How IT professionals can boost their salary and advance their career

IT professionals could boost their earning potential by 10% by developing their project management skills, it was claimed this week.

IT professionals could boost their earning potential by 10% by developing their project management skills, it was claimed this week.

Project management experience can open up the doors to rapid promotion, says Steven DelGrosso, who runs the project management centre of excellence at IBM.

In an interview with Computer Weekly, DelGrosso, who is responsible for project management best practice at IBM, urged IT professionals to gain early project management experience.

"If you can show that you have the project management skills in addition to the technical skills, you can lend credibility to the fact that you are ready for the next career step," he said.

Sign-up to Computer Weekly to download the latest project management research:

Experience in project management can help programmers step up to become a technical leader, helping them gain transferable skills, which have wider benefits to the business, DelGrosso says.

Build your career with project management skills

IBM has embedded project management practices into its technology processes, to ensure that all IT practitioners are exposed to project management techniques.

"One of the things we realised at IBM some years ago was that if we were to become a project-based enterprise, it wasn't just the project managers that needed to understand project management. IT architects and IT specialists all need to be well versed in project management," he said.

The company is encouraging its IT professionals to gain formal qualifications in project management, such as Project Management Professional (PMP) Certification.

"If you start at the most basic level, if everyone understands the common terminology, if everyone understand the importance of having a schedule and meeting deadlines, and what the milestones are, then everyone is driving towards the same objective," DelGrosso said.

Add business value to your role

Brian Weiss, a vice-president with the Project Management Institute, a professional body for project managers, says the number of IT professionals applying to join the organisation is growing rapidly.

"If you go into our database of 600,000 members and credential holders, you will find that 50% have some sort of connection with IT," he said.

"Projects are really what gives you that cross-functional visibility. If you are just one element of the coding and building of a product, you might not get as much visibility to why you are doing it and how it gets sold," Weiss added.

"Once you get to project level, spending more time on the overall building, you get much more connected to the value of the work. You understand how it gets commercialised, how it gets sold and serviced. It makes you more valuable," he said

Weiss advises IT professionals to network with project managers through discussion boards on LinkedIn and to use the resources of the Project Management Institute to learn the right skills.

Sign-up to Computer Weekly for the latest project management reports and guides:

Read more on IT project management