Step-by-step Guide on How to Become a Project Manager

Guide on How to Become a Project Manager

Are you preparing to begin a career as a project manager, but don’t know where to start? This article can guide you and help answer some of your questions about the basic job description, how much you should expect to earn, and how to become a project manager.

Project management is a growing business area, and more and more industries are hiring for project managers. Demand over the next ten years for project managers is growing faster over the demand for those in other occupations.

Along with the increasing demand to fill in project management roles comes the positive trend towards increasing salaries.

Project managers also enjoy the versatility of their career—project managers can be found in a variety of industries.

Therefore it’s no surprise that project management has become such a sought-after career path.

Read on to learn how valuable and fulfilling a Project Management career path can be if you know enough about the application of methods, processes and knowledge to achieve the objectives of a project.

If you think you have what it takes to be responsible for the success of a project, then here are ways how to become a project manager.

Know What a Project Manager’s Job is About

Know what you are getting into first.

Project managers are those in charge of a particular project or projects in an organization. Project managers may work with and be in charge of a team or work by themselves.

Project managers are responsible for the planning, the procurement, and execution of a project. They are tasked to oversee and take charge of a project from start to finish.

A project manager also serves as the liaison between upper management and the team assigned to work on a project. Anything that results in a product, is a project that needs the supervision and guidance of a project manager.

Know What Salary to Expect as a Project Manager

You should know what to ask or expect in terms of salary, not going beyond or way under what is due for you.

The average salary for a project manager may vary greatly according to location, industry, and certification. The salary including bonus and other forms of compensation will also differ based on company size, your experience, and education.

In general, the average salary for project managers is around US$90,000 per year.

Australia ranks high among countries, paying a sum of US$133,830 for the more experienced professional project managers who have been in the business for over 20 years. Even entry level salaries in Australia highly compensate new project managers with as much as US$68,827.

Know the Primary Responsibilities of a Project Manager

Get to know what is expected of you as project manager for your industry – offer services only to a sector whose work coverage you are familiar. You should have the knowledge and ability to take over when a team member fails to deliver on time or an aspect of tasks needs troubleshooting.

The project manager has the full authority to plan and run the project to its completion. Across all industries, the main responsibilities of a project manager include:

Planning

This is the key responsibility of a project manager. Creating a roadmap and a plan beforehand is essential for project managers.

The project manager defines the scope of the project and develops a project plan and timeline. Project managers make sure that the procedures are enough to deliver the project/s within the timeline and budget.

Time management

​A project manager must be able to negotiate deadlines and discuss with the team. They need to develop a project with features such as objective, process, and estimated duration.

Organization

​Organizing is mainly assigning members of the team and making deadlines for specific targets. It is the project manager’s duty to organize the team to show their full potential.

Leading

The project manager needs to take the lead from the get go. It is up to the project manager to make important decisions that could affect the project.

Aside from technical skills, project managers need to have the interpersonal skills required to effectively lead a team. Project managers are expected to motivate team members and keep morale high.

Managers must also ensure that the team is meeting the deadlines and following guidelines. Managing people is another key element in project management.

Delegation

Project managers are expected to take the lead and delegate responsibilities to team members. It is important to delegate these specific responsibilities responsibly.

A project manager must know the strengths and weaknesses of their team.

Monitoring the progress

​A project manager has to see how much is done and if it is up to par within the given timeline. Most of the project manager’s time will also revolve around monitoring the progress of a project.

Good communication with the team

​A project manager should be able to share his/her vision of the project effectively to other team members. Project managers also regularly give updates and meetings.

Reports and documentation

​Another major responsibility of a project manager is to submit appropriate documentation recording what has been done in the project and those involved.

Know the Key Traits Shared by Successful Project Managers

Do you have what it takes to be a project manager? Project managers take on the responsibility of initiating, planning, controlling, executing, monitoring, and closing a project.

However, a successful project manager possesses not only the technical know-how needed to deliver a project to fruition. Good project managers know that having the right attitude and developing the right set of personality traits can make all the difference.

Effective project managers usually have these following characteristics in common:

  • ​Strong leadership skills
  • Empathy
  • Integrity
  • Ability to delegate tasks
  • Team building skills
  • Passion/enthusiasm
  • Excellent communication skills

Learn How to Become a Project Manager

The process of becoming a project manager is unique. This is because there is not only one path to become a project manager.

People have the option of deciding to take the traditional/conventional route or the more unconventional path to becoming a project manager. Some might decide to be a project manager and get the classes and certification for it, while others find themselves with the role of project manager with no formal training.

Depending on your experience and skills, becoming a project manager may take time or just a few steps away. Whatever your current profession, if you have an interest in project management, there are ways to make it happen.

Acquire Project Manager Education

If you’re looking to get started in project management, it can be advantageous for you to take project management courses or earn a degree related to the industry you’re interested to work with.

A bachelor’s degree in business management can serve as the foundation for many project management careers. However, you can also choose a bachelor’s degree depending on the industry you want to work in as a project manager.

This can be any specific area such as information technology, engineering, marketing, and more. People can also earn degrees in project management on the bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral levels.

Get into a Specialization

Project managers can work in a variety of industries. So it may be useful for you to decide early on which area you want to specialize in, and build your training and experience specific to that area.

The top industries where project managers are high in demand are:

1. Construction

Construction firms often handle complex projects throughout the year. This why construction is one of the top industries that require the support of project managers.

A project manager in construction can expect an annual salary of $87,400.

2. Finance

Projects in this sector must be executed with the utmost care and diligence by experts. The project managers handle mergers and acquisitions and make crucial decisions on behalf of the company.

The median annual salary for a project manager in this industry is $117,990.

3. Information Technology (IT)

​An IT project manager helps people in the industry to learn and develop skills required to run the IT projects smoothly. On average, an project manager in Information Technology earn $87,817 per year.

4. Healthcare

​Project managers make sure that aspects in this sector such as chain networks, resources, recruitment and the technical team are working properly. A healthcare project manager earns an average salary of $91,293 annually.

5. Engineering

​Project managers of this area oversee the product construction and testing to ensure completion of the projects efficiently. Annual salary for this type of project manager averages at $95,041.

PM Certification

Getting certified can give you an edge to other applicants. You can get a certificate through the Project Management Institute (PMI) by passing the exam and meeting their requirements.

Project Management Professionals (PMPs) can earn up to twenty times more than non-certified practitioners in project management. The Project Management Professional certification is for project managers who have substantial experience, but there are other alternatives such as the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM).

Project managers are essential if an organization is to run smoothly. Although these are guidelines on how to best start your career as a project manager, there are still more than ample ways and opportunities to begin your career.

Though earning an education and enough experience are both surefire ways to launch your project manager career, remember that there is no wrong path or single right way on how to become a project manager.