Ultimate Guide to Becoming a Project Manager

In the past decade, PMI reports 15.7 million project management jobs were introduced globally across seven-project intensive industries. This is one of many statistics which show how rapidly project managers are becoming an essential part of major organizations’ success. 

Further confirming the profession’s popularity is its expected growth, which is estimated at USD 6.61 trillion. Even entry level managers with good knowledge and skills can earn a handsome salary which will exponentially grow over the years. 

If this sounds like a tempting career path, read on. This guide will answer any questions you may have on becoming a valuable member in your organization’s project management team. 

Why Should I Become a Project Manager?

Project management has proven to be one of the most rewarding career choices for professionals. However, there are more perks with this career than just growth and success. Here are some reasons why you should become a project manager

  • Continuous Learning Experience – Every new project offers a new learning experience for a project manager. Based on the industry you work in and the tasks entrusted to you, you’re bound to stay sharp as you learn new work dynamics on a regular basis. 
  • Numerous Job Opportunities – This point can’t be emphasized enough, especially with the current job market conditions. There will always be a demand for project management professionals. In fact, job opportunities in this field are higher than the average demand in other occupations.
  • Lucrative Salaries – A higher salary is one of the reasons professionals choose a career in project management. The more challenging a project becomes, the higher your pay will be after you successfully complete it. Moreover, a 16% increment will be yours if you decide to complement your experience with a project management certification.
  • Different Career Paths – Project management comes with unlimited career choices for those who seek continuous learning. By adding to your experience and qualifications, you can pursue other careers such as project engineer and operations manager. You can also expand to other industries like IT, healthcare, and consulting. 

So, What Does a Project Manager Do?

Now that you’re hyped about starting a career in project management, let’s get into the details starting with the responsibilities of a Project Manager. Here are a few core tasks performed by a Project Manager regardless of the industry they work in:

  • Plan and direct all the steps of a Project, while ensuring the completion of all project-related tasks within the given deadline.
  • Look for available resources and efficiently utilize them for the completion of the project; this requires the ability to assign tasks based on the capabilities of team members.
  • Meet and manage project expectations while corresponding to external and internal stakeholders.
  • Develop a detailed project plan and follow up on each step while coordinating with supervisors.
  • Track the progress of a project during the entire project lifecycle.
  • Develop professional business relationships with team members involved in a project. 
  • Mentor, motivate, and supervise each member to accomplish project goals.
  • Communicate the overall scope of a project to every concerned person of the team. 
  • Create tasks based on the preference of the project, and continuously update the project documentation. 
  • Create forecasts for revenue and resource requirements.
  • Partner with all departments to ensure work is done according to demands. Convey all the necessary information to every responsible person for the completion of tasks. 
  • Resolve issues occurring during the project and communicate with relevant people to rigorously work on solutions. 
  • Set up project meetings, daily stand-up sessions, and retrospective meetings. 
  • Discuss project constraints and analyze KPIs.
  • Measure project performance using appropriate systems, tools, and techniques. 

Thing is – Do I Have What it Takes to be a Project Manager?

Well, there’s more to becoming a project manager than just learning basic project management skills and techniques or acquiring certifications. Project management professionals need to develop some hard and soft skills to complement their knowledge and become the perfect addition to any organization. 

Below are the required skills for a successful project manager:

  • Proven project management and self-management skills
  • Ability to monitor and control budgets
  • Analytical and critical thinking
  • Strong communication and negotiation skills
  • Capability to make decisions under pressure
  • Effective leadership skills and qualities
  • Solid understanding of business cases and risk management processes
  • Expert knowledge to meet specific circumstances
  • Strong communication skills to ensure smooth collaboration with teams 
  • Ability to define situations, document data, and draw conclusions
  • Ability to implement instructions and follow them in any form given
  • Strong organizational and multitasking skills

Any Project Management Certifications You Recommend?

If you’ve reached this line, kudos on your determination to become a project manager. Now, let’s discuss how you can stand out from the thousands of other candidates – i.e. how to get certified. 

Organizations are constantly seeking certified project managers as they believe they keep their skills sharp. Moreover, certain certifications require continuous learning to maintain them. As a result, certified managers have more experience and knowledge than non-certified professionals. 

If you’re interested in adding some certifications to vouch for your skills and ability to deal with whatever challenges come your way, here are the top project management certifications to achieve that. 

PMP certification

The Project Management Professional (PMP) certification is one of the oldest and well recognized certifications for beginners and experts alike. Based on the PMBOK guide and offered by the Project Management Institute (PMI), it provides certification candidates with the most important guidelines and standards needed for project management. 

With the PMP certification, you’ll gain industry recognition, learn important skills as you prepare for the certification, and become part of a growing network of 770,000+ certification holders. 

PRINCE2 Certification

PRINCE2 (PRojects IN Controlled Environments) is a project management method which enables project managers to deliver projects as required. It is highly adaptable and customizable to any project regardless of industry. Moreover, its power lies in its continued business justification document, defined roles, and focus on planning and controlling projects by stages.  

The PRINCE2 certification comprises two levels:

1. PRINCE2 Foundation

This level equips practitioners with knowledge on project management principles, themes, practices, and processes. Achieving this certification will also prepare you for the RINCE2® Practitioner certification.

2. PRINCE2 Practitioner

This certification builds on your PRINCE2 Foundation knowledge and skills to ensure the interaction between principles, themes, processes, and help you tailor PRINCE2 products to better meet your project’s specific needs and problems.

Scrum Certifications

Scrum is the Agile framework product managers have adopted, especially for software-related projects. It enables the delivery of high value software with high levels of agility.

Here are some Scrum certifications you can consider, especially if you’re leading projects in software development environments. 

  • Professional Scrum Master™
  • Professional Scrum Product Owner™
  • Scaled Professional Scrum™
  • Professional Agile Leadership™
  • Professional Scrum with Kanban™

The Bottom Line

There’s a good chance that you have the potential to become a star project manager at your organization. So, don’t miss this opportunity and start working your way towards this lucrative career.

And don’t forget to complement your knowledge and skill with the right project management certification! Your next certification is just a click away.

About the Author

Ayesha Saleem is the Senior Specialist Content Development Person at LearningCert. Interested in travel and blogging, she's passionate about everything related to eLearning and IT Trends. Find her on LinkedIn

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