Project management is the process of organizing the team, allocating necessary resources to accomplish all project goals within a specific period. It involves the use of skills, tools, knowledge and techniques to provide people with value. If you intend jumping into a career in project management, here are some tips to stay afloat and kick-start your career in project management in this article.
Who Is A Project Manager?
A project manager is a professional responsible for planning, acquiring, and executing a project with a defined scope.
Project managers use their skills and experience to align a common goal for the team, they are required in all types of organizations.
Responsibilities Of A Project Manager
- Create and update project files
- Establish effective communication
- Develop professional business relationships
- Motivate and supervise project team members
- Coordinate and control multiple projects to finish
- Track working hours and maintain accurate daily schedules
- Create an accurate forecast of revenue and resource requirements
- Develop detailed project management plans and track project progress
- Get customer information and provide all necessary information to team members
- Establish and manage project expectations with external and internal stakeholders
- Ensure that the project tasks are completed and reviewed within the specified scope
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How Much Can A Project Manager Earn?
A project manager can earn between $93,000 and $140,000. However, the earning of a project manager depends on different factors like degree, industry, team size, region, specific role and your level of experience.
Career Options For Project Managers
- Project Scheduler
- Project Co-Ordinator
- Marketing Project Manager
- Consulting Project Manager
- Healthcare Project Manager
- Engineering Project Manager
- Construction Project Manager
- Software Development Project Manager
- Information Technology Project manager
- Environmental Research Project manager
- New Project Development Project Manager
Essential Skills Every Project Manager Must Possess
There are certain skills you must acquire to become a successful project manager. Some of these skills include:
- Negotiation Skills
- Active Listening Skills
- Problem Solving Skills
- Risk Management Skill
- General Business Skills
- Time Management Skills
- Basic technological skills
- Perseverance and Patience
- Effective communication Skills
- Strong Analytical and Leadership Skills
Requirements to Start A Career in Project Management
Here are a few tips that can give you a distinct advantage in the project management career path. It be very easy if you already have the following qualifications:
- A bachelor’s degree in management or business
- Certification in project management
- A master’s degree in project management or business management
- A certified associate qualification in project management
- Relevant work experience in the field for a significant amount of time
Obtaining a project management degree or working in a management domain can help you gain certain skills to succeed in your role. You can either pursue a course to obtain the skills you need or work in a business set-up to gain them with experience.
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How To Start A Career In Project Management
1. Interact With Others In The Field
It is necessary to gather as much as you can about project management before taking on the new career. Interacting with professionals and learn more about the challenges and the fulfilling aspects of the career.
2. Take An Online Course
Online courses on are a time-saving approach to beginning a project management career. You get introduced to the subject, gain knowledge of the basics and get tips to cope with the challenges.
Online Platforms To Study Project Management
- PMI: Project Management Basics
- Alison: Diploma in Project Management
- Brain Sensei: Complete PMP Exam Prep Course
- Coursera: Applied Project Management Certificate
3. Get A Graduate Degree In Project Management
If you already have the basics of project management, you might want to consider a higher degree like an MBA to gain advanced expertise and get a more in-depth knowledge. This can also enhance your employability in the field.
Universities To Study Project Management
- Bradford University, UK
- George Mason University, USA
- Colorado State University, USA
- Birmingham City University, UK
- Royal Roads University, Canada
- University Of Manitoba, Canada
- University of Nevada, Reno, USA
- Cardiff Metropolitan University, UK
- Ontario Technology University, Canada
4. Get More Certification
As a project manager, you need to keep updating your skills by obtain project management certifications such as the PMP certification, this would add to your expertise in the field.
5. Acquire The Necessary Skills
To be able to plan and manage a project work effectively, you will need both soft and hard skills. Certain things may come natural/easy to you, but with education, experience and commitment, you can develop and improve on all the skills required by a project manager.
a. Soft Skills
Soft skills are those skills you need to deal with people, it is sometimes believed that extroverts have a natural strength in soft skills as they like to communicate and build relationships with people.
You may have a naturally outgoing personality but without the correct knowledge and experience, the project management may be disastrous. If you are new to the project management field, you will need to dedicate more time to developing your soft skills.
Some of these needed soft skills include:
- Conflict Management
- Expectations management
b. Hard Skills
These are technical skills, and are the tools and/or techniques required for the delivery the project. Unlike soft skills that may come natural for some persons, especially those who are more analytically inclined, Hard skills are learned.
Some of these needed hard skills include:
- Risk reports
- Project charter
- Project budgets
- Project schedule
- Resourcing reports
- Earned value reports
- Work breakdown structure (WBS)
6. Get An Experienced Mentor
A mentor according to the Oxford Dictionary is defined as “an experienced person in a company or educational institution who trains and counsels new employees or students”, “an experienced and trusted adviser”. Having an experienced mentor can aid your professional development and also that of the mentor.
Devote your time to learning from the mentor. A good mentor will help you to be come better and there will be a high level of trust, honesty, and respect in the relationship.
Look for someone from your network who is an experienced project manager from an area you want to be in. Approach them at the right time and in the right manner. If you cannot find someone in your immediate network, look externally, join local groups or meetups or join online groups and forums.
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7. Hunt For Opportunities
You’ve been working on building your knowledge and skillset and you’ve teamed up with an experienced mentor. Eventually, the time comes to “bite the bullet” and take on the leadership of a project. This project can be in your professional or personal situation.
You can talk to your employer about project management opportunities within the company. You might not land huge project immediately, start with small projects. Keep in touch with your mentor or coach as you go through the project
If there are no offers on the table yet, you can take on a personal project such as a home improvement or a family event. The idea is to practice some of the skillsets you have gained and build up your confidence that you can do it.
With them you can attempt complicated projects, you would have gained the experience needed to land higher-paying projects.
Benefits Of A Career In Project Management
Here are a few benefits that you can look forward to when pursuing a career in project management:
- Become a better leader
- Develop your technical skills
- Get better at problem solving
- Improve your interpersonal skills
- Get better at handling shorter projects
It is important to remember that project management careers can be daunting, but with consistency things will become easier and project objectives will become attainable. Be open to working on your skillsets, learning from other professionals, and taking on challenges to continue to improve.