To grow and adapt, companies need to complete carefully planned-out projects. Whether it’s fixing a software bug, building a new access road, or developing a strategy to increase sales, someone needs to lead the team.

This is where skilled project managers come in. They’re responsible for owning projects and ensuring the process runs smoothly. The success or failure of the entire task rests firmly on their shoulders.

If you’re a strong communicator with excellent planning and organizational skills, you could have what it takes to become a well-paid project manager. To get started in this field, most students opt for a degree. But there are other education options available and degrees aren’t always required.

Read on to learn how you can kickstart your career in project management. We’ll discuss the degree programs, certifications, and bootcamps available to you, and where you should enroll. But first, let’s look at the project management role in more detail.

Launch Your Project Management Career

An online project management course aimed at helping you launch a career. One-on-one mentorship, professional guidance, and a robust community network are on hand to help you succeed in Project Management.

Specialist Project Management Degrees

Those with a specialized degree sometimes earn a higher project manager salary.

It’s a common misconception that the best way to learn project management skills is to earn a project management bachelor’s degree. But most experienced project managers don’t actually have a degree in project management itself. Instead, they’re graduates in specific areas like computer science, data science, or engineering. They’ll join relevant organizations, gain experience, and move into project management roles within their domain of specialization.

But if you know that this is the professional route for you, then you may decide to specialize. Because project management is gaining popularity and droves of professionals are now opting to become project managers after working as engineers or developers, many universities have started offering master’s degrees in project management.

Here's our list of some of the university programs focusing specifically on project management.

Some other highly ranked master’s programs in project management are offered by Boston University, Georgetown University, Stevens Institute of  Technology, the University of Texas at Dallas, New York University, and Penn State, to name just a few.

The wide variety of schools offering project management programs speaks to the growing popularity of this career track.

Business-Oriented Project Management Degrees

If you want to broaden your field of education and keep your options open, it might be more appropriate to get a degree in a field similar to project management. For example, you could pursue a degree in business or commerce, like a BBA or an MBA, with project management as one of your focus areas.  

You can get hired first as a business analyst or manager and gain experience while working on live projects and managing diverse teams. This would  make the transition to project management smooth and give you a rich background in the company's product or technology as well as in the management of resources.

Depending on your budget, exam scores, and time constraints, you have a wide range of options available.

Project Management Certifications

As a first step to learning what a project manager does, explore some of the more popular certification programs.

Certain respected project manager certifications can really add value to your resume. Candidates can enroll, and after clearing the relevant exams, are certified to work as project managers globally in their respective domains.  The  most renowned certification body is the Project Management Institute or  the PMI. The PMI standards are globally accepted in all industries. You would see universities adhering to the PMI course structure and exam patterns during their certification or project management degree courses.

Let’s look at some of the popular certifications available.

1. PMP or Project Management Professional - Offered by the PMI, this is the most coveted certification that validates your project management skills.

Once you're PMP certified, you can work as a project manager in any industry, domain, or location. Even employers benefit, as PMP professionals increase the chances of completing on time, reducing budgets, and mitigating risks.

2. CAPM or Certified Associate in Project Management - This course precedes the PMP certificate and is regulated by the PMI. It’s an entry-level certification and is best for those who don't have a formal degree, yet have corporate experience in project management.

3. CompTIA Project+ - Offered by the Computing Technology Industry Association, this is similar  to the CAPM offered by the PMI. It offers training in resource  management, handling project constraints, project management  documentation, project life cycle, communication, and coordination with  different stakeholders.  Anyone with one to two years of experience in project management can opt for this certification, and it’s suited for both IT and non-IT professionals.  

4. Associate in Project Management (APM) - Another entry-level certification accredited by the Global Association  of Quality Management (GAQM). APM assesses the general understanding of  project management and its terminologies. If you don’t pass the exam, you can re-attempt it after fourteen days.

5. Professional in Project Management (PPM) - Again, offered by GAQM, this is a significantly advanced certification  compared to APM, and verifies that professionals have a fundamental knowledge of the project life cycle, roles of a project manager, setting  project goals, progress milestones, developing project planning  worksheets, and an understanding of different project risks.  

It’s  especially directed at preparing candidates for crucial challenges that  arise while managing projects. PPM up-skills a trainee in developing  project schedules, project measures, and leading and motivating a  project team. It also ensures that standard knowledge and experience requirements have been met. It’s another prestigious certification to have in the project management industry.

Other popular courses in the project management domain  are Certified Project Director (CPD) and Master Project Manager (MPM).  These days, with the popularity of Agile and Scrum methodologies,  especially in the IT industry, certifications like Certified Scrum  Master (CSM) and Agile Certified Practitioner (ACP) are rapidly gaining  prominence.

For projects in the government domain, the PRINCE2 certification (Project in Controlled Environments) is also considered valuable.

Many universities like Stanford, Ohio, and Villanova also offer certification courses in project management. The admission criteria, duration, and format might vary for  different universities. You should be sure to check the specific course listings for details.  

Get An Education That Leads to a Career

If you're after a long-term career, the best bet for aspiring project managers is to enroll in a bootcamp, like our technical project management course. This 3-month online course teaches you career-ready PM skills like task management, Agile, and Scrum methodologies. It’s affordable, focused, and geared around getting you hired as a well-paid project manager.

If you’d like to explore other career paths, take a look at our tech career blog. You’ll find articles on software engineering, UX/UI design, and product management.

Launch Your Project Management Career

An online project management course aimed at helping you launch a career. One-on-one mentorship, professional guidance, and a robust community network are on hand to help you succeed in Project Management.

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