What Does an IT Project Manager Do?

Research what it takes to become an IT project manager. Learn about education requirements, job duties, average wages and job outlook to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Industrial Technology Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is an IT Project Manager?

An IT or information technology project manager is responsible for all aspects of taking an information technology plan from conception to completion. They are responsible for keeping workers on track through the beginning to the end of an IT project, ensuring work is completed properly by deadline and within budget constraints. Good IT project managers have fine coordination and leadership skills to keep their teams working together. They will be able to solve complex problems related to computers and information technology in a timely manner.

Learn more about this career in the chart below.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree or equivalent work experience at minimum; many have a graduate degree or certificate
Education Field of Study Project management or information technology project management
Certification Voluntary; two main certification options are available through the Project Management Institute: Project Management Professional (PMP) and Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM). Six more subspecialties are also offered
Job Growth (2014-2024) 15% (for computer and information systems managers)*
Median Salary (2017) $84,674**

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **Payscale.com

What IT Project Manager Programs Are Available?

Project management as a general topic is offered in degree programs at the bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degree levels, but dedicated information technology (IT) project management programs are primarily available at the post-baccalaureate certificate and master's degree levels. Programs present effective project management as a synthesis of business management, human resource management, and IT skills. Classes might address such topics as risk assessment, cost and time estimating, quality testing, team building, and negotiation. Students also develop a general knowledge of business processes and systems in the course of completing their studies.

What Are the Certification Options?

The Project Management Institute offers eight separate certifications. Their main two are the Project Management Professional (PMP) and Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM). The remaining six are for subspecialties within project management. They include the Program Management Professional (PgMP), Portfolio Management Professional (PfMP), PMI Professional in Business Analysis, PMI Agile Certified Practitioner, PMI Risk Management Professional, and PMI Scheduling Professional certifications.

PMP certification requires either a high school diploma and 7,500 clock hours (five years) of project management experience or a bachelor's degree and 4,500 hours (three years) of project management experience. You'll need to complete 60 hours of continuing education credit every three years to maintain certification. CAPM certification only requires a high school diploma and a minimum of 1,500 hours of experience.

Where Do Professionals Work?

As an IT project manager, you might work for a firm that provides contract computer services to other businesses - systems design, systems integration, and custom programming. Large organizations with ongoing IT needs, such as insurers, financial institutions, manufacturers, and government agencies, are also potential employers. You can also become an independent IT consultant. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) classifies IT project managers as computer and information systems managers and estimates that these professionals held around 341,250 jobs in 2015 (www.bls.gov). Employment growth of 15% is projected in this category for the years 2014-2024.

What Job Duties Will I Have?

Your main responsibility will be to oversee the initiation, design, implementation, and closure of information technology projects. This will entail managing budget, conducting consultations with clients and vendors, preparing schedules, assigning subordinates to particular tasks, and tracking progress towards completion. Projects are likely to engage such areas of technology and trade as network engineering, telephony, information security, and database administration.

What Salary Could I Earn?

PayScale.com reported in January 2017 that the majority of IT project managers earned an annual salary between $53,400 and $121,310. IT project managers with 0-5 years of experience earned a median salary of $69,259, and those with 5-10 years of experience earned $85,274. According to the BLS, computer systems design and related services employed the highest number of computer and information systems managers in 2015, including IT project managers.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Computer systems analysts observe the practices of an organization regarding how it utilizes its current computer systems. From these observations, analysts present suggestions to management that could help improve efficiency. Database administrators encrypt data for an organization using specialized security software in order to keep it safe from unauthorized access. Network and computer systems administrators supervise the daily activities of computer users in an organization, assisting them with issues they have and keeping work on schedule. All of these careers will require a bachelor's degree as a minimum for education.

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