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Becoming a project manager - a good career move?

We all know project management is increasingly becoming recognised as a professional role across a wide range of industries and sectors. You may have already assumed the role of project manager as part of your existing job, or on a temporary basis, and you are now wondering whether to transition permanently to being a full-time project manager. But is it a smart career move and is it a sustainable career for the future? How far will a project management career be able to develop and does it have any limits that will hold you back in your career? Let’s take a look at the benefits of embarking on a career as a professional project manager.

There are many ways to get your foot in the door

Project management is a field with a wide array of job prospects. There are plenty of training and Continuing Professional Development (CPD) opportunities and you can become certified at various levels; ultimately becoming a chartered project professional, if you have the aptitude and desire.

There are also opportunities to start out as a project management apprentice and learnwhile gaining real-world experience. There are also many different positions available for project managers across a wide range of companies from tech firms, energy and construction companies to hospitality companies. If you are interested in taking this step talk to the senior managers in your organisation. Make your desire to move into project management known and listen to what they say. Do they think you have the aptitude to make a good project manager? Do they have small or simple projects which you could take on as you build your experience?

You will do something different every day

If you are someone who likes to be challenged and you don’t want to be in a repetitive job, project management is a good choice. You are likely to be doing something different every day, and there will be new challenges and new concepts to tackle. During a career as a project manager you will work on different projects, maybe in different industries, and face unique challenges and demands. If you thrive on pressure you will excel in such a demanding environment.

You will meet and interact with new people

If you are a people person, this is definitely a career path to consider.  Projects often involve significant change, so being able to communicate and influence key people is critical.

You can travel the world

Clearly not all project management positions involve travel, but many of them do. You may need to visit new locations, meet with clients overseas, as well as visit remote project teams you are managing. Not only this, but you can actually relocate abroad and pursue this role overseas if you wish to do so at a later stage in your career. Project management qualifications are transferrable and recognised across the globe. Bear in mind that travel, whilst sounding attractive, can be challenging if you want a steady and structured home life.

You can easily transition into other roles

One of the great things about project management is that the PM skills you will learn are useful in making a transition from a specialist role to a general management role. Just as many people transition into project management it is also possible to transition onwards into other roles. As a project manager, you will essentially have learnt the skills of a leader; you will master the art of communication, and time, people and resource management. These are skills that are extremely valuable in a whole host of corporate positions.

As you can see, there are many different reasons why project management might be a good career move, but it can also be challenging, with demanding targets and deadlines. There’s always a need for good project managers, in almost every industry and every place. Not only is this a profession that is thriving and in high demand at the moment, but you will develop skills that can help you transition into other roles too; potentially leading to another new career path in the future.

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  1. Anna Preston
    Anna Preston 03 May 2018, 06:29 PM

    It's encouraging that we now talk about project management as a specific career move. For so long too many people just drifted into the role or ended up managing projects not through active choice, but because they were assgned the role by senior management. Maybe this led to some project managers not being particularly suited to the role. With the range of professional qualifications leading to chartered status maybe that will encourage people who are well-suited, and have the right skills and attitudes, to pursue this career. It will also be interesting to see how project management apprenticeships develop over time. Thanks for highlighting all the good things about a career in PM

  2. Bongani Dlodlo
    Bongani Dlodlo 08 May 2018, 10:10 PM

    Interesting article. I am pursuing a career change from sales/proposal engineer role to project management. Currently studying an MSc. in Project Management accredited by APM to gain theoretical knowledge. Looking for advice or opportunities to gain practical experience. Any help will be greatly appreciated.

  3. Niruja Thiyagan
    Niruja Thiyagan 09 May 2018, 09:25 AM

    A good read which specifies "project management as a career" rather than an aspect of any role. It will be interesting to hear how project management varies by industry and what one can do, if we want to work across varying industries. I work in healthcare and I wonder how project management differs in say construction/engineering...