A career in project management is varied and exciting. It's a role requiring strong leadership, communication and organisational abilities, along with specific project management knowledge. Because it's a challenging role, project managers often command excellent salaries. PRINCE2 is a project management methodology which can assist all project managers. Read this article to discover more about PRINCE2 and how it can help you enter this exciting profession.
Project manager jobs in demand
As a PRINCE2 training course provider, we receive many enquiries from people who want to know why they should get PRINCE2 qualified.
Requiring strong organisational and leadership abilities rather than specialist industry knowledge, project management provides a varied, exciting and challenging career.
With 1.5 to 2 million people in the UK earning their living as project managers[i], and over 21 million new project management roles estimated to be created globally from 2017 to 2027[ii], the popularity of project management as a career choice shows no signs of slowing down.
In the UK, it is estimated that the demand for project manager roles will increase by 20% between 2017 and 2027 .
Many jobs require certification
When looking for roles, many jobseekers will find that certification in a project management method is a prerequisite for many jobs.
The most popular method in the UK is PRINCE2, widely renowned as the method of choice amongst organisations across all industries and seen as a standard in the public sector.
As the two-tier PRINCE2 Foundation and PRINCE2 Practitioner qualifications are prerequisites for many project management positions, getting fully PRINCE2 certified is certainly a step in the right direction.
How do I get in?
Although becoming PRINCE2 certified will provide a boost to your CV, getting a project management job can require several years of experience within a technical role appropriate to the project.
If you are taking your first steps into project management, there are a growing number of junior and trainee project management roles available, as well as graduate internships, which can all give you a solid starting point in which to work your way up.
It is also possible to gain relevant experience by working in an administrative position within a project team.
Working in project support gives you an excellent insight into the way project managers work and gives you a lot of experience in working on actual projects.
If you are finding it tough to get into an entry-level project role, boosting a CV that lacks practical experience can be done by gaining certification in a project management method or software, and you can always add relevant experience from your personal life.
The most widely used project management method in the UK is PRINCE2, so becoming familiar with the terminology, principles and structure of this methodology will make any candidate stand out for a project support role.
Knowledge of project management software such as MS Project can also prove to employers that you are equipped with the practical skills needed for the role.
Remember – all skills count
If you have no formal ‘on the job’ experience in projects, why not take inspiration from your personal life?
Remember that time you expertly planned a fund-raising event for charity, or when you managed your sister’s wedding? Add it to your CV.
Experience can also be gained from getting involved in voluntary work, such as conservation projects, voluntarily teaching people new skills or planning fundraising events.
By taking on projects outside of the formal business environment, you are still gaining the vital experience and skills needed for the role, as well as providing a boost to your CV.
Beyond the administrative roles, positions such as project planner and project analyst provide useful stepping-stones for those wanting to pursue a project management career.
These usually work alongside the project manager, thereby gaining in-depth knowledge of the specific project and insights into the practical application of project management methods.
Project manager role
The fundamental role of a project manager is to coordinate a finite set of resources - people, money, materials - in order to deliver products (or outputs) which the customer has specified. Some examples of products might be a new IT system, the staging of a concert, or a marketing campaign.
The project manager is responsible for planning, communication with different stakeholders, reporting to senior management, managing issues and risks, and monitoring the progress of the project.
According to the UK government’s National Careers Service , the average starting salary for a project manager is around £22,000 a year, which rises to £70,000 a year with experience.
Programme manager role
A natural career progression for a project manager with experience is the programme manager role. This role is responsible for the planning and coordination of multiple related projects, each managed by a project manager.
Programme managers usually have at least eight years of experience behind them, including senior project management positions and the organisation of large project teams.
Programme management qualifications are also a frequent 'desirable' at this level, the most common in the UK being MSP.
A well-paid and demanding role, programme management requires in-depth understanding of the project management process, and the ability and drive to make each project happen.
The average salary for a programme manager is around £65,000 per year, rising to over £90,000 for the most experienced people .
As a career with excellent progression and salary opportunities, gaining certification such as PRINCE2 will help you make that vital first step.
As you can see from this article, the demand for project managers will increase in the coming years. There are not enough qualified and experienced project managers who can fill these roles.
Setting foot into a project management career can be helped by gaining professional project management certification. In the UK, that usually means PRINCE2.
The added advantage of gaining PRINCE2 is that you will also learn the world’s most popular project management methodology which will stand you in good stead when you land your first project manager role and need to put your theory into practice.
 National Centre for Project Management. (2014). Background. Available: http://www.eis.mdx.ac.uk/ncpm/background.html. Last accessed 21 Nov 2018.
 Project Management Institute. (2017). Project Management Job Growth and Talent Gap 2017 & 2027. Available: https://www.pmi.org/-/media/pmi/documents/public/pdf/learning/job-growth-report.pdf. Last accessed 23 Nov 2018.
 National Careers Service. (2018). Job profiles – business project manager. Available: https://nationalcareersservice.direct.gov.uk/job-profiles/business-project-manager. Last accessed 21 Nov 2018.
 PayScale. (2018). Average Program Manager, IT Salary. https://www.payscale.com/research/UK/Job=Program_Manager%2c_IT/Salary. Last accessed 21 Nov 2018.