What Is a Technical Project Manager?
Companies across the country will add more than 50,000 jobs for technical project managers between 2012 and 2022, according to data from the U.S. Department of Labor. This is a growth rate that’s noticeably faster than the national average.
Clearly, technical project managers are in high demand. But what is a technical project manager?
A hybrid role encompassing both tech guru and inspiring leader, a technical project manager is instrumental in the planning, scheduling and management of IT and IT-related projects. Individuals in this role must possess both a high level of technical expertise and the capabilities required for all project managers, including excellent organization, leadership and communication skills.
As for a project manager in any field, the general responsibilities of a technical project manager include:
- Brainstorming the project
- Planning the project
- Scheduling and designation of project tasks to team members
- Execution of each phase of the project
- Managing the project’s budget
- Communicating with all stakeholders
- Collaborating with department heads to achieve a common goal
However, technical project managers are specifically tasked with managing projects that contain a high degree of technicality; therefore, they must be trained in and understand relevant technologies and architectures to properly support these projects. For example, these individuals should have expertise in hardware and software installation, upgrades, site maintenance and, ideally, program and app development. Technical project managers also need to review and validate the feasibility of project proposals.It’s important to note that while tech skills are essential, technical project managers can come from a variety of professional backgrounds.
A balancing act
Balancing the technical prowess required for the role with the soft skills necessary for management and leadership is no small feat. One TechRepublic blogger pointed out that, due to their unique combination of hard and soft skills, these professionals are able to “get straight answers and good work out of employees non-technical project managers would classify as hopeless, negative or uncooperative.”
Technical project managers are also adept at communicating with a non-technical audience. After all, they must be skilled at speaking with representatives from a variety of other departments and understand how to communicate the technical requirements in easily understandable terms.Technical project managers may benefit from some of the qualifications and certifications highlighted by CIO.com, such as:
- Project Management Professional (PMP)
- CompTIA Project+ certification
- PRINCE2 Foundation/PRINCE2 Practitioner