Project Manager

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What does a project manager do?

A project manager provides the foundation for projects, creating project teams and defining the scope of different projects. Quality assurance, risk management and financial analysis are a few areas that project managers cover. Because of this well-rounded background, project managers are experts at setting deadlines, keeping teams within budgets and ensuring teams have the resources and tools they need to carry out their tasks.

How do you become a project manager?

  • Project managers showcase a four-year degree, industry-approved certification and at least three years of relevant work experience.

The project manager career track demands extensive training and familiarity with one’s chosen industry. While many students major in areas like business and finance, those who enter advanced fields like the IT industry may want to explore software engineering, computer science and other technical majors. Top candidates set themselves further apart from the talent pool by securing the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification as well. 

Although years of experience vary from company to company, many organizations require candidates to have at least three years of relevant experience. Newcomers can start in entry-level roles like software developer or product analyst before transitioning into a project coordinator position. Through these experiences, professionals can gain industry-specific skills while learning about Agile methods and other project approaches. A balanced candidate will be better able to adapt to the shifting duties of a project manager role.  

What skills does a project manager need?

  • Strategic thinking, technical expertise and business savvy are key areas for project managers to master.

As the driving force behind projects, project managers must be strategic thinkers and technology experts. Wielding a project vision allows managers to construct teams with the right personnel while understanding what resources are needed for certain tasks. Project managers must also know how to adapt projects to more advanced product development processes. It then becomes essential for managers to display a technical background, so they can craft projects that remain aware of the energy that goes into building complex products.

Projects often hinge on what financial resources are available, so project managers must also possess some business acumen. By considering finances, project managers can create budgets and foresee what tasks are possible with available financial resources. Ideal candidates will blend these areas with communication and critical soft skills, serving as multi-faceted professionals who make projects as effective and efficient as possible. 

What is the salary of a project manager?

  • Project managers make an average base salary of $93,026, but many professionals enjoy high six-figure salaries.

While many project managers start off with five figures, there’s a high ceiling for this leadership position. Project managers in the U.S. earn an average base salary of $93,026, according to Built In’s salary tool. However, top performers can break into six-figure territory with an additional cash compensation of $9,428, lifting their total compensation to $102,454. Project manager salaries depend on years of experience, consistent performance and company priorities, but the most successful professionals make salaries as high as $231K.

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