What is a project manager?
A project manager is someone who manages a team of people and the tasks they are assigned to complete. They make sure that each task meets quality standards, timelines, and budget restrictions while meeting customer needs as well. Project managers ensure the right personnel for the job are in place and keep on top of what's happening around them at all times.
Project managers may be found in various industries such as construction, IT consulting, or banking - just to name a few. A big part of their success lies with how well they communicate with others both within their company but also outside it (with employees from other departments).
You'll make a good fit as a project manager if you can be a leader, manage people, organize many tasks at once, and hit deadlines. However, let's dive deeper into exactly what project managers do every day.
What do project managers do?
Project managers are responsible for ensuring deadlines, goals, and budgets are met on time. They're in charge of organizing projects so they can be completed effectively while meeting customer needs as well. Here's an overview.
At the core of project management is a plan but what does that really mean? A good project manager has to know how much time it takes to complete something, where resources will come from, who will lead each task, and when milestones need to happen. Once these things are established, they'll usually break the big picture down into smaller chunks (or "projects") with specific timelines and responsibilities attached.
The best way to think about this might be like an instruction manual: Project managers set out all the steps required at every stage of a process including:
- Oversee all phases of a project.
- Project managers are often required to communicate with stakeholders outside of their company and inside.
- Track the progression of various projects through their lifecycles.
- Have the responsibility of mentoring team members, motivating them to do well on projects, and supervising their work.
- Create accurate forecasts for resource requirements
- Work with every department so the work is completed and matches their requirements.
- Measure success and document it so processes and strategies can be easily reapplied in the future.
How much do project managers get paid?
Naturally, if you're seeking out a new career, you want to be compensated. After all, you have bills and a lifestyle to pay for. Project managers typically start out in the $60,000-$90,000 per year range but it can increase to $206,000 or higher.
Some project management positions can fall into different pay brackets depending on what their company's compensation policy is and whether they have an MBA or are certified. It all depends on your negotiation skills when it comes to salary negotiations. For example:
A non-certified senior project manager may make up to about $115,000 while a more experienced one with certification might get as high as almost $190, 000 per year (though this would be atypical).
The higher you go in rank within the industry – for instance from Assistant Project Manager to Associate Director of Engineering depending on the exact organization and industry, the more you can expect to earn.
There are plenty of opportunities to move up as a project manager. In some cases, people will do project management as a freelance service. In these situations, you can technically contract services to multiple businesses, generate a great income, and work for yourself.
Pros and cons of being a project managers
There are advantages and disadvantages of every path including being a project manager. Let's discuss both sides.
Pros of being a project manager
- Project managers can make a great income and be their own boss. They have the opportunity to work for themselves as well, which is an added bonus of being in this profession.
- The project manager's job is varied as they are responsible for tasks such as scheduling resources, managing teams, assessing risks, developing deliverables, and more. This makes it a challenging but rewarding career path that doesn't get mundane after a while because there are so many different things you're required to do on the job.
- You will network and create valuable relationships that can benefit you in the short and long term.
Cons of being a project manager
- The roles of project managers can be very demanding. You have a lot of responsibilities, people, expectations, and deadlines to handle.
- You will need education and certification to secure certain positions and get ahead in the industry.
- Traveling as a project manager can be a great benefit but for some, it can become tiring and time-consuming.
Final thoughts on project managers
Project management is a great career path for those that want to have both the stability of a lucrative and exciting job. It has many pros, but it also has its share of cons which are worth considering before taking this career on as your next step in life.
The pay can be fantastic if you work hard enough at it, there are opportunities for growth depending on how much time and effort you put into your education and experience level, and there’s no more satisfying feeling than seeing something through from start to finish successfully.
However, project managers do face some unique challenges such as long hours with little downtime or vacation days due to constantly changing deadlines and tight schedules; they may not see their family often because of projects being located overseas or requiring late shifts.
Want to find your next career in project management? Use projectmanagementjob.com. The first and only centralized job board for available careers from Project Management Institute (PMI) Chapters.