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How to Become an IT Project Manager

Image: how to become an IT project manager

In today's computer-centric world, IT professionals are needed by nearly every business, industry, and nonprofit you can think of. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the need for IT project managers, also referred to as computer and information systems managers, to grow by 15 percent from 2012 to 2022, faster than the average industry. That growth is expected to happen because of the increased reliance on computer software, as well as mobile and wireless networks.1

So what do IT project managers do?

Computers, networks, and systems have to be installed, administered and maintained. A team of IT professionals oversee those operations. An IT project manager is responsible for planning, coordinating, and directing the work by his or her team with the goal of identifying network needs and then implementing systems that will assist the company in meeting its objectives.

It sounds like I need experience.

That's true. Companies are typically looking for IT professionals with prior experience to lead their IT teams.2 Because of that, if you're looking to take courses in IT project management, it might make sense for you to do so online. That way you can continue to work full-time to continue gaining experience and still fit coursework into your schedule.

What do I need to learn to be considered qualified as an IT project manager?

Along with adding your prior experience to your resume, you should also consider a degree in IT project management. A quality program can give students an opportunity for in-depth study, with courses in topics such as:

  • Principles of IT Project Management
  • Leadership, Management, and Communication of Technical Projects
  • IT Project Quality Management
  • Risk Management and Project Cost Control

You should also look for a school at which instructors are able to draw on their own professional experience to make the classes as informative, responsive and relevant as possible.

I know you said the job outlook was good, but what specifically can I expect from the IT project management job market?

Demand for IT project managers is only expected to continue to grow as companies increase their reliance on computer systems, especially wireless and mobile networks. The concern over cybersecurity is also only expected to ramp up as threats against technology systems continues to become more and more sophisticated.

Another segment of the job market on the lookout for qualified IT project managers is the healthcare industry. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects general medical and surgical hospitals to increase the number of IT managers on their payrolls by an impressive 42 percent from 2012 to 2022.3

Ready to learn more? Explore IT degrees at AIU.

1Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Computer and Information Systems Managers, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/computer-and-information-systems-managers.htm (visited 1/12/2015)

2Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Computer and Information Systems Managers, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/computer-and-information-systems-managers.htm#tab-4 (visited 1/12/2015)

3Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Computer and Information Systems Managers, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/computer-and-information-systems-managers.htm#tab-6 (visited 1/12/2015)

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