Career in Focus: Project Manager

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What does it take to become a Project Manager? Here at, we break down the skills and qualifications you need to take on a career in this area. 

 A project manager is someone who essentially manages the delivery of a set project or objective within the given resources and timeframe. It’s a hugely diverse and dynamic role as the skills and strengths of a good project manager are applicable across a wide range of sectors and industries.

What does a Project Manager do?

Project managers are needed everywhere, across every industry. They work to keep projects on-target for a company or a client on a consultancy basis, they also work to delegate roles and ensure deadlines are being met as part of the overall timeframe of a project. The most critical skill for any project manager is organisation, at a very detailed level, and the ability to apply different organisational strategies, such as AGILE, Lean or PRINCE for example, to numerous projects.

While Project Managers can come from any educational background, those with an advanced business degree or an MBA are particularly suited to the strategic requirements of the job, as are those from engineering, computing and scientific backgrounds. Of course, your area of particular expertise will likely guide which sorts of projects you will be able to manage, with engineers preferring to work on engineering projects, tech graduates on tech projects and so on. However you need to be able to be dynamic in your approach to the roles on offer, as a good project manager can deploy their skills to a range of different industries and sectors. There of course are dedicated project management degree and courses, generally offered at Level 9 available from major Irish institutions and more information on courses that are available can be found via our course search  and the Irish Institute of Project Management (IPM) is also a good source of information.

Skills and Qualifications

The nature of project management means blending technical skills with a wide array of soft skills, such as communication, technical communication, teamwork, the ability to manage your own time and learning and the ability to streamline various processes and methods for the benefit of the project as a whole. Of course, many projects change from their conception to their delivery, in terms of time, budget and resources for example so a good Project Manager needs to have the mental agility and the strategic and tactical ability to revise, reevaluate and communicate any concerns or impacts to the project stakeholders or clients. While the role relies upon established organisational methodologies, the nature of it can mean that it can be very demanding at times, but this very much varies from project to project and it can also depend upon external factors (contractors, malfunctions or delivery delays) over which you have little direct control. It’s therefore vital that clear reporting channels are established between a good Project Manager and those who are vital in ensuring that such issues are mitigated against and if there is an issue, that it is identified early and that there is an established process to engage with it and deal with it.

Future Prospects

Project Management can see you work internationally too, as a good Manager in this area can apply their practices and skills to a host of different environments. It’s also a sector which focuses heavily on continuous professional development (CPD) and organisations such as the IPM regularly host seminars, workshops and events to help those in this area to augment or update current skills or to learn new ones. It’s also an area in which your career can benefit greatly from networking, which makes events and organisations such as this very beneficial.


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