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What Is a Technical Project Manager?

By Steve Smith

The information presented here is true and accurate as of the date of publication. DeVry’s programmatic offerings and their accreditations are subject to change. Please refer to the current academic catalog for details.


April 12, 2024

9 min read

Project management plays a critical role in any business environment. Smart and effective project managers help teams stay on track to meet goals, operate within budget parameters and stay competitive. But what is the difference between technical project management and regular PM work?


In this discussion, we’ll be talking about technical project managers. We will detail their responsibilities and discuss how you can pursue this career and look at the technical and workplace skills that enable them to do their job well.

What Is a Technical Project Manager?

Both project managers and technical project managers are tasked with making sure their team’s projects are completed on time, and both use the same project management tools and methodologies. But what differentiates them from their non-technical counterparts?

Typically applied to information technology (IT)-related projects, the technical project manager’s role combines the buttoned-down organizational and motivational responsibilities of a traditional project manager with those of a subject matter expert with technical knowledge or experience. Non-technical PMs typically handle projects of a non-technical nature.

The project management tools and methodologies non-technical PM’s use as opposed to technical project managers can vary. Technical PM’s will often use the Agile approach, which allows them to handle different aspects of complex projects in a short timeframe. Technical PM’s will also frequently utilize Scrum and Kanban methodologies to make their projects go more smoothly.

What Does a Technical Project Manager Do?

A technical project manager’s responsibilities might begin even before the team is assembled, and may be likely to include:

  • Concepting and planning: Beginning with working out the outcomes and deliverables of the project with stakeholders to assembling the project team and creating timelines, technical project managers are responsible for a large amount of the initial planning of a project.

  • Resource allocation: Once a project team has been assembled, technical project managers will allocate resources and assign tasks among the team leaders, managers or team members. This area of responsibility also involves creating schedules, timelines and deadlines for the project’s incremental milestones.

  • Monitoring task completion: Although not likely to be involved with hands-on task completion, the technical project manager should actively monitor the execution of tasks and phases as the project moves along.

  • Financial management: The technical project manager is responsible for managing the project’s budget and tracking it amid shifting priorities or unexpected complications over the project’s life cycle.

  • Communication and collaboration: As with non-technical projects, technical project management requires regular communication with stakeholders, team members, vendors or suppliers throughout the course of a project. Large projects may have needs from multiple parties, requiring technical project managers to collaborate as needed with the leaders of those departments.

Becoming a Technical Project Manager

Careers in technical management can be found in nearly every field or industry, including business, finance, human resources, sales and marketing or healthcare.

You might be wondering then about the job outlook for technical project managers. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects employment for project management specialists in general to grow 6% on a national level from 2022 to 2032, faster than the average for all occupations, with about 68,100 openings each year, on average, over the decade.1 The BLS expects this need to be strong in computer systems design services, as more specialists will be required to manage the growing volume and complexity of IT projects to support expanded telework. This growth is projected on a national level and local growth may vary. BLS projections are not specific to DeVry University students or graduates and may include earners at all stages of their careers and not just entry level.

If you’re planning to pursue a career as a technical project manager, your journey along this career path should begin with education and may require you to gain some management experience as you prepare to pursue the role.

Education for technical project managers

The BLS notes that to enter the occupation, project management specialists typically need a bachelor’s degree in business, project management or a related field, and that some employers may prefer to hire candidates with degrees in an industry-related technical field, such as computer information technology or engineering.

Industry-relevant certifications may be advantageous for aspiring technical project managers. According to the BLS, certifications may not be required, but may be beneficial to demonstrate your capabilities to prospective employers. The Project Management Institute’s Project Management Professional (PMP®) credential is an example of one such certification.

PMP is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.

Here at DeVry, our Bachelor’s Degree in Technical Management can help you acquire the skills needed to prepare to pursue a technical project management role. This program combines business management skills with those needed to lead and work with technical teams. You’ll also have the chance to explore the implementation of technology-based solutions and strategies in today’s workplaces. When you enhance this degree program with a Project Management specialization, you’ll also learn to manage cost estimates and budgets, make risk assessments and conduct contract and bid negotiations.

Already have a bachelor’s degree? Explore our Graduate Certificate in Project Management, our Master’s Degree in Project Management, or our MBA with a Specialization in Project Management.

All of the project management specializations and programs at DeVry are accredited by the Global Accreditation Center of Project Management Education Programs (GAC). DeVry University and its Keller Graduate School of Management are among a limited number of U.S. universities and schools worldwide to be granted this designation. More information is available via

Management experience for technical project managers

To gain project management experience, look for volunteer, internship or freelance opportunities to run or contribute to projects. Keep in mind that if you’re looking for entry-level job openings, postings may be likely to have “project coordinator” or “project scheduler” in the title. Reaching out to your network might also be a good way to find opportunities for hands-on experience.

Technical Project Manager Skills

The technical and workplace skills requirements for technical project managers exceed those of traditional project managers.

Tech skills

A medley of general technical skills in project management and technology-specific capabilities in computer science, software engineering, IT and other areas make up the bulk of technical skills required in technical project management:

  • Resource management: Technical project managers should be able to evaluate their teams and their resources, spotting where some team members may be feeling stretched or where resources aren’t being utilized to their highest potential. Allocating resources effectively helps keep a project running smoothly.

  • Systems thinking and technical acumen: For those interested in IT and management roles, comprehension of the complexities of software development, infrastructure and cyber security is a useful skill that enables technical project managers to bring projects in on time and under budget.

  • Knowledge of project management methodologies: Managers of complex projects can benefit from knowledge of widely adopted frameworks such as Agile, Scrum and Kanban, and the ability to customize them to fit the unique characteristics of their projects.

Soft skills

When equipped with the right soft skills, which are sometimes called workplace skills, technical project managers can be more effective in areas like process improvement, operations and risk management, and strategic planning and analysis:

  • Communication: Strong communication skills help managers in several ways, including effective stakeholder management and working with their team. Complex relationships with stakeholders may demand superior communication skills, allowing technical PMs to manage expectations and make technical subject matter understandable to non-technical individuals.

  • Problem solving: Strong problem solving and risk management skills enable these managers to keep projects on track and within scope amid foreseen and unforeseen challenges. Their ability to be proactive in assessing risks and identifying solutions, sometimes creatively, is an essential skill.

  • Leadership: Strong leadership and team development skills help technical project managers motivate their teams, run meetings productively and facilitate collaboration among technical and non-technical team members. Effective leaders can build high-performing teams that are capable of taking on the most complex projects while maintaining a collaborative and professionally inclusive culture.

  • Adaptability: Ensuring project continuity amidst changing project requirements, technologies and market conditions requires heightened adaptability and change management skills. These interrelated soft skills help tech project managers lead teams and manage projects effectively through the adoption of new processes that are part and parcel of a rapidly changing technical environment.

Considering a Career in Technical Project Management?

If you’re looking to pursue a career in technical project management, DeVry can help you take the first steps with degree programs like our Bachelor’s Degree in Technical Management. This online bachelor’s degree program combines technology skills with business management practices and can be earned with a specialization in Project Management, giving you an industry-relevant and skills-focused pathway into the field.

Whether you’re starting a new career or advancing in the one you already have, online education from DeVry can help you balance your commitment to education with family, work and other aspects of your busy life. You can earn your Bachelor’s Degree in Technical Management in as little as 2 years and 8 months on a minimum schedule or 4 years on a normal one.2 Classes start soon!

1Growth projected on a national level. Local growth will vary by location. BLS projections are not specific to DeVry University students or graduates and may include earners at all stages of their career and not just entry level.

2Normal schedule does not include breaks and assumes 2 semesters of year-round, full-time enrollment in 12-19 credit hours a semester per 12 month period. Minimum schedule does not include breaks and assumes 3 semesters of year-round, full-time enrollment in 12-19 credit hours a semester per 12 month period.

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