Become a Project Manager


Today's business economy has shifted significantly from the way it was even 10 years ago. While there are still plenty of major multinational corporations operating on global scales, there has been a surge in growth of small businesses and startups as well.

One hallmark of this new type of lean organization is a focus on project-based operations. Especially in the world of tech startups and app developers, product development often follows a tightly regulated schedule that is mapped out from brainstorming to production and marketing. 

This new way of operating in the business space requires a new type of management to be able to interact with it effectively. Business education in the past decade has shifted away from standard personnel and asset management and has instead placed a greater emphasis on entrepreneurship and project management. These are both facets of the same business paradigm, but they highlight a number of skills and requirements that are unique to smaller-scale, project-based work. 

Are Online Project Manager Programs for You?

Here are some things to consider when choosing a project manager program.

Project management is often lumped under the business school umbrella. That said, having a foundational background in business may be beneficial, even if it isn't required. However, these traditional business tenets aren't the focus of a project management degree. Instead, there is increased emphasis placed on elements like personnel management, marketing and procurement law. 

Many project management programs also place heavy significance on logistics and supply chain concerns, not to mention marketing, merchandising and public relations. Project managers frequently work with issues concerning both staff and clients, so they must be well-versed in communication skills, mediation and conflict resolution.

Another significant aspect of project management is marketing and making connections - this is especially true for smaller companies and startups. With this in mind, effective project management involves plugging into the most popular and widely used channels for marketing, including the Internet, social media and B2B channels. Digital branding and product development go hand-in-hand, so candidates should have at the very least a basic working knowledge of platforms like Twitter and Facebook.

Project Manager Career Paths and Potential Salaries

Given the changing nature of business, project managers may find themselves in higher demand in the coming years. Startups and small businesses frequently have need of those with this unique skill set, but it's increasingly common for project managers to find work in much larger corporate settings as well.

Construction Manger[i]

These are project managers who work specifically in the construction and contracting industry. They operate just like project managers in other industries, but their focus is on planning, budgeting, staffing and completing major construction projects. The role of a construction manager is typically administrative rather than labor-based. 

  • 2012 median annual salary: $82,790
  • Job growth through 2022: 16 percent (faster than average)
  • Entry-level education: Bachelor's degree

Engineering Manager[ii]

Like construction managers, engineering managers tend to focus on physical engineering projects. However, rather than deal with the construction phase, engineering managers tend to focus more on the design and architectural aspect of the project. 

  • 2012 median annual salary: $124,870
  • Job growth through 2022: 7 percent (slower than average)
  • Entry-level education: Bachelor's degree

Management Analyst[iii]

These professionals work as consultants within larger corporate or business operations. Working largely with the management and executive teams, they are tasked with analyzing company operations and offering insight into how to streamline and make daily operations more efficient. In some cases, they may also head up specific short-term projects.

  • 2012 median annual salary: $78,600
  • Job growth through 2022: 19 percent (faster than average)
  • Entry-level education: Bachelor's degree