So you want to be a project manager?

So you have decided you want to be a project manager?

According to Linda Pace, IT project manager with Research Plus, project managers need good communications, management and people skills.

Pace said project managers are responsible for the smooth running of a project in its entirety, including client liaison and staff direction.

"You need to understand the technologies you are working with. As an example, have a basic understanding of the language that the application or Web site is being built on," said Pace.

Pace's responsibilities with Research Plus include managing the development of Web application projects, allocating resources for projects, monitor progress of projects including resources and budget, and recruiting staff.

Pace has been a project manager for almost six years and currently works about 45 hours per week.

"I find my job fulfilling when I can share my knowledge with team members and clients, when I am confident that I understand what I'm working on, and when I'm learning new technologies," said Pace.

Pace believes it is good for potential project managers to have an understanding of team dynamics and core IT skills, and that nothing beats on the job training.

According to Pace, who was a programmer before moving to project management, steps that may be taken to become a project manager are on the job training and Tafe courses that include communications and management subjects.

"I have done some Sun Microsystems and IBM courses. The IBM Web site contains redbooks on how to efficiently manage a project using their e-commerce tools," Pace said. "I Also completed several Tafe courses that gave me the management skills I need to manage a team, and I believed I could do it".

In her career, Pace has also been a second in charge to a technical director and indicated the approximate salary range for a project manager to be between $60,000 and $100,000.

The best thing about being a project manager is having a satisfied client and "attending launches for finalised projects", said Pace. "Subconsciously I know my team and peers respect me, however, there are times when they say something to reinforce the fact and look up to me as a leader. Now that's a good feeling."

Meanwhile, the worst thing about her job, is reprimanding or terminating team members. "But it is something that has to be done," said Pace.

Pace indicated the next career step for a project manager could be becoming an IT manager or IT director since traits which make the best project managers include; meeting all deadlines in budget, building a reliable team with the right attitude towards the project and other team members.

It is advised to those interested in becoming a project manager to be honest and confident when dealing with clients and team members. "Believe in your self and go for it," said Pace.

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