Short answer? Absolutely! Being a professional project manager can provide a great deal of job satisfaction, great compensation, and be a stepping stone to something more. Take it from someone who has been managing a variety of projects in a variety of roles for over 30 years.
Here are just a few of the features that make project management a great career:
High Demand: There has been a nearly perpetual shortage of project managers, and it appears it will continue. The Project Management Institute commissioned a study by the Anderson Economic Group that found there will be a demand for 22 million additional project managers by 2027.
Portable Skill Set: Project management is a portable skill set that can be used in virtually any industry, organization, or culture. While some industries may create artificial boundaries (for example, many biotech jobs are filled by scientists from within the organizations), there are still plenty of opportunities to cross into a different field. There is also plenty of work in project management that has a lower entry bar. A willingness to continuously improve and learn will increase your chances of leading a project in another industry.
Variety of Work, Skills, and Responsibilities: Often new project managers will be called upon to either manage multiple projects or take on a variety of roles. One organization expected that only 25% of my time would be spent in managing, while the other 75% would be technical. As I increased my management skills and took on larger projects, these percentages moved toward 100% management. With the variety of project types, tasks, and problems needing a solution, the work is never boring or repetitive.
Stepping Stone to Higher Roles: If you are an excellent project manager, your path can lead you to management and even Board and C-suite positions. You will build relationships over the years with many people as well. Doing a good job is definitely the way to go up the career ladder. Be sure to give back as well. I've helped launch the careers of many project team members and others that aspired to project management and management through mentoring and coaching.
Great Compensation: While not the most significant reason to enter a career, it shouldn't go unmentioned that project managers enjoy positions that normally come with great compensation both in salary and benefits. According to Indeed.com, the average project manager salary in the US is about $75K per year, and comes with a significant cash bonus and other valuable benefits. You can use their database to search for other countries as well. Finally, project managers with certifications can see a boost of somewhere between 10 and 20% or more.
As with any job, there are downsides as well. There are sometimes long hours, difficult to solve problems, and stress, but the pros generally outweigh the cons.
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