How to Start a Project Management Career – Everything You Need to Know

Project management can be a challenging yet very rewarding career path. Whether you are transferring from a related industry or entering the field for the first time, you may not know where to start. Fortunately, there are countless paths to achieving your goals and securing meaningful employment in the world of project management.

By ALAN MATHEW

This article will not only outline the different options available to you, but will also offer an overview of the role and its main responsibilities. Additionally, we will also dive deeper into each of the paths to certification and the characteristics of a successful project manager.

Different forms of project management

At a basic level, the profession involves managing the tasks, roles, finances, and methodology needed to complete a project. Project managers can specialize anywhere from finance to construction, architecture, engineering, and more. Overall, the role of a project manager involves completing the required work on time and on budget.

People in this role can be anywhere from software to marketing, healthcare, architecture and infrastructure. Whatever the field, project managers must have excellent administrative, organizational and people skills.

Since project management requires significant intelligence and experience, people must hold the necessary qualifications and certifications.

Viable pathways

Ok, let’s dive into the heart of why we’re here. The key question you may be asking yourself is, how exactly can you start a career in project management? Fortunately, there are many avenues to follow. This ranges from face-to-face learning to adaptive and hands-on online learning.

Let’s now explore the main paths to becoming a successful project manager.

1. University

Australian universities offer a wide range of courses centered on project management. Like most areas of expertise, tertiary studies in project management are available in bachelor’s, postgraduate and master’s degrees.

Key points to consider here will include the time required to complete the degree and the financial implications. Make sure you can cover both aspects before entering the course. For example, if you can’t make it to campus, online may be a better alternative.

2. Online Project Management Courses and Degrees

Over the past few years, online courses have seen significant growth in popularity. This is largely due to two key factors. First, online courses are much more flexible and can therefore fit an individual’s personal schedule. Second, study periods are often shorter and more condensed. However, this does not mean that the content and skills learned are below industry standards.

Online project management courses continue to evolve and solidify their place as a viable path in the industry. A degree can lead directly to employment or form the basis for higher education and qualifications.

3. Transferable industrial experience

A path to a career in project management can begin with tangible industry experience in a related field. For example, an experienced architect will hold a wealth of knowledge and understand how to deliver a project on time and within budget, especially if they are already managing a team. The same rule applies to an experienced site manager in the field of construction or engineering.

If this applies to you, upgrading is a viable route to a new career in project management. These transferable skills will dramatically accelerate the learning curve.

Characteristics of a Successful Project Manager

Leadership- From making important decisions to managing various parties and personnel, project management requires strong and adaptive leadership.

Risk management – Managers assess a risk profile in each project they oversee. Therefore, you will need a strong background and understanding of risk management.

Patience – Remember that mistakes will be made, deadlines will change, and the budget will fluctuate. In these cases, the project manager must remain patient and calm to ensure the success of the project.

Social abilities – Projects rarely succeed without good communication. This is where having the necessary people skills comes in.

Management of time – Timelines are essential to the role of the project manager. This involves not only managing your own time, but also monitoring the ongoing progress of all parties and staff involved.

Technical skills – More than ever, project managers need to master the fundamentals of technology, from computers to phones, apps, the cloud, and more.

Tips for getting started

The path to a career in project management differs depending on your starting point, whether it’s experience in a related field or no experience at all. With that in mind, here are five tips and methods you can start exploring today.

1. Research and communicate (for beginners)

Whether you’re just curious or seriously considering a career change, the first step is to research exactly what the project management profession entails. This can also be achieved by contacting online training providers, researching course details and talking to people in the industry.

2. Sign up for an online course (for beginners or industry pros)

Once you’ve finalized your decision to enter the project management field, online courses are a great option. The flexibility and schedule offered by online courses may be a more suitable option than committing to a full university degree over several years. Online courses are also viable as a means of further training.

3. Pursue a graduate degree (for bachelor’s degree holders)

If you have the time and financial means to pursue a master’s degree, it can exponentially increase your employability. Through this pathway, people with both a beginner and intermediate level of knowledge acquire specific knowledge and skills relevant to professional settings. Additionally, postgraduate courses (online or in-person) will include detailed case studies and project scenario training.

4. Upskill (for industry professionals or certified project managers)

Degrees and graduate studies are not exclusive to those who enter the field of project management. In reality, project management online course offer excellent value for existing professionals. As is the case in most industries today, project management professionals regularly attend training and courses to improve their skills and performance in the professional world. Whichever path you choose, we wish you the best of luck!