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Project Management Career Factsheet

By: CareerFactsheet.com, Updated Jul., 23, 2014

Alternate Titles: Construction Area Manager, Construction Foreman, IT Project Manager,Senior Project Leader/Team Lead,Project Engineering Manager, Business Analyst

Project Manager

There are those who thrive on routine and schedule and then there are those who want nothing more than change, challenges and a side of chaos. For this special breed, project management just might be the ideal career. Few other career options offer the opportunity and diversity of project management and the payoff in terms of travel, networking and salary have made it one of the hottest career fields today.

Project management also offers enhanced benefits, including travel and the ability to help shape the future of the field of project management. While not for everyone, this exciting career field is a perfect match for those who enjoy reaching out to work with others, bringing talented people together and working to creatively brainstorm new ideas, solutions and ways for companies to grow in an ever changing global marketplace.

Essential Skills for Successful Project Management

In order to be a successful project manager, you need to have a latent love of chaos, change and being challenged. Project management is all about creative problem solving, working with a variety of personalities and bringing everyone – and everything – together in order to achieve a common goal. Since project management requires so much multi-tasking as well as high levels of organization, it has become an ideal career for young professionals who want the stability of a professional career but also crave spontaneity and a changing environment.

This ever changing and unique challenging environment has also become an attractive option for a generation of professionals which have grown up surrounded by multiple social platforms, the ability to network more easily than ever before as well as being used to dealing with multiple streams of information. In short, the perfect candidate for project management will be able to

  • Speak with authority
  • Empathize with subordinates, colleagues and outside sources
  • Find creative solutions to common and not-so-common problems
  • Mediate personality clashes in a professional setting
  • Delegate tasks and follow up with team member
  • Establish an organization process team members can easily adopt
  • Keep an open mind to new ideas
  • Develop new and innovative processes as needed

Video Career Profile

Getting Started with Project Management

The term 'project management' is something of an umbrella term, used to describe this career in general, but specific industries require specialist knowledge. For example, a person interested in architecture and engineering can study and work to become a project manager in that specific field. They would then be responsible for developing project plans surrounding an architectural firm's latest project or to help a construction team developing a community to work together in order to bring the development in on time.

Minimum education is a Bachelor' Degree. It need not be in business or management. If you want to specialize in a particular field (i.e. health, finance, constrution etc) then any degree in either of these fields would be helpful. Although certfication is not a requirement it would add value and put you ahead of competion. A masters in project management offered by universities and colleges will provide you with a sound educational platform for a career in project management.

With a career as individual as the people who excel at it, the path to project management is highly customizable.  In keeping with its 21st century approach to handling problems, conflicts and projects, it allows students to work toward a degree both in a traditional university setting as well as through online courses and professional accreditation.  The Project Management Institute is a professional organization of project managers, program leaders, educators and other related professionals that offer guidance, advice and general information on every aspect of project management, both as it exists today and the outlook for the future of the field.  They offer help in finding customizable courses for general project management as well as specific professional certification for everything from entry level project management to emerging fields such as project scheduling 

Salary Expectations and Future Opportunities

Since project management remains an evolving field, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics does not yet maintain information on general salary information.  Instead, they have deferred to industry insiders and other professionals while they continue to monitor this growing field and develop their own body of research and knowledge.  However, the average salary for general project managers is, according to salary tracking websites such as Indeed, hovering around $89,000 per year.  Project managers in specialized industries such as Information Technology can expect to earn even more.  Like many other careers, the average salary can depend on experience, education, professional certifications and geographic location as well as the industry itself.  The best way to position yourself for maximum earning potential is to begin with a solid background in business and then learn about a specific industry, whether it's construction, healthcare or public relations.  Anything that sets you apart from other candidates will help you when it comes to salary negotiations.

The opportunities project management can offer is another attractive benefit for this career.  Working with larger companies can easily lead to travel to any place they have satellite offices and, in time, you can also work toward program management.  This highly specialized career is an evolution from project management as it requires you to manage multiple projects – including the project management leaders and their teams.  Simply put, the opportunity for travel, career growth and increased earning power is almost unlimited.

Project management can be an ideal career choice for the 21st century business professional.  It gives people the opportunity to juggle multiple issues, network with people and have a job where every week is different and offers up unique challenges that require critical and creative thinking.  The career is best suited for those who enjoy thinking 'outside the box' and whom can work well under pressure and with a variety of personality types.  For the right person, project management can offer amazing opportunities for both travel and professional growth, making it the ideal match for those who love living on the edge. 

For further career advice on the Project Manager Job Profile read our articles below:

Salary Expectations in the US and Globally
If you are exploring this career path,the salary can be very convincing on its own.
What do Project Managers Do, day-in and day-out?
A detailed look at what a project mnager does and a brief look at the qualifications and skills you'll need to possess.

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