How can you start a career in project management?

Sweha Hazari  |  September 13, 2019

How can you start a career in project management?

From construction to finance, project management is an integral component of most job positions, across all domains. Employing project management strategies enables you to ensure quality and accuracy in your projects, as well as meeting your customers’ expectations. These skills are also important for your academic career, especially if you pursue an MBA or other management programs. 

While you may know the significance of project management in an industry, starting a career in project management can be confusing if you don’t know where to start. This blog aims to simplify the standard definition of the term and give you information on how to become a project manager, the benefits of a project management career and the required qualifications for project management.

This blog also covers different stages of the process: a few points to consider before beginning a career in project management and general tips for starting a management career.

What is project management?

Project management is the process of handling all the processes, methodology, skills and knowledge to achieve specific objectives associated with a particular project within the allotted time and budget. In simpler terms, project management strategies ensure that projects get delivered on time with optimum accuracy and quality. Project management is utilised in almost every domain in the world, from software development to the health industry.

Requirements for a project management career

While anyone can pursue a career in project management, there are a few ways that can give you a distinct advantage. The project management career path can be very easy if you already have the following qualifications:

1.    A bachelor’s degree in management or business

2.    Certification in project management

3.    A master’s degree in project management or business management

4.    A certified associate qualification in project management

5.    Relevant work experience in the field for a significant amount of time

Obtaining a project management degree or working in a management domain can help you gain certain skills to succeed in your role. You can either pursue a course to obtain the skills you need or work in a business set-up to gain them with experience. These skills can help you become a successful project manager.

1.   Strong analytical and leadership skills

As a manager, you are responsible for analysing different business decisions and leading large teams. Strong leadership and analytical skills can help you be efficient and improve the productivity of your team.

2.   Risk management skills

Being a manager also involves looking out for potential issues and risks and developing strategies to mitigate them. Risk management skills can help you protect the organisation from potential crises.

3.   Perseverance and patience

Being a manager requires you to be patient with your employees and not give up in case any process fails. It’s important to analyse potential mistakes to ensure that these are not repeated next time.

4.   General business skills

Having a basic knowledge of business skills such as delegation skills, diplomacy and negotiation skills can ensure an effective management of each project.

5.   Basic technological skills

In today’s fast-paced world, there is a technological aspect to every business. As a manager, you must possess basic technological skills to ensure a seamless management of the business.

6.   Communication skills

As a manager, you must have excellent written and oral communication skills to avoid confusion and misunderstandings.

7.   Time-management skills

In the business world, time is money. Hence, as a manager you need to maintain the highest standards of time-management and punctuality to make sure that your projects are completed and delivered on time.

Benefits of a career in project management

Today, there is a greater need for employees with managerial skills who can handle the problems of an agile, digital and modern workplace. Here are a few benefits that you can look forward to when pursuing a career in project management: 

1.   Become a better leader

Project management instils values of workplace ethics and honesty, which are regarded as crucial qualities of a manager. You learn to handle a team and motivate your teammates.

2.   Get better at problem solving

You learn to identify and solve various challenges that arise in a workplace. You also develop analytical skills that can help you analyse data to solve potential problems.

3.   Improve your interpersonal skills

As a manager, you need to communicate with different stakeholders, team members and senior management. You improve your communication and people skills in verbal or written formats.

4.   Develop your technical skills

As a manager, you need to have a keen understanding of all the main aspects of the business. This is also important whenever you mentor or coach your team members.

5.   Get better at handling shorter projects

You learn to handle and complete short projects within a limited time frame with limited or constrained resources. You also pick up the following skills:

a.    Writing a project plan

b.    Building a work allocation schedule

c.     Allocating resources to team members

d.    Creating a project budget

e.    Defining and setting the project’s scope

f.     Identifying and managing associated risks

g.    Handling conflict resolutions 

How to start a career in project management?

You can follow the steps mentioned below to start a career in project management:

1.   Talk to people

Before taking on a new career, it is important to know as much as you can about the project management career path. You can achieve this by interacting with professionals with project management experience. Learn more about the challenges in the field and the fulfilling aspects of the career.

2.   Take an online course

Online courses on project management are a time-saving approach to beginning a career in the field. You get an introduction to the subject, gain knowledge of the basics and can make sure you can cope with the challenges.

3.   Pursue a graduate degree in the field

Once you possess the basics of project management, you can consider a higher degree such as an MBA to gain advanced expertise on the subject and a more in-depth business knowledge. A degree can also enhance your employability in the field.

4.   Gain more certifications

As a project manager, you should keep updating your management skills. One practical way is to obtain project management certifications such as the PMP certification, which would add to your expertise on the subject.

Specializing in project management can help you secure a job in any sector as most industries involve various elements of project management. If you want to pursue a career in project management and want to learn more on the subject, you must consider enrolling in the MBA program offered by University of Canada West. The degree is taught by knowledgeable faculty and is also ACBSP-accredited. To know more about the program, click here.

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