Getting into an information technology (IT) career is an exciting choice because of the numerous paths you can take and roles you can fulfill. Progressing in an IT career can take you many different places, and your progression may not look like anyone else’s. If you are looking to advance in this industry, IT project management is an area you should consider.
Being an IT project manager requires that you have technical skills as well as traditional business acumen, a combination that allows you to keep critical IT initiatives on track. If this sounds intriguing to you, take a closer look at what an IT project manager is, what they do, and why it’s a solid career path, especially in the metropolitan Washington, DC area.
What is an IT Project Manager?
Generally speaking, an IT project manager is someone who oversees specific IT projects within an organization. This includes everything from clarifying the scope of the project to putting together and training a team to complete the project, and to managing timelines and budgets related to the project. Of course, the specific role and responsibilities can vary depending on the organization, industry, and type of project.
Project managers have to work with individuals in various departments and ranks to help coordinate the proper flow of information to all stakeholders of the specific project. That requires a certain level of ability in soft skills and managerial know-how.
Some project managers work on only one project at a time, while others are required to manage several projects at the same time, ensuring that their timelines and budgets are maintained. Project management roles can be found in just about any industry and field of work, which means that the actual types of projects vary widely. Many project managers make it a point to specialize or concentrate in a particular industry to make sure that they are properly equipped to manage its unique challenges.
What Does an IT Project Manager Do?
An IT project manager is responsible for managing a team of individuals to execute IT projects within budget and on time. They oversee the team and the project, including some of the following duties:
- Establishing project goals and developing plans to meet them
- Maintaining the timeline and budget of projects, including writing and distributing status reports
- Delegating tasks to project team members
- Managing project resources, including the team, equipment, etc.
- Tracking the progress and performance of the project using IT project management tools
- Facilitating regular meetings with project teams and stakeholders
- Assessing risk and responding effectively
IT project managers are, of course, required to have advanced knowledge of computers, network and service desk administration, and operating systems. They must be able to explain complicated technical issues clearly and be good oral and written communicators. Additionally, they must have the skills to schedule, budget, and plan resources for IT projects.
Why Project Managers Should be Familiar with the NICE Framework?
IT project managers should also be familiar with the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education Cybersecurity Workforce Framework (NICE Framework). This framework is a federally mandated reference resource that outlines the general skill requirements and responsibilities of cybersecurity professionals.
In addition to being mandated for federal cyber projects, the NICE framework has been adopted by many larger private companies that are contracting to the government. If you live and work in the Washington, DC region this is particularly important given the high concentration of federal agencies throughout DC, Maryland and Virginia.
Within NICE, project management principles fall under the Oversee and Govern category under Program/Project Management (PMA) and Acquisition. Job roles tied to this categorization include:
- Program Manager
- IT Project Manager
- Product Support Manager
- IT Investment/Portfolio Manager
- IT Program Auditor
Why Become an IT Project Manager in Washington, DC?
IT project management is one of the best-paying IT careers. In Washington, DC, and the surrounding areas of Virginia and Maryland, the average IT project manager earns an annual salary of $121,900. That’s without any type of project management certification. When you have certifications, it almost always translates into a higher salary. For example, in Washington, DC, a project manager who has earned a Project Management Professional (PMP) certification can expect to earn an average annual salary of $179,680.
When you earn your PMP certification, you will stand out in the IT job market, especially when you are looking to attain a position in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC, which all have very evolved technology sectors. The PMP certification demonstrates that you have specialized skills, setting you apart from non-certified candidates.
How to Become an IT Project Manager in Washington, DC
Becoming an IT project manager in the metro Washington, DC area requires that you have work experience and IT certifications to be successful. PMP certification is the gold standard when it comes to project management but it does require significant experience. To advance to the PMP certification, you must have either:
- A four-year degree in a related field, 36 months of experience leading projects and 35 hours of project management training, or
- A high school diploma or associates degree, 60 months of experience leading projects and 35 hours of project management training.
If you are just starting out, you should consider CompTIA's Project+ certification, which is a great introduction to the world of project management. Project+ is vendor neutral and will introduce you to all the project management fundamentals as you build your experience.
TrainACE can help you with your IT project management career, no matter how far along the career path you are. Our courses are designed to teach the skills and prepare students to successfully pass IT certification exams. Contact us today to schedule your next IT certification course.