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

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

IT project managers help plan and roll out IT processes across organisations.

[Featured image] An IT project manager with long hair and black glasses stands in a large space lined with yellow scaffolding.

What is an IT project manager?

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 is 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

IT project managers in India make an average base salary of ₹14,24,188 as of September 2022 [1].

The Project Management Institute (PMI) projects 7 lakh new project managers to be needed in India from 2017 to 2027. PMI also sees strong growth for project manager jobs internationally, estimating the sector to grow by 33 percent or 2.2 crore new jobs by 2027. It expects India and China to represent over 75 percent of the world's project management positions through 2027 [2].

Below is a list of average India base salaries for similar positions. Data comes from Glassdoor and is accurate as of September 2022:


  • Senior IT project manager: ₹21,91,770

  • Technical project manager: ₹19,88,804

  • IT consultant/project manager: ₹16,06,730

How to become an IT project manager

IT project management will require project management skills and experience. Though technical skills are not 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 will need to learn can be broadly classified 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 dynamic field, knowledge of methods and approaches that are designed to accommodate changes are often requested. These might include Agile, Scrum, Kanban, and 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 will 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 will 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?

Many job descriptions ask for at least a bachelor’s degree in computer science, business, or a related field. A degree can equip you with essential knowledge and expand your job opportunities. Certification in project management through PMI is highly recommended as it tends to make you more marketable in this competitive field.


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, such as a project coordinator or program 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's comprehensive, covers all IT foundations, and is designed for non-technical professionals. 

3. Nail the job application process.

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? 

Prepare for an IT project manager job interview by practicing 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 is your experience with Agile?

  • Describe your experience in this industry.


Get job ready with Coursera

Online courses can be a great way to build skills, earn credentials, and advance your career to the next level. Interested in a thorough introduction to IT concepts? Take a look at the Google IT Support Professional Certificate.



Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Article sources


Glassdoor. “IT Project Manager Salaries in India, https://www.glassdoor.co.in/Salaries/india-it-project-manager-salary-SRCH_IL.0,5_IN115_KO6,24.htm?clickSource=searchBtn.” Accessed August 29, 2022.

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