Do You Need A Master’s in Information Technology To Be A Project Manager?

Project ManagerA career in project management is highly sought after, and many people assume that one needs a Master’s in Information Technology to be a project manager. However, this is usually not the case. The role of project manager is one that requires leadership abilities as well as extensive knowledge about technical systems and development practices. Although a Master’s in Information Technology degree program typically includes course topics that help to prepare people for project management positions, it is by no means the only path to a successful project management career. Here are a few other ways that people can qualify to become project managers.

Increase Technical Training

A Master’s in Information Technology degree is an impressive education credential, but it is only one way to gain technical training. Many IT projects involve the development of software or an upgrade to a network; the developed components are integrated into systems that must be thoroughly tested prior to delivery. A person who has an undergraduate degree in computer science or in management information systems has learned some of the key skills needed to oversee a computer software or system project. During these degree programs, students often participate in real world projects that require all the elements of project management from design to test. IT professionals who have associate degrees in applied science in network administration or security have also gained the technical knowledge needed for many network upgrade projects.

Obtain Project Management Training and Certification

Although technical expertise is a large component of IT project management, there are other critical factors involved in delivering a project successfully. IT systems are not delivered within schedule, budget and the proper specifications by accident. There are processes and methodology frameworks that give project managers a road map for success. These elements are usually taught within project management specific training and certification programs, according to Degree Directory. Additionally, IT projects include some aspects of business management like strategic planning, budgeting, staffing and scheduling that require people to have specialized project management training unless one has an academic business background. After completion of specialized project management training, it is usually good for aspiring project managers to gain project management certification credentials. There are a few types of recognized project management certifications, but the most well-known is the Project Management Professional sponsored by the Project Management Institute. However, a person needs verified education and work experience besides the specialized project management training to gain this internationally recognized designation.

Get More Relevant Work Experience

Most project managers only get better as they take responsibility for various types of IT projects, but it usually takes a few years of experience before IT professionals are allowed to manage their own projects. Some of these professionals work on project teams as system architects, software developers, network engineers, testers, or even business analysts to gain experience, and many of these people get experience in several of these roles over the years. Other professionals begin their careers as assistant project managers who work under the supervision of seasoned project manager professionals to put themselves on the fast track to a project manager position.

Related Resource: Become a Software Engineer


IT project managers are involved in all aspects of planning, management and execution of technical initiatives. While a person is not required to hold a specific degree like a Master’s in Information Technology to be a project manager, one needs a combination of technical education, specific project management training, and experience working on technical projects.