How to become a project manager

So you're interested in becoming a project manager but you're not exactly sure what it's all about? Were here to help.

What is a Project Manager?

The simplest way to sum up project management work is that it's all about managing available resources, finances and meeting deadlines. As a "project" is generally defined as being a specific, temporary endeavour that's undertaken to achieve planned objectives, project management work these days can be found across a wide variety of different industries.

What does it take to become Project Manager?

If the idea of being a project manager appeals to you, there's a couple of check boxes you might like to consider first to determine that you have the right personal qualities. The biggies here are strong leadership and communication skills, the ability to plan and execute tasks to a deadline, problem-solving abilities and a strong sense of responsibility - there's no passing the buck when you're a project manager.

It also helps to be persuasive, results-driven, resourceful, a creative thinker and reasonably thick-skinned, especially in high pressured situations.

Often people who set out to work in project management find that the biggest hurdle can be the catch-22 situation of experience. Or rather, a lack of it. If this is the case, emphasise your ideal project manager-esque skills on your resume. It also helps to include voluntary work, team sports and any other organisations you belong to. All of this will indicate to a prospective employer that, although you may have limited (or no) actual project management experience, you have many of the personal attributes that will make you a successful project manager.

How much do Project Managers get paid?

A general Project Manager earns an average salary of AU$91,847 per year according to recent stats from Income can vary slightly on experience, similar to the majority of career areas. The skills that increase pay for this job the most are Operations Management, Change Management, Engineering Design, and Contract Management. Entry level Project Managers can still earn an impressive 90k+ salary. The graph below will give you further insight into how experience can effect your paycheck.

project manager graph


Qualifications needed to be a Project Manager

Nearly every business will require a project manager at some stage of their development. Regardless of your experience, having a solid qualification under your belt will definitely work in your favour when up against other candidates. Whether you currently have a role as a project manager and need to boost your knowledge or you wish to start a new career in project management, below are some courses we offer that are designed to advance your career.

TAFE's Certificate IV in Project Management Practice is a great start as it has no entry requirements, and qualifies you for a whole range of career opportunities such as contracts officer, estimator and scheduler, project administrator or analyst and quality operator. The Certificate IV also provides a pathway to the Diploma in Project Management, which qualifies you as a project manager, in either a generic or industry-specific context. Both of these courses are available through TAFE NSW Online learning.

Project management work can be hugely challenging but often immensely rewarding. Some would even say invigorating. If you have all (or many) of the necessary personal qualities, do yourself a favour and explore the idea further. It may be the best thing you ever do for your career.