What Does an IT Project Manager Do?

What makes IT project management a good career path to pursue? Find out in our comprehensive guide, including job duties, skills and more.

What Is an IT Project Manager (1) (1)Each day, IT project managers draw from their leadership skills to oversee different types of projects and project teams. By doing so, they ensure project success. But there is so much more to this IT role.  

Have you ever wondered:

  • What is an IT project manager?
  • What do IT project managers earn?
  • How can I become an IT project manager?

Keep reading. Below you’ll find answers to these and other FAQs about the IT project manager role.

Roles and Responsibilities of an IT Project Manager

IT project managers are responsible for setting project goals and timelines for group projects, keeping project team members focused and ensuring projects stay within a set budget. They also choose individuals to comprise project teams, as well as create workflows and coordinate the project schedule and phases.

Other responsibilities of an IT project manager include:

  • Delegating assignments to project team members
  • Keeping stakeholders in the loop about the projects they have ordered
  • Staying up to date with project progress
  • Creating project plan templates
  • Performing project assessments
  • Suggesting and managing project management software upgrades and integrations
  • Setting project milestones
  • Ensuring project deliverables are produced on time  

IT project managers exercise their excellent organizational and communication skills to help project teams pivot when plans need adjustment. They measure the success of a project by observing metrics such as team productivity, scope of work and gross margin.

Tasks like organizing and presenting project plans, setting goals and leading team meetings are central to the IT project management role. Additionally, these IT professionals prepare reports that outline project timelines, outcomes and budgets.

Skills Needed for an IT Project Manager

To succeed in an IT project manager position, IT professionals need a specific set of durable, professional skills. Some key IT project manager skills include leadership, negotiation, collaboration, creativity, goal-setting, teamwork, adaptability and time management skills. Other professional competencies IT project managers need are reliability, budgeting and problem-solving skills.

IT project managers also need extensive technical skills related to:

  • Web and mobile app development
  • Infrastructure management
  • Risk management
  • Database management
  • Project planning
  • Cloud migration
  • Programming
  • Agile project management
  • Data management
  • Resource management
  • Software development
  • Backup and recovery
  • Capacity planning
  • Software implementation
  • Task scheduling
  • Hardware installation
  • Network configuration

IT project managers need extensive knowledge of project management methodologies such as Lean, Agile, Waterfall and Kanban. They should have the know how to collaborate with members of a Scrum team, such as the product manager, product owner and Scrum Master.

Moreover, IT project managers must be well acquainted with project management tools like Gantt charts, work breakdown structures and project baselines. A foundational understanding of cybersecurity will also make them more effective in their role.

Educational Qualifications for IT Project Managers

To become an IT project manager, IT professionals are usually required to have a bachelor’s degree. A degree in management information systems, information technology or computer science would be appropriate. A master’s degree, such as a Master of Business Administration (MBA), could also be required, depending on the employer.

It is possible for a candidate who possesses the necessary skills, work experience and project management certifications to land an IT project manager job, or a related entry-level job without a traditional four-year degree, however.

IT Project Manager Salary and Job Outlook

Wondering what the average salaries are for IT project managers? According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), computer and information systems managers such as IT project managers earn a median annual wage of $159,010. Those in the top 10% of this occupation earn an annual average salary of $208,000.

Like the average IT project manager salary, project managers’ job outlook is excellent. According to the BLS, CompTIA State of the Tech Workforce and Lightcast, the need for IT project managers will continue to grow, in conjunction with emerging and other miscellaneous tech roles, reaching about 485,400 by 2033. This growth rate is 61% above the national rate.

The Career Path for an IT Project Manager

IT project managers usually begin in an entry-level position such as project coordinator, associate project manager, junior project manager or assistant project manager. After getting a few years of experience, technicians will advance to IT project manager. Ultimately, an IT project manager can move into a director role if they choose. This position requires a minimum of 5-10 years of experience in the field.

How to Become an IT Project Manager

1. Get a Degree (if Necessary)

In some instances, IT project managers need a bachelor’s degree in a computer-related field. If you want to increase your earning potential as an IT project manager, getting a master’s degree could be worth the investment. Keep in mind that if you don’t have a degree but do have the experience and certifications IT project manager job descriptions call for, you could be a great job candidate.

2. Earn the Right Certifications

Getting appropriate certifications is essential for those interested in an IT project manager role. One of the most sought-after certifications for these professionals is CompTIA Project+.

CompTIA Project+ is perfect for IT professionals who are responsible for overseeing projects that aren’t too complex while managing the project lifecycle and resources, maintaining documentation and facilitating good communication.

This certification covers topics like project basics, project constraints, project tools and documentation and communication and change management. The new CompTIA Project+ (PK0-005) is suitable for those with at least 6-12 months of experience managing projects in an IT environment.

The Project Management Professional (PMP) certification is also valuable to those working in IT project management. It measures and proves the skills, competency, education and experience that are needed for IT project managers.

The Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) or equivalent experience is a prerequisite for the PMP. Both certifications are offered by the Project Management Institute (PMI).

3. Refine your IT Project Management Skills

An IT project management role requires juggling many tasks and organizing complex projects. Getting relevant certifications and several years of experience in the field will help ensure IT professionals have the technical background and project management skills needed to perform well in their current or new job in IT project management.

IT professionals should always be refining their skills. IT project managers, or those who have their sights set on the role, can also build their skills through independent study, networking and knowledge sharing.

If you want to take your IT project management skills to the next level and prove your competency to potential employers, CompTIA Project+ is for you. It is the only industry certification designed to impart the entry-level skills needed to manage small- to medium-sized projects to IT professionals. Also, CompTIA Project+ does not require renewal. Once you have it, it’s yours for life.


Ready to learn about how to prepare for the CompTIA Project+ certification exam? Get a free trial of CompTIA CertMaster Learn+Labs today.

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