Project Management

How to start a career in project management

A career in project management can offer a fulfilling and exciting path. This dynamic field requires adaptability, strategic thinking, and a comprehensive approach to problem-solving, making every day distinct and engaging.

How to start a career in project management

Project management careers are continually evolving, with a wealth of new opportunities surfacing daily in Australia. From construction and healthcare to IT and beyond, various industries are in urgent need of more project managers to address the ongoing skills shortages.

A recent study conducted in partnership with KPMG found that 73% of project professionals reported staff shortages in their projects. On a global scale, it's anticipated that approximately 2.3 million individuals will be needed each year to fill the expanding number of project management roles.

This is a field brimming with possibilities. In this article, we'll guide you through the initial steps to embark on a project management career. You'll discover the varied paths and essential skills needed to thrive as a professional in this vibrant and ever-evolving sector.

Why choose a project management career?

Project management as a field has significantly transformed over the years. Traditionally centered around planning, organising, and executing projects, the role has now expanded to encompass a wider array of responsibilities.

Today's project managers are much more than just efficient administrators. You’ll be expected to be a visionary leader, skilled in navigating complex challenges and contributing to the success of your organisations. This shift has made a career in project management not only more dynamic but also more vital to business success.

Key reasons for choosing a career in project management include:

  • Diverse opportunities: Project management roles are varied, offering you a range of challenges and experiences.
  • Choose where you want to work: Skills in project management are applicable across various industries, providing flexibility in your career choices.
  • Be in-demand: There is a consistent need for project managers, making it a stable career choice.
  • Earn a competitive salary: In Australia, project management salaries are attractive, ranging from $70,000 to over $90,000 for entry-level roles, with senior positions like project directors earning significantly more.

Step 1. Do your research - work out if it's right for you

Your initial step is to assess whether you possess the essential skills for a project management role. As a project manager, you’ll need a varied skill set, including not only technical abilities but also a broad range of soft skills. The good news is you may already have or naturally possess many of these skills, like emotional intelligence and organisational abilities, from your previous roles. Let's explore some of these key skills and understand their importance in the realm of project management.

Some of the key skills that suit a career in project management are:

  • Clear communication: Strong verbal and written communication is important for collaborating towards project goals, engaging stakeholders, and resolving conflicts during the project.
  • Organisational skills: Being organised is key in project management, as it often involves handling several stakeholders, documents, and tasks simultaneously.
  • Prioritising and adaptability: The ability to prioritise tasks and adapt quickly is useful in project management, as you will often need to multi-task as a project manager.
  • Analytical thinking: Thinking critically and having the ability to make decisions informed by data are valuable skills in the current project management field.
  • Industry knowledge: Staying current with industry trends and regulations helps project managers prepare for and tackle potential challenges effectively.


Step 2. Get certified - finding the right course

Now that you’ve recognised you already have some of the natural skills needed for a career in project management, your next step is to find which certification (or certifications) will work for you and your career. Our students come from lots of different backgrounds and industries, so we know the importance of choosing your unique path and have the knowledge to help you choose the right certification. Let’s talk about some of the courses available for project managers.

Project management courses

You have a wide range of certifications to choose from, but don’t feel overwhelmed. You just need to consider the industry and projects you would like to work in. Agile and Scrum certifications are perfect for fast-paced sectors like technology and marketing, where flexibility and rapid adaptation are essential.

For beginners, the CAPM (Certified Associate in Project Management) lays a foundational understanding of project management principles, applicable across various industries. Lean methodology, focusing on efficiency and waste reduction, is particularly relevant in manufacturing and healthcare. Each certification provides distinct skills and approaches, paving the way for a career that matches your professional aspirations and aligns with industry-specific demands.

Not sure where to start? Speak with one of our career experts for advice on starting your new career.


Step 3. Project management career support

No matter what stage of your career you’re in, our Career Services team are equipped with the knowledge and skills to guide you on your path to your new role. Alongside your new certification, you’ll receive guidance on crafting your professional brand, advice on how to network with other project managers to open up new opportunities, career workshops, support in interview preparation, and much more. With the help of our team, you can land the role that works for you.

Project manager positions

When starting your journey into project management, understanding the wide range of roles available is crucial. Alongside established roles like Project Manager and Program Manager, newer roles such as Scrum Masters and Agile Coaches are becoming increasingly common, indicating a shift towards the use of agile methodologies. These new roles reflect modern organisations' emphasis on innovation and adaptability. Additionally, the integration of project management with disciplines like business analysis or change management has led to an increase in hybrid roles, where a diverse set of skills is highly valued.

The extensive variety of roles accessible to skilled and certified project managers not only opens up vast opportunities for entering the industry but also empowers you to carve out a unique career path that aligns with your personal life and individual personality.


Project Management Career FAQs

Is Project Management a good career option?

Absolutely, project management is an excellent career choice, particularly well-suited for those skilled in balancing organisational responsibilities, time management, and interpersonal skills. This field offers abundant opportunities for career growth and advancement, driven by the current demand and skills shortages in various industries.

Is Project Management the right career for me?

Deciding if project management is the right career path for you involves considering your personal strengths and work preferences. This field is well-suited for those who excel in organisation, strategic planning, and enjoy leading teams towards a specific goal. If you have a knack for clear communication, problem-solving, and adaptability in an environment where change is likely, project management could be your next career.

What qualifications do I need to be a Project Manager?

The field of project management offers a variety of qualifications to suit different career paths. Popular certifications include CAPM (Certified Associate in Project Management), ideal for beginners or Agile and Scrum certifications if you want to work in more dynamic project environments. Each certification caters to different aspects of project management, and we can help you decide which certification will work for your career.

Looking to start a project management career?

If you’re ready to embark on your project management journey, you can explore our wide range of courses with your dedicated Career Consultant. Our team of career experts will support you throughout your journey of professional growth and opportunity.

At Learning People, our focus is on equipping you with the skills and practical knowledge needed to excel in project management.

Don't hesitate to reach out to us and organise your career consultation and take that first step towards your new career.

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