If you’re looking to become an IT project manager, Jennifer Bridges, PMP, explains the job description, skills, qualifications, path and training involved.
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In Review – How to Become an IT Project Manager:
If you want to become an IT project manager, Jennifer said she’s happy to hear that because that means you are motivated and have a specific goal. That’s always a plus.
IT Project Manager Job Description, Skills & Qualifications
What does a project manager in IT do? Jennifer described an IT project manager as one who oversees the process of planning, executing and delegating responsibilities around an organization’s IT pursuits and goals, often with the help of IT project management software.
That sounds a lot like what a project manager does in any industry. For clarification, she went on to note some unique aspects of the job, by detailing the skills and qualifications needed to work as an IT project manager:
- Technical management skills
- Technical understanding including hardware, software, network, infrastructure, security, etc.
- Ability to analyze information and gleam insights from data
- Good at informing others and at communicating with many different teams
- Capable of staffing many different roles
- Excellent at problem solving
- Strong data center management skills
- Advanced resource planning, capacity planning and task scheduling skills
Different Pathways for IT Project Managers
Jennifer noted that there are many entry points into working as an IT project manager. For example, if you’re already employed in IT, like as a project coordinator, manager or a business analyst, then you clearly have an interest and some relevant experience.
If you’re not currently involved in IT, there are still avenues that can lead to an IT project management position. For instance, maybe you’re a project manager in a different industry, or maybe you have some other management-related position. You can leverage that experience for landing a job as a manager in information technology.
IT Project Management Job Plan
To get that position as an IT project manager, Jennifer said, you’ll want to first look at what skills, experience and training you already have. Now compare that to the skills, experience and training necessary to land that IT project management position you’re after.
Where are the gaps in your skills, experience and training? Once you’ve identified them, you can begin to create a plan and work towards filling those holes in your resume.
What About Training?
Training is always helpful for IT positions, especially if you lack real-world experience. Jennifer listed the following training courses that deal with the specific needs of an IT project manager.
- IT PM: Project management training that deals with technology, such as infrastructure, hardware, software, networks, etc.
- ITIL: Information Technology Infrastructure Library covers the best practices used to develop and execute IT service management for a company.
- ITSM: Information Technology Service Management teaches how to deliver end-to-end IT services for a company.
What About Scrum, Agile and Other Certifications?
Jennifer added that some people ask her how Scrum and Agile or other certifications fit in. She said it often has to do with the your organization.
While it’s true that Scrum and Agile are often thought of in terms of managing IT projects, that’s not always the case. Those ideas have seeped into project management writ large. But more importantly, not all IT projects use them, so it’s not a deal-breaker.
Pro-Tip: The time is better than ever for moving into a position as an IT project manager. According to PM trends for 2018, protecting information is a growth industry.
Today we’re talking about how to become an IT project manager, and IT meaning information technology. And when someone asks me that, I love it because I know they’re intentional, but it really depends on how to get there for their career path.
So let’s take a look at some options. It depends on if someone starts in IT. They could be a techie or they could be some other role in IT already, so they have an interest in the project management piece.
They could also be non-IT, meaning they could be in a different business unit. Maybe like operations, marketing, or even finance. And they could be a project manager for those type of projects or they could be some other role.
So again, they have an interest in becoming a project manager for the IT part of the project.
So some people ask, “Well, what about Agile and Scrum? How does that fit in?” And it really depends on your organization, and it really depends on the type of projects you work on. Not every project is managed using the Agile or Scrum methodology, so you may not need it.
So let’s look at some…the job description, and let’s look at some common skills and qualifications that companies look for.
So the job description is, the project manager oversees the process of planning and executing and delegating responsibilities around the organization’s IT pursuits and goals.
So some of the job skills they look for is someone with technical management and a technical understanding. They wanna make sure the project manager has an understanding of how maybe the hardware or the software, the infrastructure, maybe network and security, all fit together.
They also wanna make sure that the person can analyze information because, in IT, there’s a lot of data and metrics that go. So they have to be able to take that information and glean insights for the project.
They also need to be good at informing others because, typically on IT projects, there are different types of things, again, people working on the infrastructure, the software, the hardware, that have to integrate and communicate.
Also, staffing the roles on the project, problem-solving things that come up, data center management. So typically, the technology is in a data somewhere. It could be within the company or it could be somewhere outsourced by a third party vendor.
And then also, it’s very important to understand advanced project management tools for resource planning and advanced scheduling feature. Something like a projectmanager.com.
So here are…when you’re looking at the career path, how to get there, so you wanna look at the skills, experience, and training that you have already, and you want to compare that to an IT project manager and the specific type of projects you’re interested in working in.
So look at the specific skills, experience, and training that you need or is required. And with that, you find the gaps, and that’s what you use to build your custom plan for you.
So let’s talk about some of the training. So with that, you will need project management training. But there’s also a specific IT training dealing with technology, specific understanding how to manage projects around infrastructure, hardware, software, maybe again networks, and now, security is so important.
But some people ask about ITIL and ITSM. So what does that stand for? So ITIL is Information Technology Infrastructure Library. It’s not project management. What it is is best practices used to develop and execute IT service management for the company.
And so ITSM is, again, Information Technology Services Management, and it’s how you deliver end to end IT services within the company.
So hopefully, that helps to delineate what some of the terms mean, understand what the description of the role is, and some of the requirements for that.
So if you need a tool that help you become an IT project manager, then sign up for our software now at ProjectManager.com.