Project Management Career Path: Education and Skills That Matter

Project managers have one of the most important roles in technology. The project manager is responsible for ensuring that the project is on schedule and within the set budget. Aspiring project managers have multiple paths to achieving their goals.

The Project Management Institute (PMI) has noted a continued increase in demand for project managers. It is also a desirable position among younger workers. Earlier this year, The Muse surveyed 900 recent graduates about their job prospectsand 16.2% want to go into project management, just behind education (17%) and data analytics (18.2%).

With all this in mind, what does a successful project management career path look like? We spoke to hand-picked experts to get all the details.

Any Career Path Depends on Your Skills

Whatever your choice regarding a project management career, Those who thrive in this role not only balance ‘big picture’ thinking with an affinity for detail, but also combine technology and ‘soft skills’ in ways that enable them to effectively lead their teams. I can do it.

Before you apply for a project management job, make sure your communication skills are top notch. Some people are naturally gifted communicators, while others benefit from seeking feedback from managers, mentors, and peers. Or, as her longtime project manager Molly Beran put it: Therefore, a good project manager will develop relationship building skills first and foremost. This includes learning how to meet new people and quickly establishing relationships and trust with them. , is the most important in managing relationships. ”

Project management courses often address the “soft skills” component of the job. You should also be as comfortable as possible with the pace and pressure of a typical project lifecycle. CTO Shai Shandi suggests that it’s important for project managers to have “a keen sense of ‘enough for now’.” In complex projects, these plans are often disjointed and the replanning effort is greater than the original planning effort. ”

Follow-through is just as important. This is a skill often difficult for new project managers to master. “I have saved many projects from disaster by remembering to follow up with someone and hold them accountable for providing answers,” he says.

Technical know-how is essential for project managers working in a technology context. If you want to get a job and pursue a career in project management, you must have a good technical understanding of the inner workings of projects. Then, those technical concepts should be explained to stakeholders outside the core team, such as executives and investors, in an easy-to-understand manner. Brantlee Underhill, managing director of the Project Management Institute, told her Dice: ”

Do I need special training or education to become a project manager?

“Project managers don’t need to have a specific college degree,” says Underhill. “There are some colleges and universities that offer an undergraduate or graduate degree in project management. This is a great way to stand out among other job seekers, but it is not required.”

Some project managers may have a bachelor’s degree in business, engineering, or IT before pursuing a project management track. However, many project managers start a completely different career before jumping into project management. Getting a project manager to “trick you in” at your current company is a perfectly viable way to learn about the role and see if it’s a good fit for you.

“Some seasoned project managers don’t have a traditional four-year college degree,” adds Underhill. “Anyone with the desire, motivation and passion for project management can succeed in their role, especially if they pursue advanced certifications and continuing learning opportunities as they advance their careers. .”

Accredited colleges and universities across the United States offer degree programs in project management. For those who prefer online learning, Google and Coursera have online certification programs for project management, as does Harvard Extension School. The Google program will cost $39 per month and will be completed in about 6 months. A Harvard course costs $3,100 for four certifications (called “graduation credits”) and must be completed within three years.

Those starting the project management track can also consider qualifications. Credentials show recruiters and hiring managers that you have the necessary skills to succeed in the role. The most widely recognized project management certification is the PMP certification by PMI, which requires a four-year degree and she has at least 36 months of experience. The course is free, but the cost to take the certification exam is $405-$555.

Here are some additional certifications that project managers may find useful: All require different levels of experience.

Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM): New to project management? CAPM (also managed by Project Management Institute) is a way for project management novices to validate their skills before earning a PMP.

Certified Project Director: This certification focuses on the more complex aspects of project management, such as budgeting for large is done by International Quality Control Association.

Certified Project Management Practitioner (CPMP): this certification, Overseen by the EC Councilindicators of management skills, including technical competence.

Certified Scrum Master (CSM): Supervisor scrum alliancethis certification targets a project manager’s knowledge of Agile, Scrum, and more.

CompTIA Project+: CompTIA Project+ is a comprehensive certification that covers management skills from product lifecycle to team communication. as its name suggests, It is overseen by CompTIA.

Professional Scrum Master (PSM): Supervisor, this certification covers the skills and knowledge of Agile, Scrum, and Scrum Master roles. PSM has three levels of certification for him.

project manager career path

Underhill says: business achievements. These are just some of the paths a project manager can take, all of which enable excellent career growth. ”

For example, if you’re interested in healthcare, there are many companies looking for project managers who can pull together complex projects in that area. “I think a project manager likely has 300 to 500 career paths for him,” Beran adds, noting that many project managers start their own project management teams at large companies or I mention choosing to simply mentor those who want to become project managers themselves. .

How far can a project manager career go?

You may not want to lead a project forever, but all of our experts agree that good project managers are ready to expand their leadership role. “One of the most attractive aspects of a project management career is that you don’t have to reach a certain level of career or workforce years to play a leadership role within a team or organization,” he said. says Underhill. “The project manager is a natural leader because he is the primary driver behind the success of the project and, ultimately, the success of the organization.”

Underhill adds that when a project manager has been in that role for a period of time, there is a natural progression to leadership roles within an organization. Excelling in leadership roles such as operations, customer relations, strategy and innovation further proves that project management careers can lead professionals to long-term success. ”

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