How to start a career in project management

4 min read

Career Trends: August 6, 2022
Curated by the Knowledge Team of ICS Career GPS


Project managers may specialise anywhere from the financial industry to construction, architecture, engineering, and more.

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Project management can be a challenging yet highly rewarding career path. Whether you are transferring from a related industry or entering the field for the first time, you may be at a loss as to where to begin. Luckily, there are countless pathways to achieve your goals and gain meaningful employment in the world of project management.

At the basic level, the profession involves the management of tasks, roles, finances, and methodology required to complete a project. Project managers may specialise anywhere from the financial industry to construction, architecture, engineering, and more. Across the board, a project manager’s role entails the completion of the required job on time and on budget. 

As project management requires significant intelligence and experience, individuals must hold the necessary qualifications and certifications. 

What are the traits of a successful project manager?

  1. Leadership – From making large decisions to managing various parties and personnel, project management requires strong and adaptive leadership.
  2. Risk Management – Managers weight up a risk profile within every project they oversee. Therefore, you will need a strong track record and understanding of risk management.  
  3. Patience – Remember that mistakes will be made, timelines will change, and budgeting will fluctuate. In these instances, the project manager must remain patient and calm to guarantee project success.
  4. People Skills – Projects rarely succeed without proper communication. This is where holding the necessary people skills comes into play. 
  5. Time Management – Timelines are critical to the project manager’s role. This not only involves managing their own time but also track the ongoing progress of all parties and personnel involved.
  6. Tech Skills – More than ever, project managers must have a strong grasp of the fundamental elements of tech, from computers to phones, apps, cloud etc.

Here are some tips and methods you can utilise to start to exploring project management as a career option:

1. Research and communicate (for beginners)

  • Whether you are simply curious or seriously considering a career switch, the first step involves researching exactly what the project management profession entails.
  • This can also be achieved by reaching out to online education providers, looking up course details, and speaking to individuals in the industry. 

2. Enrol in an online course (for beginners or industry professionals)

  • Once you have finalised your decision to enter the field of project management, online courses are an excellent option.
  • The flexibility and timeline offered by online courses may be a more suitable option than committing to an entire multi-year university degree.
  • Online courses are also viable as a means of upskilling.

3. Pursue a post-graduate degree (for bachelor’s degree holders)

  • If you have the time and financial means to pursue a Master’s degree, this can exponentially increase your employability.
  • Through this path, individuals with both a beginner and intermediate level of knowledge gain specific insights and skills relevant to professional settings.
  • In addition, post-graduate courses (whether online or in person) will involve detailed case studies and project scenario training. 

4. Upskill (for industry professionals or certified project managers)

  • Diplomas and post-grad studies aren’t exclusive to those entering the project management field.
  • In fact, project management online courses provide excellent value for existing professionals.
  • As is the case with most industries today, project management professionals regularly undertake training and courses to improve their skills and results in the professional world.


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(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the above mentioned article are those of the author(s). They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of ICS Career GPS or its staff.)

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