The first month of a new year has already past - time flies by! Perhaps as part of your New Year's resolutions you have decided to acquire new skills or take your career in a different direction. Now is a great time to get started with project management.
Just a few years ago, Project Management Institute Research showed that there would be a need for around 22m new project managers within the next decade. And the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics estimates a need for at least 0.5m new project managers within the next three to seven years. There are also related jobs for those wanting to "break in" to project management such as project coordinators and project administrators.
Those with project management skills or who are project managers typically earn higher wages as well. The need for project management in organizations has become ubiquitous, but there is still a premium associated with it. Those who have chosen project management as a career and have achieved certifications get an additional boost in earning power.
A good first step is to find out more. Project management is a collection of skills, tools, and techniques, so find out what interests you the most and what is of value to you and your organization. If you want to become a project manager this year (there's never been a better time - get started now) should follow these four initial steps:
- Find out more about what skills are needed for project management and the type of work performed by project managers. A good source of information is the Project Management Institute (PMI). PMI also has local chapters around the world. I recommend locating one near you and attending an event, if possible, to learn and network. Make sure this is something you to which you can commit.
- If you are interested in project management as a career, you might want to start by viewing our short 10-minute video and accessing a salary survey (on the page below the video) for more information.
- Let your manager know of your interest. Perhaps there are some project management skills that can be used in your immediate or near future work. Or there may be some future opportunities for which you may be considered. Plus if you are seeking a career, it may take time to build up the necessary skills.
- Don't give up your day job if you are looking for a project management job! Most project managers are experts in their field or organization who have also demonstrated some leadership skills. Continue to build your expertise and increase your value for your organization. Your time will come.
Project managers are usually life-long learners. Once you have completed your research and feel you are committed, consider joining PMI and embarking on a project management education. The standards for project management are more than 800 pages, so get started and never stop learning. Start off with the fundamentals and grow your knowledge and skills over time.
- We offer books and training that are a quick start to project management. Learn just what you need to know to get started. Check out our publications and courses.
- Identify additional training you might want to take. There are many extended studies courses from local universities, as well as online and in-person classes from many great organizations. Map out a 3-6 year learning plan.
- This is also a great time to join PMI. Your investment to join the organization and local chapter is exceeded in value through access to free documents, books, webinars, and other training and learning materials. Local chapters also have many volunteer opportunities which are great for networking, learning, and resume building.
- If you are thinking of making project management a career, it is time to start planning for the CAPMⓇ (Certified Associate Project Manager) certification. Chances are you already qualify to take the test and just need to acquire the right knowledge. Download PMI's Certification Handbook to get started. You will demonstrate your commitment to the career path to your manager.
Completing these steps will get you ready for your new skills or career. When you have fully completed these, be sure to look to the future and plan your roadmap to success ahead.
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