How to become a project manager: Top-notch tips and skills

How To Become A Project Manager

According to the Project Management Institute’s (PMI) Talent Gap Report 2021, there will be a huge surge of 25 million in the number of project professionals required by 2030. To keep up with the rising demand, a whopping 2.3 million people should be hired every year. 

So, if you are someone wanting to jump on the bandwagon and looking for the answer to how to become a project manager, I am here to help you grab the opportunity in time. 

I’ve been in the industry for a time now,  leading and guiding aspiring project managers. And I have had my fair share of deals doing so. So, I have got some valuable insights to share with you. 

In this post, I’ve outlined some crucial steps and tips required to tread your path in project management in 2024. Plus, we’ll also talk about the essential skills and tools that will be your salvation as a project manager. 

Let’s get started.

What is a project manager?

A project manager is a professional responsible for the planning, procurement, monitoring, controlling, and seamless execution of a project. Getting all of this executed within the allocated budget and time, and ensuring quality standards also counts as their prime responsibility.  

Their role goes beyond just being in charge of a team and expands its meaning to redefining the meaning of success. From defining goals and planning resources to communicating with stakeholders and ensuring smooth project progression, project managers have a lot on their plate to cater to.  

There are two types of project managers:

  • The “traditional project manager”
  • The “accidental project manager” or “non-project-manager” 

No matter the industry, project managers are becoming a part of various industries. Some examples include 

  • Marketing and advertising
  • Information technology (IT)
  • Government agencies
  • Finance
  • Healthcare
  • Manufacturing, etc. 

Now that you are aware of the core meaning of project manager, let us move ahead and outline a list of steps to become a project manager. 

How to become a project manager?

Becoming a project manager is a combination of various elements – 

  • Education 
  • Experience 
  • Skills

While some secure a PM job opportunity right after their education in project management background, others gradually make their way to the position after being in other roles. Despite the differences in path, here are some practical steps to embark on your PM journey.

1. Earn a degree

Although no guidebook says you need to hold a certain education or certification to become a project manager, having a solid understanding gives you an edge over others. 

Acquiring an undergraduate degree is a required criterion to secure the position right after graduation. Some of the fields include: 

  • Business administration
  • Project or business management
  • Marketing
  • Field management
  • Engineering
  • Information technology

After that, you can even advance to achieve a master’s degree. Also, there are numerous universities, colleges, professional organizations, and online platforms that offer online and in-person courses. 

2. Obtain certifications

Now even if you already have a graduation degree, earning a project management certification is going to be a distinguishing factor. It will equip you with some specialized knowledge that is going to set you apart from others. 

But if you are an accidental project manager, a certification is required for you to prove your efficiency for the position. Also, as you advance in your career, earning certifications becomes essential to stay in sync with the evolving nature of this profession. 

But do not forget, that no certification can substitute if you lack practical knowledge and experience. Some of the most popular certifications in project management include: 

  • PMP

PMP stands for Project Management Professional, a certification that is offered by the leading organization for project management professionals i.e. Project Management Institute.

To learn more about the certification, you can visit the official PMI website here. One of the most popular certifications for project management professionals, it is specifically aimed at people who already have prior project management experience. 


An acronym for Projects In Controlled Environments, PRINCE2 focuses on general project management. It is generally recommended to people who are at an early stage in their project management career. PRINCE2 helps students learn about the best practices employed for each stage of the project.

Here’s the official link to the website where you can get to know all about the certification. Since there are different PRINCE2 Qualifications, you can get to know more about them here.

  • CAPM

CAPM stands for Certified Associate in Project Management. It is an entry-level certification that is offered by the Project Management Institute. Doing so will help lay the foundation of project management so that you can further progress in the field by doing higher certifications. Here is the official link to the PMI website where you can visit to learn more about CAMP certification

Besides the ones mentioned above, there are several other certifications to choose from, which include Agile Certifications, Six Sigma, Certified Scrum Master, and more. You can pick either of these according to your interests.

Read more: Add value to your role as a project manager with top 19 project management certifications in 2024

3. Gain relevant experience

Even if you started in a non-managerial position, seek opportunities to acquire relevant industry experience and expertise. No matter your industry, be it retail or restaurant, every sector has projects that need to be planned, managed, and executed. 

Join in and contribute your participation in accomplishing tasks. Showcase your interest in project management proactively, be it in a volunteer capacity – inside or outside your employment. 

Take on managerial tasks and participate in co-operational programs, regardless of how small they may be. Grab on the assisting project manager role if it comes your way. 

4. Develop key skills

Your role as a manager requires you to oversee other employees, promote customer satisfaction, and ensure quality assurance. But you should not forget to look beyond that realm and expand your knowledge economy by improving your management skills. 

These skills would help you easily navigate through business complexities, and develop necessary decision-making capabilities. Because, during the entire project lifecycle, there may often arise challenging situations, where you’ll have to make some difficult decisions. 

Some other skill sets to hone are- communication, risk management, organization, team-building, waterfall model, scrum methodology, etc. 

5. Understand your potential 

Whatever role you are currently working in, you must have participated in some planning, managing, and organizing various work aspects at any stage of your career. Based on those scenarios, evaluate the strengths and capabilities you already possess or developed throughout your journey so far. 

This will help you reflect on the areas that must be worked upon for improvement. Once done, you can proceed to develop these skills through formal training, mentorship programs, and feasibility study. 

6. Seek entry-level positions 

Not every time you need to make your way on your own to reach the pinnacle. Especially, if you have just graduated. Start by looking out for entry-level opportunities and apply the right way. 

Evaluate your options, search for roles to maximize your opportunities for growth and development, and build key skills in project management. Some titles to keep tabs on are:

  • Project coordinator  
  • Administrative associate
  • Operations associate
  • Assistant project manager
  • Operations coordinator

7. Embrace a continuous learning mindset 

You limit your growth, your knowledge, and most importantly, yourself to advance in your career when you stop learning. Being the one in a leading position, you can’t afford to project a stagnant outlook towards your position. 

Instead, you should constantly expand your learnings and acquire new knowledge and skill sets to stay relevant to the evolving nature of your profession. Staying up to date with advanced technologies, tools, and trends, allows you to prove greater efficiency in your endeavors. 

Read more: Discover the emerging project management trends that are all set to shape the industry in 2024

Tips for project managers

Now that you have made it so far in the article, let me help you with some actionable tips to move into a project manager position.

1. Get to know the project – inside out!

First and foremost. Be aware of all the project requirements.

These requirements encompass everything from the client’s expectations to the resources you have at hand and the expected timeline in which it should be delivered.

Based on all these factors you can create a plan and know about the feasibility of the project. 

2. Get to know your team

The second important tip (not many people are going to tell you) to become a successful project manager is to know the team that you are going to handle.

You must have a clear idea of the skills and working styles of people who are working with you. Based on that you can allocate the work, plan out the small details of the project execution, and then move the project forward towards a successful completion. 

3. Always have a plan B (and assessment of the risks)

The job of a project manager is not easy. You need to always be on your toes. And, as important as it is to have a plan to begin with, it is equally important to assess all the risks that might come your way, and derail the project.

Therefore, it is always recommended to always have a plan B in mind, just in case things start to slip through the cracks (at some point during the execution phase). 

4. Leverage the latest technology

The life of project managers has been simplified quite a lot. That became possible with the rise of all-in-one project management software applications, like ProofHub.

With the advent of these technological advancements, project managers now no longer have to rely on scattered emails for managing and communicating with their teams. Nor do they need to shuffle through compiling paper piles and juggle between several different tools.

Project manager: skills & duties

The project manager role is crucial in almost every industry. Let us take a closer look at what skills project managers need to have and the duties they perform day-to-day in their roles.  

Skills of project managers 

  • People skills

Project management, no matter the industry, is all about handling people and resources. And for you to become a successful project manager, you must have strong people skills. 

Since a big part of your job would involve getting people to not just do things but to the right, it is imperative to possess management skills.  

  • Communication skills

Honing good communication skills stays relevant and necessary in almost all industries. And for a project manager to become successful as a leader, communication management is a fundamental soft-skill requirement. Why?

Because a project manager is responsible for bringing everyone on the same page. Keeping them motivated toward achieving a unified goal is another key performance indicator. This stays applicable when everyone is communicating effectively and confidently. 

Read more: 9 effective communication strategies to connect better with your team

  • Leadership skills

Cultivating leadership skills is crucial to keeping a team motivated and inspired. Because there can be times when team members are stuck in a rut and cannot move forward. Whatever the reasons may be, the entire situation can derail the project. And your role in keeping high spirits during these challenges remains paramount.  

The project manager position is not smooth sailing. It is a journey that tests your ability not only during the tough times but at every step of the project. Because you are the beacon of guidance like who team members look for when things go awry.   

Read more: Build your leadership skills with these 13 outstanding strategies to empower your team to perform better and achieve more

  • Problem skills

Problem-solving is a crucial skill set project managers cannot do without. Because there may arise situations and bottlenecks that can take a toll on your capabilities. It may even cause a delay in the successful project execution or for worse compromise the project quality. 

But sailing through the turbulent waters of project implementation is possible.  And that is possible when you develop critical thinking, problem-solving attitude, and analytical skills. 

  • Organization skills

With the organization here I mean, to document everything together in one centralized location for smooth information flow. This information could be everything, including, project information, client expectations, and more. 

Hence good organization skills become an inseparable part of the project manager skill set. Because unorganized approaches could lead to unclear information sharing and costly project damage. 

Inculcating these must-have project management skills in the repertoire is crucial to carrying out the duties smoothly. 

But what are those duties? Let’s find out. 

Duties of project managers 

  • Project planning

The prime responsibility of a project manager is to carry out the project from initiation to execution with utmost ease. That is facilitated only when solid project planning is put into action. 

Thai generally includes everything from defining the project scope to identifying the resources’ availability. Forecasting realistic timelines based on the team’s capability and availability is another factor that makes an impact. All these efforts contribute to the project’s success.

  • Time management 

Time and money are two valuable, variable key indicators of success. By managing the former, you can get control of the latter aspect. To deliver and execute everything on time, you as a project manager should learn to control the reins of time. 

From setting realistic time frames for completing tasks to setting achievable deadlines, every single element falls in place. Also, learning to carefully prioritize tasks is crucial when everything seems important and urgent. 

  • Risk assessment 

Being a project manager you should take the lead and evaluate which move can be beneficial and which one can severely jeopardize. You can do that when you assess the risk and make decisions accordingly.  

Effective risk management allows you to anticipate the necessary steps before the damage is done. Although there are several risk management tools with risk assessment capabilities available in the market, human judgment still carries more weight. 

  • Quality management 

Now it is your responsibility as a project manager to promote successful project execution, ensuring that the quality guidelines are justified. Because there are certain quality parameters that every project must meet to be deemed successful. 

For that, you need to communicate your expectations and project objectives to the team. You can even discuss project progress and identify blockers in every stand-up meeting to ensure the highest quality is maintained by the team in the entire life-cycle assessment. 

  • Reporting 

A project manager’s part is not considered done with project completion. Instead, it expands beyond the delivery. They have to stay informed about the project’s performance. What went wrong? What was done right? What were the challenges encountered? 

Project managers should reflect on all these questions and perform a project post-mortem. It is through this thorough project analysis, that you as a project manager can figure out the scope for improvement and work on those aspects in future projects.

Tools for project managers

Staying in sync with the latest technological advancements has become the need of the hour. As a project manager, you should stay updated and capitalize on these productivity boosters to keep a check on all your projects.

Although there are virtually countless standalone tools available out there, ProofHub stands out of all due to its robust feature set. The all-in-one project management and team collaboration tool offers you a comprehensive platform for project management, task management, streamlining communication, custom reporting, and more- all in one place. It empowers a manager to manage everything about a project and team without the need to switch between tools. 

ProofHub is known for its easy-to-use interface, which helps managers and team members adapt to the platform quickly, minimizing onboarding time. 

Some of the features that ProofHub empowers you with are:

Apart from all that, what helps ProofHub attain the trust of its users is its transparent and flat (no-per-user) pricing plans. 

ProofHub offers two straightforward and suitable pricing tiers for all business types and budgets – Essential plan (starting at $45/month on annual billing) and Ultimate Control plan (starting at $89/month on annual billing) 

What is even better is, that ProofHub helps you add as many users as you want without breaking the bank – that too without any surprise charges or hidden fees. 

Read more: Learn the ways to manage projects with ProofHub for seamless project execution


Since now we’ve journeyed to all that it takes to become a project manager, I am sure you must have gained a sense of confidence in your abilities. Also, the rising demand for project managers and the growth opportunities of the profession are a testament to making a career in this direction. 

While you may also find the whole process a little overwhelming in the beginning. Remember, no one starts as a master of all trades. Instead, it is a continual learning environment for growth. 

Lastly, consider ProofHub your ally when you aim for success in your career.  

Bring efficiency to your project manager role with ProofHub’s robust all-in-one platform. Try a 14-day free trial. No hidden fees. No credit cards are required. 


Is becoming a project manager a good career choice?

Looking at the rising need for efficient project execution, there is a rising demand for project managers across various industries. Also, considering the competitive salary and career advancement opportunities in the field, the role translates to a valuable career pursuit.

Is it easy to become a project manager?

The ease of becoming a project manager depends on the approach taken to become one. While pursuing a formal four-year education is the most conventional route, others who develop project management capability in a non-conventional way may not find it that easy.

How many years does it take to become a project manager?

Some businesses insist candidates should hold a four-year bachelor’s degree. While others value extensive experience and consider certifications as a valuable asset when hiring a candidate. But building up your experience this way may take you a few years.

Can a non-IT person become a project manager?

Yes, any individual without a degree in project management can pursue a career in the field. With relevant experience and certification in hand, you can prove your capabilities meet the industry standards.

How much do project managers make?

According to the Glassdoor project manager salaries report last updated in March 2024, the average project manager salary in the United States area is $78K – $128K/yr.

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