What Is a Technical Project Manager?
According to data from the U.S. Department of Labor, companies across the country will create more than 50,000 jobs for technical project managers between 2012 and 2022
Clearly, technical project managers are in high demand. But what is a technical project manager, exactly?
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.
The general responsibilities of a technical project manager are the same as a project manager in any field, and include:
- 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. They must be trained in and understand relevant technologies and architectures to properly support these projects. For example, technical project managers 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. As TechRepublic pointed out, due to their unique combination of hard and soft skills, these professionals can “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. They must be skilled at speaking with representatives from a variety of other departments and understand how to communicate technical requirements in easily-understandable terms. Technical project managers may benefit from qualifications and certifications like:
- Project Management Professional (PMP)
- CompTIA Project+ certification
- PRINCE2 Foundation/PRINCE2 Practitioner