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How to Climb the Project Management Career Ladder

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Project Management is a wide-ranging field of work with many different roles. As with most careers, the higher salaries come with progression and advancement. This can seem challenging when it comes to project management as there are numerous different methodologies used, which makes it difficult to know which will be the most beneficial to your career.

All organisations undertake projects as it is necessary for businesses to improve their products and services in order to keep up with the competition. Not all organisations make use of formal project management, but the number that do is constantly increasing as it has been proven to increase the chances of success. This means that there is a consistent demand for qualified project management professionals.

Qualifications speak loudly in the project management field and it will significantly enhance your chances of a rewarding career if you gain the most sought-after certifications.

Earn the most sought-after certifications

With the numerous project management methodologies that are used in organisations across the globe today, it can be troublesome to decide which courses to study. However, there are certain qualifications that carry significant weight in the field of project management. Gaining these particular certifications will ensure that your CV is appealing to potential employers when applying for many roles, even those outside of traditional project management.

  • Project Management Fundamentals

If you are brand new to project management, the Project Management Fundamentals course provides the ideal starting point in your studies. This course will teach you the core skills and knowledge required to begin a career in the project management field. Learn about the methods and processes, stakeholder management, risk management, quality control, the importance of effective communication and the key planning activities associated with effective project management.

  • PRINCE2®

PRINCE2 is the leading project management method in the UK and is also widely used in organisations around the world. This method can be tailored to any size or type of project and is managed in stages to ensure that the project sticks to its objectives. The PRINCE2 certification consists of two levels – Foundation and Practitioner. The Foundation level will teach you the 7 Themes, Principles and Processes associated with the methodology and the terminology that is used. The Practitioner level will ensure that you are able to practically apply the theory to real-world project situations.

  • AgilePM®

Agile is a project management method that was originally created for the purpose of software development. Other methods do not always react well to changes during the course of the project, but the Agile method addresses this issue. This method uses an incremental and iterative approach to delivery, which enables it to work unexpected changes into the required phase of the project. The AgilePM certification also consists of two levels – Foundation and Practitioner. During the Foundation-level training, you will learn about project planning, project control, the implementation of the Agile methodology and the roles and responsibilities required during a project. The Practitioner level course will ensure that you become familiar with lifecycles and objectives, how to maintain control of an Agile project and the techniques necessary to manage an Agile project.

  • Change Management

A highly beneficial addition to the toolbox of any project management professional is the internationally recognised change management certification. Change is inevitable in any organisation and it is essential to manage it effectively. The change management qualification covers organisational change, the impact of change on individuals, stakeholder communication, benefits management and the roles which are required in order to achieve successful change. Gaining this certification will enable you to implement the techniques that will assist a smooth transition during change initiatives, which are essentially projects.

  • Business Analysis

Another qualification which will give you an advantage over other project management candidates is the business analysis certification. This is accredited by BCS (British Computer Society) and will add tremendous value to your CV. Business analysis enables you to discover the root cause of issues within an organisation and determine the best solution to rectify these issues. A business analysis certification will demonstrate to potential employers that you are able to assist in the optimisation of business performance and the streamlining of the systems which already exist within the organisation. This course will ensure that you have an understanding of strategy analysis, business system modelling, business process modelling, developing a business case and implementing change.

Enhance your soft skills

Most project management experts agree that there are certain soft skills which are recommended if you want to be a successful and well-rounded project management professional.

  • Organisation – Strong organisational skills are absolutely essential as the majority of the work involved requires you to organise a multitude of different elements on a daily basis.
  • Communication – The ability to communicate clearly with stakeholders, team members, suppliers and all others involved with a project is one of the most important soft skills for a project management professional.
  • Creativity – It is crucial for a Project Manager to be creative in finding solutions to problems and resolving them with minimal impact to the overall success of the project.
  • Leadership – Good leaders lead by example and effective leadership skills are vital to project management as you will need your team to respect you and to trust your judgement throughout the course of a project.
  • Motivation – An unmotivated team can have an actively negative impact on the outcome of a project, so you must be able to understand and motivate your team to enhance their productivity and make the most of their input.

Climb the rungs

Bottom rung – Project Office Administrator – £24,000

Project Office Administrators generally earn a salary of £24,000 and this is a common starting role in the field of project management. This position requires assisting with project management duties such as making appointments, performing site visits, preparing reports, tracking project progression, coordinating meetings, hiring contractors and monitoring compliance regulations. This role will provide ample experience on real-world projects and give you the footing you need to progress in your project management career.

Middle rung – Project Manager – £55,000

With some experience, you will move through the ranks and gain additional skills that are learned when practically applying your knowledge. As a Project Manager in the UK, you can earn a salary of £55,000. Some of the roles and responsibilities associated with this position are monitoring and reporting project progress to stakeholders, developing the project budget, estimating time and cost, planning and managing resources, benefits realisation and risk analysis. A project manager is ultimately responsible for the planning, execution, monitoring, controlling and successful closing of a project.

Top rung – Programme Manager – £77,500

A project is a single initiative and a programme is a collection, or portfolio, of projects. As a Programme Manager you will be able to earn a salary in the region of £77,500 or more. Programme Managers do not manage individual projects but coordinate the various projects in the portfolio and the teams working on each one. Strong experience as a Senior Project Manager is required for this position, as well as vast knowledge of project management methodologies.

The role typically entails managing the programme budget, planning the overall programme, monitoring the progress of each project to ensure objectives are met, managing the usage of resources, stakeholder management, mitigating and resolving issues and risks, defining programme controls and ensuring that deliverables are aligned across the programme.

Project management is a field with relatively clear-cut career progression and the keys to unlocking senior roles and higher salaries are certifications and experience gained from working your way up the ladder. There will almost certainly always be a need for project management, which makes this an excellent career choice.

Start your Project Management Career today!

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