IT Project Manager

Many technology experts aspire to work in management positions, but they often lack the organization and management skills to get promoted to management.

The skills and knowledge obtained from working as a programmer or network engineer are usually not applicable in a management setting. Most project managers are responsible for motivating employees, overseeing budgets, and addressing workplace concerns.

In addition to technical skills, project managers must have good people and communication skills. They must also have versatile knowledge, even if they specialize in a certain subject.

Project Manager Basics

Project managers collaborate with staff members, customers, and other managers to determine project goals, schedules and budgets, and communicate vital information to project team members and other people involved.

Usually individuals who are goal-oriented, able to manage budgets, meet deadlines, and provide leadership become effective project managers. It's also beneficial to be able to work with people with various levels of training and education.

Effective project managers are also able to explain confusing concepts to customers and other people without technical backgrounds. They should also have good writing skills and have the ability to propose project goals and see a project through to its conclusion.

Education and Training

It's possible for individuals with technical skills to get promoted to management-level jobs without college degrees, but most companies prefer to promote people with bachelor's degrees or MBAs. Many professional certification programs in project management are available for people interested in improving their management skills. The Project Management Institute is one organization that offers professional certification programs.

Many aspiring project managers enhance their management skills by enrolling in college classes and attending professional seminars. In these classes and seminars, potential managers learn how to evaluate risks, supervise employees, and track projects. Many universities are now sponsoring project management master's degree programs.

Moving Up

Project management specialists usually agree that having a technical background is important but not a requirement to work as project managers. Project management requirements usually vary at each company. However, IT specialists are often assigned to manage IT related projects. In fact, according to one industry insider, IT firms usually prefer to hire and promote those with technical backgrounds to project management positions.

To get promoted as a project manager, you will usually be required to demonstrate your leadership skills by excelling as a team leader or successfully taking on additional job duties. To qualify for a project management position, it's helpful to demonstrate your proficiency in the following areas:

  • Leadership
  • Motivating team members
  • Determining project specifications
  • Inspiring others through positivity
  • Effective verbal and written communication skills
  • Resource management
  • Multi-tasking

Project managers must be effective communicators since they're often required to communicate financial, technical, and other vital details to various people involved with a particular project.

Keeping Up

Because project managers are often assigned projects where various types of methodologies must be utilized, and procedures followed, they must have extensive knowledge about many different types of applications. For example, since many companies are utilizing less-formal methodologies, project managers must understand extreme programming. It would be a bad idea to agree to manage a project if you were not sure of the preferred methods your company wanted to utilize to successfully complete it.