Wednesday 20 March 2019

How to become an IT project manager (plus how much you could earn)

Alice Murray - Independent Jobs

Is it time to ditch your boring 9-5 and try something new? Could this be the year that you finally make a change?

According to the recent Jobbio #WorkHappy Index 32% of people would like to improve their project management skills in 2019. But how do you become an IT project manager and what do they do everyday? Well, we’re glad you asked. This article contains everything that you need to know.

What exactly is an IT project manager?

IT project managers are often referred to as computer and information systems managers. In a nutshell, their role involves overseeing and directing the activities of information technology projects.

It is a varied job that includes tasks like managing members of staff, creating project plans, overseeing projects and providing detailed analysis and feedback. To do this role effectively they need to wear a lot of different hats.

What do they do everyday?

Developing the project plan

Their first task is to put together a team that will be able to bring the project to fruition. Next, they need to log the requirements for the project so that they fulfil the aims. Finally, they must create a project plan and timeline that the team will be able to consult throughout the journey.

Budgeting

Projects are often expensive. As a result, one of their main responsibilities is putting together a master budget. To do this they need to estimate the cost of covering all the project tasks and resources required. They then need to manage the costs through accurate cost tracking. This involves comparing the real-life expenditure to the estimates and correcting any discrepancies.

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Managing their team

A huge part of this role is managing the extended project team. Good IT project managers are expert coaches and trainers. They help their team to reach their own personal career goals as well as the overall project outcomes. They also need to act as mediators when disagreements and conflict arise within the team.

Delegating tasks

During the early stages of a project, the manager will need to work with their team to discover which tasks need to be completed. This involves clearly defining the scope of the work and the expected objectives. They then must delegate tasks to their team taking individual preferences and strengths into account.

Project analysis

At the end of each project, an IT manager must conduct an evaluation review to assess how well the project was handled and executed. They will also need to provide a clear and complete handover to the team who will be managing the project going forward. This should include any follow-on action recommendations.

So, what are the key requirements to break into this role?

● A Bachelor’s degree in a related area of study such as IT or computer science.

● Some employers may require a certification in project management.

● Leadership skills.

● Team management.

● Organisation.

● Negotiation skills.

● Risk management.

● IT skills.

● Problem-solving capabilities.

● Excellent communication skills.

● Ability to delegate.

How will my career progress?

Most people start their careers in roles such as project assistant, project coordinator or even project management support.

After some time they may then move on to become an assistant project manager. In large organisations this role may simply mean that their projects are shorter and less complex.

Once in a senior project management role, there are several options for further career progression. This includes roles such as management consultant, programme manager, portfolio manager, head of projects or even director of projects.

Okay, how much money can I expect to make in this role?

The approximate average wage for a sales manager is as follows.

Ireland: €53,897

UK: £36,000

US: $78,222

How do I ace my interview?

Easy peasy! You just need to be prepared. Here are some of the most common interview questions for this role.

Why are you interested in this particular role?

What kind of projects interest you the most and why?

Are you familiar with project management software?

What skills must an IT project manager have?

How have you improved the project management at your current company?

How would you describe your leadership style?

How good are you at delegating tasks?

What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned about project management in a previous job?

How would you deal with an underperforming team member?

Describe a successful project that you have managed in the past?

Tell us about a project that you have previously worked on that did not go to plan.

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