Are you preparing or planning to become a project manager but you don’t know where to start?
No worries my friend, I’ve simplified and categorized the process and the steps you’ve to take in order to achieve your goal. I’ve put together an extensive guide for you to serve as a beginning point and reference for your future career as a project manager. By reading this article you’ll get a descent idea on how to start your career as a project management professional.
First and foremost thing of all, here are the things that you should consider before starting a project management career:
The basic personality traits of a good project manager
Are you always the leader of your group who likes to keep everything and everyone organized and with a goal in mind? If your answer is yes, you could be on your way to a career in project management.
Project management is one of the most complex and reputed fields of work out there. Be prepared for a true adventure you’ll never get bored of. There is no space for dullness in this profession. A project manager (PM) is responsible for leading an entire project through initiation, planning, execution, control, and completion. In time you’ll gain experience and learn new aspects of the project management world. You’ll have growth in both your career life and also in social life.
Find out if you have the skills needed to be a part of the project management field.
Sometimes just having knowledge about project management is not enough for you to become a great PM. As I mentioned above, you need soft skills as well. Being a good communicator and an open leader is not enough. When it comes to hard skills, you should be aware that there is no specific project management skill. In fact, depending on the project, you’ll have to know a bit of everything. Tackling daily project management challenges requires accountability, adaptability, analytical and strategic thinking, decisiveness, a stress-resistant personality, and even a bit of love for risk-taking. Being a multitasker with great written and oral communication skills can place you among the top project managers in your sector. This won’t only be helpful for the project but will also enhance your career by creating your demands and bring many organizations asking for your involvement in their projects.
Take a look at the skills of the most successful project managers and find out if you have what it takes to become like them and what you have to improve:
v solid understanding of business cases and risk management processes
v expert knowledge to meet specific circumstances
v proven project management and self-management skills
v strong leadership skills
v ability to monitor and control budgets
v critical thinking
v good communication and negotiation skills
v capability to make decisions under pressure
v strong interpersonal skills necessary to lead a team
v ability to define situations, document data, and draw conclusions
v strong business acumen
v ability to interpret instructions regardless of their form
v strong organizational and multitasking skills
v creative mindset
v analytical skills
v accuracy and attention to detail
v excellent time management skill
v capacity to maintain schedules and meet deadlines
v problem-solving skills
v working knowledge of project management tools
After reading this, once think to yourself. Do you have what it takes to be a project manager? Do you have what it takes to lead a project and get it done within the given time frame?
What does a project manager actually do?
Depending on the industry you work in, your duties might differ. For your convenience we have analyzed over 200 LinkedIn worldwide job postings and compiled this list of the most common project manager responsibilities:
Ø direct all project management phases
Ø set and manage project expectations with external and internal stakeholders
Ø coordinate and track various projects through an entire project lifecycle
Ø develop a detailed project management plan to track project progress
Ø mentor, motivate, and supervise project team members
Ø develop professional business relationships
Ø define the overall scope of the project
Ø prioritize the tasks of the project
Ø create and continuously update the project documentation
Ø create accurate forecasts for revenue and resource requirements
Ø partner with all departments to ensure work is done according to demands
Ø establish effective communication
Ø ensure team members have all the necessary information
Ø track work times and maintain accurate daily time sheets
Ø ensure project tasks are executed and reviewed within the predefined scope
Ø align various teams to maintain the quality of deliverables
Ø report and escalate issues to management when necessary
Ø conduct project status meetings, daily stand-ups, and retrospective meetings
Ø continuously follow up on the progress, risks, and opportunities of the project
Ø focus on customer satisfaction
Ø manage projects through KPIs
Ø manage budgets and billings
Ø act as the main customer contact for project activities
Ø make recommendations for project improvements
Ø conduct workshops and trainings
Ø obtain customer input
Ø measure project performance using appropriate systems, tools, and techniques
Ø evaluate team performance
I hope, after reading this list you have a vague idea about the duties and responsibilities of a project manager.
Project manager salary
I’m pretty sure you were waiting to hear about this topic. A project manager’s pay varies according to the country in which they’re operating and to their previous experience. Considering this, a PM’s annual income will be anywhere between $51,000 to $111,000. According to Glassdoor, the median project manager pay within the United States is $75,474 whereas more money compensation can be anywhere between $1,541 and $19,755. However, based on your skills, experience, and data, the pay scales are often even lower or higher. Project management careers are still in high-demand and annual wages are expected to grow within the next 10 years.
If you’re unsure whether project management will still be desired in the future, here’s a report on PM Job growth. ‘Companies are shifting their attention from typical routine actions to actual projects therefore more and more positions will be created and there aren’t however enough individuals qualified to fill all of them, hence you’ll have exponential growth in your career and income.
Project manager career problems
Yes you read it right! Project management careers are not perfect, like any other work with its drawbacks even project management has its own downsides. The reality is that it can be a difficult job and you have to be the right person to do it and handle all project management challenges. Some PMs can even work long stressful hours to make sure that a project’s on track and to deliver it before the deadline.
If you’re working for a smaller company where you’re the only project manager, you might be in charge of all duties. This means that you’ll need to juggle several different projects and allocate just enough daily time to manage and control all of them. If you’re barely at the start of your career, this could be impossible since you don’t yet have the necessary knowledge to manage your time accordingly.
However, the truth is that you are entirely dependent on what your clients want. Don’t get this wrong. You can make your own suggestions but you also have to be flexible to any last-minute changes your client might want to make without complaining. Top management often gets to make the final decisions. This is one of the reasons why project management is so hard to implement in a company where the main managers and the project managers hold similar powers. After all, what’s life without some setbacks? but it all comes down to you , on how you react and handle the situation .one should have the courage and wit to not give up at times and hold on to the pathway and try to finish what they started.
Okay now that you’ve heard all about project management, If the above-mentioned reasons have made you start your career in Project Management then follow the following paths to become a certified professional manager: primarily let’s talk about how to start your career as a project manager. Basically in the field of PM’s there are main 2 paths, namely PMP (Project Management Professional) and CAPM (Certified Associate in Project Management).
1) Decide it and have a clear idea of what you want
This may seem as cliché, but without having a clear idea of what you want do, you can’t achieve it. So firstly decide and keep a clear path made in your head on where you want to go in this career. Once you make the decision to become a certified project manager, start working towards a certification.
2) Decide Which Certification is suitable for you
There are two common project manager certifications: the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) and the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification. They are both offered by the Project Management Institute (PMI).
The biggest difference between the two is that it’s possible to get a CAPM certification without project management experience, while the PMP certification requires at least 4,500 hours of experience. There are different prerequisites for both, and they also require you to take and pass.
For more info about both the certification courses, go through our website once to get a clear idea on what you want to pursue.
4. Prepare for and Take Your Certification Exam
For both the CAPM and the PMP exams, you will need to study the entire Project Management Body of Knowledge Guide published by PMI.
To help you study, both exams have accompanying Exam Content Outlines that lay out the content covered in each section of the exam. You can buy materials and study on your own, or you can purchase classes that help you prepare for the exam. It all depends on how you study best and what works for you.
The CAPM exam has 150 questions and can be taken online or in a designated testing center. The PMP exam has 200 questions and must be taken in a testing center. Once you have completed the exam and a short survey, you will find out if you passed.
5. Apply to work as an entry-level employee for a large scale company
Large- Scale corporations are the most effective place for obtaining an entry in project management. You’ll be able to apply there as an intern or entry-level employee. Operating there will assist you learn new skills and experiences. It may enable you to get a higher-earning position in the project management by gaining experience and getting good at your work.
3. Work with Project Management Organization
Some organizations hire candidates with little or no expertise in project management for easy projects. Moreover, operating with a project management organization can offer you expertise and open the doors to higher-paying positions as a project manager in future. Don’t stop learning and developing yourself, start from the bottom and work hard and smartly, you’ll be at the top in no time.
To conclude, as you know by now project management is one of the best careers one may choose to have a bright future. The project management career brings a number of opportunities, offers a higher salary, and helps in career advancement. Two most common project management certifications are PMP and PMI-RMP. If you want to become a project management expert, you can obtain more than one certifications to validate your skills.
Thanks for your time reading my article, I hope it had some impact on your thoughts about PM’s.
Wish you all the best for your career!