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Is project management the right career for you?

Published on: 19 Feb 2024
  • Do you thrive in collaborative environments where teamwork is crucial?
  • Do you have excellent organisation skills and attention to detail?
  • Do you want to be at the forefront of change?

If you answered yes to any of these, then yes! Project management could be the perfect career for you. Deciding if project management is right for you involves exploring various aspects of the profession and seeing how well they align with your interests, skills and aspirations. Project management is a dynamic career path that attracts professionals from various backgrounds, often as a second career choice. Its appeal lies in its versatility, skill transferability and the vast array of opportunities it presents across industries. Project management is an open door to a variety of possibilities; it doesn’t matter what you’re doing now – project management can be your career.

Is project management the right career

You’re in demand

While project management presents a world of opportunities, it's worth noting the existing shortage of skilled professionals in the field. According to Project Management Institute’s (PMI) Talent Gap report, the demand for project management positions is set to skyrocket. By 2030, over 2 million people will be needed to fill these roles.

In the UK specifically, the Golden Thread report by the Association for Project Management (APM), highlights that 40% of organisations surveyed predict a growth in project size. However, a third of organisations cited skills and capability shortages as a potential barrier to the future growth of project management, indicating a potential shortage of project managers.

The surge in demand opens the door to an array of opportunities for those considering project management. And the shortage of project professionals signifies an urgent need for skilled people to step into project management roles. Aspiring project managers have a silver lining; a landscape brimming with opportunities waiting to be seized.

A versatile career choice

One of the compelling aspects of project management is the ability to transition from various professions. Regardless of your previous career, whether it’s engineering, healthcare, media, hospitality, finance, marketing, or something else, the transferable skills – such as leadership, problem-solving, and effective communication – enable you to seamlessly transition into project management roles. This adaptability allows for a diverse career path, providing opportunities for growth and innovation across a variety of industries.

Project management isn't confined to a single industry. In fact, it offers a gateway to explore a variety of sectors, from technology and healthcare to finance and construction. The skills acquired in project management are like a golden ticket, allowing you to pivot and thrive in new industries. Emerging sectors like renewable energy, digital innovation and space exploration present exciting avenues that you can contribute to. Imagine spearheading a project that innovates healthcare infrastructure, revolutionising patient care one step at a time. Then transitioning to an endeavour that pioneers space exploration, all made possible by the versatility inherent in the project management skill set.

Fly us to the moon?

Let’s look at an example like the space industry, with its rapid advancements and groundbreaking projects. The opportunities are significant and space projects need effective project managers who can contribute to cutting-edge initiatives. Here's a glimpse into some of the exciting prospects waiting for you:

  • Project managers as mission leaders: Overseeing missions to the moon or Mars involves intricate planning, coordination, and execution. Project managers play a pivotal role in orchestrating these ambitious ventures, ensuring seamless collaboration among multidisciplinary teams and navigating challenges unique to space exploration.
  • Managing satellite projects: With the increase of satellites for communication, Earth observation, and navigation, project managers oversee the development, launch, and maintenance of satellite constellations. Coordinating these projects demands precise planning and meticulous execution.
  • Launching commercial space projects: The rise of commercial spaceflight and tourism offers exciting opportunities. Coordinating missions for private space travel, space hotels, or commercial research platforms requires adept organisation and resource management skills.
  • Addressing environmental challenges: As space activity intensifies, managing space debris and ensuring sustainability become critical. Project managers lead initiatives to mitigate debris and develop sustainable practices in space operations.

Next steps to get started in project management:

  1. Leverage your skills: Take a look at the APM Competence Framework to see what the benchmark for excellence looks like. Identify the transferable skills from your current or previous career that align with project management, such as leadership, communication, problem-solving and teamwork, and highlight them in your CV and interviews.
  2. Gain the relevant experience: Explore projects within your current role that offer exposure to project management tasks so you can get to grips with what’s involved. Practical experience is key, and you likely have the skills from a previous role, so think about what you might be missing.
  3. Become qualified and certified: Invest in project management qualifications like the APM Project Fundamentals Qualification to solidify your knowledge and credibility within the field. There are lots of courses available and different training programmes that can work for you.
  4. Network and meet professionals: Engage with professional networks, join a project organisation like APM, seek mentorship, and explore volunteer opportunities to get to know the project community. APM hosts lots of events where you can meet your future peers and get valuable insight into the reality of project management.

As the world evolves, project management stands as a testament to adaptability – a profession that not only navigates change but thrives in its midst. Project management is multifaceted; a blend of strategic thinking, leadership, communication, organisational skills and flexibility. These skills, transferable and applicable across industries, are the bedrock on which successful projects are built.

Ultimately, the decision to pursue project management should resonate with your interests and ambitions. If you’re contemplating a career shift or embarking on your professional journey, consider the boundless possibilities that project management offers. It's not just a career; it’s a gateway to a world brimming with challenges, triumphs, and endless growth. After all, in this ever-changing world, what could be more fulfilling than being at the helm of change itself?