How to become a project manager


Do you dream of managing a team of collaborators, like to boost the efficiency of a project or find yourself analyzing and simplifying processes to make your professional and home life easier? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then a career in project management might be right for you.

Project management is a growing field that is in high demand in many industries. As businesses around the world grapple with an increase in technology, a growing number of remote employees and an ever-changing regulatory landscape, hiring a highly skilled project manager has become more common practice. .

According to the Pulse of the Profession® 2018 report by the industrial organization Project Management Institute (PMI), a collective million dollars is wasted every 20 seconds by organizations around the world due to inefficient and inefficient project management practices ( PDF source PMI).

Kurt Mithoefer and the text Kurt Mithoefer.“Project management has many advantages,” said Kurt Mithoefer, Senior Director of Project Management and Strategic Initiatives at Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU). “It gives you a structure behind any kind of effort and allows for a solid understanding of that effort before it starts. A lot of businesses see a lot of value in having a structured direction in a business, in having a primary person for it. really drive it – from start to finish – and hopefully realize the vision for this project.

If you are interested in a career that improves processes and increases efficiency, it is important to understand how to become a project manager. While there are many ways to get started, earning a project management degree can help you stand out in this growing industry.

What does a project manager do?

A project manager is a multitasking expert and communicator, who can oversee all facets of a large project, communicate with all stakeholders, and ensure the project is completed, on time and on schedule. from the budget. Project managers also need a solid understanding of computer systems and software, which are often used to track project schedules, budgets, and staff.

“A project manager is someone very dedicated, passionate and focused,” said Mithoefer. “It’s not always an easy thing to go in front of management and say that the project is going badly or needs more money. You need to be sure of yourself and express yourself well … There are a lot of moving parts and pieces that need to be put together, so you need to be a good problem solver.

Project managers can find work in almost any field – from construction and real estate development to information technology, higher education and business management.

How to become a project manager

Becoming a project manager usually involves obtaining a degree in the field. However, if you are looking to get into project management, it is important to consider your personality and your working style.

Successful project managers are highly organized, have strong communication skills and are adaptable, Mithoefer said.

“You have to be detailed and very focused on human interactions and relationship building,” he said. “Not all projects go well. Not all of the effort you set for yourself will be made. So you need to be able to bounce back, have thick skin, and be able to continually learn and improve.”

For Mithoefer, project management was an area he never thought of at the start of his career. Instead, his passion for project management began when he identified a way to automate part of his daily compliance work for a pharmaceutical company. He brought the idea to the management of the company and, after their enthusiastic response, managed the implementation of the new process.

Mithoefer returned to school part-time to study Project Management and soon after found himself managing construction projects and IT infrastructure projects for his business. He has never looked back and now works full time leading project management initiatives at SNHU.

“It’s definitely a passion for me,” he said.

While many people enter the field of project management from another field of activity, such as Mithoefer, project management degrees are increasingly common and are an important first step towards a career in project management.

In a Bachelor of Project Management program, you will explore project management methodologies and learn tools and practices to use when creating and delivering organizational projects. You will also establish a solid foundation of business knowledge and develop project management skills such as production planning, inventory control, logistics, supply chain management, and quality control.

Careers in project management and salary potential

Project management is a growing field and is expected to remain strong with many opportunities for career and salary growth in the years to come.

The 2018 PMI report found that organizations are wasting an average of 9.9% of every dollar due to poor project performance. The survey also found that around 1 in 3 projects do not meet their targets, 43% are not completed within budget and almost half are not completed on time.

Over the next 10 years, as disruptive new technologies, increased competition and changing government regulations make it even more difficult to complete projects on time and on budget, the demand for project managers is expected to grow faster than expected. demand for workers in other occupations. According to PMI, employers around the world will need nearly 88 million people in project management-focused positions by 2027.

Salary potential is also important for workers interested in entering the field of project management. According to Glassdoor, project managers earn an average of $ 66,137 each year, with the highest paid project managers earning more than $ 107,000.

Workers with project management skills, solid work experience, and a commitment to further learning in the industry will be in high demand across many industries and organizations as this field continues to grow.

Project management beyond your bachelor’s degree

If you want to further your education and potentially expand your professional opportunities, you may want to consider earning a master’s degree in project management. A master’s degree is an important step on your path to careers in “senior project management or other managerial positions within an organization, according to Dr Rick Mask, Director of International Online Programs at SNHU.

Dr Rick Mask and text Rick Mask.“With project management being largely aligned with a number of career areas and providing a transferable skill set, a master’s degree in project management is a laudable goal,” he said.

By enrolling in a master’s degree – or a master’s degree in business administration with a concentration in project management – you can expect to expand the knowledge you have gained in a bachelor’s degree program, including additional skills in data science, quantitative analysis, Lean and Agile methodologies and more, says Masque.

In addition to moving up the career ladder, earning a master’s or an MBA in project management can be an important step for people who want to change careers and want to break into the field.

“Pursuing a master’s degree in project management is beneficial both for existing career professionals who wish to progress to a senior management position and for professionals who wish to move into a new career,” Mask said.

In addition to earning a project management degree, obtaining professional project management qualifications can help you stand out among a growing number of applicants.

Earning a Project Management Professional (PMP)® PMI certification, for example, lets employers know that you have a solid educational and professional background and that you can dramatically increase your salary and career development potential. According to PMI data, certified PMP workers earned around 20% more than project managers without certification. Paired with a project management degree program, a PMP certification can give you the skills you need to be successful as a project manager and help you find work in almost any industry.

If you are not ready to enroll in the master’s program, you may want to consider a graduate certificate in project management to help you prepare for certification exams.

But there is no reason to wait for a degree or certification to start project management. You can start your career by starting with the work you already do, Mithoefer said.

“Look for ways to improve a current professional function – it can be a good way to break into the world of project management,” he said. “Ask yourself how you can start a project or better do a part of your daily work with improved processes. “

Danielle Gagnon is a freelance writer specializing in higher education. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

Project Management Professional (PMP) is a registered trademark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.

About Byron G. Fazio

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