The Project Manager Job: Is it the Right Career for You?

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Every project requires the leadership and oversight of someone knowledgeable. Therefore, businesses need a project manager to lead the entire project — from its inception to completion.

Project management is the heart of most daily operations. It is more than just doing project coordinator jobs; project managers are responsible for developing team plans, organizing teams and facilitating the execution of company projects to achieve business goals. The role of a project manager depends on the organization and its industry.

Initially, many people think that as a project manager, they’ll earn a good salary, enjoy many company perks and have a team of people working for them. These are true, but there is more to a project manager than their salary.

Before you jump into this career path, understand what you’re applying for.

Project Manager Salary: How Much Do Project Managers Get Paid?

In the United States, the national average salary of a project manager is $88,900 per year. Your cash compensation as a project manager depends on different factors, which includes the following:

Education

Similar to other industries, a higher educational attainment guarantees a higher pay. According to a survey from The Project Management Institute (PMI), 92 percent of project managers had at least a bachelor’s degree.

Salaries increase according to a project manager’s educational level.

  • Doctoral degree. $123,000
  • Master’s degree. $120,000
  • Four-year college degree. $110,000

Apart from improving your earning potential, a higher degree gives you a competitive advantage in the industry. A business-related degree, such as a Master of Business Administration, can build up your leadership skills, which makes you more “sellable” to companies.

Certification

As a project manager, you can earn a higher salary by earning a certification that validates your experience and skills to your employers. In the same PMI survey, participants who had certifications earned $25,000 more than those without.

Years of Experience

In general, the more time you’ve worked as a project manager, the more you’ll earn. Fortunately, it doesn’t take too long for your experience to start enhancing your salary.

According to Glassdoor, project managers with one to three years of experience earn an annual base salary of $7,300 more than those without experience.

Job Title

Project management is a diverse industry, especially in terms of career paths. A project manager’s salary and responsibilities are different from a senior project manager’s salary and responsibilities.

In terms of hierarchy or roles, here’s how much you can make according to your role:

  • Senior project manager salary. $85,000
  • Assistant project manager salary. $53,000
  • Project coordinator. $49,000

The following alternate job titles can also pull the following annual salaries:

  • Director of project management. $144,000
  • Portfolio manager. $138,000
  • Program manager. $125,000
  • Project management consultant. $120,000
  • Project management specialist. $92,000

Location

Where you’re working as a project manager makes a big difference in your salary, too. The highest paying cities in the US for project managers are:

  1. Los Angeles, California. $84,800
  2. San Diego, California. $84,700
  3. New York, New York. $83,400
  4. Atlanta, Georgia. $79,600
  5. Houston, Texas. $78,500
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Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

Are Project Managers in Demand? The Job Outlook

Studies predict that the demand for project managers will continue to increase, with an overall positive career outlook for professionals in the industry. With the growing global need for project management professionals, as well as a large pool of current professionals reaching retirement age, it is estimated that businesses will need 87 million people filing project management roles by 2027.

Industries with the highest levels of expected project management growth are:

  • Utilities
  • Professional and management services
  • Insurance and finance
  • Publishing and information services
  • Construction and manufacturing
  • Healthcare

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the employment of information systems and computer project managers is projected to grow 12 percent from 2016 to 2026. On the other hand, the demand for construction managers will increase 11 percent from 2016 to 2026.

Project Manager Requirements and Qualifications

Most project managers start their careers as marketing experts, software engineers or sales representatives. They also usually have five years of experience in their field, as well as a formal qualification.

If you wish to apply for a project manager position:

  • A bachelor’s degree in business management, IT, computer science or any related field
  • Relevant project management experience
  • A Project Management Professional (PMP) certification

Is Project Manager a Stressful Job? Your Responsibilities

Like any job, being a project manager has its share of challenges and victories. But you can minimize your stress levels when you know what’s expected of you and work your way around it.

Project managers are responsible for a specific project or projects within the company. They oversee budgeting, planning, monitoring, and reporting the project with the use of their tools. In some cases, they are required to pitch business ideas and lead them until their implementation.

One of the main roles of project managers is to serve as a bridge between the upper management and the people responsible for the project. Project managers must ensure that the project goes off without a hitch, runs smoothly and finishes before the deadline. They must also regularly update the upper management on the progress of the project/s.

What Skills Should a Project Manager Have?

To lead a successful project, a manager should be skilled in almost all fields — from construction to marketing to tech and human resources. It’s a complex career, but it’s never a dull one.

If you are interested in becoming a project manager, you need the following:

  • A strong understanding of risk management processes and business cases
  • Team management and self-management skills
  • Strong leadership skills
  • Ability to make decisions under pressure
  • Capability to control and monitor project budgets

Project managers should also have great communication and social skills because a team is involved. You must be an efficient supervisor, team leader and colleague all at once. After all, you will be the first person the team goes to whenever they face problems with the project.

Project management is a fruitful career that hones your leadership and management skills, as well as makes you a people person. If you want to become a project manager, make sure you have the skills and requirements for the job.

 

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