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Is Project Management Right for You?

Wondering if project management is a good career? Keep reading to learn more about how it works — and how it can help you professionally.

Basics of Project Management

Project management is the process of planning, organizing and overseeing work on a defined project. It involves accomplishing specific goals within guidelines of cost and time and is applicable to almost every business and industry.

If you have an analytical mind, excellent communication skills, a tough skin and the ability to lead, project management may be for you.

What Does a Project Manager Do?

A project manager’s job involves creating a master plan to reach a specific outcome — and then making sure it gets done. Project managers (PMs) are results-oriented leaders who break an end-goal into smaller pieces, manage a team to complete each part, and make sure expected results are reached within budget and time constraints.

Jim Bates, project management instructor at Richland, said many of his students already are employed and want to enhance their skills. Others, he said, may be unemployed and are retooling for today’s job environment. Bates added that the principles of project management can be used in almost any industry.

Bates explained that project management is “industry-agnostic” because the core concepts are the same regardless of industry or domain; as a result, it can be used in manufacturing, construction or software development, for example.

Benefits of Project Management Training

In a strong economy, demand for PMs is high across all industries. When the economy is slow, look for opportunities in hot sectors such as biotechnology or IT. Many companies use PMs to handle everything from launching new products to restructuring.

Why Project Management Is Important for an Organization

Project managers plan what work needs to be done, who’s going to do it and when each part needs to be completed. Projects can vary widely in both content and scope — from publishing a report to constructing a building. Though project managers are not responsible for carrying out the work themselves, they are accountable for the outcome.

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How Can Project Management Help a Company?

Because there are so many areas that employ project managers, specific job duties vary widely both in scope and technical knowledge required. However, general responsibilities include:

  • Creating the master plan to lead a project to successful delivery
  • Identifying resources
  • Coordinating and motivating the project team
  • Communicating with stakeholders
  • Budgeting and managing costs
  • Managing risks and issues
  • Dealing with variables or changes
  • Making sure the project runs on time and within budget
  • Delivering expected outcomes

Does a Project Manager Need to Have Technical Skills?

Not necessarily! Project managers tend to possess the following skills:

  • The ability to juggle multiple responsibilities
  • Analytical thinking
  • Outstanding communications skills
  • The ability to work with people of diverse abilities and personalities
  • Excellent time management abilities
  • Strong leadership skills
  • The ability to accept responsibility for either the success or the failure of a project

Project Management Classes in DFW

You can get project management training in Irving at North Lake, or in the Richardson/Garland area at Richland. As a student, you’ll take the following classes in order to earn your continuing education certificate in Project Management and earn a total of 160 hours of Continuing Education units:

  • Suggested Prep Courses:
    • Computer Basics & Windows
    • Excel I
  • Core Courses:
    • BMGT 2047 — Project Management Fundamentals
    • BMGT 2003 — Project Management Simulations
    • ITSC 1022 — MS Project I
    • ITSC 1043 — MS Project II
  • Additional Coursework:
    • ETWR 1043 — Technical Writing for Project Managers
    • ITSW 2054 — Visio

Project Management/PMP Certifications: Worth It?

Educational requirements for project managers vary greatly according to the type of projects they manage. For construction projects, a civil engineering degree is usually required. High-tech PMs may need a degree in electrical engineering or computer science. Many project managers have some type of formal business training, such as a Master of Business Administration, since they must be able to evaluate a project’s financial impact on the company.

Employers are increasingly seeking project managers with proven credentials. “If they currently practice project management but never had formal training, this course also sets them up to achieve what they need to sit for the PMP exam,” Bates said. “Having a certification positions them to be more competitive when they talk to potential employers.”

The project management professional (PMP) certification of the Project Management Institute (PMI) is one of the most well-known project management credentials and is the widely accepted standard for demonstrating a professional level of competence. PMI is the world’s largest not-for-profit membership association for the profession and offers five additional globally accredited credentials besides PMP.

To obtain the PMP credential, you must satisfy requirements involving education and experience, agree to a code of ethics and pass the PMP certification examination. Many corporations require PMP certification for employment or advancement.

How Much is a Project Manager’s Salary in Texas?

Bates said that an entry-level project manager in the Dallas-Fort Worth region can make up to $35 to $40 per hour. A project manager with three to five years of experience can make closer to $55 per hour, he added. In addition, specialized project managers, particularly in the technology industry, can make $90 per hour.

Heather Young, coordinator of continuing education at the Dallas County Community College District, said the project management certifications help workers advance within a company because they show that the worker has the knowledge and knows the strategies.

“Project managers ensure that product development and production are aligned,” Young said. “They keep a company on time and within budget on projects. That keeps the company successful.”

Published inContinuing Education

One Comment

  1. If I was on the fence about a career in project management, your blog would have sealed the deal. You covered the bases completely to help someone looking to pursue a project manager-degree program. Great job.

    A few qualities that could be beneficial when pursuing a career in project management are:
    1. Management skills
    2. Communication skills
    3. Negotiation skills
    4. Leadership qualities
    5. Organizational skills

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