How much do IT project managers make? (with qualifications)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 19 May 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

IT project managers play an important role in many businesses, which means they often earn high salaries. To stay competitive within relevant industries, many businesses turn to digital transformation, which is why IT project managers are in high demand. If you want to become an IT project manager, it's important to understand the core responsibilities of the role and how much you can expect to earn. In this article, we look at the qualifications you may require to become an IT project manager, the necessary skills for the role, why the role is important to businesses and career progression prospects.

How much do IT project managers make?

If you want to get into this field, you may be wondering 'How much do IT project managers make?'. An IT project manager makes an average salary of £46,195 per year. The salary you can expect in this role can differ according to a variety of factors, including:

  • Experience: Employers may offer you a higher salary if you have a higher level of experience in the field than other candidates or employees.

  • Education: The role requires specific education standards, but employers may offer you a higher salary if you have more credentials and qualifications than others in the field.

  • Company: Some companies may offer you a higher salary than others depending on budgetary restrictions and the size of the organisation.

Your salary may also depend on the city you work in, as shown below:

  • London: £56,404 per year

  • Reading: £50,863 per year

  • Birmingham: £46,190 per year

  • Cardiff: £42,987 per year

Qualifications required to become an IT project manager

There are a number of routes to becoming an IT project manager, including taking a university course, undergoing an apprenticeship or training through a professional body. Most recruiters want to see an undergraduate degree in computer science, information systems, project management or business management. It can also be beneficial to have a postgraduate qualification in project management. To gain entry into a university to study these degree schemes, you're likely to require two to three A-Levels. While IT project managers typically don't require particular subject to enter these programmes, a business or IT qualification is preferable.

What does an apprenticeship in IT project management entail?

If you don't want to go down the university route, it's possible to study a higher apprenticeship in IT project management. This usually lasts around 4 years and provides you with the chance to learn essential skills, including risk and issue management, business case development, project scope, cost control, budgeting and scheduling management. Learning from experienced project managers allows you to gain a better understanding of the role they play within the wider project team.

Related: Different types and examples of job qualifications

Where do IT project managers work?

Typically, as an IT project manager, you'd work in an office or from your clients' business premises. The latter is more common for freelance consultants. With working hours ranging from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., it's normal to work 37 to 39 hours per week as an IT project manager.

At the beginning of any project, you're likely to meet with clients face-to-face. This allows you to create an accurate brief, agree on the project costs and determine how long the project is likely to take. At the end of the project, you may also provide your clients with in-person training on how to use the installed software.

Related: Freelance work: everything you need to know about freelancing

What does the job include?

Once you have a brief, you can start by assessing the risks that the installation of different operating systems may pose, before deciding on the best tool for the job. Next, you'd gather your team, decide who is to work on which element of the brief and set deadlines for progress reports. Throughout a project, it'd be your job as the IT project manager to ensure that your team members don't fall behind schedule. If this happens, it's then your job to find out why and explore ways to improve productivity that aren't at the expense of quality.

What skills are necessary for an IT project manager?

To perform well in the role of an IT project manager, you may need sufficient skills in the following areas:

  • Marketing initiative. It'd be part of your job description to be able to negotiate with the client to get the best price possible both for the software and its installation so that the business can turn a profit.

  • Leadership. You'd be responsible for gathering a team, informing the team of what's required of them and motivating them to produce a high standard of work.

  • Communication skills. Not only would you communicate with a client about the progress you've made, but you'd also communicate with your team about what their roles are and communicate their progress to your employers. This means that high levels of written and verbal communication skills are necessary.

  • Problem-solving skills. In this role, you'd be your team's point of contact for all things related to the project. This requires you to be able to problem solve any potential queries.

  • Capability of using specialised programs (hardware or software), This is what your role would likely involve on a daily basis, as you'd use software to create briefs, reports, cost analyses and to check up on a project's progress and timeline.

  • Maths skills, Numerical skills are necessary because you'd frequently conduct cost analyses so you can monitor profits.

Related: How to improve public speaking skills to communicate effectively

IT project management methodologies

There are three distinct project management methodologies used in IT project management, which are agile, hybrid and traditional. The most popular amongst these are the Waterfall, Prince2, Scrum and Kanban methodologies. The Waterfall project methodology is best for smaller, shorter projects that have fixed, unchanging requirements. This is the case specifically for repeat orders. The Prince2 project management methodology is often the best fit for projects of all different sizes because it's aimed specifically at projects which have a much lower level of uncertainty but need a higher sense of control and regulation to complete.

The Scrum and Kanban models are examples of agile methodologies popularly used within IT project management. Scum is most useful for projects that have a series of different requirements which are prone to change. Kanban is ideal for use on projects that need a faster response time.

Why is project management important?

To understand why you can expect to receive a higher than average salary as an IT project manager, it's worth examining the role's importance within a business. Your most important role would be to offer a sense of clarity. This means your team working towards one vision and set of objectives, with work produced to a high standard, ready for presentation to the client. Without an IT project manager, work can easily and rapidly become disorganised, which can have a negative impact on a business's reputation, especially if it takes the team longer than usual to deliver on a project.

As an IT project manager, you'd also be crucial to a business due to your responsibility for training pre-existing talent. You'd coach a team, showing them new ways in which they can complete their work. You'd also monitor how long it takes team members to complete tasks while suggesting ways in which they can improve on their speed. This ensures quality, as you'd set the precedent for what's acceptable and only approve work that's of a high standard. This can make a business much more attractive to potential clients.

Is there any room for career progression in this role?

The role of an IT project manager offers a lot of opportunities for advancement. With the right training, it's possible to progress into more senior positions or even pursue freelance work as a consultant. Like most roles, this advancement takes time and requires you to gain experience first. To look more attractive for higher positions, you can study for a certificated qualification within The Chartered Institute for IT (BCS).

There's also the opportunity to take the experience you gain as an IT project manager and use it to move into a more specialised role. This can include moving into the cyber security industry and working as a cyber intelligence officer, an IT security coordinator or a forensic computer analyst. Alternatively, you could look into a role in technical architecture. This involves taking specialised knowledge of what clients want and using your skills to design new IT systems.

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries‌ ‌may‌ ‌‌vary‌‌ ‌depending‌ ‌on‌ ‌the‌ ‌hiring‌ ‌organisation‌ ‌and‌ ‌a‌ ‌candidate's‌ ‌experience,‌ ‌academic‌ background‌ ‌and‌ ‌location.‌

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