How to Become a Construction Manager: Your Guide

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Learn more about what a construction manager does and how you can get started in this leadership role.

[Featured Image] Two construction workers speak with their construction manager at an outdoor site on a sunny day. They are all wearing reflective vests and hard hats.

A construction manager coordinates a building project from start to finish. Managers often work at the construction site from a field office to monitor progress, make on-the-spot decisions, and supervise employees. Typical duties in this role might include:

  • Preparing budgets, cost estimates, and work timetables

  • Negotiating with subcontractors and vendors

  • Collaborating with architects, engineers, and specialised trade workers

  • Scheduling and coordinating subcontractors

  • Overseeing work progress to meet deadlines

  • Ensuring compliance with local and state building and construction codes

  • Monitoring the job site for safety hazards

  • Managing any emergencies or work delays

In substantial projects, like an office building, a construction manager may focus on only one aspect of the building project (plumbing, electric wiring, foundation, etc.). In a smaller-scale project, they may be responsible for the oversight of the entire build.

What is a typical construction manager's salary?

The average annual salary for a construction manager in India is ₹1,020,996 as of February 2024 [1]. This job is expected to remain in demand, as the construction industry in India is one of the world’s largest, employing more than 51 million people and making up 9 percent of India’s GDP [2]. India’s construction industry is expected to grow 6.6 percent from 2023 to 2026 [3].

Types of construction managers

Construction projects vary from industrial, commercial, and residential to more specialised projects, like roads, bridges, and monuments. Because of the diversity of projects, some construction managers specialise in one particular niche. 

Some focus on smaller renovation-type projects, while others oversee massive new builds or focus solely on transportation infrastructure. Take a look at some of the different types of construction management positions:

  • Residential building project managers focus on renovating or constructing housing, including apartment complexes, multifamily units, or single-family homes.

  • Commercial construction managers oversee the construction or renovation of commercial buildings, including retail shops and corporate offices. 

  • Infrastructure managers oversee building roads, bridges, or other public infrastructure assets.

How to become a construction manager

To become a construction engineer, graduate from higher secondary school having focused on science-related subjects. Architecture, design, finance, management, and accounting can be useful studies. Many students go on to study engineer, construction science, construction management, or architecture and earn a bachelor of business administration in project management or a BTech (bachelor of technology) in civil engineering.

Many students then pursue an MBA or MTech degree. Others are hired in India after taking diploma courses in related fields or construction management courses in other countries.

Becoming a Certified Construction Manager (CCM)

While not necessary to get a job, certifications allow construction professionals to prove their qualifications to current and prospective employers. Some popular certifications for a construction manager are the CAPM (Certified Associate in Project Management) and MPM (Master Project Manager).

Construction manager skills

The role of a construction manager is a multi-faceted job that utilises a broad skill set. Many clients look to hire a construction manager who has the following qualities:

Technical skills:

  • Project management

  • Knowledge of standard building codes

  • Familiarity with a wide variety of construction practices and techniques

  • Familiarity with technology and software used on the job

Workplace skills:

  • Leadership abilities

  • Adaptability

  • Communication skills

  • Organisational skills

  • Negotiation

  • Time management

  • Flexibility

  • Risk management

Construction manager career path

When you study construction management or work as a construction manager, you may have the opportunity to take on other, more specialised roles as your career advances. These include the following:

  • A surveyor measures and determines property boundaries. In this position, you could prepare maps for clients, travel to find the precise locations of important landmarks, and verify data accuracy.

  • The facility manager oversees the daily operations of a building and how it is used, including security, communications, maintenance, and utilities.

  • The building services engineer ensures that a building functions properly. This means maintaining current building standards and designing and implementing improvements to the building, utilities, and technologies. 

  • Site engineers are involved with the technical and organisational side of construction projects. This is a more specialised construction management role, focusing on supervising staff, providing technical advice, and time management.

  • The sustainability consultant works to make buildings more environmentally friendly and sustainable.

Get started with Coursera

Now's an excellent time to start preparing for a position as a construction manager, thanks to good career prospects and the availability of jobs. See if this career might fit your interests by taking a beginner-friendly class in Construction Project Management from Columbia University. 

If you’re considering getting a degree, consider the Construction Engineering and Management MasterTrack® Certificate from the University of Michigan. If you complete this MasterTrack Certificate and are admitted to the full master’s programme, your credits count toward your degree.

Article sources

1. Payscale. "Average Construction Manager Salary in India, https://www.payscale.com/research/IN/Job=Construction_Manager/Salary." Accessed February 28, 2024.

2. National Investment Promotion & Facilitation Agency. "Construction, https://www.investindia.gov.in/sector/construction." Accessed February 28, 2024.

3. Global Data. "India Construction Market Size, Trends and Forecast by Sector – Commercial, Industrial, Infrastructure, Energy and Utilities, Institutional and Residential Market Analysis, 2022-2026, https://www.globaldata.com/store/report/india-construction-market-analysis/." Accessed February 28, 2024.

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