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Career Advice

9 Tips To Becoming A Project Manager

Posted by Glassdoor Team

Career Advice Experts

Last Updated March 20, 2019

A project management (PM) career is a vast field of work you’ll never get bored being a part of. It implies being prepared for an ever-changing adventure and facing new situations and issues. Most project managers are great leaders who prefer diversity and an active lifestyle. Regardless of the personality traits that recommend you, proper education and past experiences in PM will prove helpful. Here are 9 tips that will help you start work in project management:

Choose the right education

You can start by getting a project management or business administration degree. However, not having a formal diploma is not a disadvantage, although it can give you an important head start. Project management doesn’t belong strictly to one industry. A diploma in any field can prove helpful when you’ll come across a project that’s part of a different business like software development, logistics, finance, or more. For example, a software development agency might require you to hold a degree in software engineering so that you can face specific project issues.

Know your skills

The skill set you start with can pave the way to how you will evolve professionally. You’ll have to develop your knowledge of project management processes, techniques, frameworks, tools, and get the right soft skills in order to successfully complete a project. This field is so complex and unpredictable that being a good communicator and leader won’t be enough. Handling daily challenges also requires you to be accountable, decisive, a risk taker, and a great multitasker.

Be prepared for anything

Depending on the project you’re assigned to, you’ll be in charge of different tasks from developing project plans and schedules, to conducting trainings and communicating with stakeholders. One day you’ll find yourself in charge of an IT project and the next one you’ll be handling the construction of the building next door. However, if you feel like you wouldn’t handle these radical changes, specializing in one field is an option. You’ll get to manage similar projects you’ve prepared for through your formal education or interests.

Get a certification

Whether project management certifications are worth pursuing is still a debatable topic. However, they will help you gain knowledge in this area even if you just need to know more or your employer wants you to get a specific certificate. Some of the certifications you could consider are:

Be aware of possible problems

Some project managers work long hours to make sure the project stays on the right track. Many stay updated on the project’s status and keep in touch with team members even after work or on holidays. The pressure of delivering a project on time can be too much to handle if you’re not used to holding such authority. Be prepared to juggle last minute changes and several different projects at the same time.

Talk to an expert

Remember that you’re not alone. Having a mentor can guide your entire career. This is why you should find a skilled project manager who has the time and patience to teach you some tips and tricks. By observing how they work and helping them out, you’ll master project management methods and processes from real-life situations. You’ll be a part of real projects, get feedback on your contribution, and use this to improve yourself.

Try it out

Don’t assume this career is right for you. Just because you like leading teams and taking control of a project doesn’t mean you’ll be capable of handling all challenges. Start with an internship or volunteer to oversee a project and put the PM methods you already know into practice. This is a great opportunity to see how what you already know will influence the outcome of a project. Formal education, though, doesn’t allow you to see the consequences of your actions like working with real projects does.

Never stop learning

Self-development after your first years in this profession is essential for keeping you on track. Staying up-to-date with the latest news in the field is now easier than ever thanks to a variety of project management blogs available out there. Detailed guides on how to become a project manager or project management training courses can also help you to brush up your knowledge at any point in your career.

Have fun!

Lastly, remember you must love your job to be good at it. Enjoying what you’re doing, celebrating success, and putting on a brave smile whenever something is not going well is the key to a happy career. Pair these with proper education and training and you’re ready for a pressure-free career as a project manager. Alexandra Cote is a Content Marketer @Paymo, blogger, and writer. Find Alexandra on Twitter.

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