How Do You Become a Project Manager?

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Julie Simpson for Hive
Julie Simpson for Hive
April 23, 2024 at 8:13AM UTC
Do you want to become a project manager? It’s a great career choice with many growth opportunities. But before you can become a PM, there are some specific steps you should take.
In this blog post, we will discuss how to become a project manager and the skills you need to succeed. We’ll also provide tips for getting started in the field and advice on how to improve your earning potential if you are already on the path to becoming a PM.
So whether you’re just starting or ready to take your career to the next level, read on for all the information you need.

What Is Project Management?

Project management is the process of planning, executing, and monitoring a project to ensure its successful completion—such a simple definition for a job with a massive umbrella of responsibilities. Project management isn’t just delegated to a specific industry or position, but it can be found in any business, from technology to healthcare.
Project management needs project managers to run and organize internal and external projects from start to finish. A designated and capable project manager working within a company ensures that projects stay on track and meet their objectives and goals.

What Skills Do I Need As A Project Manager?

If you are interested in becoming a PM, but fear you don’t know where to start, or have the skills to be successful – don’t fret. Successful project managers all have varying ranges of skills and experiences and operate differently. However, there are some overlapping soft skills that successful project managers have in common and they are:

1. Excellent communication skills

Project managers must communicate effectively with their team, clients, and other stakeholders. They need to be able to clearly articulate the project’s goals and provide updates on its progress.

2. Strong organizational skills

PMs must be able to keep track of multiple tasks and deadlines simultaneously. They need to be able to create clear plans and schedules that will help keep the project on track.

3. Ability to take initiative

Project managers must be able to take the initiative and make decisions when necessary. They should be proactive in solving problems and identifying potential risks.

Roles & Responsibilities of A Project Manager

The roles and responsibilities of a project manager can vary depending on the size and scope of the project and the industry. However, like the soft skills discussed above, successful project managers must also be able to do the below tasks – and sometimes in their sleep! While the exact role a PM will hold varies between industries, most PMs should be responsible for the following:
  • Creating project plans
  • Identifying risks and potential issues
  • Assigning tasks to team members
  • Monitoring progress and ensuring deadlines are met
  • Communicating with clients and other stakeholders
  • Providing updates on the project’s progress

The 5 Steps To Becoming A Project Manager

There are multiple paths you can take to become a PM, and they will all vary depending on your experience and qualifications. If you don’t know where to begin or are looking to increase the range of your skills, here are some general tips you can follow to become a project manager:

1. Gain experience

If you’re just starting, the best way to become a project manager is to gain some relevant experience. This could involve working on small projects within your organization or volunteering for a local charity. There are also many online resources that can help you learn more about project management.

2. Get certified

Once you have some experience, you may want to consider getting certified as a project manager. The most popular certification is the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification from the Project Management Institute (PMI). To become certified, you will need to meet specific eligibility requirements and pass an exam.

3. Complete a project management program

Another option is to complete a project management program at a college or university. This will allow you to learn more about the theory and practice of project management. It can also help you build a network of contacts in the industry.

4. Become an expert in a specific area

If you want to be a project manager, becoming an expert in a specific area is crucial. This could involve completing additional training or education or simply gaining more experience in the field. By becoming an expert, you’ll be able to provide value to your organization and stand out from other candidates.

5. Learn the tools of the trade

Learning project management software platforms like Hive can give you a leg up when becoming a project manager. Knowing how to navigate the ins and outs of specific tasking software, you would use to lead your team is necessary for the job you want to hold. Knowing how to use the tools that can help you become more organized and forward planning will make you much more capable as a leader.

What Education Do I Need To Become A Project Manager?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. The education requirements for becoming a PM vary depending on the industry you want to work in. For example, if you’re going to become a construction project manager, you will likely need a degree in engineering or architecture. However, if you want to become an IT project manager, a degree in computer science may be more beneficial. Most PMs have at least a bachelor’s degree in a related field or comparable experience.

How Do I Get Certified As A Project Manager?

There are multiple ways to become certified as a project manager. One of the most popular and well-recognized certifications is the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification from the Project Management Institute (PMI). To earn this credential, you must have at least four years of experience leading and managing projects and 35 hours of project management education. You will also need to pass an exam.
While becoming certified as a project manager is not required, it can be beneficial in job opportunities and salary potential. According to the PMI, certified PMPs earn 20% more than their non-certified counterparts.

Project Management Career Outlook

As organizations become more global and complex, there will be an increased need for project managers to lead teams and ensure projects are completed on time and within budget.
The demand for project managers will grow in the coming years.
By 2027, the project management-oriented labor force in seven project-oriented sectors is expected to grow by 33 percent, or nearly 22 million new jobs. This growth is faster than the average for all occupations and shines a bright light on both a career as a PM and the need in the market.
If you are interested in becoming a project manager, you can take many different paths. By understanding the role of a PM, the skills you need to succeed, and the education and certification options available to you, you can make the best decision for your career.
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This article originally appeared in Hive — the world's first democratically built productivity platform. Learn more at Hive.com.

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