How to Build Your IT Project Manager Career Path

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IT Project Manager Career Path
IT Project Manager Career Path

With almost every business migrating online, IT project managers are high in demand. Websites, digital enterprises, and online platforms need leaders in infocomms technology to run smoothly and efficiently. Because this field is involved in various industries, the IT project manager career path is diverse and full of opportunities.

So what exactly does an IT project manager do? Their main task is to lead their staff in planning, strategising, and implementing software, applications, and a range of other IT projects. Every industry, be it healthcare or logistics, has its own IT department. As such, the responsibilities of an IT professional can vary. In general, however, these are the tasks IT professionals and project managers must fulfil:

  • Managing day-to-day IT operations, networks, and systems

  • Recruiting, mentoring, and developing the skills of IT staff

  • Creating and overseeing project budgets

  • Ensuring all IT actions and projects undergo quality control and follow company protocol

  • Ensuring all IT projects abide by data privacy laws

  • Scheduling company-wide software program updates

  • Launching new IT projects and initiatives and ensuring they meet deadlines

  • Giving regular updates to the chief technology officer and other superiors

Salary Range

Any career in IT is almost sure to prove lucrative. IT professionals in Singapore experienced a whopping 13 per cent pay hike from 2018 to 2019 when the average monthly salary for entry-level workers increased from S$2,860 to S$3,221. That was the highest increase in average monthly pay for that period, according to the JobStreet Salary Report 2020.

The average salary for entry-level workers in 2020 has since dropped, but only by a little. The first-time jobseekers and fresh grads are likely to land an IT job with an average salary of S$3,112 per month or S$37,340 per year.

A step up from an entry-level job is a junior executive position, which yields an average salary of S$3,545 per month or S$42,536 per year. A senior executive position promises a bigger paycheck with an average salary of S$4,872 per month or S$58,468 per year.

Managerial role salaries are notably higher: an average of S$6,473 per month or S$77,680 per year. Senior managers naturally have the highest expected pay at an average of S$10,096 per month or S$121,152 per year.

IT careers comprises three specialities: hardware, software, and network, systems, and database administration. Software specialists typically yield the highest-paying salaries for junior positions. However, the gap decreases among the three as you move up the corporate ladder, the more equal the pay is for all IT specialities.

What is the career path of an IT project manager?

According to Singapore’s SkillsFuture framework, the chief technology officer position is the final destination on the infocomms track. Job titles may vary per industry, but the IT project manager career path is generally straightforward.

Junior Level (1-3 years of experience)

Mid Level (4-8 years of experience)

Senior Level (8 years of experience or more)

What requirements do you need to become an IT project manager?

Singapore was the first country to launch a certification program for IT project management (CITPM). The Singapore Computer Society developed the CITPM, which has become the most popular IT project management standard regionally. Over 600 organisations back this certification and it has become a mark of professionalism in the field.

To earn an associate’s CITPM, you must be a college graduate with a minimum of three years of practical experience. If you have a college degree and over eight years of experience, you can qualify for the full CITPM.

The CITPM is essentially a regular project integration management certificate but designed specifically for IT professionals. If you’d rather broaden your project management skills to industries outside of IT, you can opt for a project management professional (PMP) certificate. The PMP caters to professionals from all fields and is considered the gold standard for aspiring project managers. Almost every Singaporean university offers a PMP course though you will need a college degree and three years of project management experience to qualify. The course is short, but you need to renew the certification every three years.

Either the CITPM or PMP will help you achieve your career path goals. Both certificates were created to professionalise this career, achieving global recognition, enhancing knowledge, increasing project success, increasing responsibilities, and most importantly, increasing salaries.

  • Project Scope Management

  • Project Time Management

  • Managing Project Costs

  • Managing Project Quality

  • Project Human Resource Management

  • Project Communications Management

  • Managing Project Risks

  • Project Procurement Management

  • Interpersonal

  • Client/Customer Relations

  • Managing Complexity

Technical skills

IT project management careers are complicated in that they need a good balance of advanced technical skills and expert leadership skills. In terms of technical skills, these are all the skills you might need on this career path:

  • Expert knowledge of IT systems, networking, and computing software

  • Understanding of latest IT hardware

  • Advanced skills in markup languages

  • Presentation and persuasive skills

  • Customer service skills

  • Data analysis

  • Business agility

  • Business innovation

  • Crisis management

  • Business risk management

  • Strategy planning

Other skills

Aside from these technical skills, an IT project manager will need to rely on a wide array of soft skills that will be essential in the leadership requirements of this role. Not only will you be leading a team, but you will also be mentoring and developing their skills. Here are essential soft skills an IT project manager must possess.

Leadership

An IT project manager, as the role title suggests, requires a level of management. However, there is a difference between being a manager and being a leader. The former focuses only on outputs, while the latter focuses on the development of the team. To be an effective IT project manager, you must steer the ship and develop a competent and empowered team.

Project management

IT project managers will likely handle multiple projects simultaneously, which means you must be skilled at multitasking to ensure your team meets deadlines and delivers the KPIs.

Working under pressure

Being a leader is hard work, so IT project managers must be willing to work under pressure. They must function steadily under scrutiny and stay calm when problems arise. They will need to deal with last-minute changes, commentary, and criticism. An IT project manager must thrive, not freeze, under pressure.

Public speaking

As with any leadership role, expect to do much public speaking, presenting, and persuading. Be comfortable with crowds and learn to articulate your instructions, whether you’re talking to your team or a town hall. Charisma and self-assuredness will take you a long way in any leadership role.

Advanced decision-making and problem-solving

As the point-person for a project, you’ll likely make decisions and solve problems frequently, sometimes under pressure. As such, you must make firm decisions and find unique solutions to problems, crises, and concerns.

Educational background

IT project managers should have at least a college degree in computer science, project management, or any of their equivalents. Almost every Singaporean tertiary institution offers a computer science or information technology degree. A certificate in project management or a similar field may also take you a long way in this career.

You only need a bachelor’s degree for this career path, but a master’s degree can be advantageous. A postgraduate degree in computer science, information technology, or project management will set you apart from the crowd as it shows your enthusiasm for the infocomms technology industry.

Opportunities for continuous education

IT and project management continue to evolve so that you will never stop learning. Singapore’s My Skills Future program offers a myriad of continuous education courses for professionals seeking to further their knowledge.

From IT service management fundamentals to IT-enabled business transformation, My Skills Future has a wide roster from which you may choose. You can also access plenty of leadership and management courses on the government site, which you can visit by clicking here.

Meanwhile, at JobStreet, we’ve also partnered with FutureLearn to equip job seekers with relevant skills, such as AI and machine learning, mobile app development, and even leadership and management skills.

How to write an IT project manager resume?

Show off your way with words in the first three sentences of your resume. A resume should be snappy without being too flashy. Here’s a sample of how to sound professional, confident, and competent.

Download this IT Project Manager resume HERE.

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