How to Become a Project Manager

Project management is the process of organizing and planning the resources allocated to a project. A project manager leads other professionals involved in the project and together they work toward accomplishing the project. If you possess strong administrative skills and can work comfortably under pressure, you could become a project manager.

The work

Depending on area of specialism, project managers can work in a range of industries, from construction and manufacturing to information technology. Regardless of the nature of a project, project managers have the following roles:

  • Understanding the goals and objectives of project owners
  • Negotiating with project owners for project costs and time limits.
  • Gathering the project team – This usually involves hiring professionals with relevant project expertise
  • Managing equipment or material suppliers and service providers
  • Compiling work progress reports for senior managers and project owners
  • Managing project risks

Work Environment

Although project managers normally work from 9am to 5pm, Monday through Friday, they often work overtime to meet tight deadlines. The industry a project manager works in dictates his environment. In the construction industry, for example, project managers spend time in construction sites while in the IT industry, they work in an office setting.


Salaries for project managers vary with the level of experience and size of project. The following table provides the annual average salaries aspiring managers can expect to take home:

Level of experience

Annual pay

Junior project managers

£25,000 - £30,000

Experienced project managers

£30,000 - £50,000

Freelance project managers typically negotiate their pay rates.

Source: National Careers Service

Entry Requirements

There are two ways to break into project management. You could:

  • Earn a bachelor’s degree in a field that is relevant to the industry you want to work, followed by a graduate degree in project management.
  • Secure an entry-level job in a certain project, gain vast experience and secure promotion to a management role.

Whichever route you follow, you will need expertise in applying project management principles and methods such as PRINCE2 and the computer skills to effectively use project management software, such as:

For free tutorials on using Mavelink, Unanet and Intervals software, visit:

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 Important Skills and Abilities

Competent project managers often possess the following skills and abilities:

  • Excellent leadership, organizational and planning skills needed to manage project resources
  • Strong teamwork skills
  • Good analytical and problem-solving skills to mitigate risks
  • Good communication, interpersonal and negotiation skills
  • Good computer and technical skills

Training and Development

Most employers provide training on project management methods and other relevant topics. This is, however, not sufficient to quench your career progression ambitions.

You should focus on obtaining professional certifications offered by any of the following organizations:

If you don’t possess a degree, you could take higher work-based qualifications, such as:

  • Level 4 Diploma in Project Management
  • Level 6 Certificate in Project Management
  • Level 7 Diploma in Project and Quality Management.

It is important for project managers working in the IT sector to gain certification from the Chartered Institute for IT.

Job Opportunities

The industries with the highest concentration of project managers are:

  • Construction
  • IT
  • Engineering
  • Manufacturing
  • Health
  • Marketing

When looking for a job, you can be hired directly by a company (project owner) or a project management consulting firm.

You can also work on a freelance basis.

Useful links

Finally, pursuing project management as a career gives you the opportunity to lead and oversee projects that can steer organizations to greater heights. Remember to focus on delivering your best, because project managers are often judged by the success or quality of their projects. Good luck!





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