Project managers oversee complex projects, like the development of large-scale software systems. They plan, coordinate, and control the activities of multiple teams working together to complete their assigned tasks. Project managers also ensure that deadlines and budgets are met and quality standards are maintained. Here you'll find some common questions about careers in project management.
Project managers often juggle multiple tasks at once. This means they need to be organized, efficient, flexible, and able to multitask effectively. If you want to become a project manager, here are some tips to get started.
IT project managers typically have strong project management skills, like project planning, risk assessment, budgeting, and more. Having a technical background isn’t always required but can be beneficial.
You can become a project manager with no experience by developing your project management skills and looking for entry-level project management positions. You might start by taking on project management-oriented tasks at your current workplace. If you’re looking to learn the basics, consider an online course, like the Google Project Management: Professional Certificate.
If you have previous managerial experience, you may be able to become a project manager within a few months. If you’re just starting on the road to becoming a project manager, building up your experience may take a few years.
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Earning a project management degree or certification often means gaining hands-on experience and building job skills that will help you in your career. Depending on the program, you might cover topics like human resource management, leadership, communication skills, financial accounting, marketing, organizational behavior, operations research, information systems, computer science, and software engineering.
Though it might be easier for project managers to advance to their roles with a degree, they’re certainly not always required. If you don’t have a degree, working your way up from within a team or earning a certification might make sense for your career path.
Read more: Do project managers need a degree?
Yes. There’s no requirement for what kind of degree you need to have to become a project manager. Some places may state a preference for a certain type of degree, especially if the work you’ll be doing requires specialty knowledge—being a project manager in construction, for example, might require a degree in civil engineering, architecture, or a related degree.
The Project Management Professional certification, or PMP certification, is a project management certification recognized around the world. There are over one million PMP certification holders worldwide, according to the Project Management Institute (PMI) which administers the certification. It is applicable to project managers in virtually any industry, be it health, construction, information technology (IT), or business. Read this guide about the PMP certification.
Certification isn’t required for project coordinators, but earning a project management certification could enhance your resume and give you a competitive edge when applying for jobs. If you’re just starting out, consider the Google Project Management: Professional Certificate.
There are several other project management certifications. The Project Management Professional (PMP) certification is popular. If you’re looking for a broad entry-level project management credential, consider the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM). There are also several Scrum master certifications to choose from.
Working in project management can be a satisfying one for those who enjoy working with people and have strong organizational skills. Planning and starting a project from scratch, collaborating with others to overcome challenges, and seeing your efforts end in measurable success can be hugely rewarding. Learn more about this and similar roles:
Project managers can work in almost any industry, not just in IT. Project managers can work in health care, construction, fashion, marketing, finance, and many other sectors.
A product manager can make a very effective project manager. Many of the skills required to be a good product manager are similar to those needed to be a good project manager. Some smaller companies may require product managers to do some project management as well.
Generally, yes. Program managers oversee programs, which can consist of many simultaneous projects. However, project managers with years of experience may have more senior titles than program managers, and program managers are not always the direct manager of the project manager. It should be noted that organizations may also use program and project manager interchangeably.
Yes. Program managers can manage several project managers. The project manager often works with the program manager to determine project goals, acquire resources, and build project teams.
Project managers can be embedded within specific teams like engineering, IT, or design. They can also be a part of a project management team, and work on several different teams depending on the project.
“Better” is relative, but there are a few different ways to compare product managers and project managers. Product managers generally earn more than project managers. They also tend to oversee more higher-level decisions than project managers, making product managers the more senior position. You might see more variety in your work through project management, as you’ll likely be assigned to several different projects.
Scrum Masters can be considered a type of project manager, but their definitions differ in some basic ways. While a Scrum Master keeps a Scrum team on track and in sync with Scrum principles, a project manager is more concerned with elements of a project’s success—things like staying within budget, meeting timelines, and hitting goals. Keep in mind that Scrum is a specific type of project management. So if you’re a project manager, you might be asked to take on Scrum Master roles.
An Agile project manager is a project manager who incorporates Agile principles into their project management. Since Scrum is an Agile methodology, Scrum Masters may be considered Agile project managers.
Agile project management can be found in careers like project developers, project managers, business operations managers, logistics managers, and many other roles that involve teams and projects. Because Agile project management spans over many industries and organizations, from software and IT, to manufacturing and transportation, there's a wide demand for those employees who have work in Agile environments previously.
Project Management Principles and Practices. Work Better, Together
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This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.