How to build a career in Project Management?

How to build a career in Project Management

Eshna Verma

Last updated February 22, 2017

Often the words ‘project management’ tend to conjure up an image of a guy in a hard hat. But that is no longer the case. Business owners now recognize that project management plays a crucial role. Especially if they want to see their business succeed. 
As project manager, you will help define the objectives and goals for each project you undertake.  It is you who will determine when the various components of a project need to be finished.  Also, you determine who carries out the work.  You will also have to carry out checks to ensure the quality of the work is of a high standard.

Why Project Management?

As a project manager, you can find yourself in positions and roles that pay well and offer great challenges. Plus, you have the opportunity to work in several different areas within a company.  
To be able to pursue a career in project management, you'll need to earn the appropriate certification.   What you need to remember is that as part of your role you will need to make important decisions.  These are the kinds of decisions that might not only cost a company time but also money.   But once you have gained the relevant certification you can expect to earn between $75,000 and $90,000 a year. This role can be quite demanding, and you will find that you need to dedicate a great deal of time and effort to it.  Especially when the need to meet deadlines arises.

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What Are The Stages Of A Career In Project Management

You need to be patient when looking to embark on your career as a project manager.  You are not going to walk straight into a high paying position. Once you do get involved, there is the potential to earn not only a good wage but also get involved in some amazing projects.
Starting Out
The first step to take to become a project manager is to get the right education.  You don't need to earn a degree in project management, but specialist training would prove beneficial.   By opting to go down the path of obtaining industry certification, you will gain an edge over your competitors.  It also means you have more chance of landing the best positions in the project management industry. 
If you choose to go down the path of earning a degree, it will show that you are serious about carving out a career in this field.   After your training, you will have to make a decision about what area of project management you want to become more involved with.  There are several different routes you can take.
If you would prefer to gain some experience while earning your degree, then you might want to do your course online.  The main advantage of undergoing training online is that you can do it at a time that is suitable to you.  So you can work during the day and earn your degree in the evening.  While it may take you longer to get your degree, the work that you do gains you invaluable experience. 
1.  Project Co-Ordinator

Perfect for those just starting out in the industry.  Instead of being in charge, you will work as an assistant to the project manager.  This way you can learn more about what the role entails.  Also, it helps you gain experience that you can use when you take on the role of managing projects yourself. You have the opportunity to continue your education.  This means you will be able to apply to more senior positions later on.
2.  New Product Development Project Manager
This is suitable for those who have a keen analytical mind.   Here you aren't just involved with the development of a product, but also how it is going to be commercialized and marketed.  What industry you choose to get involved with will, of course, determine what projects you are responsible for. 
3.  Construction Project Manager
Although the construction industry has seen something of a downturn in recent years, many companies are still looking for people with the necessary skills and experience to fulfil such roles.  The sizes of projects vary quite a bit depending upon the size of the company you work for.  Also, you need to be able to communicate well as you are going to collaborate closely with other skilled professionals.
4.  Information Technology Project Manager

Technology plays an important role in our lives, and so does the role of the IT project manager.  The responsibility here is to ensure that the IT Department work in an efficient and cost-effective manner.   You need to possess a specific set of skills to be able to work in this form of project management.   The great thing is you can learn these skills while working by attending an online course.
5.  Environmental Research Project Manager

Are you passionate about protecting the environment?  Then this is an area of project management you may enjoy getting involved in.  As with all project manager roles, your duties will vary considerably from project to project.  Along with developing and creating plans for projects, you'll need to co-ordinate staff and schedule duties that they need to carry out.
6.  Become A Consultant

This is the career path to walk down after you have been working as a project manager for several years.   The main advantages of such a career move are that you get to choose what projects you work on.  This means you will have a lot more challenges to face and work will prove to be more exciting.   You also can choose when to work and when not to.   If you don't want to set up on your own, consider seeking employment with a company that already offers such facilities.
It doesn't matter what career path you choose when it comes to project management.  What is important to remember is that time is money.  Businesses are looking for people who can develop plans and then put them in place to help keep costs down.

Working In Project Management

You'll find that working as a project manager can be demanding.  You'll need to work hard and dedicate a great deal of time and effort to the role to ensure that deadlines are met.   Over time, you'll find that your knowledge and experience will make you a much more effective manager.  

What Can You Expect As A Project Manager

Throughout your career, you will find yourself learning new skills.  This is because no two projects are ever the same.   Also, you will find that each project comes with its own set of unique challenges, forcing you to make changes to your plan of action for each of these.  
You would have the opportunity to work with a variety of interesting people, some of whom may even come up with ideas that you may not have considered before. For those who like to work with others to create something new, a career in project management is an excellent option to consider.

What Is The Outlook For Project Management

The project management industry is continually changing.   As a result of this, both project managers and their teams need to stay ahead of the game.   The kinds of changes that are likely to occur in 2015 are as follows:
More companies are choosing to work with remote project teams rather than those in-house.  This is as a result of being able to utilise the many software and cloud-based tools that help such teams run more efficiently.   They can work on projects in other countries while retaining a high level of integrity.
Simplilearn offers Project Management Certification courses in a variety of flavors! To find out more, feel free to visit our course pages here

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About the Author

Eshna writes on PMP, PRINCE2, ITIL, ITSM, & Ethical Hacking. She has done her Masters in Journalism and Mass Communication and is a Gold Medalist in the same. A voracious reader, she has penned several articles in leading national newspapers like TOI, HT, and The Telegraph. She loves travelling and photography.

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