A project is a defined piece of work that has specific objectives, and has a start and an end to it.
There is no set route to becoming a Project Manager. One way to get into this career is to take a postgraduate course in Project Management, which will then equip you with the knowledge needed to enter into a Junior Project Manager role immediately. There is a lot of competition for project management jobs, so employers will generally be looking for experience in a Project Manager. A course will give you the insight and knowledge, but experience of working on a project and subsequently managing a project will give valuable insight into the different risks and issues that can arise and how to handle different clients.
For applicants with experience of working on projects, the PRINCE2 qualification is a popular and globally recognised qualification. Many employers ask for this qualification as a requirement, or alternatively the APM qualification which is a more general course about different project management methodologies.
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The Project Manager is usually involved with defining the scope of the project, cost and resources and then manages the project through to completion. Alternatively, an organisation may be awarded a project that needs a project manager. The scope, cost, time and resources are already defined and the Project Manager is then responsible for making sure the project is carried out – and ultimately finished – to time, cost and quality. The Project Manager is usually expected to provide progress reports to senior management throughout the duration of the project, and to manage any scope changes. The team of staff working on the project report to the Project Manager, and the Project Manager is expected to give advice regarding issues and to actively monitor and manage risks and issues.
The working hours of a Project Manager are usually five days a week, Monday to Friday with a minimum of 35 hours per week. For experienced and more senior Project Managers that may be managing large projects, additional hours are often expected.
Skills and Training Development
For Junior Project Managers, the PRINCE2 and APM qualifications are the next step into developing greater knowledge of project management methodologies and practises. It is well worth discussing this with your employer because they may agree to sponsor you to project management training, particularly if you are already managing projects because you will be demonstrating enthusiasm for wanting to work on bigger projects in the future.
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Starting salaries for Project Managers are upwards of £25,000 rising to £50,000 for more experienced Project Managers. Senior Project Managers can expect anything up to £70,000 and more. Some Project Managers decide to set up a freelance business which can earn between £350 – £500 per day.