How to Become an IT Project Manager (Essential Skills)

In this article, we will be discussing how to become an IT project manager, particularly the essential skills to have in order to stand qualified to become an IT project. An information technology (IT) project manager is a professional that helps organizations 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 organization. Meanwhile, project management is the process of leading the work of a team to achieve all project goals within the given constraints. This information is usually described in project documentation, created at the beginning of the development process.

Essential Skills to Become an IT Project Manager

Below are the few steps and skills to have before you can professionally become an excellent IT project manager in whatever organization you find yourself:


While project managers and operations managers have differing roles and responsibilities, they have several overlapping tasks as well. For this reason, project managers need to be familiar with operations in order for their projects to succeed. There are two primary operations-related tasks project managers need to be familiar with:

Business operations changes: When components of business operations require significant changes, project managers often need to manage these adjustments as projects before delivering them to operations managers

Closing projects: When a project is closing, project managers will collaborate with operations managers to ensure that there’s a plan for its maintenance and deliverability.


Adaptability skills are qualities that allow you to adjust to changes in your environment. Project managers must be able to adapt to upcoming product trends, new technology, user demographics and more. This is a particularly important skill at the material level, as they must lead entire teams in the right direction.

Risk Management

While they are not generally apparent, risks are inevitable during a project, which is why a project manager must have the experience and ability to pinpoint what could go wrong and implement a risk mitigation strategy. They must be able to ask their team hard questions and continually confirm timelines, decisions and dependencies.

They should also know how to use professional risk management tools that allow them to analyze potential risks to develop risk mitigation strategies.

Team Management

Project managers need effective management skills. Even if they haven’t had previous experience managing a team, they’re responsible for guiding their team throughout the lifecycle of a project. Many times, this requires familiarity with several project management tools and software, meaning project managers need intermediate technical expertise to effectively manage projects.

These types of programs are frequently used to plan, organize, and communicate with teammates while simultaneously managing resources, budgets, and schedules. Today, this means project managers must also constantly evolve, learning how to leverage the newest technologies available to successfully lead a project to completion. According to our analysis of job postings data, the most common software skills project managers need include:

    • Microsoft Office
    • Microsoft Excel
    • Microsoft PowerPoint
    • Microsoft Project
    • Microsoft Outlook
    • Jira

Negotiation Skills

A project manager must be effective at negotiating terms with suppliers, clients and other stakeholders. You must also employ negotiation skills when working with your team as well to bring everyone in line with strategic goals or manage interpersonal conflicts within the team.

Technical Writing

Technical writing is a style of writing that involves taking high-level details and explaining them in a way that’s clear and easy to understand. Project managers use this form of writing in drafting potential deliverables, circulating memos, targeting product releases or sending news updates.

Technical Skills

Technical skills are qualities acquired by using and gaining expertise in performing physical or digital tasks. Being tech-savvy and having hands-on experience with the latest technology can allow you to increase the speed of your team’s productivity. By knowing how to adapt to current technology trends, you may be able to increase output and your team’s ability to get things done effectively.

Reporting Skills

A project manager must be able to gather information throughout the lifespan of a project and report them for future evaluation. This is particularly important if a project begins to experience problems. Project managers need reporting skills to coordinate with managers, clients and team members to set expectations, objectives and convey information regarding deliverables.

What to Do to Grow Your Skills as an IT Project Manager

While there are necessities that come with upscaling one’s skills no matter what one does and how near-perfect one may be, the most important steps to take are outlined below for your information:

  • Education

One of the best ways to refine your project management skills is to earn a graduate certificate or degree. Programs like Master of Science in Project Management provide students with the practical skills and technical expertise needed to lead complex projects to completion.

Not only will you master the above skills (and more), but you’ll also have the chance to obtain hands-on experience through an experiential learning program. Additionally, returning to school will connect you with industry experts from around the globe who can help to advance your career.

  • Consistent Practice

Like any new competency, these skills take time to learn. If you’re currently in a project management role, be cognizant of utilizing these tools in your day-to-day work. If you haven’t started a career in project management yet, try to seek out opportunities for hands-on learning that’ll allow you to harness and refine them.

  • Be Part of Seminars/Workshops

Attending local and online events will allow you to learn best practices and stay abreast of the latest project management trends. The university students are encouraged to get involved with these local chapters, as doing so will give you a chance to expand your professional network to include other skilled project managers from whom you can learn.

  • Join Groups, Associations, and Unions

Always be on the lookout for other opportunities to get involved in the project management community, as well. Consider joining professional associations, which can be another way to meet and exchange knowledge with industry experts.

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