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Rise of the middle manager: Jobs in IT project management still hot

2010 might be the year of the middle manager. More specifically, we’ll see the rise of the IT project manager, with organizations planning to hire more people for this position in the coming year. Changing technologies have blurred some of the lines between business and IT and carved out a larger spot for this role. The days of Dilbert-ish project management stereotypes may be numbered.

According to a recent Global Knowledge survey, jobs in IT project management are the hottest positions in this field – coming out on top over network security and network administration. The business, turning to IT to maximize investment and enable innovation, is putting new importance on the IT project manager to make sure those investments truly pay off.

The project management office was not always regarded as an effective referee of priorities and cost savings, and was commonly referred to as being the “process cop.” So what’s different today?

Changes in the way technology is delivered, such as SaaS offerings and managed services, mean that being technologically savvy is not necessarily the most important requirement for IT success. Rather than getting under the hood to learn how the car works, CIOs need to understand service costs, risks, benefits, potential ROI and how to properly compare vendors, packages and contracts to ensure they are getting the best deal.

In fact, the business is requesting more of a support role to bridge the gap between the technology and the needs of the organization and, in many cases, the CIO or IT manager is stepping up to fill that role.

In our own IT salary and careers survey, 30% of the respondents (all IT managers, directors and CIOs from midsized organizations) spend most of their time on project management. Thus, the rise of the middle manager is happening as the project manager finds a new place in IT – helping to make sure that technology is not just being pursued for the sake of more technology, but that it’s also moving the company forward.

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