Project management plays a vital role in the modern business sector. No matter the industry or the niche, it’s important to note that most growth-oriented companies need a skilled project manager in their ranks. Without a doubt, the project management career path is a lucrative and fruitful one, as project managers nowadays can expect to assume many important roles and handle many mission-critical processes – like managing a contingent workforce alongside their projects. And business owners are willing to pay handsomely for such a business-boosting individual.
That said, the road to becoming a successful project manager can be long and challenging, and there are usually two ways to get there – formal, informal education. The former is pretty self-explanatory, and it means getting a bachelor’s degree in business and management and then majoring in project management.
However, the latter, also known as accidental project management, is far more relevant to the modern workforce. Today, we will take a look at the most important steps you need to take to become a project manager without spending years working towards a university degree.
Identify an industry and niche you’re passionate about
First and foremost, let’s make one thing clear – you can’t become the jack of all trades and a project manager for every industry or niche. If you try, you will soon realize that every company in every niche has its own unique processes, goals, and requirements that you don’t have the skillset to achieve or accommodate. In other words, you need to know the industry to become a successful project manager.
Yes, the long-term experience will help you change industries if you need to, but for the most part, you have to figure out an industry you’re passionate about and stick with it. This is because project management, although it has the same pillars, will always encompass something unique and different depending on the sector.
For example, project managers in the marketing sector can’t hope to compete in China’s currently bustling tech and software development trade, as project management in tech demands a deeper knowledge of the technology and systems the company uses. With all of that in mind, make sure to pick an industry you’re passionate about.
Get valuable project management experience
To a growth-oriented company, a top priority is to acquire an experienced and talented project manager. Therefore, you can’t really hope to score an amazing job without accumulating some experience in your industry and niche. Luckily, there are various ways you can get the necessary work experience, particularly in small business marketing and the service sector in general.
For example, many companies in the US nowadays offer comprehensive apprenticeship programs that will help you learn project management. The good thing is that apprenticeships guarantee a job after completion. You can also become an assistant project coordinator first, which is a supplementary role in which you will help the project manager learn from them.
Take the right courses and get certified
Of course, you can’t hope to build a successful career in project management without acquiring the right training and education and getting certified as a professional in the field. You have to be recognized by accredited organizations in the project management industry, and this is especially important in highly competitive job markets like Australia.
In the Land Down Under, project management is booming in competitive markets and urban business sectors, which is why aspiring and talented individuals will take a project management course in Australia to get a high-value certification and become sought-after professionals in the national marketplace. This makes them stand out to quality employers and allows them to pick the brands they want to work with.
You must apply the same mindset no matter the country you’re in and take a project management course yourself so that you can get certified quickly and stand out in your local job market.
Work on your technical skill set
There are many technical skills that a project manager needs to acquire and master to become an indispensable part of a growth-oriented company. These technical skills will allow you to effectively lead projects and the people who work on them and handle crises and manage risk effectively to minimize losses and boost productivity.
These technical skills include analytical skills, risk management, technological skills and knowledge, communication skills, time management, and goal management skills, organizational skills, and many more.
Develop your leadership and people management skills
While technical skills are important, you also need to work on your leadership and people management skills to lead your teams efficiently and effectively. It’s not just about managing the project. It’s also about managing and motivating the people you work with in order to inspire and empower them to achieve better results.
To that end, make sure to work on your leadership skills, utilize positive encouragement in the workplace, work on your soft and communication skill set, and learn how to take a personalized approach to employee management. This is how you build a positive culture in a team and motivate employees to take the project forward.
Over to you
Project management is a complex and challenging field, but it also comes with a promise of long-term career growth, success, and financial independence. Make sure to use this guide to become a successful project manager and build a thriving career in the years to come.
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