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5. Information Technology Project Manager
Information Technology Project Manager
April Ellison is an IT project manager at Safeway Inc. in Hayward, Calif.
Top 50 rank: 5
Sector: Information Technology

What they do: Keep big tech projects like software upgrades running on time--and on budget. "We bring order to chaos," says April Ellison, an IT project manager in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Why it's great: Lots of opportunity. "Just about all companies need techsavvy people who are great managers," says Houston tech recruiter Linda Ranostaj. Figuring out how to implement cutting-edge technologies keeps the job challenging.

Good upward mobility: IT project managers can rise to chief technology officer of a company, where the salaries can hit $300,000.

Do you prefer to work for yourself? The field offers plenty of consulting work.

Drawbacks: Hours (and hours and hours) of meetings. Aggressive project timelines. Staff jobs can be outsourced to consultants.

Pre-reqs: Five to seven years of technology and computer-related experience. A project management professional certification, along with an MBA, will enhance career prospects.

Do IT Project Managers have great jobs, or what?
Information Technology Project Manager stats
Median salary
(experienced)
$98,700
Top pay $140,000
10-year job growth
(2006-2016)
16%
Total jobs
(current)
174,000
Online want ad growth
(April 2009-August 2009)
17%
Personal satisfaction B
Job security B
Future growth B
Benefit to society C
Low stress C
From the November 2009 issue
Notes: All pay data from PayScale.com. Median pay is for an experienced worker (at least two to seven years in the field). Top pay represents the 90th percentile. Job growth is estimated for 2006-16. Total current employment level is estimated number of people working in each specific job.

Sources: PayScale.com, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Conference Board Help Wanted Online Data Series, and MONEY research
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MONEY and compensation experts PayScale.com started with more than 7,000 jobs that the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects will grow 10% or more over the next decade and that require at least a bachelor's degree. More

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