Career in Project Management: Required Skills and Scopes
Project managers are always in demand: irrespective of the industry. The role of project managers is very important to the success of a project. A project manager is responsible to handle the project from planning to completion. More often than not, people prefer to work in a field that offers stability and growth. Project management provides many different benefits and is a necessary position for various types of industries. No wonder why project management is one of the top career choices for the millennials. In this post, we will discuss what it takes to build a successful career in project management, project management career path, the career scopes & job prospects, and project management career salaries.
Career in Project Management
Required Skills, Career Growth, and Salaries in Project Management Career
Every company in every industry requires project managers and program managers to manage complex projects, including governance, project planning, execution, monitoring, reporting and issue resolution to ensure that these critical projects get implemented on time and on budget. There will be a need for qualified professionals to plan and provision the work.
Project and program managers are required in the private sector, public sector and NGOs. So overall, project management as a career has significant opportunities and jobs in every country and sector around the world. The skills required for a successful project manager and program manager are mostly transferable though some industries may prefer having project managers who understand the business, product or technology. Project managers can be in IT, operations, sales support, business and product.
How to Build a Successful Career in Project Management
What skills are required to become a project manager?
Some of the key skills required to be a successful project or program manager are:
- Communication – Usually project managers are needed for projects that are complex or have a number of workstreams, team members and stakeholders. One may not see too many project manager roles in a small company. These roles are more relevant in larger organizations or with larger projects. Hence, it is critical, a strong project manager has good communication skills so they can update team members, keep leaders in the loop on progress, know when to escalate etc. Many projects fail because the project manager is not able to drive communication or collaboration among the team members and soon these projects run behind schedule causing frustration to all.
- Teamwork & relationship management: Given in any complex project, a project manager has to work with a number of stakeholders (senior level and their team members), it is important for a successful project manager to build relationships, influence team members to do the project tasks without having them as a direct report.
- Detail oriented: In addition to the above two skills, project managers need to be detail oriented. They should be able to look at the big picture of the project, but also able to break it down into detailed workstreams and tasks. Without the details, it would be very tough for them to look at risks, opportunities and what needs to be done to bring the project to success.
- Results driven: Project or program managers are usually rated and reviewed on the end-results. If a project manager is not able to deliver completion of a project, how good they are at any skills or how loved they are with team members, they will never be seen as a successful project manager and never given the “cream” projects in the organization. Results are what drives a success and growth of a project manager, but driving results are not possible without having the first three leadership skills.
Overall, project management requires a lot of soft skills and leadership skills than technical skills.
Career Scopes in Project Management
What is career growth for project managers?
Project and program management is a generalist role, so there is always demand for project and program managers but there is a ceiling to the career growth. Not too many companies may have SVP of Project Management though they will always have SVP of Sales, SVP of Product etc. It is good to start as a project manager, spend some time, learn the skills and at some point in the career, one should make a transition into one of the specialist roles if he or she wants to grow and one day lead a function.
Why Project Management is a Great Career Option?
What are the salaries for project and program managers?
Since project and program management is not an easy job and requires a number of soft skills for one to be successful, the compensation for project/program managers is pretty good. In the U.S., a project manager can earn anywhere from $100-200K based on their years of experience. In India, similarly, a project manager can earn anywhere from Rs 10L to Rs 30 L/year. These salaries for project manager are pretty consistent where they get paid higher average salary than other jobs.
How to plan for a career in project management?
Since project management is more about soft skills, anyone can build them out, look for opportunities within the company around project management and take on the role. Project management is all about driving results and executing complex projects. If you find the opportunity within your area around managing a project, don’t be shy of raising your hand and taking it on. If you are able to show that you can manage a complex project, deliver it on time and under budget, you can always apply for project management roles.
In today’s tech-driven transformation, some of the skills to acquire would be around PMP, Agile etc. Below are some of the courses from Coursera and Udemy that students and professionals can take to build their knowledge and skills on project management.
Recommended Online courses to take (Coursera and Udemy)
There are many other courses in project management. However, project management career is less about technical skills but more of experience, soft skills, and attitude to get things done.
If anyone is interested in learning more and getting guidance, they can contact Stoodnt Experts (firstname.lastname@example.org) for further guidance.
Featured Image Source: EDKENT® Media
Author: Ajay Singh
Ajay is the co-founder of Stoodnt and spent 20+ years in senior leadership roles with companies such as American Express, Cendant and Intel prior to starting Stoodnt. He has a M.B.A. from Harvard, M.S. in Computer Engineering from U.T. Austin and B.Tech from I.I.T Roorkee (India).
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