Project Management: The Education and Skills Needed for Success
Project managers are in demand. Some reports show the profession growing by millions of positions in the last few years. Experts predict that demand will keep increasing in the coming years as well.
Project managers work in many industries, overseeing all kinds of projects. If you’re wondering where your next career move should take you, you might want to look here.
What does it take to become a project manager? This guide takes a look at project management education, skills, and more.
Project Management Education and Training
Before you set your sights on a career in project management, you’ll want to know what education you need.
Project management covers many industries, so many people have degrees in different areas. You may start with a degree in computer science, business, or another field.
Project managers usually have a fair amount of experience under their belts as well. It’s typical for them to have years of specific project management experience. They’ll also have related experience.
If you wish to become a project manager, then you may want to consider a project management diploma. More business leaders see the need for experienced professionals in this area. As a result, more training programs have cropped up.
A diploma or certificate in project management signals your expertise to potential employers. You can consider a certification like the Project Management Professional (PMP).
The good news is you don’t need to have a “project manager” in your current job title to take this course. Anyone with experience in managing projects can become PMP certified.
If you’re lacking in experience, don’t worry. You can study project management online quickly to achieve a diploma. Once you’ve done this, you may want to consider ongoing education and certification to improve your job prospects.
Skills for Project Managers
Now you’re wondering what kind of skills you’ll need to succeed as a project management professional. There are many open roles across a wide variety of industries.
Some of the most common skills employers look for include:
- Analytical skills
- Problem-solving skills
- Strong interpersonal skills
- Familiarity with project management software and tools
- Time management and multitasking
- Budget management
- Leadership skills
Most employers will also want to see a track record of projects you’ve successfully managed. This will include showing that you can manage a project to deliver on-time and on-budget.
Employers look for these skills because project managers use them in their duties. Interpersonal skills are necessary because project managers need to keep everyone on the team on-task.
You may also need to coordinate team members’ tasks, or you may be called on to resolve disputes.
Interpersonal skills will also serve you in customer-facing roles. Project managers may need to report to clients to keep them updated on progress or to check in about issues. They may also need to negotiate.
Project managers may also interact with vendors. Building good vendor relationships can help keep projects on-time and on-budget.
Finally, project managers should also be analytical and creative problem-solvers. If the client’s budget can’t flex, it might be up to you to figure out where to safely cut costs. If your team runs into a problem, you’ll need to brainstorm a solution with them.
Individual industries may have specific requirements. A project manager working in the construction industry will need certain skills. Someone working in app development will need some different skills.
Typical Roles for Project Management
Now you know about the education requirements and the skills of a project manager. You’re wondering what roles are out there.
Project management is common in many industries. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to build expertise in one field or another. Keep in mind that each industry may have its own unique demands for project management.
Each industry may also have its own unique titles. Some will use “Project Manager” or “Senior Project Manager,” while others will get a little bit more creative. In IT, you might see the title “Technical Project Manager” or something similar.
Entry-level jobs can be more difficult to spot. You may see some of the following titles:
- Project Administrator
- Project Coordinator
- Project Controller
- Document Controller
These are all project management roles. Don’t overlook them in your job search.
At a more senior level, “Project Manager” is more common. You might still see variations, though. These include:
- Project Lead
- Project Director
- Program Manager
- Program Director
- Portfolio Manager
- Portfolio Director
Be sure to look for these sorts of titles and you’ll find many more opportunities.
Outlook and Project Management Salary
Project management is booming in a big way. This is because the role is only now being recognized as distinct and, often, essential. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics started recognizing project management roles in 2018.
The outlook for project managers is quite good. Demand is a result of more people realizing how important project managers are. Expert analysis suggests the field will add more than 20 million new jobs worldwide by 2027.
Your next question is about what project management salary looks like. Salary depends on experience, with more experienced project managers earning more.
The median for this job is around $140,000 in the US. Some project managers earn less, while the most experienced will be able to earn much more.
Finding the Right Career Path
With high demand, job growth, and decent salaries, a career in project management could be a smart move for you. The right project management education can help you get there, quickly and easily.