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What Is a Project Manager? A Guide to This Career

Certain companies are more apt to require a person to have a master’s degree in project management to be considered for the position. If you’ve ever planned, led, budgeted, scheduled, or documented the progress of a project, you’ve done some elements of project management. Though you might not have thought of it as project management at the time, your past experiences may have given you some exposure to the skills you’ll need as a project manager. There are so many things to juggle during a process, from leadership expectations to client care and employee management, that a trusted PMP will always be an asset to any company.

project manager career

She is passionate about economic development and is on the board of two non-profit organizations seeking to revitalize her former railroad town. Prior to joining the team at Forbes Advisor, Cassie was a Content Operations Manager and Copywriting Manager at Fit Small Business. Smartsheet is an online work execution platform empowering organizations of all sizes to plan, manage, automate, and report on work. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 7.6% employment growth for construction managers between 2021 and 2031.

Career pathways in project management

Choosing a methodology (or a combination of methodologies) is one of the first decisions you’ll make as a project manager. The PMI Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) is the global standard of project management. The PMBoK refers to the five process steps of project management—Initiating, Planning, Executing, Monitoring & Controlling, and Closing. Scrum provides a set of processes, rules, and roles that allow small teams to be more result-oriented and productive.

project manager career

It differs from general management because of the limited scope of a project, concrete deadlines and specific deliverables. When deadlines are looming, the project manager has to make sure that everyone is on top of their work and feels comfortable asking for more hands if they need them. Most deliverables in a large-scale project will be necessary to move to the next stage, so the project manager is responsible for making sure the lines of communication are open and honest about time frames and requirements. First and foremost, the project manager will receive a brief or a general idea of what the project is. They will likely create a project timeline so that all parties have an idea of what to expect.

Career Path

Requiring attention to detail, organization, and follow-through, project management jobs can be a great career avenue. Highly organized people capable of multitasking and leading others often thrive in project management careers. For example, if you’re working in software development, you may choose to employ Agile techniques. Scrum, an approach to Agile management, uses daily team meetings and short (for example 30-day) “sprints” to develop projects quickly and efficiently. The Lean method, developed by Toyota in the 1970s, seeks to maximize value and minimize waste.

  • The courses an individual takes to obtain this degree also strengthen communication and interaction skills.
  • Some potential downsides include the demanding nature of the job and the emphasis on meeting deadlines.
  • The project manager will then talk to everyone who needs to be on the team and make sure they have what they need to get started.
  • Project managers oversee the entirety of the project lifecycle, guiding teams and ensuring a smooth process as tasks are completed, whereas Scrum Masters are responsible for ensuring that teams are adhering to Scrum principles.
  • Individuals interested in this position also typically find some type of internship to gain on-the-job experience.

The project manager will have to stay on top of deadlines and deliverables, but also take some time to shout out the team’s successes and make sure everyone feels supported in their roles. The overall team will only be able to finish the project if they have what they need and feel empowered in their roles. While Scrum Masters can be project managers and project managers can be Scrum Masters, the two terms cannot be used interchangeably.

What kind of experience do I need before working as a project manager?

Doing hands-on work in your industry can give you an advantage as a project manager. You’ll understand the ins and outs of the work required, empathise with team members, and have a better grasp on how to approach a project. If you are looking to get a grounding in project management theory then the Google Certificate in Project Management may be a good place for you to start. The course provides a solid overview and introduction to diverse themes, approaches, methodologies, and competencies in project management.

Project managers might go on to become senior project managers, directors, or even vice presidents and other executives. Another option is to enroll in certification courses related to project management. Earning a certificate courses for project manager demonstrates to employers that you have the knowledge and skills to succeed as a project manager. Certification courses cover conflict management, team empowerment, risk assessment, continuity, and more.

project manager career

You also can reach out directly to companies or your current employer to find out if they have project management jobs available. When reviewing listings, pay attention to the job description as well as education and experience requirements. It depends, of course, on how long the manager has worked for the company and how effective and successful they have been. Again, moving into this position surely increases duties and the level of responsibility, but it also includes a significant increase in salary. As you gain experience and skills in this field, take the time to enhance your resume. Review project manager job listings, from entry-level to advanced roles, to find out what companies are looking for.

project manager career

Waterfall is a project management methodology used for software development, data systems development, and IT projects. Waterfall is highly structured and closely managed using extensive monitoring mechanisms. You may be able to earn some certifications if you have at least a high school diploma or GED. For other certifications, you need a bachelor’s degree or some experience as a project manager.

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