IT Project ManagerJob Description, Salary, Career Path, and Trends

A large IT department often has multiple projects running at once, and it needs project managers to take charge of them. Project managers plan and oversee projects and make sure they’re finished on time and on budget. They designate the resources needed for a project, create the project’s budget, and keep stakeholders informed about the progress of the project. Project managers must ensure that their team works coherently and swiftly to accomplish their goals.

An IT project manager needs to have some technical expertise. However, many companies value skills like leadership, budgeting, and a knowledge of different project and program management methodologies. Project managers must work closely with stakeholders within the company to ensure their assigned projects are operating within the company’s strategic goals.

Sample job description

IT project managers oversee technical projects from end to end, including the planning, organization, and implementation stages. They work with internal and external stakeholders to ensure the project meets customer requirements and company goals. IT project managers need strong leadership and management skills, excellent communication skills, and extensive knowledge of hardware, operating systems, and networks. [Your Company Name] is hiring an experienced IT project manager to revolutionize our IT department and projects. If you have experience organizing, conducting, planning, and implementing technical projects, you might be a perfect fit for a role as an IT project manager.

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Coordinate internal resources and third parties/vendors for the flawless execution of projects
  • Ensure resource availability and allocation
  • Perform risk management to minimize project risks
  • Measure project performance using appropriate tools and techniques
  • Coordinate cross-project activities
  • Develop and control deadlines, budgets, and activities

Education and experience

This position requires a bachelor’s degree in management or a related field. Employers prefer job candidates who have a master’s degree as well as Project Management Professional (PMP) certification.

Required skills and qualifications

  • Excellent client-facing and internal communication skills
  • Strong working knowledge of Microsoft Office Suite
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Solid organizational skills including attention to detail and multitasking skills
  • Thorough understanding of project/program management techniques and methods
  • Working knowledge of program/project management software (Basecamp, MS Project, etc.)

Preferred qualifications

  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills
  • Excellent analytical skills
  • Commitment to excellence and high standards
  • Ability to manage priorities and increased workflow
  • Acute attention to detail
  • Demonstrated ability to plan and organize complex projects

Average salary and compensation

The average salary for IT project manager is 121,300 in the United States. Position salary will vary based on experience, education, company size, industry, and market.

LocationSalary LowSalary High
Phoenix, Arizona$120,650$163,200
Los Angeles, California$136,100$184,150
Denver, Colorado$113,400$153,450
Washington, DC$138,150$186,950
Miami, Florida$112,900$152,750
Orlando, Florida$104,150$140,900
Tampa, Florida$105,150$142,300
Atlanta, Georgia$110,350$149,250
Chicago, Illinois$126,800$171,600
Boston, Massachusetts$137,150$185,550
Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota$109,300$147,900
New York City, New York$144,350$195,300
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania$117,550$159,050
Dallas, Texas$114,450$154,850
Houston, Texas$113,400$153,450
Seattle, Washington$132,000$178,550
National Average$103,100$139,500

Typical work environment

IT project managers typically work in offices where they spend much of their time on a computer. They might be in charge of several clients and accounts and have to travel to meet with clients. IT project managers generally work from 9 AM to 5 PM Monday through Friday with occasional nights and weekends to meet project deadlines. A growing number of IT project managers work remotely. 

Typical hours

The typical work hours in an office setting for an IT project manager are usually from 9 AM to 5 PM. However, some IT project managers might have to work more than 40 hours per week to create solutions for specific issues when they arise.

Available certifications

Many institutions offer certifications to help IT project managers improve their skills and knowledge and gain an advantage in the workplace. Here are some of the top certifications for IT project managers: 

  • CompTIA Project+ Certification. This certification prepares entry-level IT professionals to successfully manage small to medium-sized IT projects. CompTIA, a globally recognized institution for professional certifications in IT infrastructure, cloud, and cybersecurity, designed this program to develop your skills in project basics, project constraints, communication and change management, and more. There are no prerequisites, but Comp TIA recommends that candidates have at least 1 year of experience managing or participating in small to medium-sized projects.
  • Project Management Professional (PMP). The PMP certification recognizes you as having in-depth project management knowledge and experience. The program covers a variety of advanced project management topics, such as environments in which projects operate, initiating processes, planning processes, executing processes, and monitoring and controlling processes. To be eligible for certification, candidates must have a bachelor’s degree, three years of project management experience, 4,500 hours leading projects, and 35 hours of project management education. Those with a high-school diploma, qualify with five years of project management experience, 7,500 hours leading projects, and 35 hours of project management education. 

Career path

The path to becoming an IT project manager starts with earning a bachelor’s degree in management or a related field. Employers prefer job candidates who have a master’s degree. However, project managers don’t always start from a technical or IT background. Companies say they’ve hired IT project managers with degrees utterly unrelated to the technology world — like English or history. The key for most project managers is an understanding of the lifecycle of a major project, leadership skills, management training, and knowledge of different project management techniques.

Many industry leaders say it’s essential for an IT project manager to have business acumen and a definite sense of the organization’s goals. Project managers often work with stakeholders from many disciplines, both technical and non-technical, so an ability to work with people from different backgrounds is also essential. Companies also find it helpful for project managers to have their Project Management Professional (PMP) certification, which gives them a knowledge of multiple project management methods.

US, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job outlook

SOC Code: 11-3021

2020 Employment482,000
Projected Employment in 2030534,700
Projected 2020-2030 Percentage Shift 11% increase
Projected 2020-2030 Numeric Shift52,700 increase

IT project managers should stay informed about automation and artificial intelligence (AI) in the years to come. Many companies are looking at automating various IT processes, especially when it comes to storing data.

Industry insiders also stress that becoming more flexible as an IT project manager will continue to be of paramount importance in the coming years. Technology has always been ever-changing, but it’s changing even more quickly, and companies are working to be more nimble when it comes to adopting new technologies.

Change management is another trend IT project managers will see in the coming years. Whether it’s getting larger, becoming more automated, getting leaner, or adopting more cloud-based solutions, industry thought leaders say IT project managers will need to become proactive about managing change within their organizations. They need to look for processes that can be improved and visualize how to streamline those processes.

Sample interview questions

  • What is the role of an IT project manager?
  • Have you ever had a project that did not meet the deadline or budget?
  • What was your most successful project?
  • Which project management software and tools are you familiar with?
  • How do you handle conflicts on your team?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses as a project manager?
  • What are your best leadership qualities?
  • How would you handle a customer who is not happy with the results of your project?
  • What is the difference between project management and technical project management?
  • How has your previous job prepared you for this project management position?
  • What makes a great project manager?
  • What does an ideal project look like to you?
  • How would you get a project that is moving in the wrong direction back on track?
  • Are you experienced in managing a project’s budget?
  • How would you approach managing a remote team?
  • What is the best way to use outsourced resources for a project?
  • How would you deal with an underperforming team member?
  • What is the biggest mistake that you made on a project? How did you resolve it?
  • How do you go about prioritizing project tasks?
  • How do you delegate tasks among your team?

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