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A Project Manager is responsible for planning and executing a project including procuring materials and labor, defining the scope, and creating a timeline for a complex project. Project Managers (PMs) work in many industries and workplace settings. Their responsibilities at any given company will vary quite a bit, but the core of the role is typically the same across the board. Project Managers oversee one project, multiple projects, or a part of a product and the team that is building it. They might be led by a Product Manager, a VP, a board, or another leadership entity depending on the size of the company they end up working for. Project Managers can also choose to work for a project management agency, in-house for a single company, or as an industry consultant. Their work is almost always full-time and on-site but they can find some remote opportunities.
A Project Manager can expect to perform tasks like arranging and attending meetings, managing a team, creating reports, working within a budget, answering emails and helpdesk tickets, communicating with clients, liaising between your team and leadership, hiring and firing employees, negotiating, using methods like scrum and/or agile, troubleshooting and solving issues, accepting and incorporating critical feedback, delegating tasks, creating contracts, creating blueprints, and maintaining the flow of deadlines and work. They spend most of their day communicating, whether that’s with their team, clients, or leadership. Project Manager is a multifaceted, fast-paced, and ever-changing role.
Project Managers must have well-honed soft skills. These are often customized to each project and team they work on. Skills like communication, strong leadership, organization, time management, adaptability, active listening, conflict management, and ability to handle a fast-paced environment are some of the basics a Project Manager must be prepared to employ. They’ll likely find even more soft skills to work on with each new project.
They’ll also need technical skills like a high-level knowledge of the technologies their company is using, negotiation tactics, risk management, problem-solving and troubleshooting, budgeting, technical writing, research, project management methodologies, and specific industry knowledge. They’ll likely find that depending on their industry, they’ll also need in-depth knowledge of each piece of the puzzle.
For a Project Manager in tech that might mean knowing the coding languages that their Developers are using. A Project Manager in architecture might need to know the construction industry and the methods of their general contractor well. An IT Infrastructure Project Manager would need to know as many small details about the hardware they are employing and the network technologies their team is using. Project Managers exist in nearly any field that employs teamwork and each industry will require different deep, technical knowledge. Be sure to inspect your specific industry before you apply for positions.
Project management is the practice of leading a team's work through planning and team management to meet a goal and deadline with a completed project.
The most common project management certifications are awarded by the Project Management Institute (PMI). These professional certifications ensure your ability to meet the demands of projects and employers by creating rigorous standards based on ongoing research. Some certifications include Project Management Professional (PMP), Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM), and the PMI Professional in Business Analysis (PMI-PBA).
The Agile Certified Practitioner is an agile certification awarded by the Project Management Institute (PMI). The PMI-ACP educates practitioners on agile approaches, skills, principles, and techniques.
Project is a project management software product by Microsoft. It is both a desktop computer program and a cloud-based program. Project is used to track projects, assign resources to tasks, develop a project schedule, manage a project budget, and analyze workloads.
A Project Manager in the United States makes, on average, $86,566 annually, according to Indeed.com.
Salaries for Project Managers vary by region within the the United States. Listed below are some Project Manager salaries for specific areas with the United States compared with the average national salary:
Project Management as a stand-alone career is relatively nascent. Many Project Managers started as low-level employees who rose through the ranks by learning and demonstrating their own leadership skills. Others got a four-year degree school and worked their way up from a junior position into Project Management. Still, others might have begun with only a certificate and a position at a small company.
Project Managers can receive a certification from the Project Management Institute (PMI). This is a strong addition to any Project Manager’s resume and does carry clout in the job search. There are also courses and bootcamps that can jumpstart your project management career. A four-year degree is not required but is encouraged by most recruiters.
Project Managers work in a variety of industries and workplace settings. They can also choose to work for a project management agency, in house for a single company, or as an industry consultant. They’ll likely find opportunity for upward mobility into higher level roles, more specialized positions, or Product Management jobs. Upward mobility might be found within the first company they get hired at or at another company.
You can find Project Manager jobs on these sites:
Job seekers looking for Project Management positions should focus on industries in which they have at least some experience already. This makes it easier to build a foundation of knowledge to make better-informed decisions and show that you are a good fit during interviews. Your resume should be clean and customized for each role they apply for. Learning how to utilize LinkedIn in its fullest capacity will likely also help you find a job quickly.
If you are tenacious about landing a Project Management job, especially in tech and especially if you’ve not landed a PM role before, you can demonstrate your skills through a passion project. Whether it’s a hypothetical side project that you share in the form of a series of case studies on a blog; videos or podcast episodes about your hypothetical or real side project; or even actually creating your own real project, recruiters will be impressed with your initiative and thought process transparency. This can be a great way to beef up your portfolio and resume if you’re lacking in material for them. You can also come back to this project the next time you have to search for a job and continuously work on it.
When starting a passion project, make sure that you clearly demonstrate that you’re taking consistent action, you’ve put together a plan and you’re willing to change it when necessary, and that you’re out to finish what you started. You can create anything from a hypothetical product to a functioning application! It all depends on your own creativity and the amount of time you can commit to this project. You may even ask your friends to join in! Whatever you choose, be sure to do all of the work a Project Manager would do to show off your skills and expertise. Check out the skills section above for a solid checklist.
Project Manager’s responsibilities at any given company will vary quite a bit, but the core of the role is typically the same across the board. They can find work in a variety of industries and workplace settings. Project Managers might work for a project management agency, in house for a single company, or as an industry consultant. They can specialize in a specific industry, type of project, piece of a project, or even a methodology. Each specific industry and specialization might have more specific job titles like IT Infrastructure Project Management or General Contractor Project Manager.
Here are some job titles you might want to look for as a Project Manager:
Project Managers can rise in the ranks from assistant all the way up to head or lead titles. Their next step might be Product Manager, which often gets confused with the Project Manager title. A Product Manager’s main goal is to deliver a product that customers enjoy, can use with ease, and solves the originally outlined pain points over the lifetime of the product. The Product Manager focuses more on high level strategies, business aspects of a product, and making informed decisions. On the other hand a Project Manager’s job is to oversee a fixed project from end to end or a small group of projects based on a strategy that is determined by a Product Manager or leadership team. The Project manager is most concerned with overseeing a team and executing the strategy set by their leadership to deliver a project on time and under budget.
Product managers guide product development from ideation to market. Starting with consumer and market research, they use their understanding of customer wants and needs to inform product development and go-to-market strategy. They will work closely with engineering, marketing, sales, and other teams to launch products. After launch, they solicit and analyze feedback on the product to inform future iterations.Learn about becoming a Product Manager
Software project managers lead software development projects from concept to completion. Using their deep expertise in scheduling, budgeting, sequencing, and resource allocation, software project managers are critical in a software project's success. Software project managers must be able to understand and interpret customer and client needs and deliver a completed, functioning product. After development, they will continue to solicit and incorporate user feedback into future iterations.Learn about becoming a Software Project Manager
Construction Project Managers oversee every stage of the building process and are responsible for keeping construction projects on budget and within the scope of the plan. They are responsible for: hiring and managing subcontractors, planning, budgeting, and remaining compliant with regional laws.Learn about becoming a Construction Project Manager
IT Project Managers are responsible for successfully accomplishing an organizations’ IT goals by planning, organizing, and budgeting resources. IT Project Managers lead teams to complete projects, such as: software and application development, hardware installations, network upgrades, cloud computing and virtualization rollouts, or business analytics and data management infrastructure.Learn about becoming a IT Project Manager