Chapter 2 of a much more comprehensive post Project Management Guide: Starting Out. If you want a project management career or you are trying to find some more information about it, read on. Project management requires certain skills, and it could be a great career path for you if you want to:
- Want the choice to work freelance or full time position
- Are comfortable managing people
- Desire variety in your work
- Enjoy problem solving
- Stay calm under pressure
- Are happy working with deadlines
- Can be flexible and adapt quickly
- Want the opportunity to travel
- Desire a role that delivers a high degree of satisfaction
- Want a challenging role
Project Management Career Requirements
Educational requirements vary greatly depending on the type of project that needs to be managed. Construction project managers usually require a civil engineering degree. Information Technology PMs may need a degree in engineering or computer science. Most cases, some degree of business management formal training (MBA) is recommended to achieve the highest levels of success.
Project management has a direct link to the organizations bottom line, so a PM must be able to understand some aspects of the projects financial repercussions. Project managers need to have:
- Leadership skills
- Ability to set and stick to a schedule
- Analytical thinking
- Strong communication skills
- Objective oriented
- Know how to solve problems
- Promote team building
Professional certifications for your potential project management career are available from a multitude of sources, APM (Association of Project Management), PMI (Project Management Institute) being the most known. PMI is responsible for the most globally recognized and respected credential/certification as a Project Management Professional (PMP). APM is responsible for handing out APMP (The APM Project Management Qualification) also a very widely used and appreciated credential.
Many corporations require PMP or APMP certification for employment or advancement.
Barely over half (56%) of project managers are certified. (Source: Wrike)
Project Management Career Outlook
When you are ready to start prayed work you should find plenty of opportunities out there. Every industry needs project managers. And, industries that face a rapidly changing environment, like IT and construction, project managers are always a highly sought after resource.
There are a lot of opportunities for those who are willing to move abroad (Qatar, UAE), with higher than usual remuneration packages. Most of them are contract based though, but this is overshadowed by the experience you gain by working on complex projects.
Generally the project management field is hot, but the brightest outlook for PMs is in biotech and high-tech industries. As expected there is a link between project management opportunities and the number of projects taking place. Within a booming economy demand for PMs will be high, but within a slow economy you should look for opportunities in the hot sectors.
An astounding 97% of organizations believe project management is critical to business performance and organizational success. (Source: PricewaterhouseCoopers)
A wide range of industries use PMs to handle everything from launching new products to restructuring to converting MIS systems.
The ever increasing demand for project management skills has led to a rise in the number of businesses specializing in the discipline, and you should consider targeting them when searching for paid work.
Employers are willing to pay very well for individuals that poses the skill. Is monetary gain is high on your list then project management might be for you. A quick search for project management jobs on the known job boards shows the average pay is around £50,000 per year.
However, please take this with a pinch of salt as this is only a rough guide, as salaries can vary from job to job, sector to sector, and are dependable on your project management career level. For example an entry position as a Project Coordinator can start from as low as £20,000 per year. And, if you work as a freelancer you will be given the opportunity to negotiate your fees in advance.
Project Management Career Tracks
Few people will have the chance to start out as a full-fledged project manager. Most are offered assistant positions on a project team and assigned responsibility for one aspect of the work. As you gain experience opportunities will arise, and more and more tasks will be assigned to you until you are ready to lead other into completing a project. There is also the possibility to start in a primarily technical job, creating, tracking, updating documents, writing and reviewing reports.
Project coordinator is an entry-level position that will offer you exposure to work done by PMs. It is usually an administrative position involving a lot of paperwork. You will have to generate and distribute reports that will keep the project stakeholders informed about the project’s progress. Also you schedule meetings and assist the project team in any way possible.
For larger projects, a project scheduler runs the software, inputting the information supplied by the management team and updating files as needed. This is a technical position that involves a great deal of computer work and little actual management.
Assistant Project Manager
Assistant PMs do not necessarily assist the project manager directly. Rather, they’re usually assigned specific tasks to manage. They meet regularly with the PM to report progress and problems.
In this position, you may run a project yourself or lead a management team, delegating task management to assistants. PMs report to the “owner” of a project-whether that’s a real estate developer, government agency, or your company’s senior management. You oversee budget and schedule, and take responsibility for the project’s proper completion.
Senior Project Manager
Many large organizations that tackle multiple projects at once (especially construction and engineering companies) employ a senior project manager. The senior project manager supervises a company’s various project managers, coordinating the allocation of company resources, approving costs, and deciding which projects should take priority.