An IT project manager is a person with many hats – naturally, the role incorporates project management and implementation of technology but it also involves general management. You need to know your stuff when it comes to computers but you also need to be able to deal with people and get them to do what you want.
Day to day work in IT project management.
You could work in-house for an organisation or for an independent consultancy but broadly speaking the roles are the same – to manage the implementation of technology, on time, to budget, and to the client’s or your boss’ expectations.
You could be running a team, solving problems, working with project management programmes and ensuring the smooth transition from old IT.
Qualifications and experience needed.
Most IT project managers will have some sort of computer-related degree e.g. information systems, project management, computing or programming, or business management. Some will have further postgraduate qualifications as well.
Role of a project manager.
It’s great to have IT technical skills and this is part of the role but there is a strong emphasis on the management side of things – how you manage and organise people is just as important as having credible IT or programming skills.
You can enter the profession without a degree but you’re more likely to get a job with a degree level qualification.
Experience of project managing, even if in another industry, is really useful. It’s highly unlikely you’ll be hired without any experience and most companies will expect you to have several years under your belt.
Fact: Salaries range from £25,000 to £70,000 depending on experience
Top of the list has to be organisational skills – you’ll be managing a number of people, all performing different tasks, and you need to be able to coordinate them effectively. You also need to be a great problem-solver. Even with the best planning in the world, things go wrong sometimes and you need to be able to deal with that and find alternative solutions.
IT skills are naturally very important to give you an understanding of the projects you are working on but being a good communicator is also vital. If you can’t communicate with the staff working for you, it will make your job that much harder to fulfil.
If you thrive on organisation and being methodical, then working as an IT project manager could be ideal. You need to be logical and analytical as well. Remaining calm under pressure, especially when things go wrong, is also important.
As pretty much every organisation relies on IT, you could work in a vast range of industries from healthcare and manufacturing to financial services or education. As you progress you can move into managerial roles or become a freelance consultant.
Remember, even football clubs and television production companies need IT systems to name just a few. You could even find yourself implementing a new system for the likes of Chelsea or Disney’s Pixar.