If you’re a natural born leader and effective communicator with some excellent organizational skills, a career in project management might be the right career choice for you. However, starting a career in project management can be tricky for those who have never taken on a similar role before and are wondering how to become a project manager with no experience.
There is not just one clearly defined path to becoming a project manager. In fact, project managers could be architects, engineers, software developers, and from other professions before they get the chance to lead a team and finally become project managers.
Demand for project managers is on the rise. The Project Management Institute has issued a Job Growth and Talent Gap Report projecting the creation of nearly 90 million roles in project management over the years through 2027. The report also indicates a positive trend in the salary scale for project managers.
If you’re interested in beginning a career as a project manager with no prior experience, there are ways to make it happen.
What a Project Manager Does All Day
It may be a good idea for those interested in pursuing this career path to familiarize themselves with the main roles and functions associated with a project manager.
Essentially, a project manager takes on the responsibility of initiating, designing, planning, controlling, executing, monitoring, and closing a project. Project managers are typically tasked with handling responsibilities such as:
How to Become a Project Manager without a Degree
So the question is can i be a project manager with no experience? Having no direct experience in being a project manager isn't a show stopper if you’re considering this career path.
In fact, your experience in other industries could help jumpstart your career in project management. You should also look for opportunities where you can work alongside experienced project managers and learn from them.
These tips will help you how to become a project manager with no experience, and get you started in your journey in project management.
Getting Project Management Education
The basic requirement for project managers start with a bachelor’s degree in business management or an industry certification like Prince2, PMP or AgilePM. However, you can also begin with a bachelor’s degree in a specific area such as computer science, engineering, marketing and more.
Gaining education and expertise in a particular field largely depends on what type of project manager you would like to become such as an IT project manager or construction project manager.
Gaining certification can help demonstrate your knowledge and competence in project management to an employer. Getting certified can also set you apart from other applicants.
You can earn a certification through the Project Management Institute (PMI) by passing the exam and meeting requirements. Project Management Professionals (PMPs) may even earn up to twenty times more than others without certification.
The Project Management Professional certification is for established project managers, but a Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) can help distinguish you in the job market regardless of your career stage.
Even if you’ve never had the previous job title of project manager, your other experience can still be eligible for your chosen career path as project manager.
You may even find that you have already managed a project—albeit indirectly, through your prior work experience in other industries.
Your present career could even qualify you for project manager or a job in project management. From web designer to personal assistant, there are a number of careers that can help you transition to a role in project management.
Transitioning to a Career in Project Management
You may already be in a career other than project management and are considering changing careers. You should be aware that there are roles that can be ideal stepping stones to beginning a career as a project manager. This can be anything that requires excellent administration skills, supporting a team, and analytical skills.
These entry-level jobs will help bring you closer to your desired career path as a project manager. They can also make the transition from your current job to a career in project management smoother and easier.
The project coordinator works alongside the project manager. The coordinator is tasked with the responsibility of monitoring, tracking, recording, and distributing information about the current status of the project.
Successful project coordinators easily pick up the skills needed to run and manage a project. They often gradually move up to the role of project manager.
The project assistant works as the project manager’s right hand. They can perform a variety of tasks depending on the nature of the project.
Their main task is to take on some of the project manager’s work burden. Many project assistants use their position as a means of gaining initial project management experience to build up their career in project management.
Personal assistants work with high level executives and help them with day to day operations. Personal assistants possess a wide range of organizational skills, which makes them excellent candidates for a career in project management.
Testing is a critical part of almost every project than can be undertaken. As such, a project manager will often have a close working relationship with a tester on a project.
Taking on the role of a tester can help you gain the exposure and skills you need to work on a project.
Web designers are both creative and technically inclined. They make sure that a website is functional while still remaining aesthetically pleasing to viewers.
Designers can be assigned as part of a project team, which can serve as a good opportunity to learn more and gain experience in this area.
Arranging an event requires some of the same organizational and planning skills needed of a project manager. Finding an entry level position as an event organizer can serve as a good route to project management, and can set you up for a career in project management in no time.
IT Support Analyst
A support information technology (IT) analyst is responsible for the daily technical support and development in a company. The role of these analysts is to respond and solve problems and complaints raised by departments regarding their technological systems.
A support role can help you prepare for a role in project management as you can use your computer science expertise and what you have experienced first-hand to improve some of the issues customers face when a project is finished.
Finance assistants collect and record financial information. They also take care of the time-consuming tasks in an accounting or finance team.
You may be tasked in producing a detailed budget for large projects. This can be a good opportunity for you to gain exposure to a project management environment.
Product / Technical Architect or Analyst
A technical background can be a good entry into project management.
Your job is to work on creating specifications and designs for the project. You will also work closely with a project manager or business analyst.
A project manager assigns all the detailed planning aspects of the project to a planning assistant. Being involved in a role that specializes in planning can help you get the role of junior project manager in no time.
Junior Engineer / Technician / Developer
Many project management roles ask for technical experience, and those in a technical line of work may make the transition to project manager easily.
Possessing a technical role and background will bring you into direct contact with a project. Building your experience can help you move up to senior project management roles.
Project managers are responsible for the success or failure of a project. It is also up to them to calculate the risks associated with the project.
Risk management is fundamental in successful project management. This can be a solid foundation for you as you start your project management career.
You may even find yourself working as part of a project team in large projects.
Data Entry Administrator
Those working in data entry will need to manage large amounts of information efficiently. Data entry can be crucial to any project.
Doing data entry for a project could expand your work and help you gain more exposure to a project management environment.
Other Entry-level Jobs to Consider:
So, have you worked out how do you become a project manager as there is no clear cut path for those interested in this particular career path. And while prior work experience does matter, those who have little to no experience in the project management area still have a fair chance of getting hired especially as a junior project manager. Getting started in a career in project management may all simply boil down to your technical skills, previous work experience, and dedication to pursuing the career path.