What Is an IT Project Manager? And How to Become One

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Learn what an IT project manager is, including what they do, how much they make, and how you can become one.

[Featured Image] An IT project manager discusses information from a report with a team member.

An information technology (IT) project manager is a professional that helps organisations achieve their IT goals by planning and executing projects. IT project managers might lead projects to introduce new software solutions, scale IT processes, or switch cloud providers for an organisation. Some IT project managers may be tasked with leading software development.

IT project managers can work with the IT teams of many different types of organisations, including health care facilities, tech companies, and universities, among many others.

What does an IT project manager do?

An IT project manager brings new IT processes of an organisation to fruition. Here’s what the actual tasks and responsibilities of an IT project manager might include:

  • Lead multiple IT projects from initiation to completion

  • Develop and manage project budgets

  • Communicate with stakeholders, including IT managers, vendors, and executive leaders

  • Lead risk management and mitigation efforts

  • Gather, analyse, and report IT metrics

IT project manager salary and job outlook

The average salary of IT project managers in the UK is £55,223 as of February 2023 [1]. 

Job growth for IT project managers in the UK is projected to be strong. The amount of IT project managers in the UK has grown by about 60 per cent in the past 10 years, according to data gathered by Statista [2]. Between 2017 and 2027, the PMI projects that 5.5 million project management jobs will be created in the information services sector, making it the second-largest sector in project management job growth [3].

Below is a list of average base salaries for similar positions in the UK. Data comes from Glassdoor and is accurate as of February 2023:

  • Senior IT project manager: £70,230 [4]

  • Technical project manager: £56,772 [5]

  • Project manager: £48,529 [6]

How to become an IT project manager

IT project management will require project management skills and experience. Though technical skills aren’t always required, they are often requested and can give you a strong edge in your application.

1. Develop relevant skills.

A mix of project management skills and technical IT skills can bring you closer to landing a position as an IT project manager. The main skills you’ll need to learn can broadly be broken down into three categories:

  • Project management methodologies: As a project manager, you should be familiar with various approaches to project management. Since IT can be a volatile field, knowledge of methods and approaches that are designed to accommodate changes are often requested. These might include:

    • Agile

    • Scrum

    • Kanban

    • Lean

  • Project management processes: Completing a project successfully means taking the project through the four stages of the project lifecycle: initiating, planning, executing, and closing. You’ll need to know how to budget, assess risk, set schedules, assign tasks, run kick-off meetings, and more.

  • Technical IT skills: Since you’ll be working to implement large-scale projects, a broad understanding of IT processes will be helpful. This can include security, systems, networks, cloud computing, or programming and scaling various aspects of IT processes. The exact technical skills you’ll want to cultivate can vary depending on the industry and job. For example, a biotechnology firm might ask for some experience in biotechnology.

What degree do you need to be an IT project manager?

Job descriptions usually state that you need a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study, which requires two to three A levels or equivalent. The degree or postgraduate qualification can focus on computing, information systems, project management, business management, or any other related area of study. Keep in mind that it is still possible to become an IT project manager through other experiences, such as an apprenticeship. However, it’s most common that IT project managers in the UK have a degree or postgraduate qualification.


2. Gain experience.

There are several ways to gain the skills you need to become an IT project manager:

  • Gain experience in the field. IT project managers can get their start doing hands-on work in IT and working their way up to being project managers. If you’re in an IT position hoping to take this route, sharpen your leadership and management skills. It might help to approach your manager and state your interest in project management as well.

  • Start in a project support role. If you don’t have a technical background, starting in a project support role for an IT team, like project coordinator or programme associate, can help you break into the field.

  • Get a certification. Build up your knowledge and credentials by getting a certification. The Project Management Professional (PMP) and Scrum Master certifications are often requested in job descriptions. If you’re looking for an IT certification to boost your technical credentials, the CompTIA ITF+ can be useful—it covers all IT foundations and is designed for non-technical professionals. 

3. Nail the job application process.

IT project manager resume

Your resume should lean heavily on your project management and IT experience. What were you tasked to do, and what impact did you have? What technical concepts are you familiar with, and what skills can you offer? 

IT project manager interview questions

If you land an interview, congratulate yourself. You can get started on preparing by practising your responses to some common interview questions.

  • How would you begin implementing a new cloud service in a large company?

  • How would you make sure a new service was compatible with all others?

  • Tell us about your experience with systems integrations.

  • What’s your experience with Agile?

  • Describe your experience in this industry.

Get started as an IT project manager

If you’re ready to start building the skills you need to be an IT project manager, consider pursuing Google’s IT Support Professional Certificate. In this programme, you’ll learn in-demand skills that will have you job-ready in less than six months. No degree or experience is required and the course is 100 per cent online. 

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Article sources

1. Glassdoor. “IT Project Manager Salaries in United Kingdom, https://www.glassdoor.co.uk/Salaries/uk-it-project-manager-salary-SRCH_IL.0,2_IN2_KO3,21.htm?clickSource=searchBtn.” Accessed February 10, 2023.

2. Statista. “Total numbers of IT project and program managers in the United Kingdom (UK) from 2011 to 2021, https://www.statista.com/statistics/318812/numbers-of-it-project-and-programme-managers-in-the-uk/.” Accessed February 10, 2023.

3. Project Management Institute. “Project Management Job Growth and Talent Gap 2017-2027, https://www.pmi.org/-/media/pmi/documents/public/pdf/learning/job-growth-report.pdf.” Accessed February 10, 2023. 

4. Glassdoor. “IT Senior Project Manager Salaries in United Kingdom, https://www.glassdoor.co.uk/Salaries/uk-senior-it-project-manager-salary-SRCH_IL.0,2_IN2_KO3,28.htm?clickSource=searchBtn.” Accessed February 10, 2023.

5. Glassdoor. “Technical Project Manager Salaries in United Kingdom, https://www.glassdoor.co.uk/Salaries/uk-technical-project-manager-salary-SRCH_IL.0,2_IN2_KO3,28.htm?clickSource=searchBtn.” Accessed February 10, 2023.

6. Glassdoor. “Project Manager Salaries in United Kingdom, https://www.glassdoor.co.uk/Salaries/uk-project-manager-salary-SRCH_IL.0,2_IN2_KO3,18.htm?clickSource=searchBtn.” Accessed February 10, 2023.

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