Any business that relies heavily on information systems are going to need the services of a specialist IT project manager.
They’re the people responsible for the implementation of new IT infrastructures. Businesses such as call centres where computer databases need to be up to date with the latest technology may need a major upgrade to their core infrastructure.
That’s when an IT project manager will be drafted in to oversee the upgrade, ensuring it’s carried out on time, cost efficiently with minimum disruption to the business.
IT stretches beyond call centres though. Technology is at the core of most businesses, whether it be…
As most businesses need technology, there’s an array of IT companies available to offer assistance on the best technologies to meet individual business requirements. Those IT organisations will employ most of the IT project managers, and keep them busy with fresh projects to manage.
The jobs aren’t solely to be found with specialist IT companies though. With the right qualifications and work experience, you could break into a private career, working on a consulting or contracting basis.
The more specialist you become, the more you can expect to earn. It can be a highly rewarding career, but it’s going to take continual career development.
If you’ve been interested in technology platforms for any time, you’ll no doubt know the fast pace that technology progresses at. That’s something that IT project managers need to stay on top of. The latest industry technology and update their skills accordingly.
To supply businesses with the best advice, and implement the core structures to help their business succeed, you are going to need to know the different systems, and how to implement them. To do this efficiently, you’ll be working closely with the IT departments in any business you work with.
The training involved to become an IT project manager isn’t specifically related to information systems. The way you become qualified is to start your career by gaining working experience to build a background in the Information Technology field.
The more experience you gain, you can find yourself overseeing project development. When you do, that’s when it’s time to up your game and gain recognisable certifications that help you transition into a career as an IT project manager.
If you want to go directly into an IT project management career, you’ll have to create a roadmap to get you there.
The first step is to gain a degree in Information Technology. From there, you’d use that to gain invaluable field experience, working and implementing technological solutions to businesses.
With experience, you can further your training, gaining qualifications that directly correlate to the IT project management profession.
The main body to train with is the Project Management Institute. They provide invaluable training, with globally recognised qualifications, allowing you work in the UK, US, or any other area within the EU.
Other bodies are:
Prince2® – PRojects IN Controlled Environments is a methodological approach to project management. It’s recognised and practiced within the UK government for best business practice, as well as on a global level.
PRINCE2® certification is going to help tremendously to get started in project management. While it’s not completely specific to the IT sector, it is the foundation to being able to manage projects effectively in multiple industries. It’s practiced in engineering, finance, manufacturing, and many other industries.
It’s like the universal certification to work in any project managerial role and it stretches into information technology project management too.
It’s certainly beneficial to hold this accreditation to gain entry into the profession.
You can study towards an MSc or an MBA diploma in Project Management, which will teach the core fundamentals to be successful. While it’s not essential, it’s certainly going to go far for those who want to work with large corporations.
Due to industry diversity of project management the Masters route gives you the highest level of qualification, with the most knowledge you can bring to the businesses you work with.
As an IT project manager, you’re going to be assisting businesses get the best out of their technology. To lead by example you should be doing the same yourself. One of the software applications you can utilise to your benefit is the Microsoft Projects package.
By being certified in MS Project, employers will know you’ll be proficient in your record keeping, and able to keep them up to date on the project progression.
The CAPM is obtainable through the Project Management Institute. (PMI.)
By becoming a PMI Certified Associate in Project Management, you’ll hold a globally recognised qualification that can help you manage projects on behalf of global clientele.
Some larger organisations may require an IT project manager to travel to other parts of the world they operate. By holding the PMI certification, this can help you land work with larger corporations.
A PMP certification is again awarded from the PMI. As such it’s recognised globally and demonstrates you’re proficient in project management. The main aspect that this tells employers is that you understand the three main components they look for.
That’s done by validating your skills in inititating, managing, and maintaining large-scale projects.
For those who aspire to become an IT project manager, you will find a wide range of courses available. Be sure that before you undertake any, that they’re administered by any of the following:
That will ensure they’re going to be recognised by employers.
Starting out, you should aim for a degree in IT. With that, you can go out into the industry and gain work experience. As you progress in your career, the courses can be studied part-time.
By starting out early, you can get your CV built upon faster with your industry experience. You’ll need to keep your CV updated as you progress through different training courses.
Some are short courses, while other can extend to 2 – 4 years, depending on the intensity of the course you take.
The more study you undertake, the more proficient and valuable your project management skills are going to be the businesses that need your expertise.
It’s a career that you can’t study for a couple of years, and be set for life. You will be required to continually update your skills to be proficient in the best technology for businesses to use.
The more you know, the better you can serve. That’s why continuous learning is required to be the best IT project manager you can be.
When you become an IT project manager, you’ll have a range of job opportunities open to you. In larger organisations, you could be employed on a permanent basis, with some travel between other destinations involved too.
Many of the jobs are going to be temporary though. Businesses tend to contract IT project managers, when they need to upgrade their systems. Some assignments can be a couple of months, while others can take a few years to implement the new technological infrastructures.
In larger companies with other branches, you could find yourself tasked with a lot of travel between offices. Working on upgrades throughout your career.
In a permanent position, it’ll often be advertised to recruit an IT manager, rather than an IT project manager. This is because you’ll be responsible for overseeing all the projects that needs you to oversee.
If you’re drafted in to update a database, transferring all the old data to a new technological infrastructure, you’ll be on longer jobs. That’s when you’ll find the jobs advertised on a permanent basis.
Most of the vacancies for IT project managers will come from IT consultancies. They work B2B assisting businesses by advising on the best technology that will help them reach their company objectives.
When a company requires the systems to be upgraded, you’ll be the IT project manager assigned to the project to work on behalf of clients.
Those assignments, although temporary… the consultancy will be able to keep you in permanent work by providing you with ongoing IT projects to manage.
You’ll find that for most of the jobs, transport will be required. While some companies will provide a company vehicle, there will be some that won’t. Transport will be required, and sometimes you’ll also be required to work away from home too.
While the work can be thought as steady, it’s not always predictable. You can be working nationwide, or even globally, depending on your employer.
If you want to move into self-employment, becoming an IT consultant or contracting IT project manager, this is an option that’s open to you.
To get to that stage, you’ll need to go through the employment route, gaining working experience, building your portfolio up, prior to approaching consultancy work yourself.
The advantage you have from contracting is that between jobs, you can factor in breaks before starting your next project management assignment.
It is a lucrative industry to be in but the most earnings go to the most experienced. So it’s well worth investing in your future, ensuring that your training is continually improved upon, in order to keep yourself busy managing different IT projects.
The jobs you do will be dependent upon your area of expertise.
There are jobs advertised for:
Whatever area of IT you choose to specialise in, can be a factor in the IT project management jobs you’d be suitable too. There are also jobs that rely on your project management experience, in combination with your background experience, which can make you suitable for a number of managerial roles.
You could become an IT departmental manager, supervisor, team leader, or any other aspect that involves you overseeing the work of others under your management.
Whatever job you do go into, you’re always going to need some skills to get the job done effectively. You won’t be working alone, so you’ll need to become a part of the IT division of any business you work with.
You’ll be delegating different tasks, and conveying with other managers on the project progression.
You’ll no doubt experience problems with implementation. When that happens, you’ll need to call on your problem solving abilities to overcome the issues as and when they arise. Some systems may need implemented on a shoestring budget, so you’ll need to advise clients on the best resources you can provide them with, in a cost-efficient manner.
Every project you manage needs to completed to the agreed time scale, and within budget.
It’s a challenging career, but it’s also one that’s thriving and will provide job security.