How to Start a Project Management Career


Project management is a growing industry and one that offers great opportunities for people of all skills and experience. It’s a discipline that’s used across industries as varied as construction, manufacturing and IT to healthcare, professional services and government. Here’s what you can do to get a foothold in this exciting industry.

How to Start a Project Management Career

There are many entry points for those who are interested in a career in project management. Many colleges offer a course of study in project management, but you can also study business management, engineering and other disciplines. Even without a degree, there are certification programs, such as the Project Management Institute’s Project Management Professional (PMP) and many entry-level positions where interested candidates can learn as they earn.

Whatever path you choose, learning to use project management software will facilitate that process. ProjectManager is award-winning project management software that empowers teams to plan, manage and track their work in real time. Our software has multiple project views, such as Gantt charts, kanban boards, task lists and more that allow users to work how they want. Real-time dashboards and customizable reports provide insightful data to make better decisions. Get started with ProjectManager today for free.

ProjectManager has all the essential project management tools, such as Gantt charts. Learn more

Project Management Roles

There are many roles in project management. Some of them require more skills and experience than others. But there are also entry-level positions that offer a great opportunity for those new to the field to get the skills and experience they need to advance. Here are some of the more common project management roles.

  • Project manager: Professional responsible for organizing, planning and executing projects, leading teams and reporting back to stakeholders
  • Program manager: Professional with similar responsibilities to a project manager, but responsible for a program, which is a group of related projects
  • Project portfolio manager: Professional with similar responsibilities to a program manager, but managing a portfolio of projects, which is a group of projects or programs
  • Assistant project manager: Professional who helps with the planning and coordination of projects, including administrative duties

Project Management Skills

To excel in project management requires a number of hard skills and soft skills. The following is a short list of the most important of each type of project management skills.

Hard Skills: Known as technical skills, these are skills that can be learned through education or training.

Soft Skills: Those skills that develop naturally, but can be improved by practice

  • Leadership to guide and motivate team members
  • Communication skills and ability to listen
  • Conflict resolution skills
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Critical thinking

Project Management Certifications

As mentioned above, there are project management certifications that can help you learn the skills needed for the job and also differentiate you to employees who are looking to fill a position. PMI offers PMP certification, but also PRINCE2 Practitioner, though this methodology is mostly found in the UK. The Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) has Project+. There are many others, including Certified ScrumMaster, Associate in Project Management (APM) and Program Management Professional (PgMP). Research the one best for you.

Common Project Management Career Paths

As noted above, project management can be found across many industries. This means there is likely a project management career path for whatever your interest or experience is. Here are a few common project management career paths.

Construction Project Manager

Construction project managers plan and execute construction projects. They oversee subcontractors and ensure that everyone working on the construction project is following the plan, meeting milestones and delivering on quality and safety expectations.

Average Salary for a Construction Project Manager:
A construction project manager makes an average base salary of $120,215.

IT Project Manager

An IT project manager plans and oversees an organization’s IT department, including teams that are executing projects. They develop strategies, develop IT risk management plans and maintain schedules and budgets.

Average Salary for an IT Project Manager:
An IT project manager can expect to make an average salary of $120,900.

Manufacturing Project Manager

A manufacturing project manager coordinates project timelines, schedule and equipment to make sure that everything is running smoothly and safety guidelines are being met. They also work towards reducing risk and provide status reports to clients.

Average Salary for a Manufacturing Project Manager:
A manufacturing project manager can make an average salary of $123,000.

Marketing Project Manager

A marketing project manager works on the internal or external marketing for a company or agency. They’ll oversee all aspects of the marketing campaign, from planning to execution and chart the results.

Average Salary for a Construction Project Manager:
A marketing project manager gets an average salary of $91,800.

Engineering Project Manager

An engineering project manager uses project management practices and processes to effectively plan, implement and finalize projects. They have general engineering knowledge and can tell what equipment is needed for their project teams.

Average Salary for a Construction Project Manager:
An engineering project manager can make an annual salary of about $148,231.

Video: Tips for Boosting Your Project Management Career

This training video with Jennifer Bridges, PMP, provides you with useful advice for advancing in your project management career.

Jennifer knows what it takes to rise up in the field of project management, with over 20 years of experience in the field and more as a trainer and consultant. She shared five pertinent tips on how to take your career to the next level.

  • Reignite your passion. Enthusiasm is contagious, and nobody ever promoted a sad sack.
  • Expand your network. Broaden your reach among professionals who know your work and can recommend you. You never know who might be involved in the hiring process.
  • Invest in yourself. Allocate time and money to learn new technologies, methodologies, certifications, trends, etc.
  • Enlist advocates. Get career supporters who can help you when they hear of upcoming opportunities.
  • Value your reputation. Live up to the fourth side of your professional portrait, which also includes knowledge, expertise and skills.

If you work on all of these points, they’ll not only sharpen your skills but cement the foundation of a long and integral career. Thanks for watching!

If you’re interested in trying out our award-winning project management software, take a free 30-day trial of ProjectManager today.