become a project manager

What does a Project Manager do?

A project manager (IT project manager) leads a project team and ensures the project makes deadline, budget, and has the resources needed to be successful. Project managers may lead a team of people but the team members may not be the project manager’s direct reports. Think of a project manager like the glue that helps a team be successful to complete a project.

How to Become an IT Project Manager

Most project managers have earned a bachelor’s degree. There is no specific degree for project management, so a bachelor’s degree in business or the related industry you may be a project manager in would be helpful.

The Project Management Institute (PMI) has a project management certification. This certification is highly regarded and recognized among organizations. To become certified, you must log a certain amount of hours managing projects, take a formal college-level course in project management, then sit for an exam and pass it. Each industry may also have its own project manager.

Interview with a Project Manager

Name: Pam
Title: Information Technology (IT) Project Manager

What does a typical day in your profession look like?

I review the schedule for projects and check with the team on the upcoming task due dates. I check the team’s progress on those tasks and ensure the team will meet their deadline dates. I also prepare team meeting agendas, prepare status reports, run financial reports for projects, write charters for new projects, and assist my team with roadblocks and project challenges.

What do you enjoy most about your career and what do you find challenging?

I find leading a team the most enjoyable. I find running reports and keeping the project within budget the most challenging.

What personal characteristics do successful people in your career field possess?

I think a project manager must have the ability to lead a team, create schedules, and hold people accountable for delivering their tasks on time with quality.

What advice would you give others who are interested in pursuing your profession?

There is great satisfaction in leading a team from no product to a finished product. A project manager is often blamed for projects going wrong, but the key is to be transparent from the start and use the data to support the project health you are delivering good or bad. Never be afraid to escalate risks and issues. Personalize relationships with your team and with business partners are the keys to success. Your team will deliver if they know you are behind them.

Article Citations

National Center for O*NET Development. 15-1199.09. O*NET OnLine.

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