Are you a natural-born leader with a passion for collaborating with teams? Do you enjoy working in dynamic environments that require strong critical-thinking, organisational and problem-solving skills? Are you a self-motivated, creative thinker that works well under pressure?
If you answered ‘yes!’ to any of the above, then a career in project management could be the perfect career pathway for you.
But what’s project management and what do project managers actually do?
Project management is a complex field that’s essentially about coordination. It’s a profession rising in popularity across multiple industries, with project managers being responsible for harmonising the various moving parts of a project throughout its lifecycle, ensuring the successful delivery of key outcomes.
That’s why it’s important for a project manager to be as much of a ‘people-person’ as they are a ‘critical-thinker’. It’s important for project managers to be excellent multi-taskers, versatile and able to think on their feet and effective at motivating team members.
With salaries averaging around $130,000 in Australia alone, and a labour force that’s expected to grow by 33% across a multitude of sectors through 2027, project management is certainly a career track on the rise.
As a job with particularly high growth potential, it’s easy to see how valuable establishing a career in this role can be. You can even kickstart your journey to becoming a project manager by following these steps:
1. Know What You’re Passionate About
One of the things that sets project management apart is its industry versatility. Because many industries work on a project-to-project basis, project managers are in demand across industries such as consulting, IT and marketing, to name a few.
Ensuring that you’re on track for a rewarding career in project management has a lot to do with the field or industry you’re working in. Project management involves a lot of team coordination and stakeholder interfacing, so it’s vital to enjoy the projects in which you’re involved; the project scope will be majorly defined by the industry you’re working in.
So know what you’re passionate about and find a field that genuinely sparks your interest, because that’s where you’ll thrive.
2. Get Learning
After finding a field that hooks your enthusiasm, set yourself up for success by learning about the industry and the standard project management techniques. A great place to start is by taking a project management & leadership online course, where you can master the critical skills and knowledge for a project management role.
Depending on your field of interest, you may also need further specialist education. For example, healthcare project managers typically require an undergraduate degree in public administration, policy, or health. Regardless of what field you decide on, getting a certificate in project management & leadership is an excellent launchpad.
3. Find An Approach That Works
As the key person monitoring the progress of a project, a project manager can essentially make or break its level of success. It’s important for project managers to effectively define the scope of a project and the capabilities of their team, in order to determine which approach works best for you.
Agile, Six Sigma and Scrum are just a few examples of established frameworks that an effective project manager should be familiar with. You may find that one framework works better than the other for your team or specific goal.
Industry experience certainly helps, but if you’re just starting out, you may want to explore online options to study project management & leadership in Australia as a way of supplementing your current skillset.
4. Appreciate Diversity
Apart from industry versatility, project managers can also benefit from team diversity. As the main architects behind a project’s seamless execution, project managers work with a variety of departments and internal and external stakeholders. You may also have the opportunity to work with international teams.
As a team leader, you have the privilege of promoting diversity when putting together your own team. Working and learning from a diverse set of people, who demonstrate complementary strengths and a similar drive to contribute effectively to a project, means having greater access to a range of experiences and skill sets.
If you are able to appreciate diversity and identify opportunities to expand your team’s abilities, this can pave the way for an exciting and rewarding career path in project management.
5. Delight in Delegation
Project management is all about effectively utilising the strengths of your team, which is why learning to do so constructively is at the core of becoming a successful project manager.
Delegation is indeed one of the primary pillars of efficient project management; through delegating you can free up time to focus on big-picture thinking, whilst also engaging and motivating your team members. It also shows your team that you have trust and confidence in their ability to execute their responsibilities, in addition to building the resilience of your project by spreading risk and accountability.
Ready to kickstart your career in project management? Specialising in your field of interest may be beneficial, depending on your industry, but undertaking a project management & leadership online course is an easy and accessible place to start.
Establishing a rewarding career in project management is about finding your passion, getting the necessary education and cultivating an efficient team through effective approaches, diversity and trust.