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Information Technology Project Managers

The Job

CompTIA, an information technology trade association, defines IT as the “utilization of computing via hardware, software, services, and infrastructure to create, store, exchange, and leverage information in its various forms to accomplish any number of objectives. Additionally, the term encompasses the workers that develop, implement, maintain, and utilize IT directly or indirectly.” Key elements of information technology (according to CompTIA) include:

  • Hardware: computers, servers, storage, tablets, mobile phones, printers, network equipment
  • Software: productivity and business applications, network and security applications, mobile apps, video games
  • Services: deployment, integration, custom development, repair/upgrade, managed services
  • Infrastructure: Internet backbone, telecommunications networks, cloud data centers
  • Information: data, documents, voice, video, images
  • Business Objectives: commerce, production, communication, collaboration

Job duties for IT project managers vary by the size and type of employer and the type of project that is assigned. At a Fortune 500 company, for example, a project manager might be tasked with overseeing the installation of new proprietary customer management software. At a major retailer, they might work on the upgrade of a computer network at a call center. A project manager who is employed by the U.S. Census Bureau might be assigned to oversee a large team of workers that will replace its old mainframe computer systems. A project manager at a small company may work on several small IT projects at a time—assisted by only a few in-house staff and contractors. 

Regardless of the assignment, most perform the following duties: establish the project’s scope, goals, budget, deadlines, and deliverable schedules; assess the costs and labor requirements of new projects and provide project summaries to top executives; manage project budgets and expenses; coordinate with the managers of other projects and departments that impact or are impacted by the project; work closely with risk managers to assess risk factors that may negatively affect the project; propose and develop appropriate mitigation and contingency plans; facilitate the resolution of problems by meeting with customers, vendors, and technical staff to identify and implement solutions; prepare reports for executives regarding the progress of projects; assess the skill sets of employees and assign them to appropriate roles on the project team; oversee the work of all team members and provide guidance regarding roles, responsibilities, and project expectations, as needed; and hire and monitor the work of outside vendors (for certain projects). Each day, project managers work closely with other IT professionals such as computer systems analysts, information security analysts, computer support specialists, and software developers.

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