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Are you considering a career in IT project management? You’re certainly not alone. Few other careers can deliver the combination of challenging work, high compensation and long-term security that IT project managers enjoy, and that’s why more and more professionals are moving into the field. Fortunately, even with so many people joining the ranks, the job market for IT project managers is still looking good. The demand for project managers has grown dramatically in recent years, so there are always opportunities for qualified candidates.

If you’ve ever read an IT project manager job description, you won’t be surprised to hear that the best way to become an IT project manager is to create a plan in advance and guide your career step by step toward the goal. Here’s a look at the skills and experience you should try to acquire as you work your way toward a bright professional future.

Education

The Path Towards Becoming an IT Project ManagerVery few people step out of college and into an IT project management role. Recent grads, even those who have spent time in high-intensity internships, typically don’t have the depth of experience needed for success in the role. That said, education is still an important consideration for aspiring project managers. Most IT project management roles require extensive knowledge of software development and architecture in addition to general PM skills, so earning a degree in computer science or a related field will give you a head start on your journey to your future career.

Experience and Skill Sets

Once you enter the workforce, you can accelerate your career by seeking out the right jobs and projects. While no specific list of skills can ensure success as an IT project manager, most PM roles require expertise in the following areas:

  • Developing project plans and project timelines
  • Gathering requirements and defining deliverables
  • Tracking and reporting on project budgets
  • Using enterprise project management software, development environment software and resource planning software
  • Building relationships with C-level leaders and other key decision-makers
  • Change management “soft” skills for influencing and fostering organizational change
  • Creating and delivering effective presentations

You can learn more about how to best prepare yourself for your future position by checking out the Top 10 Project Management Skills.

Certification

Formal project management certification is increasingly important in today’s job market. Once you’ve spent a few years working on and leading complex projects, it may be time to take the next step and earn a PM certification through PMI or another industry authority.

Most certification programs require that you have several years of project management experience, so be sure that you meet the criteria before you start spending time and money on the certification process. After completing the necessary training and passing the certification exams, you’ll be able to put those prized letters after your name and enter a new world of opportunities and earning power.

Learn more about careers in IT project management and how Clarizen’s innovative solutions can help you lead your projects to success.

David Goulden
David is a Product Director in Clarizen's Solutions Team. With over 15 years of experience working with startup technology teams and their customers, he joined Clarizen several years ago in the Customer Success team working with some of Clarizen's largest companies in the media, IT and financial services industries and authored some of Clarizen's most popular apps.David currently owns Clarizen's IT use case initiative and is responsible for taking Clarizen's Apps Marketplace to the next level. David has an MSc in Analysis, Design and Management of Information Systems from London School of Economics.