How to Start a Career in Project Management
Not until the mid-20th century did the project management career start functioning as a profession on its own. Before now, it was frequently used in different organizations and companies whereby there are projects to handle and they form a quick team by just bringing people of other work departments inside the same organization together to form a project management team working on a specific project for a speculated duration. Project management becoming a profession made a lot of things easier because people are now recruited solely for this job and they then focus on whatever project has to be handled or given to them as a team which comes with a leader known as the project manager and not having to bring their previous jobs to a standstill.
Project management in total is the input of knowledge, skills, and also tools by a group of people to handle and complete a given project or task assigned to them. Project management is structured into five main processes, starting with the initiation, planning, execution of the plan, monitoring and controlling, and then the closing stage. All of these processes are essential in commencing a project and must follow the laid out five-point structures.
A project, on the other hand, is always a unique plan or assignment about accomplishing a particular set of goals. A project is however very unique because it has a specific purpose and when that is met, it is said that the project is completed. Examples, of such projects, can be, creation of a bridge, your boss’s send-off party, your company’s party, and so on. Some projects can be more tasking than others. There is always a duration in handling a project and this is always determined by the complexity of the task at hand. While some project takes over a few weeks, some can last for years before completion. However, a project is temporary and does not last forever.
Starting a Career in Project Management
Project management is becoming a fast trend profession and there is a constant need for professionals in this field. The work is overwhelming compared to the number of employees available because in the past, people have not taken project management seriously to be accepted as a profession up until the 20th century before it was considered and now more people are taking college classes to be professionals in this field. To start a career in project management you need to have an idea of what the career is about before you can say for sure it’s what you want. If after self-evaluation, you want to start a career in project management, you can follow some of these things outlined below and find yourself on your future career path.
- Take an online course or get a degree: if you have a passion for a career in project management, you can start by taking up a professional online course as most institutions now offer courses online which certifications at the end of your course which can be used to work anywhere. You can go through the traditional way of learning by getting a project management degree from an accredited university. Doing this would give you an insight into what the field is all about and what to expect as you delve into it. Getting a degree would also put you insight for employers and recruiters of labor who wants your skills.
- Get more certification: in project management, you need to keep updating your skills to meet up with the employer’s work needs. Getting a certification can also put you on a wider career front and increase your chances of getting a better placement.
- Talk to professionals: it is quite important when you want to take up a career that you try to talk to people about it. If you have professionals or people who have been in this field before you, you can seek their advice and let them guide you through the necessary process in been a certified project manager.
- Volunteer: you can your career by volunteering at a local project just to know what project management is all about. Volunteer as much as you can to gain experience in your chosen field. Volunteering can also help you when you need work experience and recommendations for bigger projects.
- Brush up your skills: to be a professional in project management, there are certain skills that are necessary for you to have. Therefore, find out these skills, work on yourself, and prepare for using these skills to function in any capacity you find yourself.
Necessary Skill-Set For a Project Manager
A project manager is one who is involved with all the things of project management. For you to be a successful project manager, there are certain skills that you must possess to be able to function properly in your chosen field. A list of these skills is outlined below.
- Communication: as a project head you need to be outspoken, communication is a very necessary skill you need to have as a project manager, you will be the one communicating with your team-mates and also updating the necessary quarters and persons about your work developments.
- Leadership: you need this leadership skills as a project manager. You will have to carry your team members along throughout your project work and also encourage them to share their ideas and suggestions about the job.
- Time management: in any career, effective time management is a very important skill. As a project manager, you would be working with so many people, so it is necessary for you to know how to manage your time to be able to be productive and complete your task on time.
- Analytic mindset: as a project manager, you need to have an analytic mindset to be able to differentiate between what is necessary for your project and what needs to be left out. Your team members would come with so many ideas but it is then your job to be able to prioritize your project needs.
- Organization: this is a great skill needed in project management, you need this skill as it will help you to manage, plan, and exciting projects are given to you and your team.
- Problem-solving: a project manager needs problem-solving skills and this will help to solve complex issues and provide answers needed for the project work. Your team-mates would always look up to you as the manager to provide solutions to problems.
- Research skills: this will help you as a project manager to research the necessary things needed for the smooth running of your project.
- Active listening: this is very important and related to communication skills. A project manager needs to be very attentive to the inputs and ideas of their team-mates. Active listening helps you to empathize with your team members connect effectively with them and doing this would make your work easier as you carry everyone along.
- Tech-savvy: the world is digital and most things are done online. A project manager needs to be tech-savvy using the latest forms of technology and this will help increase your team speed and productivity.
- Negotiation: you must possess this negotiation skill when dealing with clients, suppliers, and also your team members. Negotiation helps you to manage the interpersonal differences which may occur within your team and also sets you on strategic paths.
Career Paths in Project Management
Project management is not just a one-stop job, there are a few titles under it. A project manager is one of the job titles which most people are familiar with but there are also other career paths and they all do almost the same duty as the project manager. A few of these career paths are outlined here for you to get a better understanding of the field.
- Project manager: this oversees the project right from the initial stage to the completion stage. The project manager handles all the administrative work and assigns duties to his team members, the project manager also functions as a mentor, boss, and leader until the end of the project.
- Project coordinator: this is an assistant to the management team. A project coordinator is always in charge of generating and distributing team reports to the appropriate channels.
- Assistant project manager: as the name implies, an assistant project manager assists in the planning and execution of the projects handled by the team. In a place where the project manager has his hands full, the assistant can manage and fill in to do the task of a project manager perfectly.
- Senior project manager: a senior project manager can assign other project managers, especially when he has to handle so many projects at once. The senior project manager is then the overall head and is in charge of overseeing the whole process and projects handled by his or her other project manager and team. The senior project manager has the final say in the completion of a project.
- Project scheduler: this person works mainly with software tools and does his job alone. He uses these software tools to manage and maintain project schedules and other necessary documents needed in projects.
Project management is gradually becoming a popular profession and more people are taking the career up. Project management is a future job that would not be a thing of the past anytime soon and so if you want to start a career in this field, you can start by speaking with professionals and get a degree or other forms of certification to boost your interest in this field. It is a great job that comes with a lot of positive benefits.