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Is Project Manager A Good Career?

A project manager with two employees looking at a computer.

Tue, 09/10/2019 - 1:42pm

Why Project Management Might Just Be Your Dream Career

Few career opportunities match the excitement and challenge of project management. It’s a surprisingly diverse field where many professionals could hold the same job title but maintain dramatically different job duties. The upside, of course, is that proper training can prepare you to take on a variety of different career paths, each presenting its own set of unique opportunities.
 
Let’s take a look at what project management means in the 21st century—and how a career in project management can pave the path to personal and professional fulfillment.

What Is Project Management?

Project management looks a little different from one industry to the next. In general, however, this position is best understood through the lens of the projects it involves. A project consists of an endeavor with a defined beginning and end, as well as defined resources. Projects are not routine operations, but rather, specific pursuits designed to accomplish precise objectives.
 
Projects are typically carried out by teams with a broad array of talents. Assigned team members may be spread across multiple geographic settings. These teams must be strategically managed to ensure that exceptional results are delivered on time and according to the specifications provided at the project's outset.
 
Ultimately, the project manager applies a variety of skills, tools, and techniques to ensure that projects are completed to satisfaction. A project manager moves from one project to the next, always with the intent of delivering results—even when available resources are limited.

Project Manager Job Description

Not everybody is cut out for the high-stakes, high-pressure world of project management. Project managers work long hours and face considerable stress as they strive to make the most of short timelines and, often, minimal resources.
 
Despite the many challenges inherent in the field, project management appeals greatly to those who loathe the idea of workplace routines. Challenge-driven professionals appreciate that no two projects look exactly alike. Rather, each project represents an opportunity to gain new skills and knowledge—and to deliver impressive results. Beyond this, key qualities desired in the project managers include:

  • Attention to detail
  • Ability to work with—and lead—diverse teams
  • Technological aptitude
  • Excellent oral and written communication

A Day in the Life

What exactly does a project manager do? As mentioned previously, no two days look exactly the same. Still, even diverse projects tend to follow a few key patterns. The foundational processes include:

  • Initiating
  • Planning
  • Executing
  • Monitoring and Controlling
  • Closing

 Regardless of what stage the project currently occupies, project managers must communicate with and provide direction to employees from a variety of departments, while continuing to keep stakeholders in the know on the project's progress.  Prioritization plays a key role in project managers' day-to-day efforts, with leaders typically maintaining detailed records to determine the project's most urgent needs and overall progress.
 
Project managers often refer to themselves as people managers … and with good reason. Their days are filled with meetings, memos, and emails. All this may seem exhausting, but to passionate project managers, it's exciting. The best project managers thrive on these interactions; they believe that there is plenty to be learned from the employees, clients, and stakeholders with whom they work.
 
Is Project Manager A Good Career?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not maintain a separate category for project managers. However, many similarities can be drawn between project management and the BLS-defined category of computer and information systems management.
 
While IT managers tend to handle a broader scope of responsibilities, the terms IT manager and project manager are often used interchangeably. The BLS job outlook indicates an 11 percent increase in job opportunities.  That’s about 46,800 new jobs expected to be filled by 2028!
 
In addition to enjoying strong employment prospects, project managers can secure impressive earnings. According to BLS data, computer and information systems managers enjoyed a mean income of $142,530 in 2018. While Indeed's estimate, has multiple project managers reporting earnings well over an annual income of $150,000. Pay raises typically come with experience and elite academic credentials.

Project management spans almost every career field, so the opportunities to show off your PM skills are almost limitless. University of the Cumberlands supports business endeavors by offering individuals an online master’s degree in project management. Reach out today to see how UC can help you advance your project management career, or call us at 877-791-7201.

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