A project manager position is becoming more and more popular among young jobseekers. No wonder – such a job comes with impressive earnings and prestige. More and more companies on the market are looking for people who can manage projects. This model is adopted not only by IT companies but also by marketing agencies, real estate offices, and financial corporations. If you want to become a project manager yourself, find out how to get started!
Everyone who plans to become a project manager will choose a slightly different path for themselves. There is no universal recipe for starting a career in this profession. Many courses and training in project management are on the market, but note that the best lessons are learned from working in the trade. So how do you combine theory with practice?
Contrary to appearances, theoretical knowledge may turn out to be more valuable for you at a later stage of your professional development. In the beginning, project management experience will be much more important. Of course, this order seems unnatural to many people because it is very difficult to find a job without a proper portfolio. Fortunately, you don’t have to start with a commercial enterprise. Project managers are also in demand in student organizations or charitable foundations. This is a good way to gain practical experience before starting your career.
Let’s take a look at the various theoretical and practical development opportunities that you have at your disposal, both at the beginning of your career and while working as a project manager.
Education in project management
You can start your development path with your studies. Many people, who want to manage projects in the future, decide to take such a step. Usually, education in this field takes the form of postgraduate courses because, at the moment, it is too narrow for bachelor’s or master’s studies. However, not every university and study path will guarantee you the desired progress. When choosing a course for yourself, verify its program and pay attention to the availability of practical classes. Take a look at lecturers’ profiles and check whether they personally deal with project management or know this subject only from theory.
Regardless of whether you decide to study project management or start acquiring knowledge on your own, one of your first steps should be taking a job in one of the non-profit organizations. Both student associations and various foundations have a structure that includes project management. You can learn a lot this way, which will definitely make it easier for you to find a job in your profession later.
Professional development of a project manager
Once you get the job of your dreams, your development in project management will not be over. In fact, only then will you appreciate the importance of online courses and training for project managers. You will enrich the knowledge gained so far with practical tips from people specializing in this field. The advantage of participation in training after you start working is also the reduction of its costs. Your company will certainly be willing to finance (in whole or in part) the development of its project manager.
It can also be a good time to get selected certifications. They are very popular among project management adepts, although this is not necessarily reflected in the requirements of recruiters. During the interview, the employer will ask you about completed projects and possessed organizational skills rather than specific certificates. Nevertheless, you may be interested in them if you feel the need to organize your knowledge and confirm your competencies.
Although beginners – due to the low entry threshold – often choose the PRINCE2 certificate, it will not be particularly useful for you on the job market. For example, CAMP (Certified Association in Project Management) or IPMA-D certification will provide you with greater knowledge and better verification of acquired skills. Remember, however, that these types of documents are needed mostly by experienced managers who want to stand out in the market. If you are still gaining knowledge and just want to develop, better focus on online courses and branch literature.
How to start a career in project management: Summary
As you can see, there are many paths that you can use to develop in the field of project management. While extensive theoretical knowledge is its solid foundation, the most valuable will be practical experience in working on specific products, campaigns, and events. Try to be active in various types of non-profit organizations, and at the same time enrich your education through branch books and participation in online courses. When you start your professional work as a project manager, it will be time for specialized training and specific certificates.