How To Become a Project Manager In 8 Simple Steps

Published: November 13, 2023

Do you think about a career in project management? 

The project management employment market has expanded significantly in recent years and will likely expand further in the United States. As businesses in all industries continue to grow and take on new initiatives, the demand for qualified project managers grows. 

Furthermore, project management is a lucrative career in the United States, earning an average annual salary of around $85,236.Combine this with the projected growth; it’s a field worth exploring.

A project manager explaining a deadline/task to her colleagues on her laptop

In this write-up, we will look at how to become a Project Manager and the skills and experience needed to succeed in this sector. This guide will help you whether you want to start a career in project management or take your current skills to the next level with the knowledge you need to succeed as a project manager.

Who Is a Project Manager?

A project manager is a professional overseeing the planning, execution, and delivery of a project from the beginning till the end. They are accountable for completing the project on schedule, within budget, and to the satisfaction of all stakeholders. 

They must also regularly engage with the customer or stakeholders to ensure the project meets their expectations. A project manager is vital to the success of any project since they play a critical role in ensuring that it runs smoothly and efficiently.

8 Steps to Become a Successful Project Manager – Easy and Actionable Steps

Let us now look at the steps to becoming a Project Manager and descent into further details with each of them to develop a thorough understanding.

  • Step# 1 Get A Bachelor’s Degree
  • Step# 2 Get A Project Management Certificate
  • Step# 3 Select A Specialization
  • Step# 4 Gain Relevant Experience
  • Step# 5 Build Your Project Management Skills
  • Step# 6 Learn Technical Project Management Tools
  • Step# 7 Create Your Resume Specific to Project Manager
  • Step# 8 Get an Entry Level Project Management Job

Step# 1: Get A Bachelor’s Degree

Obtaining a Bachelor’s degree is one of the first steps toward becoming a project manager. It is a minimum educational qualification for most project management professions. 

Business administration, engineering, computer science, and construction management, among other fields of study, can help prepare ambitious project managers.

Step# 2: Get A Project Management Certificate

Obtaining project management certification is an excellent approach to demonstrating your knowledge and competence to potential employers and the perfect next step to becoming Project Manager. While not necessarily needed, a project management qualification can provide you an advantage over other applicants. 

You can obtain numerous types of certifications, including the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification, which is recognized globally and demonstrates your project management knowledge and skills. The Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) and Certified Project Director (CPD) are some more certificates. If not these professional certifications, then look at the best project management courses to help you enhance your skillset.

These qualifications reflect your dedication to the profession and can help you land a project management career.

Step# 3: Select A Specialization

On your journey to becoming a successful Project Manager, you must look into your specialization interest. Project management covers many businesses, and prospective project managers can specialize in an area that best suits their professional objectives. 

A project manager specializing in construction, briefing on site

Some of the popular specializations are energy, marketing, electronics, construction, information technology, and healthcare.

Specializing gives you valuable expertise and information, making you a more appealing candidate to companies. On the other hand, project managers should possess broad skills and knowledge to manage projects across various industries.

Step# 4: Gain Relevant Experience

After earning a bachelor’s degree or a certification, the next stage is to receive appropriate field experience. This step is critical in building your technical knowledge and skills, which are required to become a successful project manager. 

To obtain experience, you must pick what field or specialization you want to work in and then look for job openings. Working in a relevant area will give you a deeper understanding of the industry and prepare you for the issues you will face as a project manager.

It’s critical to remember that the experience you learn should apply to project management. You can also obtain experience by volunteering for projects or taking on internships. Gaining appropriate experience is essential to becoming a project manager. It assists you in developing the skills and information necessary to flourish in your work and career.

Step # 5: Build Your Project Management Skills

Building a solid skill set is essential for becoming successful in the field of project management. Along with technical knowledge, soft skills can help you thrive in this role. 

One of the most critical skills set for a project manager is leadership. You’ll need to be able to inspire and motivate your team, delegate tasks effectively, and keep everyone on track.

A laptop screen displaying the dashboard of a project manager

In addition to leadership, there are several other skills that can help you excel as a project manager. These include financial management, decision-making, team-building, time management, communication, critical thinking, negotiating, and quality management skills. 

Balancing competing priorities, managing resources effectively, and making strategic decisions will all be critical to your success as a project manager. By focusing on both technical and soft skills, you can develop a well-rounded skill set that will help you excel in any project management role.

Step # 6: Learn Technical Project Management Tools

It is important to comprehend the technical project management tools that are accessible to you. These technologies help increase collaboration and communication and ensure that project goals are met on time and within budget. 

Project management software, Gantt charts, Agile approaches, and risk management tools are some of the essential project management tools.

Project management software is an important tool for centralizing project information and providing a platform for tracking progress and team collaboration. 

At the same time, Gantt charts are another common technique for visualizing project timeframes and identifying key route activity. 

Additionally, Agile approaches are incredibly crucial, particularly for software development projects, because they aid in the breakdown of large projects.

Finally, risk management tools aid in the identification and mitigation of potential hazards, ensuring the effective completion of projects. You can become a successful and efficient project manager by mastering these.

Step# 7: Create Your Resume Specific to Project Manager

It is critical to create a project management resume in order to stand out in a competitive employment market. 

To demonstrate your skills and abilities as a project manager, you must highlight your qualifications, which include your schooling, certifications, and relevant job experience. When writing your CV, concentrate on the tasks you completed, emphasizing your accomplishments and the successful projects you have handled.

Project manager supervising the work of her team

Many online resume builders, such as MyPerfectResume, Zety, and Resume-Now, can assist you in creating a professional and polished resume. These tools walk you through the process of creating a resume, advising you on the best format and design, and suggesting relevant wording to highlight your talents and achievements. A well-crafted résumé is an important step in the hiring process.

Step # 8: Get an Entry Level Project Management Job

The next step to becoming a project manager is to look for entry-level positions to get started in your career. This employment will allow you to learn and obtain hands-on experience in the field. 

These are just a few job roles you should look into:

  • Project Coordinator 
  • Project Analyst 
  • Project Assistant 

There are numerous job portals and websites accessible to assist you in your hunt for entry-level jobs. 

Some of the most prominent employment boards are Indeed, LinkedIn, Glassdoor, and Monster. These websites allow you to search for employment by keyword, region, and industry and may also include job notifications to keep you informed of new possibilities that meet your search parameters.

Entering the industry with an entry-level project management position is a critical step in the process of becoming a successful project manager. With the correct experience and credentials, you can advance your career and take on increasingly complex and rewarding positions in the sector.

What Does a Project Manager Actually Do?

A project manager is in charge of defining project goals, developing a plan of action, and specifying the resources required to carry out the plan. Throughout the task, project managers put their abilities forward by supervising a team of professionals, assessing progress, and making changes to the plan. 

An aesthetic shot displaying the tools and graphs used by a project manager

They also manage risk, keep quality, and update stakeholders on developments. Effective communication is critical to project success, and project managers must be excellent communicators to keep everyone on the same page. 

Strong leadership abilities and the ability to handle complicated projects are required to be a Project Manager and succeed in the profession.

The Duties And Responsibilities of a Project Manager

The following are the duties and responsibilities:

Duties 

  1. Creating and managing project plans, budgets, and schedules to ensure project goals are completed within the timescale and budget constraints.
  2. Managing project teams by assigning tasks, checking progress, providing feedback, and resolving disagreements to accomplish the project on schedule and to a high quality.
  3. Identifying and managing project risks, such as budget overruns, schedule delays, and resource limits, to reduce the project’s impact.
  4. Communicating with stakeholders frequently to keep them updated on project progress, issues arising, and project scope or timeline changes.

Responsibilities

  1. Assuring that project objective are linked with the organization’s strategic goals and objectives to establish a firm basis for becoming a successful Project Manager.
  2. Maintaining a thorough awareness of project requirements, such as scope, budget, timetable, and quality standards, to carry out projects effectively and efficiently.
  3. Ensuring that all project team members collaborate and work efficiently towards project goals to establish a healthy team atmosphere 
  4. Conducting frequent performance evaluations of team members, providing feedback and coaching as needed to promote high-quality project deliverables.

5 Skills Required to Become a Project Manager

  1. Leadership: Advise and motivate teams towards common goals.
  2. Effective communication: Communicate ideas and instructions to stakeholders and team members.
  3. Problem-solving: Recognize problems and find solutions to keep the project on schedule. 
  4. Time management: Balance competing requests and ensure timely project completion. 
  5. Risk management: Identity, assess, and mitigate potential risks to project success Focus on developing these skills to start a career as a project manager.

How To Become a Project Manager with No Qualification?

Becoming a project manager without any official qualification may appear challenging, but it is feasible with a proper roadmap. While a degree and project management certifications are useful, there are other methods to get the essential skills and experience to succeed.

One strategy is to begin at a corporation’s bottom and work your way up. This can provide essential field experience and the chance to learn from experienced project managers. It’s also a good idea to learn about project management approaches and tools like Agile and Scrum and to look for opportunities to use them.

Another option is to obtain experience through volunteering or joining non-profit organizations. These organizations frequently need more resources and need that individual to take on several roles, including project management. You can also look for “Mentors” in the industry to help you out in this regard.

How To Become a Project Manager - FAQs

How Long Does It Take To Become a Project Manager?

The time it takes to become a project manager varies depending on individual circumstances. Typically, it takes around 4 years to obtain a Bachelor’s degree and another 2 years to acquire the necessary work experience. However, earning a project management certification can shorten the time frame.

What Is a Beginner Project Manager’s Average Salary in THE US?

The average salary for a beginner project manager in the US is $71,928 annually, whereas the range is between  $57,000 to $91,000 per year. However, salaries vary based on factors such as location, industry, level of experience, and education.

Is It Hard to Become a Project Manager?

While obtaining the required certifications can be difficult, anyone with dedication and hard effort can become a successful project manager. However, it is vital to highlight that the role of a project manager is challenging and necessitates excellent leadership and communication abilities to manage teams properly.

Conclusion

In summary, becoming a project manager requires a mix of education, experience, and skills. While there is no single road to becoming a project manager, taking a step-by-step approach will help you get the information, skills, and experience needed to thrive in this demanding and rewarding career. 

Whether you’re starting from scratch or trying to progress your career, the methods indicated in this article on how to become a Project Manager can help you get started on your path to being a successful project manager. 

Remember that being a project manager requires ongoing learning, improvement, and adaptability to new situations. You may succeed as a project manager and contribute to the success of your team and organization by staying focused, motivated, and devoted to your goals. Good luck on your journey toward becoming a project manager.