workforces, and more complexities. Getting top performance in such a situation requires special skills, as taught in this course.
  • Business Law, Corporate Governance, and Intellectual Property Strategies: Developing new technology can mean navigating thorny intellectual property matters. For young startups whose fortunes are directly tied to their primary products, management candidates with an educational background in business law and IP could prove to be promising hires.

Earning an MBA while already working full time isn’t just a possibility. With the increasing prominence of the 100% online study model, this has become a well-trod path to greater management knowledge and subject matter expertise. The D’Amore-McKim School of Business uses digital courses to deliver a high-quality learning experience guided by an expert faculty, all in a way that makes sense for enrollees working full time.

Top business management jobs are in high demand, especially in high-paying and exciting fields such as advanced technology. If earning an MBA has become a popular way of demonstrating aptitude with the central concepts of leadership and decision-making, adding an industry-specific concentration allows candidates to distinguish themselves even further.

If you’re ready to learn how the MBA with a concentration in high technology management fits into your career path, you can visit the program page for more details.

Recommended Readings:
COO Salary and Career Path
Exploring the Management Analyst Career and Salary

Sources:
PayScale – Average Information Technology (IT) Manager Salary
PayScale — Average Technical Program Manager Salary
TPMify — What is a Technical Program Manager (TPM)
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics — Computer and Information Systems Managers
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics — Human Resources Managers