Project management is a rapidly growing field, boasting exciting opportunities for today’s most ambitious professionals. According to Wellingtone’s State of Project Management report, 71 percent of current project managers believe that the value of their role is increasing. This is spurred, in part, by rapid changes in technology and the supply chain, not to mention shifts to how our workforce operates.
As the pace of change continues to increase, the agility of project management will be more vital than ever. If you are interested in taking on a role in this opportunity-filled niche, keep reading. You will learn what project management is, which types of jobs it involves, and what it takes to succeed in this growing field.
What Is Project Management?
Before we can accurately define project management, it is important to understand what, exactly, constitutes a project.
During a project, leaders and team members work together to achieve a defined goal. According to the Project Management Institute (PMI), this will typically involve “creating a unique product, service, or result.” A project is, by nature, temporary.
While projects are always temporary and always intended to produce unique results, success is more likely if a research-backed process is implemented, complete with clear definitions of deliverables and extensive monitoring every step of the way.
Project management delivers the methodologies and techniques needed to optimize this process, thereby limiting many of the roadblocks that so frequently stand in the way of project success.
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What Does a Project Manager Do?
The scope of projects pursued in project management can be vast, with factors such as industry, department, and business size often coming into play. As such, the role of the project manager is similarly diverse.
In general, project managers are responsible for planning projects and ensuring they are completed within the targeted timeframe and budget. How, exactly, all this is accomplished will depend on the scope of the project.
Much of the excitement (and sometimes, frustration) of project management stems from the reality that no two days, weeks, or months look exactly alike. As new projects arise, project managers may see the scope of their work shift to incorporate new team members, clients, and initiatives.
Within all these changes, a basic process can often be discerned, with project managers frequently finding themselves handling some (or most) of the following tasks at some point during any given project:
- Research and present ideas for relevant projects
- Develop a project plan
- Select or recruit team members to contribute to project success
- Delegate responsibilities to various team members and other stakeholders
- Set schedules for deliverables and track milestones
- Facilitate communication across multiple teams and departments
- Manage each project’s financial health, including the forecasting and allocation of resources
In a broader sense, project managers are thought of as the glue that holds each project together. While they might not directly handle specific components of the project in question, their direction and oversight ensure that all pieces come together as efficiently and effectively as possible.
Types of Project Managers
Project management takes many forms. While many project managers oversee comprehensive endeavors, others focus on specific aspects of projects, such as starting, planning, or monitoring these initiatives. As these examples illustrate, the project management field is incredibly diverse:
Project Risk Manager. Blending key methodologies from both project management and risk management, project risk management emphasizes both the risks and opportunities associated with individual projects. Project risk managers carefully assess risks and take measures to preempt them — while mitigating associated effects on the project’s scope, timeline, and budget.
IT Project Manager. While many project manager jobs focus on a specific component of the project timeline or process, some instead handle entire projects in specific departments or industries. IT project managers, for example, exclusively take on projects related to computing technologies. These may involve software, mobile applications, or web development.
HR Project Manager. Committed to employee-oriented projects within the human resources department, HR project managers plan and execute strategies designed to boost recruitment, onboarding, training, and other essentials. Their project team may be cross-functional, incorporating experts not only from the HR department, but also from multiple areas of the organization.
Senior Project Manager. Following years of experience and extensive academic training, project managers should be equipped to oversee the largest and most complex projects. Once they reach this point, they typically hold the title of senior project manager.
Project Management Consultant. Many project managers are employed in-house, but some prefer to work as independent consultants or for dedicated consulting firms. In this capacity, project managers may temporarily contract with organizations that have limited resources, often taking the helm for projects in which their expertise shines.
How to Become a Project Manager
There are many paths to becoming a project manager. Often, highly ambitious individuals move into this position after working for several years as project coordinators. Within the coordinator role, professionals handle specific aspects of larger projects that are led by project managers.
Targeted education can provide a competitive advantage for aspiring project managers with all levels of experience. Those who have not yet worked in related roles such as project coordination will especially benefit from receiving high-level training via certificate programs.
No matter your experience or training, you will ultimately benefit from obtaining your certification from the Project Management Institute. The PMI provides several exam and certification opportunities for various types of project managers. Examples include:
- Project Management Professional. As the leading certification program for project managers, the PMI’s PMP commands respect all around the world. The PMP exam verifies test-taker knowledge of key areas such as integration management, quality management, risk management, and more.
- Certified Associate in Project Management. Aspiring project managers with limited industry experience sometimes begin with the PMI’s CAPM, which is designed as an entry-level opportunity.
- Agile Certified Practitioner. Many project managers serve as specialists in agile initiatives, which require a unique skill set. PMI refers to agility as the capacity to “redistribute and empower” resources as needed to remain relevant.
These and other PMI exams are notoriously rigorous. Hence, the need for targeted training. The right certificate program will address key knowledge areas from PMI’s exams, while also helping students feel prepared for the many challenges they will encounter upon passing the test and entering the profession.
Earn Your Project Management Graduate Certificate Online
If you are interested in moving into the exciting role of project manager, enrolling in a certificate program should give you a strong start.
At Post University, we are pleased to provide a graduate certificate program that augments skills and knowledge already gained through various bachelor’s and graduate programs. This certificate involves twelve credits and takes just eight months to complete, one of many excellent continuing education opportunities we provide for students at all stages in their professional and academic journeys.
If you are looking to transition into project management, a certificate could be all that stands between you and your dream career. Ready to get started? Contact us today to learn more about our Project Management Graduate Certificate.