HOW TO GET INTO PROJECT MANAGEMENT: Definition, Guide, and Requirement

how to get into project management
Image source: Everglades University

If you’re thinking about a career in project management, such as in construction, you’re probably curious about the many tasks and duties you’ll have once you have your degree or certification. Or, you might be wondering whether you can get into project management without any prior experience. These and more issues will be treated in this chapter, including how long it’ll take to be a project manager. Read on.

Getting Into Project Management: What Does a Project Manager Do? 

The specific duties that take up a project manager’s time will vary greatly based on where their projects are in the life cycle.

That being said, any effective project manager may anticipate undertaking a number of general activities on a daily basis. These are some examples:

#1. Communicating with team members

Communication is essential in project management, whether through emails, phone conversations, daily check-ins, or team meetings. Project managers must connect with their team members on a regular basis to determine the status of various projects and potential bottlenecks that must be overcome.

#2. Communicating with key stakeholders

Just as important as communicating with your team is keeping key stakeholders up to date on project progress and ensuring that the project continues to line with changing corporate initiatives. This communication can take numerous forms, such as weekly or monthly reports, constantly updated dashboards, short emails, phone calls, or meetings. Regardless matter the media, becoming acquainted with data is a necessary ability.

#3. Issue identification and resolution

It is usual for scope, budget, resource allocation, and other miscellaneous issues to occur during the course of any project. It is the project manager’s responsibility to ensure that these difficulties are appropriately resolved in order to keep the project on track.

#4. Budgeting

Estimating costs for small-scale projects may be a weekly or even monthly chore. However, for larger projects with numerous expenses to consider, project managers may spend time checking budgets every day to ensure that the project does not exceed resource allocations. If the project incorporates such collaborations, this may also include examining, processing, and approving invoices from outside vendors.

#5. Time management and approval

To keep the project on track, many project managers use timesheets or project management software that shows how their team is spending their time. This not only ensures that the project is proceeding as planned, but it also allows project managers to shift resources between projects as needed.

#6. Team-building

A good project manager will do more than just oversee the project’s steps. They will also manage their workforce to ensure that they are productive and happy. This should include team-building events meant to enhance morale, especially after difficult weeks or phases of the project. One example is organizing a weekly lunch or happy hour.

What Skills Or Qualifications Do You Need To Be A Project Manager? 

Certain skills are required for successful project management. So, in order to go into project management and obtain your first job, you must exhibit the following talents during an interview, or at least convince the interviewer that you are capable of studying these areas:

#1. Leadership Skills

One of the most frequently discussed issues among project managers is leadership. It’s difficult since the people you’re in charge of don’t usually report directly to you.

When they are assigned to your project, you are responsible for directing their efforts; they have a different boss who handles their performance reviews, hiring, and firing, among other things. A software engineer, for example, may be assigned to your project, but their immediate manager will be an engineering manager.

So, if you want to learn how to become a project manager, start by developing a leadership style that makes people want to work with you. Don’t lead solely on the fact that you’re higher up in an organization than anybody else. Because you won’t have this to fall back on as a Project Manager.

#2. Organizational abilities

As a Project Manager, you’re in charge of a lot. Goals, deadlines, and budgets were all mentioned above. You are also in charge of allocating work among your team members in order to obtain the greatest results. As a result, staying organized becomes critical.

Nobody else is going to keep track of your project’s milestones. Nobody else will decide on priorities or what needs to be done next. It is your responsibility. People assigned to your project, and top management in your firm will look to you for these answers.

It is possible that many aspects of the project are being worked on at the same time. Each item requires a varying amount of time to complete. Sometimes one section must be completed before proceeding to the next. Planning all of this out takes expertise and organization. Adapting when things change unexpectedly is also a skill.

So, if you want to work in project management, search for ways to exhibit your organizational skills. Consider some examples of times when you excelled at activities like this. You can bring these up in an interview.

#3. Flexibility

Keeping your cool under pressure and remaining adaptable when the unexpected happens will be essential skills if you want to thrive in project management.

Things rarely go according to plan. There aren’t many undertakings that go from start to end without hitting some stumbling obstacles. As a result, the ability to modify and react when the circumstance changes are critical.

Can I Become a Project Manager Without Any Experience or Degree?

If you have no prior experience or college degree, you can still establish a project management career if you take the appropriate approach. If you want to work in project management but don’t know where to begin, I’ll explain some measures to take below.

How to Get Into Project Management Without Prior Experience

#1. Select an Industry

Project managers are used in a variety of industries, from biotechnology to manufacturing to software.

So, before you start learning project management, it’s a good idea to think about what areas or businesses interest you. While some of the training, courses, and certifications required by project managers are applicable across many or all sectors, you will also need to learn certain industry-specific expertise.

And after beginning your project management career, it’ll be easier to remain inside that business than shift verticals, so it’s a good idea to think about which industry you’d like to work in before starting toward your objective of beginning this career path.

#2. Consider Beginning as an Individual contributor

It is unusual for a company to hire an entry-level candidate or new graduate for a project management position. Instead, they will hire or promote people with prior expertise.

So, before you start honing your project management skills, consider working as an individual contributor in the area you want to work in.

If you can demonstrate to an employer that you’ve been successful as an individual contributor first, you’ll have an easier time becoming a project manager. Alternatively, apply for a lower-level project management position, such as project coordinator.

#3. Enroll in a Project Management Course or Certification Program.

There is no college degree that prepares you for this job in project management education.

However, there are numerous online courses and certifications available to help you demonstrate to companies that you are equipped to manage projects (while also helping you build up the project management skills needed to succeed in the job).

So, once you’ve gained some basic industry knowledge and worked as an individual contributor, you can begin developing project management abilities through job-specific training.

#4. Connect With Other Project Managers

Don’t go into project management on your own. Building a strong network can help you hear about opportunities and land job interviews, and as you chat to individuals, you’ll acquire insights into the industries and firms you’d like to work for, the talents you should focus on developing, and so on.

So, send LinkedIn messages to project managers and ask them if they have any suggestions for motivating project managers.

#5. Be Consistent

It may take some time to get your first project management role because it is a critical role in most firms and they are quite picky about who they employ or promote to the position of project manager.

Even if you follow the procedures above, you may discover that the process takes longer than you anticipated. To reach this aim, you must be patient and persistent. You may also have to face certain barriers and rejections.

How Long Does It Take To Be A Project Manager?

It might take anywhere from three months to years and years to become a Project Manager, depending on your education, experience level, and professional ambitions.

Consider the more pessimistic scenario in which it takes a long time. If you don’t have a degree and no experience managing or working on projects in an informal role, you’ll have a difficult path ahead of you. Unless you can work your way up from the bottom by demonstrating your zeal, you will almost certainly require a degree. Even yet, you will most certainly have a ceiling on how far you may advance until you obtain that education.

Consider a possible scenario in which you might be able to accelerate your path to becoming a Project Manager.

Assume you already hold a bachelor’s degree in a discipline such as commerce or computer science. Let’s also say you have a few years of professional experience – for the sake of illustration, let’s say you worked in marketing. Though you’ve never served as a Project Manager, you do have substantial expertise in implementing social media campaigns or influencer marketing campaigns. You designed and implemented those campaigns (it’s fine if you worked as part of a team) and then used various indicators to assess their success.

In that case, you can be eligible for PMI’s Project Management Professional (PMP) certification, which is highly valued in the project management profession. At that point, you’re ready to start looking for Project Manager jobs and leverage your previous project expertise. These would almost certainly not be entry-level positions.

How To Get Into Construction Project Management

A project manager’s primary responsibility is to lead teams and keep projects on budget and on time. “Construction project management involves regulating the timing, cost, and quality of construction projects ranging from residential, commercial, and industrial structures to highways, bridges, and schools,” according to They plan and coordinate all areas of the construction process, including recruiting contractors and dealing with engineers, architects, and vendors. A single manager may be in charge of a complete construction project, or numerous managers may be in charge of different sections of a bigger project.”

Project managers also inspect the site to verify it fulfills health and safety standards, communicate with the customer, report on progress, and serve as a resource for the personnel they supervise.

In summary, there is a tremendous lot of duty and pressure. While many people think that becoming a project manager is a terrific job with high pay and opportunities for advancement, not everyone is cut out for the job. Leadership, communication, time management, coordination, problem-solving, accountability, and planning are all required.

Furthermore, owners are quick to blame when things go wrong, so project managers must gracefully handle the strain that comes with the job. To fully flourish in a PM capacity, someone with a strong mind and resolve is required to take ownership and problem-solve when necessary. That’s fine if that’s not for you. Simply ask yourself if you’re committed to pursuing this as a profession or if you’re just doing it because it’s the next logical step to take.

Construction Management vs. Project Management

You can be confused about the distinction between a construction project manager and a construction manager. While both jobs are intended to oversee a project process, the scope of the task might vary greatly. In general, construction project management is more concerned with managing the construction project itself, whereas a construction manager manages the entire process. Preconstruction, budgeting, vendor management, change orders, and other tasks will be assigned to the project manager.

Career Resources for Construction Project Management

Even seasoned project managers must continue to learn in order to be at the top of their game. Fortunately, there are numerous job resources available for construction professionals. Here are a few of our go-to sites if you’re searching for a helping hand to take your career to the next level:

  • BuiltWorlds Careers
  • Build Your Future
  • AGC Job Center
  • National Construction Education and Research Center

Is It Hard To Be A Project Manager?

Being a project manager is not hard, as long as you have some experience.

What is the difference between a project manager and a team leader?

A project manager is responsible for the overall planning, execution, and closing of a project, while a team leader typically focuses on leading a specific team within a project and ensuring that team members are meeting their goals and objectives. Project managers often have more experience and education in project management, while team leaders may be promoted from within the team.

How do you handle conflicts within a project team?

As a project manager, it’s important to have strong conflict management skills. When conflicts arise within a team, it’s important to address them promptly and objectively. This can be done by identifying the root cause of the conflict, facilitating open communication and active listening, and working with the team to find a solution that is acceptable to all parties involved. It’s also important to be aware of the team dynamics and to ensure that the team is functioning well.

How do you measure project success?

Project success is typically measured by whether or not the project met its goals and objectives, completed within the defined scope, budget and timeline, and how well the project deliverables were received by the stakeholders.

What is the role of a project sponsor?

A project sponsor is a senior-level executive who provides resources and support for a project and ensures that the project aligns with the organization’s overall goals. They provide guidance and oversight to the project manager, and make key decisions throughout the project.

How do you handle changes to a project?

Changes to a project should be managed through a change request process, where all changes must be documented, evaluated, and approved before being implemented. The project manager should ensure that the change does not negatively impact the project schedule, budget, or quality.

To Sum It Up

Project management is a well-paying and satisfying vocation that requires time to learn. As much as you don’t require a college degree to get started in project management, you sure need some experience, and if you follow the procedures outlined above, you will be well on your way to landing your first project management position.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do project managers travel a lot?

Not every project management function necessitates travel, but many do, particularly during important stages of a project’s timeline.

How many hours a week do project managers work?

Project managers work for about 40-45 hours a week.

What type of companies hire project mangers?

  • Construction and Engineering.
  • Finance.
  • Finance & Insurance Services.
  • Healthcare Administration.
  • Information Services and Technology.
  • Advertising.
  1. Construction Project Management: Beginner’s Guide to Efficient Management
  2. Project Planning: A Guide To Project Planning Techniques
  3. PROJECT TRACKING SOFTWARE: Reviews of Top 25 Project Tracking Software
  4. MARKETING MANAGER: Job Description, Salaries & Guide
  5. PRODUCT MANAGER VS PROJECT MANAGER: Job Description Differences


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You May Also Like