Between 2020 and 2030, new jobs for computer and information systems managers will increase by 11%. Also, Lightcast jobs data indicated that 33% more jobs for IT project managers and project managers were listed between May 2021 to April 2022 than in the previous 12-month period. Additionally, 1 out of 4 IT hiring managers list project management skills in IT job vacancies.
IT project manager is obviously a trending role in the tech industry, and one worth looking into. But why the sudden strong demand for IT project managers? The answer might surprise you.
Organizations Need IT Project Managers, and They Need Them Now
IT project management is in-demand, and the reason for this is simple: Organizations have had to move everything to the cloud over the past couple years due to the pandemic. As a result, they’ve been burdened with new regulatory requirements, increased automation and communication problems between departments and teams.
Without technical project managers, organizations are vulnerable to litigation, fines and IT projects that don’t get done, or don’t get done well. This is why it’s a prime time to become an IT project manager.
What’s the Difference Between a Project Manager and an IT Project Manager?
Before delving into the skills required to be an IT project manager, it’s important to make a distinction between the roles of IT project manager and project manager. In short, project managers oversee projects that are not only of an IT nature. A program manager or project manager at a health care organization is an example of a project manager working in a non-IT context. Conversely, IT project managers are tech specialists who oversee IT projects.
But project managers and IT project managers alike will benefit from having IT project management skills.
Feel like you aren’t qualified for an IT project manager role? Not so fast. You may have more project management skills than you think.
Need more information about what an IT project manager does? Take a look at this.
In-Demand Skills for IT Project Management
There are two types of skills IT project managers need: Technical skills and soft skills. Both are equally important to landing and thriving in an IT project management role. Some of the key skills most employers expect IT project managers to have include:
1. A creative mindset: IT project managers are masters of thinking outside the box. They are open-minded to different solutions to problems and foster this same mindset in IT project team members. They are often skilled at articulating their creative ideas to others and eliciting feedback.
2) The ability to make complex decisions: Decision-making and critical thinking are a huge part of an IT project manager job. Those working in IT project management have honed the skill of making complex decisions in a timely manner, and they are comfortable making decisions as part of a team or on their own. Their creative mindset improves their ability to make complex decisions.
3) Leadership: It is vital that IT project managers possess leadership skills as they must oversee initiatives and entire IT project teams. Great IT project managers set IT project team members up for success by calling out their strengths and showing them practical ways to strengthen their weaknesses. Leadership skills encompass active listening, empathy, organization and strong ethics. These skills are usually more “caught than taught,” and are most often learned on the job.
4) Negotiation and accountability: IT project managers are usually great with negotiation and accountability. IT project managers should be able to compromise with others to find satisfactory solutions, promote better IT project outcomes and meet the needs of all parties. They should also have the willingness to accept accountability for their leadership role and own up to their mistakes.
5) Goal setting: Goal setting is one of the core capabilities of an IT project manager. Those who work in IT project management should be excellent at setting goals and helping IT project teams meet them. They should know how to break goals down into bite-sized pieces to prevent themselves or their team members from getting overwhelmed. As a result of effective goal setting, important milestones in the project lifecycle are reached, such as key deliverables and obtaining approval from a stakeholder.
6) Adaptability: An IT project manager role requires the ability to multitask. IT project managers usually have a lot on their plate at any given time. They must be able to adapt to new technologies, situations, expectations, team members, etc. With all the change involved in IT project management, technical project managers simply cannot do their job effectively without adaptability skills.
7) Budgeting: According to the Scoro Blog, just 43% of organizations say that projects are being delivered on budget. But experienced project managers know how to create a viable budget and control it throughout the lifecycle. Budgeting could be considered a hard skill, but it is transferrable to a variety of different job roles within IT.
8) IT management: IT management skills are critical to the success of an IT project manager and their team. Those working in IT project management have a thorough knowledge of IT, possess a well-rounded skill set and are aware of current trends. They often hold a variety of IT certifications and/or have at least a bachelor’s degree in an IT-related field. Usually, IT project managers have a background in IT management and understand best practices for managers. They are also good at making project plans and using project management software, such as Microsoft Project and Jira.
9) Reliability: Above all, IT project managers are reliable. Employers can count on them to be competent, honest leaders. Risk management and cybersecurity cannot be practiced responsibly without a reliable IT project manager. Also, regulatory requirements are increasing and burdening IT departments. Reliable IT project managers can help organizations remain compliant.
10) Time management: IT hiring managers expect IT project managers to possess robust time management skills. Without the ability to manage time, an IT pro cannot effectively manage a project. When time-management skills are up to par, everything runs more smoothly, goals are met on time and the project team is kept on track.
Many tech roles outside of IT project management require the skills listed above. If you’ve been in IT for long, there’s no doubt you already possess some of these skills. Combine these capabilities with essential technical skills and you’re on your way to an IT project management role.
CompTIA Project+ Meets Current Industry Needs Around Project Management
Technical project managers must possess a robust set of hard skills in addition to soft skills that ensure they are capable of overseeing IT projects. These skills include the ability to:
- Manage the project lifecycle
- Ensure appropriate communication
- Manage resources and stakeholders
- Maintain project documentation
The CompTIA Project+ certification covers all these skills and more.
CompTIA Project+ is perfect for tech pros who are or will be required to oversee smaller, less-complex projects. Certification candidates should possess foundational project management skills and have a minimum of a year of cumulative project management experience. Equivalent education can replace the experience requirement.
CompTIA Project+ covers key project management concepts beyond the scope of a single methodology or framework. This makes it more versatile than other project management certifications.
One of the best things about CompTIA Project+ is that it meets current industry needs around project management. It meets these needs by promoting the following:
- An IT focus: Hiring managers place a lot of value on IT pros who can skillfully manage IT projects and clearly communicate with project teams.
25 percent of IT hiring managers list project management skills in their IT job vacancies. This proves that these skills and individuals who possess them are in-demand. CompTIA Project+ provides these specific skills and gives IT professionals a competitive edge.
- An agile focus: CompTIA Project+ doesn’t just foster an IT focus. It also promotes a focus on agile methodologies.
“IT hiring managers shared with CompTIA that agile methodologies are used for a wider variety of IT projects,” explained Patrick Lane, Director of Certification Product Management at CompTIA. “Previously, agile was used almost exclusively for software development projects, but the job task analysis (JTA) expressed the need for all IT pros to have agile knowledge and hands-on skills.”
CompTIA Project+ can help supply these skills to scrum masters and other IT project managers.
- A risk management focus: Post-pandemic, it is important that IT pros working in project management have the ability to manage risks. Governance, risk and compliance are hitting the IT industry hard. Regulations related to HIPAA, PCI-DSS, NIST and more call for a higher level of compliance from IT departments than ever before.
To comply, IT departments must protect vulnerable data via good cybersecurity practices. IT project management skills, which CompTIA Project+ imparts, promote cybersecurity and risk management.
IT project management job vacancies are on the rise. Now is the perfect time to gain the soft and hard skills needed to land one of these roles and meet your career goals.
Interested in earning CompTIA Project+ and getting on the career path to an IT project manager role? Get practice questions and exam objectives here.