Project Managers are in high demand, and for good reason. In almost every organization, they’re the ones who plan, organize, execute, and control the company’s biggest projects. They deploy different strategies to evaluate and recognize the needs of the project. Some examples of these needs are timelines, budget, skillsets, organization, communication plans, meetings, and reports for the stakeholders.
It’s predicted that by 2027, there will be around 22 million new jobs in project management. That alone is a big enough reason to pursue a position in the field. But don’t be fooled—that's not the only reason you’ll love a career in project management. Project management pays well too! An entry-level Project Manager takes home around $60,000 to $70,000 per year on average.
The demand for Project Managers isn’t limited to specific industries; it includes a wide range of industries like IT, manufacturing, oil and gas, finance, insurance, utilities, retail, and construction. Projects that are executed correctly in each of these industries are a huge benefit to companies, and that’s thanks to Project Managers.
Some people claim that the challenges faced by the CEO and a Project Manager are very similar. They both need to cooperate with investors, teams, customers, and deal with deadlines, risks, and losses. Like a CEO, a competent Project Manager can drastically transform the fortunes of a company.
So, how do you get started in project management? We’re going to talk about everything you need to know to land your first entry-level project management job.
Different Roles in Project Management
Before you land your first job in project management, you’ll likely want to look for an entry-level role that’s related to the position. Some examples of these roles are project coordinator, project assistant, tester, junior business analyst, product designer, technical analyst, event organizer, researcher, and finance assistant. These beginner roles can help you learn and chart your path towards the role of a high-level Project Manager. Some of the project management titles from entry to executive level are listed below:
Project Coordinator: A project coordinator is responsible for generating and managing reports. In this role, you’re an assistant to the project management team, and you’ll have numerous opportunities to help the Project Manager on big projects.
Project Scheduler: A project scheduler’s involved in managing and updating project schedules. In short, you’d do a lot of administrative and documentation work.
Assistant Project Manager: As the name suggests, you'd help the Project Manager in different tasks like creating and attending meetings, working on smaller segments of the project, and helping to lighten the workload on your seniors.
Project Manager: A Project Manager’s responsible for handling the overall project which includes planning, scheduling, budgeting, executing, and controlling. It’s the Project Manager’s responsibility to coordinate with different stakeholders and resources linked to a project.
Senior Project Manager: As per the seniority level, a senior Project Manager’s responsible for multiple projects. Many Project Managers handling different teams and projects would report to you.
You can also learn the basics of project management from other positions. For example, a tester will have good awareness of project management related to the testing of a product, service, or technology. A product designer, on the other hand, helps design and launch a product, and will have exposure to the Project Manager phases in that domain. A product architect’s involved in creating specifications and detailed designs and layouts of projects; through this they would get some expertise related to project management. So, as you can see, with the right experience, knowledge, and training, you'll be able to work up to your dream project management role fast.
Since Project Managers are needed in different industries, each industry will have different requirements.
Project Manager Skills
There are a few key skills that you’ll need regardless of the industry you choose to work in. The skills needed as a Project Manager include people management and effective communication skills. You’ll also need the ability to plan, coordinate, and execute while you deal with stressful activities. But that’s not all. Let’s talk about the other skills you’ll need in more detail below.
Project Managers should know how to communicate their visions, missions, goals, activities, and ideas effectively. They should know how to give a presentation and interact with different stakeholders confidently as well.
Project Managers should know how to lead both the people and the project. They should understand how to motivate and encourage their team. Planning and execution are also important for Project Managers.
Project Managers must possess the ability to negotiate with suppliers, customers, and other stakeholders.
We can’t avoid risks in any project. However, through good management and strategies, risks can be mitigated. A good Project Manager should have the ability to manage different risks in a project, and if they’re unavoidable, they must communicate the issues effectively.
A Project Manager must also be a good budget manager and possess the ability to identify different hidden costs.
In some cases, a Project Manager needs to take on technical writing and write product specifications, draft deliverables, send updates for new issues and more.
A Project Manager’s also expected to have research abilities that go deep into the area of interest. They should help others by asking the right questions and finding effective solutions. In addition to these skills, other necessary skills for a Project Manager are interpersonal skills, time management, team management, conflict management, cost control, contract management, critical thinking, task management, quality management, and empathy.
What Level of Education Do You Need to Become A Project Manager?
A great thing about project management is that you don’t need to go the traditional education route to start your career. There are a few options you can pursue, two of those being bootcamps and certificate programs.
Bootcamps like ours are learning-intensive courses that are packed into a short amount of time. In the span of a few months, you’ll have all the skills and practical experience you need to start your career as a Project Manager in tech. In the case of our bootcamp, you’ll also receive a 1-on-1 mentor and personalized career counselling. Oh, and if you don’t find a job in your field within six months, you won’t pay for your education.
Certificates, on the other hand, are a great way to up level your skillset. You can get a certificate to help you land a promotion during your career, or to stand out from the competition. Getting a certificate isn’t as intense as joining a bootcamp, however, they’re still a great option if you want to pursue project management. Here are a few certificates that we’d recommend if you want to go that route:
- Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)
- CompTIA Project+ Associate in Project Management (APM)
- Project Management Professional (PMP)
- Professional in Project Management (PPM)
- Certified Project Director (CPD)
- Project in Controlled Environments ( PRINCE2)
- PMI-ACP (Agile Certified Professional)
- Certified Scrum Master (CSM)
It’s important that you check the eligibility criteria for each certificate and determine which one fits your current situation best.
Project Manager Salaries
Over the next ten to fifteen years, the demand for Project Managers is going to keep increasing. This means that not only can you look forward to job security and growth, but you can also expect a comfortable salary. But, like any career path, there are factors that will impact how much you make. Some of these factors are as follows.
Experience – As expected, the more experience you have, the more you’ll make.
Geography – Location or geography plays a key role in how much companies pay. Bigger cities tend to pay more than smaller cities. Places like Missouri, Ohio, Florida, North Carolina, and Delaware have solid salaries for Project Managers. It’s also good to know that Alaska has the highest salary for entry-level jobs in project management.
Expertise – Another key factor to start making a great salary is specializing in an area. The more skills you have, the more money you can negotiate moving forward.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics states that Project Manager salaries can range anywhere from $70,000 to $100,000 for entry and mid-level positions. Normally, the hourly wage of a Project Manager is about $40/hour. Big companies like McKinsey, ZS Associates, Google, Booz, Allen, Amazon, IBM, Deloitte, Cisco, Jacobs, Ericsson, Accenture, etc. are the highest paying companies in the field of project management. Also, industries that pay the highest salaries to entry-level and mid-level Project Managers are mining, pharma, consulting, engineering, and legal with salaries ranging from $100,000 to $130,000 per year.
Quick Tips for Entry-Level Project Managers
Always understand that mistakes can happen, but it’s how you respond to those mistakes that counts. Evaluate the risks prior to starting a new project, and divide your project into small tasks so that it’s less overwhelming.
Read up on the jargon used in project management so you know key terms before your first day. Work on your interpersonal skills as much as you work on your technical skills. Improve your presentation skills, communication skills, and leadership skills. They will take you far in your career.
Finally, be ready to adapt at all times. No project will ever go exactly as planned.
If you want to specialize in the tech industry, our Technical Project Management Bootcamp may be your first step. If you’re still not sure which direction you want to go, we’ve got tons of valuable blog posts to help you with your decision. We’re rooting for you!