Are you an ambitious professional, who gets excited with the prospects of managing the entire information technology infrastructure at your organization? Is this article your next stop at researching overtaking that next step forward, towards attaining your dream career in IT Service Management?

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

Read more: Top Skills You'll Need to Achieve Expert Status in IT Service Management

Careers In IT Service Management

What Is The Attraction Of A Career In IT Service Management?

In the current scenario, the role of an IT Service Manager is essential to any business that relies on an IT system – and many businesses obviously involve IT! Hence, anyone choosing 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 responsibilities and functions. For instance, if you are hired for the position of a Service Level Manager, you would have accountability for all aspects of the company’s IT services including responsibility for the delivery of IT services as per business requirements.

Read more: How to get IT Service Management Certified?

Exposure to quick-moving business processes enhanced decision-making skills together with the responsibilities that the position entails, allow a professional to advance in their career by leaps and bounds.

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So, What Are Careers In IT Service Management?

The ITSM career path is categorized on 4 basic differentiators: Service Strategy and Design, Service Transition, Service Operation, and 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 prioritized hierarchically) are spread across all four categories.

To raise the ladder from the entry-level to the senior-most managerial levels, bagging the different levels of certification in ITIL (IT Infrastructure Library) or other appropriate certifications at specific points in your career is a suggestive measure that we would advise you upon! The qualifications along with the years of professional experience will set you in the right path uphill. As requirements for specific roles, you might also benefit from some other certifications like – MSP or even PMP.

Listed here are some roles in the ITSM field, the skills expected of the roles, and some useful qualifications that will help you in your performance. We hope it helps 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 ITSM field. In this supportive role, you will be involved with teams working on a specific project and will be expected to support in the multiple 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 acquires general administration skills along with basic project management skills.

With sufficient experience and well-acquired knowledge on project and programme management, you may then choose one among the many routes of career advancements. The probable choices further are: choosing 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.

With that said, the typical roles that professionals can take after sufficient knowledge gain and professional experience are IT Project Manager, Service Desk Technician, Service Level Manager.


The following skillsets 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
  • Provide administrative services to project boards, project assurance teams, and quality review meetings
  • Explain reporting procedures and requirements to stakeholders
  • Prepare reports, charts, graphs and narrative information for management or programme analysis reports from material provided.

Useful Qualifications/Certifications:

Necessary qualifications that help professionals in the design, development, and delivery of projects and those that enhance skill development 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


Service Desk technicians provide technical support to users who need their software/hardware. The kind of assistance and support can include: fixing technical faults, 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 professionals at these levels require are then: identify and diagnose issues and problems, advise users on actions to take, categorize and record reported queries and escalate unresolved problems.

The next level in the career ladder that professionals can choose, after sufficient exposure and experience as a Service Desk Technician, are Service Desk Supervisor/ Manager, Project Coordinator, Application Support Analyst.


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

  • Excellent problem-solving and communication skills
  • Strong 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).

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Service Desk Manager


In organizations where a significant size service desk is in place, a dedicated Service Desk Supervisor or Manager will manage the operations. Their responsibility would be: to offer a customer-focused approach to the team’s operations and manage the team and boost their morale. The typical tasks expected of professionals at this role will be: manage daily operations, monitor response time and user satisfaction levels, consult experts to ensure integrated action plans, and improvise on techniques and practices for managing client queries, troubleshooting, and problem resolution and prioritization.

The next rung on the career ladder that professionals can choose from include: 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 that professionals can benefit 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 broader leadership role and the roles and responsibilities differ with the nature and size of the organization. Tasks expected of an IT Operations Manager are: “implementation and management of IT services using the principles and methods associated with industry best practices (e.g. ITIL), manage the provision of the 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.

After gaining significant experience at this level and with exposure at handling issues, professionals at this level will still require certifications to fill in knowledge gaps that will improve their performance. Upon being certified and with years of experience gained along the line, 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
  • Manage costs and budgets 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
  • Incorporate within routine work processes opportunities for skills development
  • Coach and/or mentors individuals and teams to address learning needs and more… 

Useful Qualifications / Certifications:

Certifications that professionals can benefit from 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 among the senior-most roles in the ITSM field. Typical responsibilities of a CIO would include: defining the company’s strategy for IT, manage all Information Services (IS) department activity, manage risk, negotiate and implement complex contracts, make recommendations to senior general management, ensure the reliability, confidentiality, security and integrity of all information systems including compliance with service level agreements.


The skillsets 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

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How Much Would I Earn In These Roles?

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

Generally, when you start out on this career path, you can expect to earn around $60,000 per annum. With years of experience under your belt and with additional responsibilities, you could start earning upwards of $100,000 per annum.  These kinds of salaries tend to get offered by middle-sized companies. The upper limit to this slab may be stretched a little at larger companies.

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 knowhow and whether the expertise is kept up-to-date with market trends and industry developments. Consider taking extra courses to reskill, in case old skills have fallen into disuse. Besides, an ITIL certification course would also demonstrate proof of commitment to prospective employers.