There’s no defined study path that prepares you to become a Demand Management professional. Achieving this objective depends on a number of factors that combine academic degree, experience and soft skills development. So how to become an IT Demand Manager.
WHAT TO STUDY
Let’s start from the beginning: to become and IT Demand Manager you definitively have to choose a technical degree, that could be related either to technology or to a specific domain depending on the sector you would like to work in. No matter what, you will have to develop both IT related competencies and technical expertize. Choosing an IT related degree will leave you with more room for later since you will be able to choose once you will have completed your studies the industry you feel is closer to your interests. Engineering would be a sensible choise being either telecomunication, computer or management engineering. Computer science would be another sensible choice even though will most probably provide you with a more distinct IT spin without going deeper into topics such as project and project management or cost controlling that could come in handy during you carrer.
Even though the subejcts studied vary deeply from university to university going for one of the above mentioned degrees should put you already on the right path.
GAINING THE RIGHT EXPERIENCE
Being a Demand Manager requires a certain experince in working in complex IT transformation projects and it’s a job you can do only if you have already gained some experience before stepping into the role.
The perfect opportunity would be to go working for a company that already has a well Demand Management department and that is looking for young professionals. Unfortunately most companies are not like this and are instead looking for more experieced people that could be able to positively impact the organization since the beginning.
So where to start?
A good training ground would be to work for a few years in a consulting company that that operates as a system integrator. Accenture, Deloitte, Capgemini, Bearing Point would be good choices so, if you have the chance of working there for a few years take it. It’ll serve you as a good trainig. Be aware that this companies are usually very demanding in relation to the amount of hours you will have to put in, so be prepared. Of course local system integrator could be as valid as the companies we’ve mentioned before, so do not exclude them ftrom your job search without having checked them out. If you have the chance to travel and you feel up to it, ask to be involved as much as possible in international projects and spend as much time as possible working with the customer. It will be a challenge but it will repay you immensely on the long term. Once you have put int 3 or 4 years you are ready to move on and to apply for a Demand Management position.
Once you started working you’re not quite there. DMs are the ones that in charge of not only gathering the business needs but also of stimulating the demand. They need to be constantly updated on the application and software avilable in their specific area of competence proposed the most relevant ones to their stakeholders. Demand Managers are innovation lookouts tasked with finding solutions. They are not only listeners. They have to challenge their stakeholders, make questions, propose alternatives. In order to do so DM have to train, read, participate in meeting, events and fairs in order to have an holistic overview of where their reference market is going in terms of IT solutions.
In addition to this project management knowledge is a must therefore, if you can, we advice you to take a project management course. If you feel up to it a PMP or a Prince 2 Certification would be a plus. It depends much on how the Demand Management role is interpreted in your company: certification is definitively an options if you are also in charge of project management actiities and remains anyways an important asset. CMMI and ITIL certifications could also be an alternative.
The main message that we would like to give you here is that ongoing training and formation is a key element of you success as a DM as much as your study path and your carrer path, so don’t underestimate it.