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How to become a project manager

Published: Wednesday 4th November 2020

Man standing in front of a screen looking at data

Have you ever wondered how to become a project manager? Here, Zoek US takes you through everything you need to know to start you on your project management journey, from salary, education, training, and more!

What is a project manager?

A project manager is responsible to for the day-to-day management of a project. A project is a series of tasks that need to be completed to achieve some kind of outcome. Project managers must work within set parameters, like outcomes, time limits, and budgets. They must also be able to deal with the project within its six aspects: scope, schedule, finance, risk, quality, and resources.

What education do I need to become a project manager?

You don’t need a formal education to become a project manager. However, some education can be useful. Most project managers have some college or a bachelor’s degree, although it’s not required. Many project managers end up in the role through leveraging their existing skills and working their way up through their company. You could also get a degree in business administration as a stepping stone to becoming a project manager. Depending on the industry you work in, you may also require a particular degree. If you work as a project manager in the arts, for instance, your job may require you to have a humanities/arts degree on top of other certifications, training, and experience.

Want to dip your toes in the water? You can begin your project management journey by taking an online course.

Do I need any other experience or certifications?

Project manager explaining a graph to a colleague

Getting a project management certification can certainly help you get a project management job more easily. The Project Management Institute (PMI) offer several project management certifications, including the popular Project Management Professional (PMP) certification. This certification requires you hold a four-year degree in project management and have at least 4,500 hours of experience working in the field (or 7,500 without a degree).

You can also get the Certified Associate in Project Management certification from PMI. This is a lower level certification that you can achieve in order to progress into your PMP. This certification provides you with all the foundational knowledge and skills you’ll need to enter the field.

You may also want to explore several Agile certifications, including the PMI Agile Certified Practitioner or a PRINCE2 certification.

Main duties

Your main duties will vary depending on your profession. However, most project managers will spend much of their time:

  • Directing all stages of the project in question
  • Setting and managing project expectations
  • Coordinating and tracking various projects over their life cycle
  • Developing project management plans
  • Developing professional business relationships
  • Defining project scope
  • Creating revenue projections
  • Setting and holding regular project meetings with stakeholders
  • Completing tasks according to project scope
  • Obtaining input from customers on projects where necessary
  • Mentoring and developing members of your team

Where are all the project management jobs?

Two project managers working at a computer at night

As a project manager, you could work for almost any company in any industry that has large-scale projects needing management. According to this study by PMI, project management jobs in the US are set to jump by 2.1 million by 2027. Much of the existing project management talent pool worldwide is set to retire in the coming years, making project management a great field to get into if you want some job security.


The average project manager salary in the US sits at around $75,000, though those people with the right education, skills, and experience can earn much more.

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