Why Your Next Step Should be Towards a Successful Project Manager Career Path
There is good news for people mulling over a job in project management — an increased and growing demand for project management professionals over many other occupations has been reported with about nearly 22 million new jobs projected to be created through 2027, according to the 2017 Project Management Institute’s Job Growth and Talent Gap Report. So, how do you kick start your Project Management Career Path?
For those who are just getting started in their project management career or figuring out their next career move—the project manager career path just might be the right one for you. Project management is an exciting field of study and on top of that, project managers earn a competitive salary, with certified project managers tending to earn more than their counterparts.
Payscale for Project Managers
Payscale reports that the average pay for a Project Manager is AU$96,847 per year and the trend points to positively increasing rates.
October 2018 data from individuals pegged the following specific rates:
- Salary AU$62,683 – AU$146,832
- Bonus AU$495 – AU$20,067
- Profit Sharing AU$0.00 – AU$20,814
- Commission AU$1,500
- Total Pay AU$62,846 – AU$155,885
Pay for entry level Project Manager with less than 5 years experience can expect a total of AU$80,000.
Compensation for a Project Manager in mid-career level with 5 to 10 years experience can expect AU$100,000.
A more experienced Project Manager with 10 to 20 years experience can expect AU$118,000.
A Project Manager with late-career of more than 20 years of experience can expect to earn an average total compensation of AU$128,000.
Project Manager Career Path Options
Job Description for Project Managers
A project manager is charged with leading and overseeing the completion of a project. Professionals who choose to go into a project manager career path are usually effective leaders and skilled team players sharing key qualities such as perseverance, ambition, and a knack for creative problem solving, among many other desirable, leadership-based qualities.
Some of the main responsibilities of project managers are to oversee, plan and foresee the execution of a project from start to finish. They ensure maximum benefit and reduce the risk of overall failure within a project.
A project manager’s decisions – whether large or small – have huge impact. The project manager, therefore, should possess knowledge and skills for the following project management essentials:
- Cost Estimation – planning for the cost and resources needed for the completion of the project with a specified timeline
- Risk Analysis – identifying potential risks and how these may affect the outcome of the project
- Team Leadership – providing direction, instructions, guidance, and support to the members of the project team
- Documentation – taking note of details of the project implementation such as tasks done by which team member and when
- Ability to ask penetrating questions – asking the right kind of questions to bring out both potential problems and answers in the course of the project to allow for better scope of planning
- Business Partnering – creating relationships with customers and suppliers to ensure smooth project implementation
- Budgeting – working and keeping within the planned budgeted cost for a project
- Working with Vendors – managing delivery of tasks outsourced to vendors
- Controlling quality – checking and evaluating output for quality within the scope of the project plan for reporting to a senior executive or manager
There are many ways to get into project management as a career. Here are some tips to jumpstart your exciting new career path to a project manager:
1. Complete coursework that might be needed in your field, and consider getting certified
Many project management careers may only require a high school diploma or the equivalent but the demands of your chosen industry may vary. You should also consider taking the Project Management Professional (PMP) examination, as certified working professionals earn more.
2. Determine what role you want in Project Management
There are many careers in project management, and it is ideal for those who aspire to go into the project manager career path to acquire experience. Therefore, different roles in project management can be your stepping stones toward the coveted project manager position.
3. Gain experience: Intern or apply as an entry-level employee
Large-scale companies are excellent avenues of opportunity for anyone looking to enter the world of project management. You may either apply to work as an intern, which will help you when you apply for a paid position or apply for an entry level job.
4. Immerse yourself in Project Management: Work with a Project Management Agency
Agencies may hire employees who have little to no experience to work on small tasks and assignments. This will help you with what to expect as you go into your project management career.
The field of project management abounds with opportunity, and there is no clear-cut formula to get into project management. Whenever you’re on the project manager career path it’s important to keep in mind that there is no right or wrong step to get to your desired path in project management.
Careers across the project management field are also wide and diverse. The following are examples of project management roles classified by experience.
The early stages of a Project Manager Career Path
These are the jobs you will encounter early on in your career in project management.
- Project assistant
- Project co-ordinator
- Project management support
Advanced PM career
For those who possess a degree and/or certification, you will most likely want to look into something more than a supporting role in project management.
- Project manager
- Implementation manager
- Project leader
Senior PM roles
The logical next step for any senior manager is to take on bigger, more complex projects. You can further advance your career with these options:
- Management consultant
- Programme manager
- Portfolio manager
- Head of projects
- Director of projects
There is a place for project managers in virtually every industry—from jobs in information technology to business. The versatility in the role of a project manager and those in project management ensures that there will always be a place and demand for those who wish to take the project manager career path.