Projects occur when a company wants to deliver solutions within a set time frame and budget. Projects often require professionals to work as a team, with each member being tasked with a specific role. Project managers are responsible for managing the team and ensuring that the project is successfully completed.
If you want to pursue a career in project management, now is a great time to do so. This guide will walk you through how to get a job in project management, as well as the skills and education required to enter the field.
What Is Project Management?
Project management is the organization and management of an organization’s team and resources to move a task or event toward completion. The duties and time frame heavily depend on the project that’s planned.
Project management is relevant to many different fields including information technology, engineering, healthcare, education, and construction. These sectors often have complex components that must be assembled and completed in a particular way to develop a functioning product or service.
Project Management Job Outlook
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the number of job openings for project management specialists will grow 0.5% within this decade. While this doesn’t qualify as fast growth, these experts do earn an average salary that is significantly higher than the national average. According to BLS, project managers earn an annual salary of $84,290.
What Education Do I Need to Become a Project Manager?
Some employers require candidates to have at least a Bachelor’s Degree in Business, Management, or any related field. However, there are educational alternatives to pursuing a bachelor’s, especially if you’re able to gain enough experience.
Can I Get a Project Management Job Without a Degree?
You can get a project management job without a degree. Community colleges and bootcamps act as acceptable alternatives for many employers. However, it’s important to remember that qualifications will vary based on employer, and four-year degree holders will usually have more opportunities available to them.
Can a Coding Bootcamp Help Me Get a Job in Project Management?
A coding bootcamp can definitely help you get a job in project management, especially if you’re aiming for a position within a technology company. Coding bootcamps offer short, thorough, and high-quality training to prepare you for a career as a project manager.
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The average bootcamp grad spent less than six months in career transition, from starting a bootcamp to finding their first job.
Bootcamps also offer hands-on training to help you build your portfolio before the program ends. After completing a project management course, you can take the appropriate exams to earn a reputable certification.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Job in Project Management?
The time it takes to get a job in project management mostly depends on your level of experience, education, and career goals. Coding bootcamps can take as little as 13 weeks, whereas an associate degree requires a minimum of two years, and a bachelor’s degree takes at least four years to complete.
Although coding bootcamps require significantly less time and money than a bachelor’s degree, most employers tend to favor degree holders, as bachelor’s degrees are a higher level of education.
However, that does not mean you won’t be able to find a great project managing position with a bootcamps certification or an associate degree. You may just need additional experience, such as an internship or apprenticeship program.
Common Project Management Education Paths
There are plenty of learning paths for project management. Some people just start at a lower position and make their way to a project manager role through years of experience. However, the most common and efficient project management paths include bootcamps, community colleges, and universities.
Project Management Bootcamps
The best project management bootcamps provide all of the foundational knowledge and skills you’ll need for this career. Through these bootcamps, students learn how to plan and execute complex projects of various sizes. Also, the curriculum provides tools for delivering projects within budget and on time. Bootcamps are among the quickest and cheapest educational options.
Community colleges offer associate degree programs in a variety of fields. Most community colleges will either have project management courses or related courses that cover the different aspects of management. Associate degree programs take two years to complete and you can find both remote and on-campus options.
Additionally, the credits you earn in community college contribute toward your bachelor’s degree. This means that if you later decide to pursue a bachelor’s degree, you’ll already have a good number of the credits required to graduate. Community colleges are significantly more affordable than universities and offer financial aid options.
Project Management Degrees
Universities are one of the most popular educational routes for project management. Most universities offer bachelor’s degree programs in project management specifically or in a related field. Some universities offer bachelor’s degree programs entirely online and give you the option of completing them full-time or part-time.
Bachelor’s degrees are among the most expensive and time-consuming educational routes. However, as with community colleges, public universities offer financial aid for qualifying students, which can cover as little as a percentage of the tuition or as much as the entire cost of the program. In addition, universities have many scholarships opportunities and will even help you identify the ones you qualify for.
Key Project Management Skills to List on Your Resume
Project management requires a lot of skills, many of which you’ll want to be sure to include on your resume. Successful project managers must have solid risk management, leadership, and collaboration skills. We take a closer look at these key skills below.
Risk Management Skills
All projects have risks. These risks come in all forms and aren’t always possible to avoid. Risk management skills enable you to plan for and around delays, cancellations, uncooperative partners, and so many other things that cause risk to a project’s success.
As a project manager, you will need to develop and master risk management skills in order to keep your team on track and headed toward the end goals. Project managers also need to be able to foresee potential risks during the planning phase and plan accordingly.
Leadership skills are a huge part of project management. Your role as a project manager is to lead the different teams involved in the project and their members. You’ll need to keep everyone on the same page, collaborating smoothly, and on track with their tasks.
During the planning stages, you’ll need leadership skills to appoint the right professionals to the jobs best suited to them, settle disagreements or conflicts that might arise, and encourage all project participants to maintain progress until completion. During the execution stages, you’ll need to be monitoring all operations to ensure everyone involved is working with the same vision.
Collaboration and Communication Skills
Because projects normally involve a lot of people, collaboration skills are crucial for this role. Project managers have the responsibility of rallying team members to ensure that the project runs smoothly. They coordinate tasks and ensure that team members work well together on a daily basis.
In order for this to happen, project managers need to be fully equipped with the skills necessary to oversee multiple collaborations simultaneously and must be familiar with conflict resolution techniques. Lastly, project managers need to maintain good communication with their higher-ups in order to implement their vision and specifications accurately. Effective communication is critical.
Where to Find Project Management Jobs
There are a lot of places to find project management jobs. The most popular methods involve online job sites like Indeed, ZipRecruiter, and Glassdoor. We also recommend looking at LinkedIn as well as freelancing sites like Upwork or Freelancer.
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Job boards are extremely helpful because they often contain recent and reliable job postings. Some professional associations, like the Project Management Institute, have job boards specifically for project managers. This allows employers to post their job openings and even contact candidates directly. Project managers, on the other hand, can apply for existing positions.
LinkedIn is a well-known business networking portal and an excellent place to look for project management jobs. This website lists jobs from employers around the world daily. It also offers an easy way to apply for jobs by using a LinkedIn profile. You can even set alerts and receive emails when new jobs are posted, or when employers get in contact with you.
Freelancing sites are a great way to gain experience as a project manager. Jobs posted to freelancing sites often involve, but are not limited to, short-term contracts. Freelance work also offers a level of flexibility that most companies won’t give you, including the option to work remotely.
How to Prepare for Your Project Management Interview
Project management interviews provide an opportunity for you to showcase your qualifications and skills to employers. During the interview process, the hiring manager will be looking at your educational level, previous experience, and skills required for the position. You’ll want to be well prepared for the questions that the interviewer is likely to ask you.
Project Management Interview Questions
- What essential project management skills do you have?
- How do you handle conflicts that arise during any phase of the project?
- What project management methods are best for large projects?
- How do you deal with underperformance from team members?
The Five Highest-Paying Project Management Jobs
|Project Management Jobs||Average Salary||Projected Growth|
|IT Project Manager||$105,291||11%|
|Engineering Project Manager||$99,432||4%|
|Construction Project Manager||$83,107||11%|
|Project Management Consultant||$109,690||0.5%|
IT Project Manager
IT project managers are responsible for the handling and implementation of IT development projects. The job often involves establishing IT goals, ensuring project-related employees have access to the resources they need, and overseeing the IT team.
Engineering Project Manager
Engineering project managers are responsible for overseeing different engineering projects. These experts plan a schedule for the project and are in charge of the approval and purchase of materials. They also manage the budget, delegate tasks, and assign deadlines for projects.
Project Management Office Manager
The project management office (PMO) manager ensures that project managers work with clients appropriately while representing the company. They meet with project managers and discuss project management methodologies. They may also uphold and implement changes in policy.
Construction Project Manager
Construction project managers oversee administrative tasks during a construction project. They are also responsible for planning the logistics of projects, such as budgeting, materials procurement, task assigning, and deadline setting.
Project Management Consultant
Project management consultants are responsible for improving the efficiency of a project management process. They advise clients on the best project management practices and find solutions to make the process run smoothly.
Project Management Career Path
There are many different project manager career paths. Project managers may work in positions that require different levels of seniority across different industries. Here are some of the most popular project management jobs for entry, mid, and senior-level workers:
Entry-Level Project Management Jobs
- Entry-Level Project Manager – Entry-level project managers report to their senior project managers. While they’re tasked with overseeing the planning, organization, and operation of projects, they’re still supervised by more experienced experts in the field.
- Associate Project Manager – This entry-level position involves working with the project manager to manage and lead cross-functional teams and perform quality control checks.
- Assistant Project Manager – Assistant project managers typically handle the tasks delegated to them by project managers. However, they can be thought of as partners rather than subordinates under a project manager. Their duties can involve anything that an entry-level project manager’s role involves.
Mid-Level Project Management Jobs
- IT Project Manager – IT project managers collaborate with senior IT leadership and business leaders to build and implement technology road maps that make projects run smoothly. They manage the team and oversee the practical and technical aspects of the project.
- Brand Project Manager – Brand project managers are tasked with ensuring that all team members involved with a brand are working with the same vision, meeting their deadlines, and collaborating smoothly. They uphold the vision of the brand owner and are responsible for planning and executing operations accordingly.
- Technical Program Manager – Technical program managers are responsible for all technical aspects of a specific project or program. They act as a liaison between IT engineers and other key teams such as product and IT.
Senior-Level Project Management Jobs
- Senior Project Manager – Senior project managers are responsible for risk management, milestone planning, and resource coordination. They ensure that the project runs smoothly and everyone is on the same page.
- Project Director – Project directors are senior members of the project team. Project teams and project managers report directly to this expert. The project director approves plans and budgets and ensures project quality.
- Project Management Office Director – The project management office (PMO) director is responsible for overseeing the project management office of an organization. This position sets and maintains project standards and is in charge of team accountability as well as foundational policies and changes.
Project Management Certifications
The field of project management has a lot of certifications that you can earn to prove your skills. Some popular project management certifications include the Project Management Professional, Professional Scrum Master, and Certified Associate in Project Management.
The Project Management Professional (PMP) certification demonstrates that you have the necessary skills and knowledge for project management. This certification awarded by the Project Management Institute (PMI) requires you to pass an exam and must be renewed every three years. Because project management standards are constantly changing, certification renewal is crucial.
This project management certification shows that you are skilled in Scrum, the agile framework used for project management and software industry projects. This certificate requires passing an exam, but also provides you with an opportunity to take a course if you want to brush up on your knowledge beforehand.
The Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) credential is especially helpful for candidates without a degree or without much experience in the field. This certification is also awarded by PMI and requires passing a 150-question exam. You will have three hours to complete the examination.
Tips on How to Get a Job in Project Management
Once you have received the training you need and are ready to look for jobs, there are a few key steps to become a project manager. To succeed in your project management career path, be sure to follow the tips below.
Focus on Soft Skills
Project management requires more soft skills than technical skills. While it is essential to know how to use project management software and be updated on the latest trends of your industry, you also want to work on your communication, leadership, and collaboration skills.
Refine Your Resume
Your resume gives potential employers their first impression of who you are. Employers will be checking for educational qualifications, experience, and skills. However, they’ll also be paying close attention to how well-written, organized, and functional your resume is. There are plenty of resume templates and tips available online that you might want to check out.
Personalize Your Cover Letter
Cover letters are an excellent way to tell employers who you are and what you bring to the table. Make sure your cover letter discusses the company’s vision and how you fit in it, your motivation in working for this company, and what you can contribute.
If you don’t have any project management experience, you might want to consider freelancing. Freelancing not only allows you to gain experience before applying to your ideal company but also allows you to explore this career before fully committing to it.
Apply for Entry-Level Roles
As a new project manager, an entry-level position is ideal. You can search for specific entry-level project management positions on company websites, job boards, or employment sites. Most job websites allow you to apply certain filters, such as job-level, location, and salary. This helps you to control the jobs that are visible on your feed.
Should You Get a Job in Project Management in 2021?
If you’re interested in project management, and you have or are willing to develop the required skills, then this is an excellent career to pursue. Project managers enjoy great salaries and job stability. In addition, they can work in a plethora of industries.
This is a challenging career that has many educational and training options, so you can choose the route that suits you best. Not only that, but once you are working as a professional project manager you will have access to plenty of opportunities for advancement. If you are looking for a career that sharpens and tests your leadership and interpersonal skills, project management might be for you.
Project Management FAQ
You can become a project manager without a degree. Community colleges offer associate degree programs for project management. Likewise, coding bootcamps can equip you with all of the knowledge and skills required for this career. Whiles these forms of formal training may suffice in many cases, some employers may require no less than a bachelor’s degree.
It is not hard to land a project manager job if you are well prepared. In order to increase your chances of landing a job with your ideal employer, you’ll want to make sure you have the appropriate education, skills, and level of experience. Crucial abilities any project manager should have include critical thinking and organizational skills.
A career in project management can be very lucrative. According to ZipRecruiter, project managers earn an average of $78,087, which increases with experience.
Project management roles often require some experience, but that isn’t to say it’s impossible to land one if you lack experience. Some entry-level positions may accept candidates without any experience in project management. In addition, some employers may give new hires on-the-job training. If you have no relevant experience, consider freelancing to build your resume and portfolio.
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