Project Management: Choosing the career of the future

Project Management: Choosing the career of the future

What to consider when choosing a career path? It is the big question. Is it passion for the field of work? Is it pressure from society? Is it you choosing to be realistic about your options?

Choosing a primary career or even changing careers makes sense only if you choose something you love to do, something that gives you opportunities to prosper. You want to choose a career path that can weather an economic crisis.

Many factors can lead to a career path with limited longevity. For instance, automation has pushed many people out of their jobs.  John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight gives us an in depth look of automation effects in an educative and entertaining way.

Art from careers in automation, there are professions that are fairly new whose future appears bright. The tri factor for such professions is technology, technology, technology.

Skills in the technology sector are most sought after by head hunters. Professions such as IT and software development promise bright futures with their longevity assured, but have you heard of project management?

What is project management?

Let’s make it easier to understand. A project is a venture usually temporary that a company or organisation undertakes in a bid to bring a new product or service to the market.

A project will therefore have an onset and end time, so all the activities within the project have timelines. The project will have a set budget, a set of operations that should be followed in order to achieve the desired goal.

Examples of projects include the development of a software by a telecommunications company, the expansion of a sales effort into new markets in different regions by a FMCG company for example, construction of a foot bridge by a construction company or even the beautification of hotel grounds by a landscaper.

Anything that is unique with set goals and timelines is a project. It is only that they vary from industry to industry in the corporate world. Whether you are in business service, oil and gas, finance and insurance, manufacturing there is bound to be projects.

Project management, then, is the application of skills and techniques to project activities to meet the project goals. As you can imagine this sounds like something that people have been doing in normal daily life to achieve both long term and short term goals. This is true, it has always been practiced informally, but project management began to emerge as a distinct profession in the mid-20th century.

The modern context of what project managers do include tasks such as:

  • They decide which skill sets are required for a project.
  • They set the budget for the work.
  • They lead meetings to track the project’s progress.
  • They set the schedule and time frame for the project and all subprojects.
  • They decide how the work will be completed.
  • They report on progress of a project to stakeholders.
  • They manage the culture of the team and organisation.
  • They plan and define a project scope.
  • They plan resources of a project and they plan a team.
  • They develop schedules and documentations.
  • They do time and costs estimations.
  • They manage risks and do risk analysis

What determines the outlook or longevity of a career path?

The job outlook of a career path can be determined using market research and statistics. Research offers the expected growth rate of a job and helps people in deciding their careers.

 According to the Project Management Institute based in the United States, there will be a demand for 87.7 million project managers by 2027.

There are a number of factors that determine the job outlook of a career. They include economy and industry trends. Because each industry has a need for project managers, becoming a Project Manager may be a great career path for those pursuing jobs with steady growth rate.

Why is project management the perfect stepping stone to a 21st century career?

  1. It can be applied across industries

All industries have projects and these projects need team leaders who will organise and coordinate them (project managers). Whether it is in construction, software, interior design, healthcare, they all need leaders to make sure that everything gets done within a project.

If you are a skilled worker in a specific industry, you have the opportunity to move easily into a project manager role.

Projects also range in size, complexity and specialty, giving project managers of varying experiences plenty of opportunities. There are plenty of projects for both beginners and seasoned professionals.

2. Project management has transferable skills

Project managers have responsibilities that could help you develop skills that are applicable to different industries. Such skills are often transferrable, making switching jobs and fields easier for those who want to explore other opportunities.

If you want to switch from construction to software, you can easily apply your leadership and management skills to your new position.

3. Project managers are in demand

There is a widening gap between the need of skilled project managers and their availability across the globe. Hence, employers and organisations are looking for professionals with project management skills. Because the work carried out is project based, the need for specific skills for individuals with leadership skills is paramount.

For this reason, project management is one of the most rapidly growing professions in the world. Project managers have the skills and knowledge to make things happen in any industry.

This growing demand for project management professionals can give you the opportunity to align your skills in order to get into this competitive job market.

4. High paying salaries

Each and every person wants to earn a high income. The salary of a project manager is comparatively high but it may vary from company to company, and country.

5. Great opportunities

Project management opportunities offer you unlimited options. These opportunities grow with experience, professional certification courses, and skill improvement. Also, there are more project management opportunities for professional project managers who have advanced degrees such as masters in project management or PMI certification.

Project management trends for the future

  1. The power of soft skills

Soft skills are general to many industries. They are not specific to a particular job and usually, no training is needed to build them.

No matter what field you’re working in: project management or marketing, soft skills are always desirable.

This combination of skills may include communication skills, problem-solving, leadership, critical thinking, team working, flexibility, negotiation skills.

Every project manager who wants to be successful and in demand tomorrow should today think about acquiring such skills.

2. The growth of projects complexity

Even though projects are becoming more complex for those who perform them, they should be explained to the audience in simple ways.

Managers who can present complex projects to their customers in a simple form will be able to create successful strategies for successful projects.

3. The role of project management software

It’s rather difficult to imagine the project manager’s workflows without a convenient project management tool. Anyone looking to get into this field should be technologically savvy.

Who this career path is for?

Lifelong learners

Professional development isn’t a one-time thing; it should be a continuous part of your career. If you are looking to gain competitive skills, consider taking a project management short course.

Make it a priority to assess and improve your skill set, and you’ll increase your value to any organisation and enhance your future career prospects.

Passion and competencies in business

While technical skills are core to project and programme management, PMI research tells us they’re not the only skills in demand in today’s increasingly competitive job market.

Hiring managers are seeking additional skills in leadership and business intelligence. Skills such as people management that can support strategic business objectives that can contribute to the bottom line.

People orientation

If you like to be surrounded by people, and you are good at managing them, then project management will suit you well. Project managers are good at managing stakeholders and convincing them to finance or to carry out projects.

How do I become a project manager?

The good news is that you do not have to undertake a four-year course for you to practice project management professionally. There are many training institutions in Kenya that offer short project management courses. The courses may run you up quite a bit in fees payment but it is an investment worth taking.

Whatever institution you choose to join remember that you still have to take the PMI exam in order to get accredited after your course work.

In a nutshell,

According to the 2019 joint research survey by KPMG and International Project Management Association, the future of project management is bright. We hope you found this information resourceful!

Author: Joan Igamba

Joan Igamba specialises in digital marketing, SEO and copywriting . She writes mainly on technology, career and personal development, wellness, personal finance as well as lifestyle. Although her sense of direction is like her Ferrari (she doesn't have it) she's always ready to explore new places that offer great food experiences. She enjoys a good scripted podcast, pets and Instagram.