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Project Manager: Job Description, Duties & Career Requirements

Oct 20, 2021

Career Definition of a Project Manager

Project management involves setting project goals, establishing tasks and a timeline for completion by assigned parties, and evaluating progress and making adjustments as needed to ensure that clients, internal or external, achieve their desired results. They coordinate project activities, budgets, personnel and work with other departments to meet deadlines and project goals within set resources and under firm deadlines. The project manager experience required often includes past work in the computer systems or information technology industries, although they can find employment in almost any industry.

Education Minimum of bachelor's degree in management, business, or related field; many obtain master's degree or post-bachelor's certificate and professional credentials
Job Skills Highly organized, analytical, ability to motivate and manage others
Median Annual Salary (2020)* $95,848 for project managers
Job Outlook (2019-2029)** 10% job growth for computer and information systems managers

Sources: *Payscale.com, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Project Manager Education Requirements

Project manager requirements include a bachelor's degree and several years of experience in a given field. What degree do you need to be a project manager? It can vary. Project managers often hold a bachelor's degree in management, business or a related field, as well as professional certification and extensive related experience. As part of their education project managers may obtain a post-bachelor's certificate or a master's degree in project management. They can earn Certified Associate in Project Management, Project Management Professional and other credentials from the Project Management Institute.

Other available certifications include Project Manager and Senior Project Manager through the American Society for the Advancement of Project Management. Potential project managers study cost-benefit analysis, risk management, statistics, general business skills and IT. Depending on their field of employment, some project managers also study construction or engineering.

project manager leading a team

Skills Required

What qualifications do you need to become a project manager? Besides education and experience, project managers should possess a number of personal attributes. It's essential that project managers have strong analytical and organizational skills so that they can delegate tasks, motivate colleagues and manage stakeholder priorities in a deadline-oriented environment. Project management qualifications include good interpersonal skills, excellent communication, conflict resolution, the ability to multitask, and strong leadership.

Roles and Responsibilities

Project Managers lead a team to complete a project. In this task, a good project manager must take on a number of different roles including:

  • Communicating project requirements clearly
  • Creating a plan with incremental goals and deadlines
  • Planning and leading team meetings
  • Liaising between clients and team members
  • Delegating and assigning tasks
  • Ensuring deadlines are met
  • Identifying and mitigating obstacles
  • Writing project reviews and performance reports
  • Overseeing documentation

Career and Economic Outlook

According to PayScale.com, project managers in general earned median salaries of $95,848 as of November 2020. In addition to this, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS, reports suggest that the project manager's industry may affect salary. Those working in computer and information systems should expect a 10% job growth between 2019-2029, per the BLS.

Alternate Career Options

If you think you want to work as a project manager in the computer systems industry, you might also check out a career as a computer systems analyst. If you think you would enjoy working in a management role in a business, maybe consider becoming a management analyst.

Computer Systems Analyst

These professionals examine organizations' computer procedures and systems for efficiency; they also recommend and implement necessary changes. Many analysts have a bachelor's degree in information or computer science, while others have related skills along with a degree in business or liberal arts. These analysts earned a median wage of $90,920 per year, the BLS reported in 2019 and could look forward to faster than average growth in available positions, with a 7% increase projected between 2019 and 2029.

Management Analyst

With at least a bachelor's degree in areas such as management, business, political science, accounting, marketing and economics, these analysts, often called management consultants, suggest ways that organizations might improve their efficiency. During the 2019-2029 decade, the BLS anticipated much faster than average employment growth for analysts of 11% and reported that they earned an annual median salary of $85,260 in 2019.

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