If leadership, organization, and creativity are among your strengths, a career as a technical project manager could be your calling. As technological development continues to march forward, there’s a growing demand for talented project managers who can lead technical teams toward their goals.
But what does a technical project manager really do all day? We’re here to help you gain a better understanding of the ins and outs of the job and what to expect. But first, let’s delve a little more into the background of this particular role within the tech industry.
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Why Are Technical Project Managers In Demand?
Computers of all shapes and sizes have been helping us grow our businesses and reduce the distance between producers and consumers. They’ve also gradually taken over some of the responsibilities that come with running a business. At the heart of the tech boom lies the software industry, which has powered the rise of our intelligent devices.
Some of the pioneering software companies of the 1980s are now the most valuable brands in the world. Even today, software startups of all kinds continue to respond to the needs of the hour. Competition is fierce as they rush to outdo each other with iteration after iteration of their popular products. Technical project managers have been an important part of the success of these companies in their race to keep abreast of each other and stay relevant.
What Does a Technical Project Manager Do?
The role of a technical project manager involves managing multiple areas simultaneously, with a focus on leading the development of highly technical projects. You’re expected to coordinate projects across multiple teams that may have a stake in a technical project. You'll manage the masterplan, push progress forward to meet deadlines, and liaise with non-technical stakeholders to ensure the project stays on the rails.
A technical project manager's role is all about creating a vision, then constructing, troubleshooting, and managing all aspects of the project. And it all has to be done within the stipulated time available to them. The fundamental strategies and inherent responsibilities of a technical project manager can be utilized differently from one organization to another. They sit at the intersection of three key areas: the tech team, the client, and the business itself.
The Role of a Technical Project Manager vs A Traditional Project Manager
The role of a technical project manager diverges from that of a classic project manager due to the complex technical expertise involved. For example, the migration of microservices from one environment to another has high business value, but requires specialized knowledge that wasn’t traditionally taught in project management courses. It requires a deeper understanding of a company’s technical infrastructure, software configurations, and technical bottlenecks and dependencies.
This is where technical project managers come into the picture.
Skills Needed to Become a Technical Project Manager
Technical project manager is a complex role that requires you to master an assortment of interdisciplinary skills. A technical project manager needs to use their specialized know-how to decode jargon and keep abreast with their technically advanced colleagues.
Being a technical project manager can be quite a juggling act. It requires mastery of a broad range of hard and soft skills to navigate the obstacles and problems that can arise in handling complex projects. It’s the ultimate test of leadership abilities, as it’s one of the most demanding and complex roles in the job market today.
Technical project managers are expected to:
- Have a great knack for working with people
- Ensure team members function to the best of their abilities
- Help colleagues gel together as team players
- Cultivate a flexible mindset
- Develop solutions to problems, fast
- Keep everyone working towards the same goal
Is Technical Project Management for Me?
As a technical project manager, you're required to use all the experience and skills in your managerial and technical arsenal to solve problems that might crop up. A technical project manager’s subordinates look up to them, expecting answers to their problems. You have to be the sort of leader that thrives on the process of finding solutions.
If you’re seriously considering technical project management as a career, you should consider whether you have the following skills and traits:
- The drive to be a leader
- Ability to handle both formal and informal business environments
- Good at keeping team members on task and in check
- Can ensure team members are working efficiently towards the goals you set
- Can confidently answer technical questions fired at you by team leads
- Ability to keep a level head and think wisely in a high-pressure situations
If your answer to the above questions was yes, then congratulations—you probably have what it takes to become a technical project manager. Make the most of that drive and personality to build a rewarding project management career that will take you far in the tech industry.
Key Responsibilities of a Technical Project Manager
Some of the common recurring responsibilities and functions that a technical project manager handles include:
- Prioritizing tasks as the project progresses
- Ensuring all project expectations are fulfilled to ensure maximum satisfaction
- Functioning as the main point of contact for all technical teams
- Elaborating on the scope and range of the project
- Documenting any progress made across all working components of the project
- Leading multiple teams through the entire lifecycle of the project
- Managing the expectations both internally and possibly externally, too
- Reporting on progress to seniors and escalating issues when necessary
- Keeping tabs on the budget, billings, and accounting for the project
- Forging great business relationships
- Forecasting potential resources required for the project
- Ensuring all milestones in the project lifecycle are attained within stipulated periods
- Organizing regular team meetings, so that new challenges or constraints may come to light
- Organizing workshops and training for people who need upskilling
This list may is by no means exhaustive, as roles will vary depending on the nature of the project, but this should give you a good idea as to what may be expected from you if you choose to pursue this career.
Demand for Technical Project Managers
According to the US Department of Labor, companies across the globe can be expected to generate more than 55,000 openings for experienced technical project managers. This represents an incredible growth rate that even outstrips the national average growth rate.
If you’re serious about pursuing a career as a technical project manager, you should check out our Technical Project Management Online Bootcamp. You'll learn all the important skills in the project management field, like how to translate big picture goals into budgets and timelines, and carry projects to completion, one KPI at a time.
Along with the rest of your cohort and a personal mentor, you’ll use industry-preferred project management software like Asana, and leverage agile development techniques to keep everyone on track. And that’s only the first step towards a long, rewarding journey.
Ready to launch into a new career? Book some time on our calendar to take the next step.
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