What Is a Technical Project Manager + How Do You Become One?

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Discover what goes into technical project management, including responsibilities, qualifications, and salary expectations, and learn the steps to embarking on this career path.

[Featured Image] A technical project manager walks a team through a project plan on a whiteboard.

Project management is one of those skills required in nearly every industry. In business, a project manager is someone who leads a team and makes sure that each member is aware of the goals and objectives of the team, their role, and the project output.

A technical project manager works primarily with information technology (IT) or other technical support teams, leading projects from start to finish. Technical project managers need to be skilled with the same organisational and time management skills that any project manager has, along with specialised IT knowledge.

Learn more about what a technical project manager is and how to become one.

What is a technical project manager?   

A technical project manager has technical expertise in information technology (IT), manages IT projects, and leads technical teams within an organisation. Because it requires both technical and management skills, you can think of technical project management as a hybrid role. 

If you have a keen interest in technology, want to see projects through to completion, enjoy motivating and encouraging others, and can work well under pressure, a technical project management (PM) career path may be right for you. 

Technical project manager vs. project manager 

Explore how technical project managers and project managers compare in the table below. 

Technical project managerNon-technical project manager
Typically needs a project management qualificationTypically needs a project management qualification
Has experience and expertise in a field related to technologyMay not have technology experience or expertise
Can lead teams and ensure projects reach completionCan lead teams and ensure projects reach completion
May need a degree in technology in addition to a project management qualificationA degree in any field may be sufficient
Manages projects related to technology and projects requiring technical expertiseManages projects that don’t require significant technical expertise

Read more: What Is a Project Manager? A Career Guide

Technical project manager jobs

As of July 2023, Glassdoor lists over 2,600 technical project manager jobs in the UK, some of which are with companies like EDF Limited, Transparity, and TRM International. Technical Project Managers work in a variety of industries, including engineering, manufacturing, business, and energy, and are usually office based. 

In your job search, you may come across technical project management positions at different levels of seniority, including entry-level, junior, senior, and principal roles. You may also see more specialised roles that require technical expertise, such as Agile project manager, Scrum Master, and DevOps project manager. 

Read more: What Is a Scrum Master and How Do You Enter This Career?

While you will find some crossover among these roles, there may be specific differences that you’ll need to keep in mind as you consider your career in technical project management. For example, a DevOps project manager adapts the Waterfall or linear PM methodology (emphasising one final product) to Agile methodology (iterative cycles, each with a deliverable) to correct software issues throughout the project development process. 

Technical project manager salary

According to Glassdoor, the average base salary for a technical project manager in the UK is £61,163 [1]. Someone in an entry-level position as a technical project manager can expect to make around £53,035, while a senior technical project could make around £78,230 [2, 3]. 

What do technical project managers do?

Professionals in this role specifically manage projects that involve a high level of technical expertise and act as the lead subject matter expert in their company when it comes to technology. As a technical project manager, you may also be in charge of:

  • Recruiting and training technical staff

  • Improving project planning and resource management 

  • Managing a budget

  • Researching new technologies for projects and maintaining them

How to become a technical project manager

1. Get qualified.

Technical project managers should have, at minimum, an undergraduate degree, preferably in a field related to technology, such as computer science, software engineering, IT, cybersecurity, or management information systems. Some positions may require a master’s degree. 

In addition, you’ll want to consider getting a PM certification, as this credential is recognized around the world, demonstrates your full understanding of project management terms, concepts, and methodologies, as well as your commitment to systematic processes.  

2. Sharpen your skills. 

Remember that technical project managers have technological and project management expertise. That means you’ll need to sharpen your skills in both areas. 

As a project manager, you’ll need general skills like recruiting and training new talent, managing a team, and organisation, as well as specific skills in schedule planning, using project management software, Gantt charts, and Kanban boards, and implementing different methodologies. 

In terms of your technological expertise, look into the kind of projects you want to manage, as well as what employers are looking for, to find out what skills you need. For example, as a technical project manager in the gaming industry, you will likely need experience in gaming, knowledge of cloud services like Amazon Web Services, experience with Agile or LEAN software development, and more. 

3. Gain technical and project management experience.

Your next step is applying your qualifications and skills to actual projects to gain relevant experience in technical project management. Reach out to your network to find volunteer or contract opportunities to serve as a project manager. You can also design and run your own project. 

4. Build your technical project manager CV.

As you gain experience, obtain qualifications, and build skills for technical project management, it’s a good idea to assemble a strong CV that you can adapt to different job applications. 

Start by researching technical project manager careers on job sites like Glassdoor and Indeed to get a feel for the professional landscape and opportunities available to you. Align your qualifications to each technical project manager job description and describe them in a compelling way on your CV.   

5. Practise answering technical project manager interview questions. 

Prepare to answer common technical project manager interview questions even before you apply for jobs and land interviewers. This way, you can gain an understanding of what employers are looking for, get into the habit of describing your qualifications in detail, and address the technical side of project management.

Here are examples of questions you may encounter:

  • What inspires you to manage projects from a technical standpoint?

  • How much experience do you have in technical project management? 

  • How have you applied your technical expertise to managing projects in the past?

6. Apply for technical project manager jobs.

Once you have a solid CV template and have practised a variety of interview questions, return to the job sites and do another search for technical project manager listings. Your goal is to draw upon all the insights you’ve gathered from steps one through four to narrow down the jobs that best match your career goals. 

Ask yourself these questions: 

  • What are the required qualifications, and how do they align with my experience, skills, and credentials?

  • What kind of projects and tasks would I complete in each position, and how do these align with my interests and passions? 

As you apply for jobs and garner interest from potential employers, be sure to prepare thoroughly for each interview and brush up on your interviewing skills. 

Get started with Coursera.

Taking online courses can be a great way to learn about technical project management, build skills, and discover career opportunities. The Google Project Management Professional Certificate can help you gain the skills needed to succeed as a project manager, such as strategic thinking, project planning, and risk management. Upon completion, gain exclusive access to career resources like resume review, interview prep, and career support. 

Article sources


Glassdoor. “Technical Project Manager Salaries, https://www.glassdoor.co.uk/Salaries/technical-project-manager-salary-SRCH_KO0,25.htm.” Accessed January 12, 2023. 

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