Technical Account Manager Careers: Salary Info & Job Description

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What are the pros and cons of a technical account management career? Get real job duties, career prospects and salary info to see if becoming a technical account manager is right for you.
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Pros and Cons of a Technical Account Manager Career

Technical account managers work with customers within technical fields, such as computer software, to ensure continued satisfaction and conflict resolution. Learn more about the pros and cons of this career to find out if it's the right move for you.

Pros of a Technical Account Manager Career
High salary projections (mean annual wage of $104,660 in May 2014)*
Interact with people on a daily basis*
May have the ability to make your own schedule*

Cons of a Technical Account Manager Career
Typically formal education is required (bachelor's degree is standard)*
Work-related skill knowledge (industry certifications typically required)**
Ability to travel may be necessary*
Job security is reliant on customer satisfaction*
Average job growth (7% growth from 2014-2024 for sales engineers in computer system design)*

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), **Job postings (September 2012)

Career Information

Job Description and Duties

The top priority for a technical account manager is to ensure customer satisfaction through answering questions, resolving complaints and conducting status meetings with clients. These professionals manage customer relationships by recommending solutions, managing account incidents and complaints, implementing customer satisfaction strategies and providing quarterly reports. They may perform desk sales and direct selling, as well as market forecasting.

Technical account managers may be required to work long hours to meet client's expectations and answer questions. Communication with clients, managers and colleagues happens on a daily basis.

Career Prospects and Salary Information

According to the BLS, the job duties of sales engineers closely align with those of technical account managers. From 2014-2024, the BLS predicted that sales engineers working in computer systems design and related services would see a 7% increase in jobs, which is the average for all occupations. According to the BLS, sales engineers working in computer systems design and related services earned a mean annual wage of about $104,660 in May 2014. Additionally, Salary.com stated that IT account managers earned median salaries of about $112,000 as of January 2016.

What Do Employers Look For?

A technical account manager works in technical computer fields, so you typically need a bachelor's degree. Degree programs in information technology, computer information systems or a related field are typically highly sought after by employers. When choosing an educational program, you may want to look for programs that emphasize skills in operating systems, networks, telecommunications or programming. Additionally, many employers want applicants that hold about three or more years of experience in a business or technical field. Some employers also list vendor certifications among the job requirements. Other requirements listed by employers in September 2012 job postings included:

  • Leadership
  • Troubleshooting skills
  • Communication skills
  • Technical skills
  • Detail oriented

Job Postings from Real Employers

Due to the technical requirements of the position, most employers require technical account managers to hold education and experience related to the field. Most employers note a specific work environment and may require your experience to be in that field. Below are some examples of real job postings open in September 2012 on Monster.com:

  • An insurance computer software company in Washington is looking for a technical account manager with a bachelor's degree and experience in Oracle CRM is a plus. The ideal candidate would have experience with Microsoft Office Products and exceptional communication skills, as well as the ability to travel ten percent of the time.
  • An intelligence company in Indiana is looking for a technical account manager with a bachelor's degree in an information technology related field and certification as a Cisco Network Engineer. This individual needs knowledge of Windows operating systems, data center technologies and programming languages, such as C++.
  • An Internet services company in Virginia is seeking a technical account manager with a bachelor's degree and four or more years of web hosting experience. The employer would also like applicants to hold a PMP certification. This individual must be able to communicate effectively on conference calls, review client documents and travel.

How to Stand Out in the Field

Because the requirements for this career vary based on the career field, you can stand out by becoming specialized. Specialization may take the form of specific industry experience, such as experience in insurance or financial fields, or certification. For example, IT or software development companies might prefer an individual that holds a certification through a specific vendor, such as Cisco. The Cisco Certified Network Associate credential can validate an applicant's ability to install and configure Cisco specific software, as well as demonstrate knowledge of security and wireless concepts.

An additional certification that may be preferred by some employers includes the Project Management Professional (PMP) credential offered through the Project Management Institute. The PMP credential requires that an applicant hold a bachelor's degree and three years of experience or a secondary diploma and five years of experience in project management. The PMP credential demonstrates your ability to lead and direct teams and work with clients.

Alternative Career Paths

Sales Managers

Are you more interested in managing and organizing sales teams than working long-term with customers? You can consider a career as a sales manager. Sales managers oversee regional and local sales, resolve customer disputes, prepare budgets, analyze statistics and plan training programs. To enter this field, you typically need a bachelor's degree and about 1-5 years of experience; however, the overall growth in the field is expected to be about 14% from 2010-2020, according to the BLS. Additionally, sales managers earn comparable wages with an average of about $117,000 in May 2011.

Purchasing Managers

If you are interested in exploring purchasing and sales outside of technical industries, you can consider a career as a purchasing manager. In this field, some of the duties you'll be responsible for include planning and coordinating the work of buyers and negotiating contracts. Purchasing managers typically require at least a bachelor's degree and experience as a buyer; however, you can break into the field as a buyer or agent with only a high school diploma. While this field is projected to see an overall increase of only seven percent from 2010-2020, the average wages of purchasing managers were about $103,000 in May 2011, stated the BLS.

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