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Technology management: What is it, & why should it matter to students?

Technology management: What is it, & why should it matter to students?

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As we travel further into this period of great digital transformation, a growing number of Australian business owners and employers are re-evaluating the importance of technological competence in prospective job candidates.

The rapid adoption of digital technologies in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic only furthered the growing need for tech-savvy professionals who were able to find their way around emerging technologies promptly and determine the best methods for utilising these technologies to improve on their organisation's processes and potentially even their services.

Naturally, the ability to engage with, understand, and effectively utilise technologies became a defined skillset all on its own.

And with the development of technology management courses, it's also now possible for a new generation of professionals to actually learn just how to effectively manage a project or campaign that utilises or relies on emerging and industry technologies.

That being said, there is still a fair amount of confusion around technology management as a discipline, even with how lucrative the discipline has proven itself to be. That's precisely why we'll be taking a magnifying glass to technology management, and answering some of the top questions that students may have.

What is technology management?

Let's start with a basic definition. In a nutshell, technology management (also often referred to as 'management of technology' or MOT) is a term used to group together a set of policies, processes, or practices used to build and manage their technological resources or tools in the context of growing their business and further developing their customer's experience.

Technology management differs slightly from information management technology, which revolves more around the hardware, software, systems, or networks that an organisation uses to support them in their everyday operations.

Technology management takes a more holistic approach than just ICT services, with the discipline generally drawing together both human and machine elements in order to create optimally performing organisational processes, both with regards to an organisation's daily operations, as well as to their customer-facing processes.

What does studying technology management entail?

Because technology management is such an expansive field that combines the worlds of industry technology development and project management, there are usually a handful of different subject streams or disciplines within a single technology management course.

If you're a more technologically-inclined person, you may choose a stream that delves into fields of study like machine learning, data analysis, or even coding. On the other hand, if you're more right-brained and are concerned with people-centric processes, then you could explore project management or project design principles of technology management, or perhaps even user interface design.

Most courses are also likely to present students with the option to develop a balanced course structure that combines both tech and people-centric management principles. In truth, a balanced course design is highly beneficial as it reflects the whole-systems thinking that drives technology management as both a discipline and professional skill set.

What industries utilise principles of technology management?

Based on the answer to the question right before this one, you may already have some awareness that a large number of modern industries actually use principles of technology management in their day-to-day operations. Consequently, a growing number of Aussie employers are also recognising the value of a technology management qualification.

In fact, many industry leaders are likening a postgraduate degree in technology management to a traditional MBA, as both qualifications prompt students to engage with management or business administration practices, and assess their leadership skills and capabilities.

Technology management courses just take this exploration one step further by placing these issues within the context of digitalised or digitally transformed businesses, making the course materials of technology management courses more relevant and reflective of the business operations and processes of today.

Here are some of the major industries that most heavily utilise technology management principles, both with regards to their everyday business operations as well as their customer-facing processes:

  • Software engineering and development
  • Web development
  • UI/UX design and development
  • Production and manufacturing
  • Finance (banks and financial technology companies)
  • Healthcare
  • Education
  • Consumer technology development and design

This is by no means an exhaustive list. In fact, it can be argued that virtually all industries use technology management principles to a degree, because all industries are now being tasked with the additional responsibility of managing and optimising their use of industry technologies. With this in mind, the sky is essentially the limit for technology management graduates, and they should feel encouraged to apply for professional positions in industries that excite or inspire them.

Professional pathways that lie ahead

So what professional pathways are available to technology management graduates who could do with a little direction? Well, quite a bit actually!

Amongst the ones that we've already outlined throughout this little deep dive, young graduates with technology management qualifications can also go into programming, coding, developing, design, general managerial positions in a plethora of industries, and even education, whether it be in the traditional on-campus sense or in the development of digital learning tools for elearning post-COVID.

The professional pathway options are basically endless, which makes a qualification in technology management the perfect addition for any who are looking to build a highly versatile - and potentially even future-proof - resume.

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Yes, technology management is a fairly expansive field of study, and its openness can feel both liberating and debilitating at the same time, especially if you're looking to enter the workforce as a young professional.

But in an economic landscape where globalised workforces are becoming the norm, and professionals have more employment prospects than ever before, the graduates of today genuinely do have the rest of their working lives to figure out what they 'want to be when they grow up'.

So take your time learning, experimenting, and figuring out just what makes you feel fulfilled. And when you do find something that perfectly aligns with your skills and interests, then it's highly likely that your postgraduate technology management qualification will help ensure that you can go the distance in that professional role and potentially open up options for you to take on managerial responsibilities.