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Who is an IT Project Manager?
An IT project manager is a trained professional who is usually in charge of overseeing the planning, execution, and delegation process of the information technology (IT) of an organization. The Information Technology (IT) of an organization refers to anything that has to do with the computing technology, communication, networking, system hard and software, internet, etc of an organization.
IT Project is referred to as an endeavor that is carried out over a period that includes all aspects of the planning, design, management, training, and implementation of every process and resource put in place to see that the endeavor produces the desired and expected results.
What Does an IT Project Manager Do?
An IT project manager’s job description as stated above is first the planning, organizing, budgeting, managing resources, and implementing the IT goals of a company or organization. Some of these goals include network upgrade, data management, hardware installation, software and app development, etc.
They are also responsible for analyzing a project to determine the scope, cost, quality, resources needed and those available, risks, and risk procurement of the project. They carry out this analysis before the project is launched to avoid regrets in the future.
Project managers are responsible for planning projects from the beginning through the 5 phases of a project cycle.
- The first phase of carrying out a project is the initiation stage. It is at this stage that the goals, aims, and objectives of the project are created and identified.
- The second phase is the planning of every step, process, and resource that needs to be put in place. During this phase, the project manager makes a budget of all that will be needed as well as the cost and also allocates responsibilities to the members of the team.
- Execution is the third phase and it involves the entire team. The project manager leads the team to carry out all the laid down plans involved in the project to achieve the needed results. After the execution, the project manager monitors and controls the project over some time to determine its success.
- The closing is the last phase and this occurs at the end of the project. At this phase, the project manager ensures that the project has been completed, is successful, and has been approved then the ownership is transferred from the project team to operations.
The IT project manager job description also includes staff management; this involves the recruitment, selection, orientation, and training of all IT staff. This is to ensure that there is a smooth workflow and making sure that all members of the team carry out their duties promptly and efficiently. The project manager is responsible for allocating and assigning duties to members of the team.
The project manager also supervises the entire project from the start to finish. The manager also implements strategic ways to avoid disasters, implements disaster recovery procedures, and provides backup plans if the need arises. It is also the work of the IT project manager to give up to dates progress reports about the project to the stakeholders.
Why Hire an IT Project Manager?
Hiring an IT project manager might seem unnecessary but when you look at an IT project manager job description you will realize the importance of hiring one. Many organizations and companies recognize the importance of project management to their Information Technology sector and they strongly agree that it is very critical to the success of their companies or organizations as the case implies.
Hiring an IT project manager ensures expertise and efficiency because that is their area of specialization. When you hire an expert in any field at all you get the best results because the expert is good at what he or she does.
When you get just anyone who is not a professional you might have to spend more money than necessary and the project might not be ready by the deadline. Getting a project manager to do the job will ensure that the project is done within the budget and deadline.
There will be a better flow of conversation between the stakeholders and the project manager because they will find it easy to understand, interpret and bring to reality exactly what the stakeholders desire.
It is better to hire someone who has enough experience at doing something than to hire just anybody who has little or none. Because it is their job, project managers complete projects often which allows them to gain more experience and skills in the field. This experience will ensure that your projects are handled professionally.
How to Become an IT Project Manager
There are certain educational requirements you must meet when considering how to become an IT project manager.
To become a project manager you have to go through at least 5 years of experience in management either at the lead or support level.
First, you need to possess at least a Bachelor’s degree in a four-year program such as Computer Science, Information Technology, Information Technology Management, or any program related to any of these.
It is advisable to an internship because it allows you to gain more experience by interacting with experienced project managers. Apart from gaining experience, an internship provides the opportunity to meet people in the field who can be of help to you when you are looking for a job after graduation.
Students are also required to complete a certification such as the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification, PRINCE2, or Scrum. You can go ahead to pursue a master’s or Ph.D. degree in IT management because it gives you an upper hand in the labor market.
Getting a PMP certification or any other equivalent certification allows you to make more money as a project manager. A PMP certification is also recognized for promotions and career development. The PMP certification can be earned through the Project Management Institute.
This institute promotes education and research in any field that is project management. The institute is also concerned with international certification standards, procedures, credentialing, and policies.
IT project manager as the job description implies requires a variety of skills apart from the educational requirements. Some of the skills that an IT project manager should possess include leadership skills because as a project manager you will work with other people as a team which you are to give directions and instructions.
Coordination and organization are also very important skills that are required because IT projects involve a lot of planning.
The ability to promote and sustain teamwork and co-operation is also very important; because if there is no co-operation among the team members working on the project there will be an obstruction in the workflow. When everyone is not putting in their best then the team might not get the result they need. An IT project manager also needs to have superb verbal, written, and presentation skills.
Another important skill is the ability to think analytically. This means that you have to be able to analyze and keep track of everything that is involved to help you plan projects that will produce the desired results. Project managers are also required to have an in-depth understanding of IT systems, networking, and other computer software.
Project managers need to have firsthand knowledge of project management tools, frameworks, and reporting standards.
The average salary that an IT project manager earns is $116,000 with the least paid salary as $93,000 and the highest-paid $140,000. However, the exact payment of every project manager depends on factors such as the manager’s level of experience and education, size of the team the manager is working with, the company the manager is working for, and also the type of the project.
A recent global study has found that becoming a certified manager by earning a PMP certification will boost your salary. Project managers with PMP certification are said to earn 22% higher than their colleagues who do not have the certification.
For instance, a manager with a PMP certification will be paid a salary of $120,000 while a manager without a PMP certification will be paid a salary of $95,000.
Having a master’s degree also gives you better salary opportunities than having a bachelor’s degree or a PMP certification. An IT project manager who has a master’s degree will earn an average salary of $120,000 while a project manager with only a bachelor’s degree will earn a salary of $110,250.
It is important to make sure that you enjoy working as an IT project manager and not only interested in the salaries you will earn. This is because a project manager who does not enjoy the job may not give full attention to working on projects and this will lead to a lack of efficiency and discouragement to the other team members.