How To Build A Successful Career In IT Service Management

April 3rd, 2019
Career In IT Service Management

Are you an amazing professional, who gets excited about the prospects of managing the entire information technology infrastructure at your company? Are you looking forward to taking over that next step, towards attaining your dream role in IT Service Management?

You've reached the right place! This article aspires to enlighten its readers on prospective career paths that one can embark upon in the ITSM arena, the skill sets required in the different roles, useful qualifications, and the pay benefits that professionals in the field can expect.

Why Choose A Career In IT Service Management?

In the present scenario, the role of an IT Service Manager is vital to any business that relies on an IT system – and many businesses involve IT, Hence, anyone willing to take up a career in this field will have a diverse range of options and industries to choose from.

Roles in this sector are challenging with a multitude of duties and functions. For instance, if you have been hired for the position of a Service Level Manager, you would be responsible for all aspects of the company's IT services including responsibility for delivery of IT services as per business requirements. Check the list of professional course

Exposure to fast-growing business processes enhanced decision-making skills together with the accountability that the position entails; permit an individual to grow in their career by leaps and bounds.

What Are Careers In IT Service Management?

The IT Service Management career path is differentiated on 4 basic categories:

  • Service Strategy and Design
  • Service Transition
  • Service Operation
  • Project Management

While most senior-level positions fall in the category of Senior Strategy and Design, entry-level positions are held in the Project Management and Service Operation categories (IT Support and Service Desk technician, respectively). Mid-level managerial roles (which can also be further categorized according to the hierarchy) are spread across all four categories.

Below is the list of some roles in the ITSM field, the skills expected from the roles and some useful qualifications needed that will help you in your performance. Hopefully, it will help you build your career path in the ITSM arena.

IT Project Support Or IT Support


This is one of the entry-level positions that you will hold in the IT Service Management field. In this supportive position, you will be involved with teams working on a particular project and will be required to support the various aspects of the project's activities. This familiarizes the professional with the project tools and the project environments. While on this role, it is likely that the professional obtains general administration skills along with basic project management skills.

With enough experience and well-acquired knowledge on project and program management, you may then choose one among the many routes of career advancements. The probable choices further could be: preference to move on to an analyst role within a Project Management Office (PMO) or manage small projects or take responsibility for one of the many work-streams within a larger project.

The professional roles that individuals can look for after sufficient knowledge acquisition and professional experience are IT Project Manager, Service Desk Technician, and Service Level Manager.


The following skill sets are expected of a good IT Project Support:

  • Good organizational and communication skills
  • Commitment to providing efficient, professional customer service
  • Setup and maintain project files
  • Providing administrative services to project assurance teams, project boards, and quality review meetings
  • Explain reporting procedures and requirements to stakeholders
  • Prepare reports, charts, graphs and narrative information for management or program analysis reports from material provided.

Useful Qualifications/Certifications

Necessary qualifications that help professionals in the design, development, and delivery of projects and for skill enhancement to operate effectively in an IT project environment at this level are:

  • ITIL Foundation
  • PRINCE2 Foundation
  • MSP Foundation
  • P30 Foundation
  • Management of Risk (M_o_R) Foundation.

Service Desk Technician


Technical support to users who need their software/hardware is provided by Service Desk technicians. The help and support they provide can include: repairing technical errors, answering a query, fulfilling a service request; and also as simple as offering assistance with user rights, passwords, user accounts, and basic level security administration. What skills these professionals require at such levels are to: identify and diagnose issues and problems, advice users on actions to take, categorize and record reported queries and escalate unresolved problems.

Professionals can climb up another level in their career ladder, after sufficient exposure and experience as a Service Desk Technician, is Service Desk Supervisor/ Manager, Project Coordinator, Application Support Analyst.


The following skill sets are expected of a professional looking for this job role:

  • Excellent problem-solving and communication skills
  • Good grasp over the technical understanding of the various hardware, software and networking systems
  • Be able to offer assistantship with user support
  • Incident Management
  • Quality orientation (attention to detail)

Useful Qualifications/Certifications:

Professionals can benefit from the following list of certifications at this point in their career:

  • Service Operation certification,
  • Operational Support and Analysis certification,
  • Continual Service Improvement certification (all components of ITIL Intermediate).

Service Desk Manager


In companies where a significant size service desk is in place, a dedicated Service Desk Supervisor or Manager will manage the operations. Their duty would be: to offer a customer-focused approach to the team's procedures and manage the team and boost their morale. The typical tasks allotted to the professionals on this role will be, management of daily operations, monitoring response time and user satisfaction levels, consulting experts to ensure integrated action plans and improvising on techniques and practices for managing client queries, troubleshooting, and problem resolving and prioritizing.

The next step in the career ladder that the professionals can climb from Service Level Manager, Project Manager, IT Change Manager, IT Operations Manager.


Like already mentioned, a couple of skills that professionals need to possess at this level are:

  • Enhance user support
  • Ensure proper service delivery
  • Relationship Management
  • Advocating best practice processes, tools, and methods
  • Leadership and teamwork
  • Good communication and knowledge sharing skills
  • Staff awareness and development

Useful Qualifications/Certifications:

Certifications and qualification that professionals can benefit from to reach this level are:

  • Service Operation Certification (a module of ITIL Intermediate)
  • Operational Support and Analysis certification (a module of ITIL Intermediate)
  • Service Strategy certification (a module of ITIL Intermediate)
  • Continual Service Improvement certification (a module of ITIL Intermediate).

IT Operations Manager


The IT Operations Manager is a pivotal role in the organization and holds greater responsibilities. It is a stability leadership role and the roles and duties differ with the nature and size of the company. IT Operations Manager's expected Tasks are: implementation and management of IT services using the principles and methods connected with industry best practices (e.g. ITIL), management of the provision at service desk and problem resolution, monitoring and analysis of performance, problem trends and client feedback reports, build a network of experts, developing Service Level Agreement (SLA) templates and negotiate complex SLAs, tracking of problems, acting as a point of escalation for user of IT infrastructure services, promote a culture that emphasizes service excellence and recommend continual improvement in service management strategy.

With the significant experience at this level and exposure at handling issues, professionals at this level will still require certifications to fill in knowledge gaps that will improve their performance. With the significant certification and experience, prospective professionals can become Business Relationships Manager or CIO.


The skills expected of IT Operations Manager are:

  • Strong resource management skills and smooth running of the operations conducted by the team
  • Strong commitment to delivering exceptional customer service
  • Cost and budgets management according to internal procedures and external constraints
  • Plan resourcing of the service desk to meet defined service levels
  • Ensure rigorous application of information security/ information assurance policies, principles, and practices in the delivery of customer support services
  • Incorporating skill development within routine work processes
  • Coach and/or mentor individuals and teams to address learning needs and more…

Useful Qualifications / Certifications:

Certifications and qualifications that benefit the professionals at this level, to reach more senior roles are:

  • ITIL® Intermediate Module – Service Operation
  • ITIL® Intermediate Module – Operational Support and Analysis
  • ITIL® Intermediate Module – Service Strategy
  • ITIL® Intermediate Module – Continual Service Improvement

Chief Information Officer


This is one of the senior-most positions in the ITSM field. Usual responsibilities of a CIO would include: defining the company's policy for IT, manage all Information Services (IS) department activity, manage risk, negotiate and execute complicated contracts, make recommendations to senior general supervision, ensure the reliability, confidentiality, security, and integrity of all information systems including compliance with service level agreements.


The skill sets of a CIO would include in areas of IS and Business Strategy Alignment, IS Governance, Relationship Management, Business Plan Development, Business Risk Management, Leadership and Teamwork, and Financial Management.

Useful qualifications/certifications:

Practicing CIOs can benefit from the following list of certifications:

  • ITIL® Intermediate Module – Service Strategy
  • ITIL® Intermediate Module – Service Design
  • ITIL® Intermediate Module – Continual Service Improvement

How Much Would I Earn In These Roles?

The earning potential for these roles depends upon such factors as the size of the organization you work for and the size of the team you are managing.

As with most other career paths, the chief point to keep in mind is that your earning potential is directly proportional to your level of know-how and whether the expertise is kept up-to-date with market trends and industry developments. Consider taking extra courses or training to re-skill yourself, in case old skills have fallen into the pit. Besides, a training\certification course would also demonstrate proof of commitment to prospective employers.

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