5 reasons why project management is a great career choice

Project Management

5 reasons why project management is a great career choice

Project management is a great career choice. There is a huge global shortage of certified and experienced project managers. If you are exploring a “career change”, “looking for work” or “seeking to upskill”, a career in project management is an option that should be considered for the major reasons below:

  1. Project management is a highly sought-after skill in all sectors of the global economy
  2. There is major shortage of certified and experienced project managers globally
  3. Project management skills are readily transferable across industries
  4. Project management can provide a clear career path with progression to senior management roles
  5. Project managers command higher salaries.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been disruptive across the world, causing major upheaval in people’s lives (business, professional and personal) leading to fear, insecurity about the future and in some cases personal grief and loss. People holding down jobs during the pandemic are considered the “lucky ones”. Though “luck” has a role to a play in it, some of it could be attributed to factors such as the nature of the industry or sector, and demand for certain type of skills or roles within the economy. 

Working (or not) from home provides an opportunity to Learn, Upskill and Get Certified with an accredited project management certification that will help you get started in a career that is always in demand. Traditional classroom-based learning will not be an option for the foreseeable future. Virtual classes (such as via zoom) are a response to this reality. This means that eLearning courses (or online self-learning as it is known in some countries) is the future.

In a nutshell, you can learn to be an accredited project management professional right from the comfort of your own home. eLearning courses are the new way forward for anyone wanting to learn new skills, as they are available to anyone, anywhere, 24×7, on any device (learn more about the benefits of eLearning).

So, what is project management?

Text Description automatically generated Project management is a body of knowledge, collected over the last 100 years, that provides guidance about how to manage the elements common to most projects:
Principles: What are the “rules” of project management?
Themes: What are the critical aspects of most projects that need to be managed well for project success?
Processes: How should the work of the project be organised? What steps might be needed?
People: What roles might be useful in a project, and how do they work together?
Techniques: What management and product development techniques might be useful in a project?
Tailoring: What aspects of project management can be tailored, simplified, or eliminated, and what aspects must apply to every project?

Project management methodologies allow project managers to understand and apply the hard-won lessons learned on many previous projects.

Because project management addresses the most common reasons that projects get into trouble, project management could be regarded as a high-level form of risk management. The cost of project management on a project could then be regarded as the “premium” paid by an organisation to acquire insurance to protect itself from project difficulties or failure due to preventable reasons.

Project management is a highly sought-after skill in all sectors of the global economy

In today’s complex, digitally intertwined world, businesses are faced with everchanging market forces driven by the constant need to grow or survive. Constant innovation or invention and shrinking “go to market” times is now the norm. Organisations normally undertake investments to address these challenges through the establishment of projects.

The global economy has become more “project-oriented”, as the profession of project management expands within industries. Nowadays, we can safely conclude that nearly all organisations run projects of some sort.

As a project manager, you are responsible for delivering your project(s) for your client or project sponsor/ business owner. Projects could range in complexity from managing a state or federal election, to building infrastructure such as a new railway or road connecting towns or cities, establishing new metro public transport services or launching a new product in a local or global market, or buying and installing a software solution to meet a business objective or priority.

In short, nearly every organisation establishes and runs projects to achieve desired business outcomes. Therein lies the demand for project management skills globally, in nearly every industry, sector and organisation within the global economy.

There is a major shortage of certified and experienced project managers globally

According to the Project Management Institute (PMI) report on project management job growth, “across the globe, there’s a widening gap between employers’ need for skilled project management workers and the availability of professionals to fill those roles.” There is a huge increase in the demand for Project Management Professionals.
The number of new project management positions is likely to grow by up to 33% in the next 10 years – that means 2.2 million new project-oriented jobs per year through to 2027 – and this will be happening in all countries.
Source: PMI Job Growth and Talent Gap (2017-2027)

Project management skills are readily transferable across industries

A picture containing logo Description automatically generated Most experienced project managers would agree that the core elements of what a project manager does include:
• Engage stakeholders.
• Assemble and lead the project team, and foster effective teamwork.
• Clarify the nature of the outputs and outcomes to be delivered by the project.
• Plan and document the project.
• Identify, acquire and manage the resources needed to run the project.
• Manage the project on a day-to-basis, including the 6 aspects of project performance:
• Scope
• Quality
• Time
• Cost
• Risk
• Benefit
• Manage project risks, issues, dependencies, and changes.
• Monitor progress and report highlights

These skills are needed and readily transferable across any industry.

Project management can provide a clear career path and progression to senior management roles

Many people make a career in Portfolio, Programme and Project (P3) Management. There are many pathways such a career could take, and many steps in a career.

Here’s an example of one career pathway with no prior experience in project management.

Graphical user interface, text, application Description automatically generated A person could start by observing a project from outside and speaking with people who work inside the project, to find out a little about how projects really work.
That person could then work as a team member (sometimes called a ‘project officer’) within a project, again observing and speaking with people involved in managing the project.

The person could become a team leader reporting to a project manager, to gain skills in coordinating the work of other people.

The person could then work in a project office, to work more closely with the project manager and to become exposed to the complexities of running a project. The person could also volunteer to take on parts of the project manager’s role.

Eventually, the person could become a trainee or junior project manager, assigned to run a simple project under the guidance of an experienced project manager. After gaining enough experience, the person could take on a small project as a project manager. After a few years of experience, the person may eventually become a senior project manager, and take on more difficult projects, or several concurrent projects. In some parts of the world, this role is called a ‘program manager’ depending on the size of the program.

So, what is the next step? If the organisation is large enough to be running programmes, one path is for the person to work in a programme office, to become exposed to the complexities of running a programme, and observe how the work of a programme manager differs from that of a project manager. Eventually, the person may become a programme manager, coordinating a programme of many projects.

Graphical user interface Description automatically generated Many organisations have some form of programme management or portfolio management office (PMO), to coordinate all the projects running in the organisation. In such an organisation, a person could choose to work in a PMO, to become exposed to the complexities of deciding which projects should be started or stopped, and which projects are important enough to justify receiving priority access to resources. Eventually, the person may become a portfolio manager.

A range of other career paths are also possible. For example, some people follow a Program Management Office pathway as shown below. Other pathways could lead to careers in Change Management or Risk Management as people may find other areas of interest as their career progresses. There are also options to make lateral career moves (shown in red below) from traditional project / program delivery to career paths in the PMO or vice versa.

In addition, there are opportunities for a person to get certified in many different project management methodologies such as the PMBoK, PRINCE2, AgilePM, and the PRAXIS Framework. This provides project managers a “lateral” career pathway into different industries (to gain further experience) as organisations adopt different project management methodologies based on business need.

We recommend that getting accredited project management certification in at least a couple of different project management methodologies will help ensure that you can make a career move whenever the opportunity arises.

Project managers command higher salaries

In a recent global survey of project managers, nearly 75% indicated that their salary (all forms of compensation) had increased over the last 12 months. This once again can be attributed the shortage of project managers that exist globally. Neary a quarter (25%) of them indicate an average increase of nearly 5%.
Those with accredited project management certification had salaries, 22% higher than those without and accredited certification.
Source: PMI Job Growth and Talent Gap (2017-2027).
So if you are new to this profession and seeking project management training, one of the best ways to do it via an eLearning academy where you could upskill or add to your accredited project management certification by learning new methodologies at your own convenience 24×7 on any device

In summary, Project Management is a great career choice for the reasons mentioned above and the fact that it provides you with many opportunities to transition into other specialist professional roles in Change Management, Risk Management, Change Management, Benefits Management, Governance & Reporting, Program Management, Program Management Office Management, Portfolio Management.

The bottom line is, if you want to be well paid, have a great career and do interesting work in a variety of industries, project management is a career like no other.

Remember that developing your skills is something that you need to prioritise as you move through your project management career, to maintain your reputation as a leader in your field. This could be done through formal accredited training courses that is readily available these days. There will always be ways to improve what you are doing, and new challenges requiring new skills, so consider further upskilling once you get certified.

We can help you to Learn, Upskill and Get Certified. It is your journey, and we are happy to support you as you explore the myriad of career options available and use your knowledge to achieve both carer and business outcomes.

Email us to find out more how one of our highly experienced project managers or accredited trainers today can help you along your journey. We are happy to help.

Glen Tavares (MBA, BA Hons. Economics)

About the Author

Glen is senior business and technology executive with over 28+ years’ experience globally with a track record of success in leading and delivering large scale technology and business projects and programs in Federal & State Government, Healthcare & Human Services, Digital Industries (B2B, B2C, e-Gov), Banking, Insurance, Financial Services, and the Professional Services Industry.

© EZY Skills 2021


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