Subject Spotlight: Project Management

Are you obsessed with making lists, leading a team, have a high attention to detail and excellent problem-solving skills? You are made for a career in Project Management.

Why study project management?

Project management gives you an opportunity to work with a variety of different industries and projects. A generous benefactor providing funding for a new wing for a local gallery? An international company needs to update its reporting systems and roll it out to employees worldwide? A rock band wants to launch a new tour? You have it all covered.

Young woman sitting by table taking notes in a diary

Is project management right for you?

As a project manager, it is your responsibility to deliver projects on time and within budget, so if you love organising schemes, resources and people, project management may suit you.

As you will be accountable for delivering outcomes, it’s important that you can take charge of situations to ensure that you and the team are on track. You will need to be a good leader and communicator to successfully co-ordinate the work of your project team and delegate tasks.

Regardless of the content of the project and the sector you are working in, all projects follow a standard process, as defined by the Project Management Institute (PMI) UK. These are:

  • Initiating - checking achievability and organising budgets, teams and resources;
  • Developing - setting objectives, outlining roles and generating tasks. Tools like Gantt Charts, can be used to create a visual project plan;
  • Executing - management of the project;
  • Monitoring and Regulating - trailing the project's evolvement;
  • Concluding - evaluating successes and challenges to enhance learning for your next project.

Is project management a good career path to choose?

Project management is necessary for any industry where time and budget are important. As companies are constantly faced with doing more with less, the Project Management Institute reports that project management “is one of the top skill sets demanded by organisations around the world and between 2010 and 2020, the global job market will create 15.7 million new project management roles.

The businesses with the highest levels of project-oriented work are:

  • Manufacturing
  • Construction
  • Utilities
  • Information services
  • Business services
  • Finance and insurance
  • Oil and gas

Although healthcare is not currently on the list, increasing competition will require organisations to reduce cost and improve patient care. As a result healthcare is set to generate the greatest number of project management positions throughout the year 2020.

What type of qualification will I need to get?

Employers will typically prefer candidates with a degree in business or project management.

Postgraduate study in project management, especially accredited by the Association of Project Management (APM), will increase your understanding of the sector and prospects.

A qualification will help you gain the professional expertise needed to strategize, cultivate, manage and deliver multifaceted projects.

Do I have to study full time to get this degree?

No, there are many ways to study for business and project management qualifications. Online options are available.

How long will it take?

Degree courses are typically three years. Most students studying part-time/online are expected to complete the course in 4.5 years.

A postgraduate degree will normally be completed within 1,5 years.

What are the entry requirements?

In most settings, 2 A-level qualifications (or equivalent) will be required to enter an undergraduate degree.

For a postgraduate degree, you will normally be required to hold a UK honours degree at a minimum of second class (2.2) or equivalent.

However, often work experience can be taken into account alongside other qualifications.

What type of jobs could I get?

You could be working in a variety of sectors including construction, engineering IT, marketing holding positions such as assistant project manager, business change manager, junior/senior project manager, project coordinator and project officer.

What type of salary could I expect as a graduate?

Starting salaries for project managers are between £20,000 and £35,000, raising to £40,000 and £80,000 (depending on the sector) once you gain the necessary experience.

If you work as a freelancer, you can earn anything between £300 and £500 a day.

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