How to Become a Project Manager
- August 22, 2014
- Posted by: Juan van Niekerk
- Category: Project Management
To become a Project Manager, you require specific soft skills, relevant experience and accredited certifications. This allows for job opportunities and career growth in the field of project management.
If you dream of being a key player, a part of something bigger than yourself, or maybe want to be at the heart of the action, then you should consider becoming a Project Manager. Every project needs a Project Manager who is responsible for leading a group of people that deliver value to the customer in a timely manner.
However, how does someone get into the leadership position in the field of project management? There are various ways to become a Project Manager and also different certifications that are required. Here we will show you, in four simple steps, how to achieve that goal. However, before we look at how to become a Project Manager, it is important to understand what the role entails.
A Project Manager
- Soft Skills
- Job Opportunities
A Project Manager is the person in charge of the overall planning and execution of a particular project. They are seen as collaboration experts whose people skills allow them to develop trust and communication amongst all of a project’s stakeholders.
Typically, a Project Manager is someone who is qualified in the field of project management and they will be in charge of the planning, implementation and closing of the project using their specialised knowledge and skill set. Their main responsibilities include implementation, monitoring and control of a project. Project Managers also have the ability to look at the bigger picture while still keeping their finger on the pulse by considering the finer details of the project.
However, in order to be someone who is responsible for a team and the goals they have to achieve, it’s important to have certain soft skills.
Step 1: Have the Right Soft Skills
- Calm Focus
At the heart of any successful Project Manager should lie the right set of soft skills (or people skills). Essentially, Project Managers are leaders, as they can have an effect on the direction and pace of a project. They need to be good communicators, which involves not only listening, but also effectively relaying information – ensuring that they are able to efficiently lead the team.
An apt way to describe a Project Manager would be: “someone who has ‘calm focus’ with the ability to work well under pressure”. Working in project management can be stressful. Therefore, it’s important to have a Project Manager who can keep their cool when the heat is turned up.
So how do those who possess such soft skills break into the field of project management? There are two directions you can consider. Both, however, involve obtaining the relevant certifications.
Step 2: Get Certified
- ITonlinelearning accredited certifications
- PRINCE2 Practitioner
- Agile PM Practitioner
- Project Management Professional (PMP)
PRINCE2 Practitioner is the most popular project management certification in the UK and is often considered a requirement for project management positions. The second qualification to consider is Agile PM Practitioner, which trains individuals in the Agile methodology. Agile focuses on breaking the project down into short iterations and managing self-organised teams. Both Agile PM Practitioner and PRINCE2 Practitioner require completing a foundational certificate to enter the Practitioner level.
There are many certifications which enable one to become a certified Project Manager. One of the easiest and most convenient ways to obtain a certification is through online learning. Here, at Itonlinelearning, there are various accredited project management certifications that can help you achieve your goal. Some of the courses available include PRINCE2 Practitioner, Agile Practitioner and Project Management Professional (PMP) which are different project management certifications for different areas of expertise.
The third certification to consider is the PMP certification from the Project Management Institute (PMI). PMI is the largest membership association in the project management industry. They offer the Project Management Professional (PMP) certificate which validates that you have the necessary skills, experience and training to take on complex and large projects.
Once you have obtained the certifications that are relevant to your career, it’s time to put your knowledge and skills to the test.
Step 3: Get the Relevant Experience
- Become a professional in your chosen field
- Start from a project support role
Although project management is a broad field, it may require specific work experience to break into. As the role of Project Manager is a managerial position, it requires relevant work experience in that chosen sector. The two most common routes that are followed when entering into this profession include starting from a different area and then moving into project management, or starting directly in the field of project management, but starting in a support role.
Project Managers can be found in various sectors such as construction, business, IT and more. However, many Project Managers will have entered this field from their chosen area of expertise. For example, IT Project Managers typically start their careers in IT, working until they are considered an IT professional and then progressing to the level of IT Project Manager.
Some individuals, however, may be lucky enough to start from a project support role and will then progress to a project management position. It is recommended for both these avenues that certain certifications be obtained in order to become a certified Project Manager.
Step 4: Apply for a Position
- Personal branding
- Positions you can apply for
- Increase in salary
You should treat your project management career as a project – setting clear, realistic goals. Some of the positions you can strive for include Infrastructure Project Manager and Development Manager to name but a few. As an added bonus of entering this field, you can expect to earn a competitive salary. It is estimated that Project Managers earn between £50,000 and £60,000 per year.
Project Managers can be found in almost every organisation and they are increasingly in demand worldwide. In order to put your certifications, soft skills and experience to use, you will need to apply for a position. When applying for a project management role, it would be beneficial to develop some personal branding. The starting point would be to ensure your CV is up to date, as well as brushing up on your interview skills.
Therefore, to become a Project Manager it is important to have the right soft skills, experience and certifications. This is a career which requires leadership and communication skills coupled with the desire to learn and achieve your certification goals. Combining this knowledge with experience is a sure way of bringing you project management opportunities.