Release management is a relatively new function in the information technology sector. It is the process of authorizing and managing the deployment of software and other automated systems in organizations. Release managers are in charge of this function. This career is ideal for professionals with a solid background in information technology and great project management skills.
Mastering the Skills
Strong coordination skills are an asset to release managers. In software development, for example, they must effectively coordinate day-to-day activities, such as with several project team members, including software developers and deployment analysts. Release managers also need good analytical skills to evaluate software development, configuration and testing processes, and to identify potential challenges; they also need problem-solving skills to find appropriate solutions to these challenges. Since release managers often interact with computers, they need good technical skills to use them efficiently
Release managers are mainly responsible for ensuring the delivery of software products to various business units in a timely manager. For example, when an investment bank wants to install new trading software, the release manager collaborates with various department heads to schedule the organization-wide deployment of the software, as well as manage any risks associated with the impending installation, such as computer network crashes. Release managers must also keep track of the finances involved in software development, testing and installation, because they have a duty to ensure everything is done within the allocated budget.
When release managers are not planning the release of software and information systems, they help employees work around technical problems or hitches. For instance, when a server technician is unable to configure a server, she might ask the release manager for support. Release managers also may perform presentations to help senior managers understand the release management process, as well as provide them with reports detailing project progress. Once in a while, they may engage in research projects to identify new ways of managing software development and configuration.
To set your foot in this industry, you must earn at least a bachelor’s degree in computer science, software engineering or a closely related field. Many release managers are experienced IT professionals. You can begin by working as a software developer or IT coordinator to gain the practical experience required to break into release management. Once you become a release manager, focus on obtaining relevant professional credentials, such as the IT Infrastructure Library’s ITIL practitioner, and a master’s degree in IT project management. With these, you will be ready for top IT positions, such chief information officer.
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