Every day, you read the news and find yet another novel app taking the world by storm. The stock market is essentially a new sport to watch. The metaverse is a whole other thing. Tech is an exciting field, and participating in it — maybe even running information technology projects — means you’ll get a front-row seat to the development and execution of technology. Having a basic understanding of technology is also a requirement for many other careers, so kick your tech skills into overdrive with a degree in information technology.
If you’re looking for a career in Information Technology (IT), you may be wondering what the job entails. Before making any commitments to your field of study, it’s essential to understand what an information technology project manager is, what they do on a day-to-day basis, and what skills are necessary. You’ll also learn more about whether or not it’s worth the investment of studying to become an information technology project manager. So, let’s start with the basics.
What Does an Information Technology Project Manager Do?
Information technology project managers are responsible for planning, organizing, and directing the activities of IT projects. Information technology projects cover a great range of functions and outputs like ideation, design, construction, implementation, and more. Information technology project managers work with teams of engineers and other professionals to ensure projects are completed on time, within budget, and to the customer’s satisfaction.
What Does an Information Technology Project Manager Do on a Day-to-Day Basis?
Because IT project managers work with projects from beginning to end, from crib to coffin, you get to be involved in both the high-level planning and the nitty-gritty details of thoroughly executing a project. For instance, as an information technology project manager, here’s some of what you’ll do:
- Oversee the development and execution of project plans
- Coordinate project resources
- Monitor and report on project progress
- Manage changes to project scope
- Issue change orders as needed
- Assess and mitigate risks to the project
- Define, document, and track Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
- Verify and approve deliverables
- Manage project closure activities
What Skills Do You Need To Be an Information Technology Project Manager?
In order to become an IT project manager, you’ll need certain skills. You’ll need to be able to manage projects and keep them on track, which includes making sure all the necessary tasks are completed on time and within budget. You should also have strong communication skills so you can effectively communicate with your team members, clients, and customers. When you’re managing projects, it’s also important to stay organized and have a good understanding of what you’re working on with each team. The soft skills you will need include critical thinking, problem-solving, and decision-making.
Information technology project managers also need:
- Strong leadership and communication skills
- Proven ability to manage multiple tasks simultaneously
- Strong problem-solving and analytical skills
- Excellent organizational skills
- Experience with project management software
- Knowledge of information technology concepts and principles
How Long Does It Take To Become an Information Technology Project Manager?
It typically takes about four years to become an information technology project manager. This includes earning a bachelor’s degree in information technology or a related field, as well as gaining experience in the field. However, some employers may require candidates to have a master’s degree in order to be considered for a position.*
Is It Worth It Financially To Become an Information Technology Project Manager?
Now that you have a better understanding of what an IT project manager does and what skills are necessary to become one, you may be wondering if it’s worth the investment of studying to be an IT project manager. The answer to that question largely depends on your career goals.
If you’re looking for a career in information technology, becoming an information technology project manager is a great start. With a foundation in information technology, project managers gain a full understanding of the scope of projects and what it’s like to work with people at all levels of an organization. Still, a critical component of studying to be an information technology project manager is knowing you’ll enjoy not just the career outcomes, but the study of coursework as well.
What Classes Do You Need To Take To Earn an Information Technology Degree?
In order to become an information technology project manager, you’ll need to complete a degree in information technology or a related field. However, some employers may also accept candidates with related work experience in lieu of a degree. You should always explore your chosen career path in-depth before committing to a degree, whether that is through certifications, working as an intern, working full-time in the field, or researching the classes included in your degree. Each option has its benefits. Researching classes, for instance, can start now. Let’s dive into what you need to study to become an IT project manager.
While it’s helpful to have a broad foundation for any course of study — and you’ll certainly use those skills as an information technology project manager — you’ll specifically study tech-related classes in your IT degree. For instance, you’ll take tech-focused and strategy-forward classes like:
- Fundamentals of Information Technology & Literacy
- Computer Networking
- Programming in C++
- Human Computer Interaction
- Web Design & Development
- Mobile Application Design & Development
- Information Technology Strategy & Management
- Capstone for Information Technology (a real-life project within a team environment)
What Is the Salary for an Information Technology Project Manager?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for a computer and information systems project manager, similar in many ways to an information technology project manager, is $151,150 annually or $72.67/hour. However, this number can vary depending on a variety of factors, including exact title classification, experience, skills, and location. Salaries for information technology project managers are also on the rise; as more and more businesses require skilled project managers to navigate their IT projects, the demand for these professionals is increasing. With the right skills and experience, you could be on your way to an exciting and rewarding career as an information technology project manager.
Where Can You Work as an Information Technology Project Manager?
Some of the places where you can work as an information technology project manager include corporations, health care organizations, government agencies, and educational institutions. Companies that require strong project management skills with an emphasis in information technology can benefit from the organizational skills of information technology project managers.
Think of the last great idea you had and executed. What did it take to bring the idea from a dream to a reality? In a nutshell, that is the role of IT project managers in an organization — moving projects from ideas to research to planning to engineering to execution to implementation. And the role doesn’t stop there. Once a project is live, information technology project managers can help with analysis — how did the project perform? — and feedback — how can the project improve for next time? Carrying out projects through each of these steps helps information technology project managers and team members improve with each project.
Information Technology Project Managers: Flexibility Is Key
As you dive deeper into your career as an information technology project manager, you’ll begin to understand the different types of project management that diverse projects and groups of people need. For instance, leading other tech-minded teams might mean you can give a high-level summary of the project and leave them to execute with little extra direction. On the flip side, communicating project needs to team members without the same tech background might mean flexing your IT project manager skills to bring them up to speed. Doing so could include drafting project briefs, outlining tools and software, developing processes, and answering questions along the way.
Throughout your experience and study as an information technology project manager, you will gain an intimate understanding of workflows, and in particular, the seven styles of project management.
What’s Your Style as an Information Technology Project Manager?
There are seven major project management styles, and understanding them can help you decide which style suits you best as an information technology project manager. You will also begin to see that while you have a tendency toward one style or another, there are benefits to being flexible and utilizing a different project management style when needed. The seven major categories of project management include:
- Six Sigma
Determining your project management style allows you to better coordinate your team and projects effectively and efficiently.
Career Overview: Information Technology Project Managers
In summary, what is an information technology project manager? Information technology project managers are responsible for planning, organizing, and directing the activities of information technology projects. They work with teams of engineers and other professionals to ensure projects are completed on time, within budget, and to the customer’s satisfaction.
In order to become an information technology project manager, you’ll need strong leadership and communication skills, a proven ability to manage multiple tasks simultaneously, strong problem-solving and analytical skills, excellent organizational skills, experience with project management software, and knowledge of information technology concepts and principles. Whether or not it’s worth the investment of studying to become an information technology project manager largely depends on your career goals.
If you’re looking for a career in information technology, earning an information technology project manager degree is a great way to start. Talk to a UAGC advisor to enroll today!
* Successful completion of the Bachelor of Science in Information Technology degree by itself does not provide licensure or certification in any state, regardless of concentration or specialization. Successful completion of the Bachelor of Science in Information Technology degree does not fully qualify a student for any PMI certification. Students or graduates that are interested in pursuing PMI certifications are strongly encouraged to visit their website (www.pmi.org) for additional information.
Certain degree programs may not be available in all states.