For many project managers, the pathway into the profession has been somewhat serendipitous. They’ve taken on the responsibility of managing projects in previous roles and have picked up the tricks of the trade as they went. These days, however, it’s becoming increasingly common for students to choose project management as a career in its own right, researching and selecting degrees and courses with the specific aim of becoming a qualified project manager.
If you have your sights set on project management, but you’re still unsure what your path should look like, this article is designed to help you get a clearer picture of the way forward. Read on for all you need to know about the skills, certifications and specializations that are available to aspiring project managers.
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Project Management Job Titles
As a project manager, you may work under a range of different job titles. Some of the more common roles and their responsibilities are listed below.
This role is often seen as an entry point to becoming a project manager in the future. A project coordinator supports other members of the project team. They usually assist the project manager in administrative tasks. Key responsibilities include:
- Ensuring daily tasks are completed on time
- Scheduling and managing meetings
- Supervising budget tracking
Team members in different departments might be assigned different tasks as part of the whole process of completing a project. A project director’s job is to oversee these team members. As a project director, you could be responsible for:
- Creating schedules
- Ensuring every stage of the project goes to plan
- Supervising and coordinating teams and departments
- Creating timelines for different phases of a project
- Adjusting plans if the project is not proceeding according to the original plan
A project facilitator develops a team of workers by training and guiding them. You're also expected to ensure that any problems arising throughout the lifecycle of the project are effectively solved. The key responsibilities of a project facilitator are:
- Analyzing the issues and conflicts in a project
- Producing effective tools and techniques to improve the team
- Training and supporting team members
- Managing team meetings
- Ensuring effective cross-team communication
This is also an entry-level position buy may require up to two years’ experience. Projects run at a tight schedule in companies. A project planner updates and coordinates the schedules of these projects. They also allocate various resources and monitor team activities.
The responsibilities of a project planner include: Planning and scheduling project workloads Collecting information to make status reports Checking whether the current procedures are efficient
Skills Needed to Become a Project Manager
Having the right skill set is invaluable to a good career, and project management is no exception. The right skills will set you on the path to a successful career as you build the confidence to perform your role well. This involves developing both hard as well as soft skills to ensure you have a well-rounded knowledge-base and the capacity to form good working relationships.
Hard skills or technical skills are industry-specific skills. They tend to be non-transferable across industries. For example, the technical skills required to become an engineer can’t be readily transferred to another job, like a health professional. Hard skills define your expertise in a particular domain.
Soft skills are interpersonal skills. They’re just as important as hard skills and show how well you will function in the workplace. Since project management requires interaction with multiple teams, colleagues, clients, and other stakeholders, it’s important to have great interpersonal skills. These are skills are transferable across industries.
Project Management Certifications
Certifications are a great way to learn, upskill, and make your resume more appealing to any employer. If you want to land a job as a project manager, various reputable certifications can help you. Whether you’re just starting out, or you’re a professional with a couple years of experience under your belt, there's a useful certification for you.
How to Begin a Career in Project Management
Hopefully this article has provided you with some clarity as you embark on your career in project management. If you’re feeling inspired to take that first step toward a new career, check out our Technical Project Management Bootcamp. If you’re interested in a project management role in the fast-growing tech sector, this could be the ideal path for you.
How do I become a Project Manager?
You can become a project manager by obtaining a project management or business administration degree or professional certification. In addition to this, you will also need to master important project management tools such as Microsoft project, Atlassian, Basecamp, etc. And of course, good people management and communication skills are mandatory.
How much does a Project Manager make?
The salary of a project manager can vary between $61,000 and $135,000 per year. The vast salary variations are due to numerous factors such as years of experience, skills and job type and location. Amongst these, work experience is the most important factor.
What's the job outlook for a Project Manager?
A career in project management is extremely lucrative due to globalization. There is a high demand for skilled project managers in various fields including tech, oil and gas, manufacturing, construction, pharmaceuticals and finance. Project managers are required to motivate teams, allocate resources and work towards business growth.
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