How to Start a Career in Project Management – Everything You Need to Know
Project management can be a challenging yet highly rewarding career path. Whether you are transferring from a related industry or entering the field for the first time, you may be at a loss as to where to begin. Luckily, there are countless pathways to achieve your goals and gain meaningful employment in the world of project management.
By ALAN MATHEW
This article will not only outline the various options at your disposal but also offer insights into the role and its core responsibilities. Further, we will also delve into each of the pathways to certification and the traits of a successful project manager.
Different Forms of Project Management
At the basic level, the profession involves the management of tasks, roles, finances, and methodology required to complete a project. Project managers may specialize anywhere from the financial industry to construction, architecture, engineering, and more. Across the board, a project manager’s role entails the completion of the required job on time and on budget.
Individuals in this position can be everywhere, from software to marketing, healthcare, architecture, and infrastructure. Regardless of the field, project managers must possess excellent administrative, organizational, and people skills.
As project management requires significant intelligence and experience, individuals must hold the necessary qualifications and certifications.
Ok, let’s dive into the crux of why we’re here. The key question you may be wondering is as follows – How exactly can you kick-start a career in project management? Thankfully, there are numerous pathways to pursue. This stretches from face-to-face learning to adaptive and convenient online learning.
Let us now explore the primary pathways to becoming a recognized project manager.
Australian universities offer a wide range of courses centered on project management. Like most fields of expertise, tertiary project management studies are available in both bachelor’s, post-grad, and master’s degrees.
Key points to consider here will include the time required to complete the degree and the financial implications. Ensure that you can cover both aspects before entering the course. For example, if you are unable to make it to campus, online may be a better alternative.
2. Project Management Online Courses and Diplomas
Over recent years, online courses have experienced significant growth in popularity. In large part, this is due to two key factors. First, online courses are far more flexible and can therefore match an individual’s personal schedule. Second, study periods are often shorter and more condensed. However, this does not mean that the content and skills acquired fall below industry standards.
Project management online courses continue to evolve and solidify their place as a viable pathway into the industry. A diploma can lead directly to a job or form the basis for advanced study and qualifications.
3. Transferable Industry Experience
A pathway to a project management career may begin with tangible industry experience in a related field. For example, an experienced architect will hold a wealth of knowledge and understand how to deliver a project on time and on budget – particularly if they already manage a team. The same rule applies to an experienced site manager in the construction or engineering realm.
If this applies to you, upskilling is a viable pathway to a new career in project management. These transferrable skills will speed up the learning curve significantly.
Traits of a Successful Project Manager
Leadership – From making large decisions to managing various parties and personnel, project management requires strong and adaptive leadership.
Risk Management – Managers weight up a risk profile within every project they oversee. Therefore, you will need a strong track record and understanding of risk management.
Patience – Remember that mistakes will be made, timelines will change, and budgeting will fluctuate. In these instances, the project manager must remain patient and calm to guarantee project success.
People Skills – Projects rarely succeed without proper communication. This is where holding the necessary people skills comes into play.
Time Management – Timelines are critical to the project manager’s role. This not only involves managing their own time but also track the ongoing progress of all parties and personnel involved.
Tech Skills – More than ever, project managers must have a strong grasp of the fundamental elements of tech, from computers to phones, apps, cloud etc.
Tips for Getting Started
The pathway towards a career in project management differs depending upon your starting point, be it experience in a related field or no experience at all. With that in mind, here are five tips and methods you can start to explore today
1. Research and Communicate (for beginners)
Whether you are simply curious or seriously considering a career switch, the first step involves researching exactly what the project management profession entails. This can also be achieved by reaching out to online education providers, looking up course details, and speaking to individuals in the industry.
2. Enrol in an Online Course (for beginners or industry professionals)
Once you’ve finalized your decision to enter the field of project management, online courses are an excellent option. The flexibility and timeline offered by online courses may be a more suitable option than committing to an entire multi-year university degree. Online courses are also viable as a means of upskilling.
3. Pursue a Post Grad Degree (for bachelor’s degree holders)
If you have the time and financial means to pursue a Master’s degree, this can exponentially increase your employability. Through this path, individuals with both a beginner and intermediate level of knowledge gain specific insights and skills relevant to professional settings. In addition, post-graduate courses (whether online or in person) will involve detailed case studies and project scenario training.
4. Upskill (for industry professionals or certified project managers)
Diplomas and post-grad studies aren’t exclusive to those entering the project management field. In fact, project management online courses provide excellent value for existing professionals. As is the case with most industries today, project management professionals regularly undertake training and courses to improve their skills and results in the professional world. Whichever path you choose, we wish you the best of luck!