There are more than 16 million project managers in the world today. An increasing number of these professionals focus their work in the technology sector. IT project management jobs are skyrocketing; through 2027 there is projected growth in this field encompassing nearly 22 million new jobs. IT project managers have a bright future, so getting into this field may make sense to you if you’re looking for job stability. But what do IT project managers do? What skills do you need to get into information technology project management? We have these answers—and more.
What Is an IT Project Manager?
Technology management jobs are devilishly complicated but perhaps no more so than in the IT space. Building software or installing hardware has myriad parts. Any complex undertaking requires IT managers to hire project managers that can coordinate the work of designers, engineers, data scientists, and more. That makes the job of IT project managers challenging but highly rewarding. These IT project management positions require the ability to multitask to an extreme, and it’s a field where your tech acumen is just as important as your ability to stay organized and handle pressure.
IT project managers are tasked with delivering technology deployment on time and on or under budget. This requires massive organization and people skills. IT project managers can work on:
- New feature deployments for legacy software
- Rolling out new software applications
- Deploying a big technology hardware installation
- Merging two legacy applications into an integrated platform
An IT project manager is the face of a technology project. If something goes awry in a deployment, the IT manager is the one ultimately responsible.
To do this work well, they must pull together software developers who write the code with designers who create the end-user interfaces. They must keep their stakeholders appraised of their progress but also ensure their teams function smoothly. This job is one-third people, one-third tech, and one-third operations. It’s complex and requires myriad skills to pull it all off. But if you ask a PM, they’ll tell you that’s exactly why they love their work. Ultimately, IT project managers oversee all of the elements of a specific technology project. They make sure the work is flowing smoothly toward the end goal, whether it is short- or long-term. They are the leader of a team of IT professionals, the head of a technology project, and as such are massively valuable to their organizations. IT project managers get things done, coordinate the effort, and manage the expectations and deliverables for everyone.
What Does an IT Project Manager Do?
Every IT project management job has a beginning, middle, and end. The beginning includes:
- Team building
- Project scope development
- Feature design
- Project road mapping
- Project kickoff
The middle of an IT project includes:
- Feature build-outs
- Standup meetings to track progress
- Feature revisions
- Client/stakeholder check-ins
- Feature testing
- Bug fixes
- Mapping of time and labor
The end of an IT management job is the icing on the cake; the project has been deployed. Keep in mind that if the project is a software build, this is, in a sense, a living tool that will need maintenance as bugs arise or new features are added. A project manager may be called upon to also manage this periodic upkeep, working closely with software developers to improve the product.
The daily tasks of an IT project manager can include:
- Budget development, tracking, management, and reporting
- Managing team collaboration and communication
- Assigning and following through on tasks and responsibilities
- Assessing current project scope against the projected road map
- Monitoring and tracking key project milestones and deliverables
- Building trust between team members; team building
- Communicating, negotiating, and “wrangling” project stakeholders/client expectations
- Troubleshooting and resolving problems
- Dealing with changes as they arise
- Handing basic human resource issues on the team such as restaffing a developer that becomes ill or managing conflict between two team members
- Staying up-to-date with technology as it changes
The Association for Project Management (APM) says there are generally six key aspects of any IT project they take on:
You will use a variety of computer platforms and software applications to perform these tasks. Those applications will vary by the job setting.
New project managers learn these are the triple constraints of their job and it takes a great deal of attention and expertise to pull all three of these mandates off successfully. The underlying tenet of these requirements, however, is the IT professionals that build the product itself. So, far from being just a job that analyzes budgets and tasks, these knowledge workers must also manage other IT knowledge workers with massive technical acumen. While the IT project manager may not have the same level of technical expertise as, say, a senior programmer, the tech PM must be able to speak the language of these programmers. Meaning, they must know how to get the best out of their teams as possible.
Did we mention IT project management is hard? It is—but if you ask a PM they’ll tell you that’s exactly why they love it.
How Long Does It Take To Become an IT Project Manager?
People get to their IT project management positions from a variety of pathways. Some IT project managers fall into the role when they’ve been hired into a different position, but the need for a PM arises organically in their organization. However, the APM says, “Project management is increasingly becoming a career of choice rather than chance and plays a crucial role in a wide range of business sectors, making it a varied and rewarding job.”
Generally, IT project managers will hold a four-year bachelor’s degree or a two-year associate’s in IT, computer science, or IT project management. You could also pursue a master’s in IT project management.
There are online certifications available as well. The Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification is an online, globally recognized testing process from the Project Management Institute (PMI). To take the exam you need at least:
- 35-hours of coursework that specifically addresses project management.
- 36-months of experience leading projects (if you have a four-year college degree) or 60-months of experience if you have an associate’s degree or a high-school diploma.
Your PMP must be renewed every three years; you are required to maintain your skills by earning 60 continuing education credits during that time frame.
What Skills Are Needed To Become an IT Project Manager?
Your education and eventual experience as an IT project manager will teach you many of the skills you’ll need to do the job well. However, there are several skills you’ll use that perhaps cannot be taught but that you must already bring to the job. This includes:
- Commanding leadership
- Decisive decision-making
- Ability to handle conflict
- Critical thinking
- Solid, clear, concise writing skills
- Active listening
- Clear communication
- Strong collaboration
- Having patience
- Organization and time management
- Being task-driven
- Strong ability to multitask and context shift as needed
- Intellectual curiosity and a love of all things tech
If you have these skills and are considering the pursuit of a project manager position in IT, your next question will probably be: How much can I make and how secure are these jobs?
What Is the Average Salary of an IT Project Manager?
Payscale lists the average IT project manager salary as $88,757, while the base pay range for these roles runs from $58,000 to $129,000, depending upon your experience. Glassdoor lists the national average higher at $109,261. Indeed has yet another salary average, at $100,265.
What Is the Job Outlook of an IT Project Manager?
All IT jobs are in-demand; after all, the world runs on technology now. An IT project manager may find themselves heading up new software projects in just about any field. From healthcare to banking, construction to logistics, it seems like every company is rolling out a new software or hardware deployment that could use a good IT PM at the helm. Some of the reasons IT project management jobs are a great choice include:
- The PMI says there will be 22 million new IT PM job openings through 2027.
- There are IT project managers employed in almost every industry type.
- The salaries for these professionals are good even if you don’t have a ton of experience.
- It’s an interesting, challenging, engaging job where you may never be bored.
- There is always something new to learn since technology is always changing.
- You can make a real impact on your team and your organization. · IT project managers often evolve and advance into other roles—including the CEO!
IT project managers have one of the most interesting jobs in the entire IT sector. It’s a diverse, fun, exciting way to apply all of the skills and knowledge in your toolbelt. If you’re ready to
pursue a challenging career, IT project management fits all the requirements.
If you have completed your PM certification, have IT experience and are looking for your next job opportunity it just takes one small step—call on Prosum.
Find a Job as an IT Project Manager With Prosum Today
Prosum is an IT staffing solutions company determined to find you the best IT project manager role to suit your needs, wants, and priorities. We have locations in Phoenix, Denver, Orange Country, Los Angeles, and jobs there and everywhere in between. Job searches start and end with our tech recruitment agency because smart tech professionals know we have IT management positions and technology management jobs to fit their goals and lifestyles.
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