In every organization you will find project managers involved in each initiative, leading meetings and ensuring everyone sticks to the plan. But have you ever wondered, what is it that project managers actually do? The term project manager is widely applicable to many different industries. As per Joy Gumz, Director of Project Auditors, LLC, “Operations keeps the lights on, strategy provides a light at the end of the tunnel. But project management is the train engine that moves the organization forward.” And technical project managers, if we may add, hold up the technological end of the business and its growth.
The tremendous growth and advancements in the field of technology compels companies to become increasingly dependent on it. More and more employers today are therefore constantly on the lookout for skilled technical project managers. That is because this kind of a project manager is specialized in the managerial as well as the technical aspects of projects.
Being a technical project manager can be simultaneously intriguing and demanding, on account of the nature and expectations that are associated with this role. Having said that, it is a job function that allows individuals to grow and move to senior levels with time.
If you are someone who is contemplating pursuing a career in technical project management or just someone who is curious though unaware of what it entails, then you have come to the right place. Through this article, we will take you through what an average day in the life of a technical project manager looks like.
Who is a technical project manager?
To put it very simply, a technical project manager is one who manages projects that are related to technology or engineering. A technical project manager comes into the picture when an engineering or Information Technology (IT) project emerges and requires the assistance of an expert from start to finish. And so, a person in this role is expected to possess both technical and managerial skills and knowledge.
What does a technical project manager do?
Technical project managers come from diverse backgrounds. On account of their wealth of knowledge and skills, they are often considered to be the ‘lead subject matter expert’ of the company that they work for. The expertise that they bring with them aids the company in achieving its targets.
As part of their job description, technical project managers takes control of the following tasks:
1. Conceiving and developing the vision of the project
2. Assigning work to each team member
3. Supporting team members by troubleshooting technical and process issues
4. Managing the financial aspect of a project or the budgets
5. Working with the heads of different departments of the company for cross-functional knowledge transfer
6. Liaising with the project stakeholders
How do you become a technical project manager?
Considering the weight of a technical project manager’s role, it goes without saying that the project and the entire team are highly dependent on them. It is, therefore, essential for managers to have the requisite skills before taking up this position. Thus, if you plan to become a manager, you must possess or acquire technical and managerial knowledge and skills.
Education will help fortify your foundation when it comes to any subject. When it comes to technical project management as well, pursuing a course is the starting point in your journey of becoming a technical project manager. Online learning courses have become increasingly popular. Such courses cover various topics, including a variety of technical project manager courses. Along with pursuing an education, you can also certify yourself in Professional in Business Analysis (PBA), Certified Scrum Master (CSM), Agile Certified Practitioner (ACP) and Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM).
Hard skills required for technical project manager jobs
Given below are some of the other hard skills required for a technical project manager:
1. Software development is a skill that is very much in demand. This is true for those who are inclined to pursue a technical project manager position. What it does is provide you with the ability to build superior standard computer programs.
2. Scrum sheds light on development of programs. It enables individuals to design, communicate and advance highly complicated products.
3. JIRA allows project managers to easily take charge of a multitude of teams, projects and functions.
Soft skills required for technical project manager jobs
The soft skills required for this role include:
1. Being an excellent communicator: As someone who is in-charge of a technical project and is responsible for communicating the right information to the team, it is vital that you are in possession of top notch communication skills.
2. Have a knack for problem solving: Conflicts are an unavoidable part of work life. As a manager you should be able to solve issues that arise during the course of a project.
3. Powerful and robust leader: This is one of the most important soft skills that you must have. You must be a strong leader who is not afraid to take on all kinds of responsibilities and obstacles.
4. One with the team: As a manager, you should see yourself as a part of the team. Don’t just lead, but also participate. You should work towards supporting each member and being a motivating force for them.
5. Open-minded: Sometimes, when planning something, things do not go as planned. And that’s okay. As a project manager, you should be prepared for this and be open to making the required changes.
Taking up courses as well as acquiring technical project manager certifications and skills, aid in developing both your managerial and technical expertise that will in turn help you become a successful technical project manager.
Are technical project manager jobs in high demand across industries?
We already know that the world is dependent on technology. Therefore, regardless of the nature of the business or industry, companies rely on technology to help them their needs. Consequently, hiring a technical project manager has become the need of the hour.
While all technical project managers can be project managers, not all project managers can be technical project managers (Top 3 Essential Technical Project Manager Skills, Wrike). This is true because any other project manager would not be able to take charge of the technical aspects of a project.
According to an article by the Financial Post, the technology sector is expected to grow by 33% and employers will be expected to fill 88 million project management related positions by 2027. Another article by Dice states that technical project management is one of the most sought-after skills when compared to other technical skills.
Employers prefer to have someone who has both the technical and managerial expertise. This is particularly true for the more complex and elaborate projects. This is another reason for the growing demand for technical project managers.
If you have decided to make a shift in your career or are about to begin your professional journey and think that a technical project manager is the role that you see yourself doing, we hope that this article has helped answer your key questions.
For those who want to start right away, explore MIT xPRO’s Professional Certificate in Technical Project Management course. You can also browse our full selection of online project management courses.
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