There is no one single career path for project managers. Some learn on the job and then further develop their skills as their career progresses.
Others have degrees in related fields or they will have had significant experience in the field of management before going on to be a project manager.
There are various associations which can offer professional support and credibility for project executives – for example The Association for Project Management offers various levels of membership and qualifications.
These range from the Introductory Certificate to a Practitioner Qualification as well as Certification to practice as a project manager.
There is also a certificated course offered by the Project Management Institute, which is awards successful students the status of being a Certifies Associate in Project Management, they also offer students the chance to apply for the Project Management Professional qualification.
Universities now offer training courses at various levels all of which can help secure a career in project management, so there are certainly a number of routes that you can take to enter this discipline.
Interpersonal Skills Required
Although a project manager can gain valuable qualifications, there are some interpersonal qualities that are absolutely vital to being able to perform this role effectively.
A project manager has to be very organised and able to keep calm when things go wrong and in any project things do indeed go wrong. But the project manager also has to be able to analyse various conflicting demands and establish which need to be dealt with first.
In addition the project manager has to be very diplomatic when dealing with clients, but also firm so that people know exactly what is expected of them and when they must deliver to meet the demands of the project.
Budgetary skills are also really important to ensure that the project does not go over budget and most project managers will also say that one of the most important skills that they have is to be able to juggle numerous balls in the air at the same time and make sure that none crash to the ground!
A Career Path Full Of Opportunities
Given that a very strong skills set and highly respected project management qualifications are required to be a project manager, it is only fitting that the salaries that can be commanded by project managers can be very lucrative, with some almost naming their price.
The work is also very interesting, because at the end of a project you move onto the next and so you don’t get stuck in the same type of working environment. This often means that full time project managers go into consultancy or work in service organizations who have a diverse client base.
Although most people are familiar with project managers who work in the field of IT, there are lots of different types of project managers. Some work in construction and may be dealing with projects that can be worth hundreds of millions of pounds. Others work directly for large corporate businesses who require project managers to manage new projects within their company.
But the great thing about project management is that once you have qualified and gained experience then you can work on any type of project in the general area you have chosen. So if you choose to work in construction project manager you could end up as one of the senior project managers on developments like the 2012 Olympics, or very similar. How exciting is that?
Although the world has seen a huge economic downturn in recent times, there is still one career path that offers excellent rates of pay, interesting work and a great, flexible approach to work and that is being a project manager. In fact, if you work as a project manager, you may well feel that the world is actually your oyster and to a large extent, it actually is!