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Senior Project Manager

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What does a senior project manager do?

A senior project manager takes on a higher-level role, overseeing various project teams. This leadership position interviews and hires project staff, mentors project managers and junior team members and may work on multiple projects at once. Senior project managers ensure teams complete projects on time and within budget, and they may step in to assist projects that have strayed away from a product strategy and other guidelines.

How do you become a senior project manager?

  • Senior project managers should possess a bachelor’s degree, proper certification and 5-10 years of relevant experience.

To secure a senior project manager position, applicants must demonstrate a thorough education. Students can gain a solid foundation in areas like business, finance and marketing. However, many candidates also display backgrounds in software engineering, computer science and other technical fields. No matter one’s educational background, the strongest candidates go on to achieve Project Management Professional (PMP) certification for managerial roles.

Experience varies between companies, but recent graduates should expect most senior project manager roles to ask for 5-10 years of relevant experience. Newcomers can start working as IT support specialists, product analysts, software engineers and other entry-level roles. As they deliver consistent results, professionals can then pursue product manager positions that expose them to agile methods and other critical project management practices. These diverse experiences will serve professionals well once they become senior project managers.

What skills does a senior project manager need?

  • Talent acquisition, product development and analytical thinking are all areas that senior project managers should cultivate.

Senior project managers are high-level project leaders within a company, so they must be experts in talent acquisition and product development. This role is responsible for hiring top talent and offering coaching to various project team members. However, part of this job involves taking over projects that may deal with complex issues and products. A successful senior project manager will be ready to offer any mentoring and technical support where needed, serving as a calming force when projects veer off course.

Despite their broader role, senior project managers must maintain sharp analytical abilities. These leaders hold teams accountable to deadlines and goals, measuring project metrics along the way. Senior project managers must then be experts at analyzing trends to determine when project managers may need an extra hand. The most effective senior project managers combine these skills with business acumen and other key attributes that the position demands.

What is the salary of a senior project manager?

  • A senior project manager in the U.S. can look forward to an average base salary of $129,548.

Senior project managers take on hefty responsibilities, but they are rewarded with six-figure salaries to match. According to Built In’s salary tool, senior project managers in the U.S. earn an average base salary of $129,548. Top performers can also receive an additional cash compensation of $16,106, propelling their total compensation to $145,654. Although senior project managers may make around $45K at the beginning of their careers, more experienced and proven professionals enjoy salaries up to $270K.


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