Written by: Leigh Perkins // Aug 27, 2019
Last updated: Aug 29, 2019
Your first informal role as a project manager can often happen organically on the job, when your boss notices your technical and organizational skills and asks you to run a project. Maybe you’ve been successful coordinating a one-off assignment to manage a product launch or a sales conference. Perhaps you merely have a hunch you’d be good at it given half a chance. Or it’s possible you have become your team’s de facto handler to guide complicated plans to completion — all great starting points for a project manager. But if you have not yet seriously evaluated the career benefits of formalizing your role through training and certification, this is a very good time to consider the top 5 reasons to become a project manager.
What Is a Project Manager?
Once common only in the fields of engineering and construction, the career of project manager has become essential in today’s digital marketplace for the daily and strategic operations of a range of organizations, from software developers to nonprofits to government agencies.
As a project manager, you’ll wear multiple hats. You will initiate and define the scope of projects, organize teams, procure resources, mitigate risks, maintain deadlines, enforce (or occasionally change) priorities, and keep a million moving parts working toward the goal. Your overriding responsibility is organization — keeping every department, stakeholder, line of communication, and deadline on track. You’re the one who gets things done.
All in so far? Now let’s consider the most compelling reasons becoming a project manager could be the smart move for you.
Top 5 Reasons to Become a Project Manager
5. You’ll Bring Value to Your Organization
The skills you learn in training for project management certification offer your company immediate and tangible benefits. Those skills focus on four primary tasks: defining the project’s goals, creating a plan, monitoring progress, and wrapping it up. There is also the “triple constraint” of balancing the time, budget, and scope of the project. Because you will have the tools to oversee the priorities, tasks, budgets, personalities, and deadlines involved in a project, you will be uniquely prepared to make things happen for your organization. You will enhance efficiency, elevate customer engagement, reduce costs, diminish risks, facilitate purposeful communication, and improve the bottom line.
According to the Project Management Institute, the return on investment for companies that hire project managers is significant. Those whose project managers report directly to executive-level leadership are almost twice as likely to bring projects in on schedule. Project managers “delivered 30 percent of projects under budget,” and their companies showed a “21 percent improvement in productivity.” On average, PMI reported in 2010, project managers saved companies $567,000 per project.
4. You’ll Never Stop Learning
Though there is a hallowed tome of project management called the PMBOK (Project Management Body of Knowledge) that outlines 49 processes typical to project management, as a certified project manager you will keep learning on the job every day because by nature, project management requires collaboration and agility. You will interact with and gain insights from the C-suite, stakeholders, customers, human resources, consultants, programmers, freelancers, and teams from every department in your organization. And what you learn will change with every project. No matter how many projects you manage over the years, you will always be faced with new collaborators, evolving technology, and never-ending business challenges.
3. You’ll Be Well-Compensated
Across all industries, the median salary for a project manager is $112,000, according to PMI’s salary survey. Without Project Management Professional (PMP®) certification, your salary could be as much as 23 percent lower, so it pays to pursue training, certification, and a professional project management position.
2. You’ll Be in the Driver’s Seat
Project management is not necessarily on the executive track – although it is aligned to provide the skills and experience suited to a future chief operating officer – but you are the project executive, the CEO of the plans you put into motion and bring to fruition. Project management is the very proving ground for leadership. As the owner of projects, you gain a thorough understanding of your organization, its goals, its advantages, and its risks, as well as how to effectively manage them. Dictating to senior leaders is not your objective, but having their ear, their trust, and their support allows you to put your vision into motion. Accumulating a successful track record of managing projects is top-grade fuel for your career.
1. You’ll Find Challenging Work in Any Field
Project managers are a force in almost every industry. Engineering, construction, and technology are top industries for project managers, as well as health care and the legal profession. According to PMI, the demand for project managers is increasing worldwide as organizations have begun “directing more and more of their energy into projects rather than routine operations.” Skilled practitioners with core competency in leadership, organizational savvy, and knowledge of their industry will continue to be a valuable resource to organizations around the globe, so your job prospects are outstanding. PMI projects 22 million new project-oriented jobs through 2027.
Becoming a highly recruited project manager demands more than training, background, and certification. Personality plays a part, too. Do you score high in these character traits?
- Proactive, can-do attitude
- Common sense
If you are ready to become a project manager, USF’s project management courses will give you the skills to prepare for your PMP certification and maintain your credentials with professional development units (PDUs). We offer the Project Management Certificate at both our Tampa campus and the St. Petersburg campus. It is offered on an open enrollment basis. No application is required. Our Project Management Professional (PMP®) Certification prep course completes your educational requirement to sit for the PMP® exam in just five Saturdays. Your success is guaranteed. If you don’t pass the exam, you could be eligible to retake the class for free.
Ready to become a certified project manager?