what is a project manager?
As a project manager, your key task is to plan and execute projects. That means you are in charge of determining the project scope and resources necessary to execute your plan to completion. You are also responsible for managing teams and resources assigned to you. As a project manager, you take care of tangible and crucial elements like planning and budgeting. You also participate in less quantifiable aspects like providing moral support and leadership to your teams.
Project managers are agents of change who enjoy working in a complex and dynamic environment. As a project manager, you inspire others to achieve milestones and drive results. You also shift between the big picture and minor details – a crucial skill for project success. That means you are responsible for developing the game plan for executing a project, creating schedules and defining tasks of each team member that leads to the achievement of milestones.
Unlike other careers where you work in a specific industry, project managers serve in all sectors. For instance, they provide roadmaps for construction projects, help in marketing, and support the IT industry in project development.
Would working as a project manager suit your problem-solving and time-management skills? Then read on to find out what competencies and qualifications you need to thrive in a project manager role.project manager jobs
average project manager salary
According to Job Bank, the average salary of a project manager is $90,000 per year. The earnings fluctuate depending on the region and area of expertise. In an entry-level position, you are starting out in your career and have minimal experience. Your salary starts at $70,526 annually. With experience, the earnings increase gradually and your take-home salary could be over $126,794 yearly.
how to increase your salary as a project manager
Your earnings as a project manager depend on your qualifications and the expertise you bring to the team. When you have a master’s degree, you earn a higher salary than a project manager with a bachelor’s degree. The industry sector you work in also determines your earning potential. Industries like IT and construction pay more due to the complexity of the tasks and the expertise required.
The project size or company also affects your earnings. You earn more when you work in a large company with unlimited resources. That’s because you handle large projects with unlimited funds. When you work on small projects, the pay will be slightly lower.
types of project managers
Project managers serve in different industries and have different roles. Some of them include:
- construction project managers: as a project manager in the construction industry, you work closely with architects and create a plan for completing projects. That includes overseeing construction projects like building structures and infrastructure.
- IT project managers: when you are a project manager in IT, you solve problems in the IT department. Some of the issues you are likely to deal with are installing new software or updating networks. Software project managers also guide teams in developing new software.
- energy project managers: in energy, you supervise projects that lead to infrastructure development or improvement of existing energy-efficient practices in a company.
working as a project manager
As a project manager, you play a role in creating amazing structures and information technology systems. Let’s explore project managers' specific duties, responsibilities and work schedules.
what does a project manager do?
As a project manager, there are no restrictions to your responsibilities. Typical project management tasks include:
- planning: your primary role as a project manager is to plan a project by listing all the critical activities that ensure success. Planning enables you to define the project scope and devise a schedule and timeline for completing milestones. Your plan determines a project's success or failure.
- organizing project teams: your projects are successful if you organize your teams to perform their tasks. As a project manager, you create detailed checklists and whiteboards for your team. Sometimes you negotiate their job responsibilities and ensure they are committed to the task.
- managing deliverables: as a project manager, you negotiate with stakeholders' achievable deadlines and ensure the deliverables are delivered. It is essential to ensure the deliverables meet the time constraints and are within the budget as per the business plan.
- monitoring progress: you spend most of your time as the project manager monitoring the progress of projects. You can monitor the status of projects using a management system and ensure milestones are met.
- preparing reports: as a project manager, you must provide regular reports to clients on the projects' progress. Preparing documentation is also vital for keeping track of the execution plan and the budget.
work environment of a project manager
When you are a project manager, you spend long hours in an office environment, regardless of the industry sector. The office setting allows you to monitor projects using project management software and complete the necessary paperwork for managing budgets and schedules. If you work in the construction industry, sometimes you work from the site. Working from the project site allows you to manage resources effectively and supervise the project to completion.
who are your colleagues?
The industry you work in determines your colleagues. For instance, if you work in the construction industry, you work with construction managers, site administrators and quantity surveyors. In a manufacturing setup, you work with maintenance engineers, factory supervisors and electronic technicians. When you work in the IT sector, you are likely to work with software developers, software engineers and system administrators.
project manager work schedule
As a project manager, you work the standard full-time schedule of 37 to 40 hours a week. Sometimes, you work overtime and during the evening when attending events or appointments. If a project deadline is approaching, you might work on weekends. Some companies provide part-time positions; although they are scarce, project managers often work irregular hours depending on the project requirements. Other employers offer short-term contracts when they need a project completed within a specific timeline. Working as a project manager can include a lot of travelling, especially if the project execution takes place at a different location.
career opportunities as a project manager
A project manager is a multi-sector career, allowing you to jump from one role to another. For instance, after years of being a marketing project manager, you can shift to the IT and tech industry or construction without additional training. With professional qualifications, project managers progress to a senior level, working as a project management consultant or an e-commerce manager. In some companies, you start as a project management director before becoming the vice president of operations.
advantages of finding a job as a project manager through randstad
Working with Randstad offers you a range of benefits.
- always a contact person you can fall back on and ask for help from
- many training opportunities
- a range of jobs in your area
project manager skills and education
To become a project manager, it is important to have the following educational requirements:
- education: pursue a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering to work in construction or computer science to get project management jobs in IT. Complete a postgraduate program in project management to learn leadership skills.
- experience: build your practical experience through internships and entry-level jobs in your industry. Entry-level jobs improve your knowledge in the industry, and you can easily move to higher roles.
competencies and characteristics of project managers
Aside from educational qualifications, you need these skills to become a great project manager:
- negotiation skills: when you are a project manager, being a great negotiator helps you get the best contract deals. Negotiation skills are also crucial to bring all stakeholders on board with your strategic plans.
- leadership skills: as a project manager, you need strong leadership skills to guide your team toward project goals. With your skills, you can motivate and guide your team members throughout the project process.
- organizational skills: when you are a project manager, you have numerous tasks to accomplish, and organizational skills come in handy. Organization skills help you multi-task since you can prioritize responsibilities and compartmentalize projects.
- problem-solving skills: with problem-solving skills, you can find a structured approach to deal with problems that arise during the project process. The skills also enable you to mitigate risk and achieve positive results.
- computer skills: you need basic computing skills to operate project management systems and organize your teams with scheduling systems. Sometimes, you also analyze data using spreadsheets.
- communication and interpersonal abilities: as a project manager, communications skills help relay your plans to the teams and stakeholders. You also require effective communication skills to make presentations to stakeholders and write reports after a project.
Here, you will find the answers to the most frequently asked questions about the profession of a project manager.
what is the role of a project manager?
As a project manager, you manage a team to complete specific tasks. When you work in construction, you ensure the building is completed within the stipulated timeline. You put together the resources required to make a project successful. For instance, you recruit staff, prepare budgets and supervise subcontractors to ensure the raw materials are on-site. You also prepare the construction schedule.
what qualifications does a project manager require?
In Canada, you require a bachelor’s degree to become a project manager. You can complete a degree in civil engineering if you want to work in construction. Some employers also require a master’s degree in project management. Before you start working as a project manager in construction in Alberta, you need a certification from a regulatory body like Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training.
is there a demand for project managers in Canada?
According to the Project Management Institute, the demand for project managers in Canada is unmatched. Skilled project managers are in demand in various sectors. That means you can work in diverse industries.
what skills are required of a project manager?
As a project manager, you rely on strong leadership skills to motivate workers to complete projects. You also require organizational skills to assemble the resources required to successfully complete a project. Communication skills are useful when you are relaying information to workers and stakeholders.
how long does it take to become a project manager?
You require a four-year degree in your relevant field as a project manager. Depending on the industry you want to work in, you may need additional certification. A few years of experience in project management is also necessary.
how do I find a job as a project manager?
Finding a job near you as a project manager is easy. Search our job offers. Have you found what you're looking for? Then submit your application using the ‘Apply’ button top right on the page. No jobs available right now? Send us your resume and we'll pass it on to a recruiter who will contact you if an opportunity opens up for you.