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A career in project management isn't for the faint of heart, but it's incredibly rewarding for those who thrive in high performance and often stressful environments.

Below you'll find answer to all your questions about this career and whether it's right for you.

Is Project Management A Good Career?

Project management is an ever-growing, fascinating, and rewarding career field. This is especially true in a post-pandemic world where more companies are hiring dispersed teams and remote-first or hybrid work is common.

Project manager roles are more important than ever before, acting as a critical pathway from remote workers to the main functions and operations of the business.

But is project management the right fit for you

Project management requires a blend of technical and soft skills, and the ability to manage complex projects with skill and agility.

If you are able to handle the stress and pressure of the job and have the skills and experience required to succeed, then project management could be the perfect career for you.

What Does A Project Manager Do?

If you tend to be the kind of person that wants to learn and know a little bit about all aspects of the business, can manage people and set them up for success, have extraordinary attention to detail, and enjoy continuous shifting of priorities and tasks throughout your day, you are likely a born project manager.

Those inherent and intuitive soft skills will launch you quickly into your project management career path because they already come naturally to you.

Education on top of these innate abilities will give you the technical abilities and hard skills to deliver projects successfully. Read more about the responsibilities of a project manager to see if it sounds appealing to you.

Advantages Of Choosing A Career In Project Management

A career in project management has many benefits. It provides the opportunity to work with different and distributed teams and stakeholders, gain a global perspective, and work with leading-edge technologies and tools.

Project management offers a wealth of advantages.

  1. Opportunities to work in a variety of industries all around the world, as skills and knowledge are transferable. Project managers can work in a wide range of industries, from IT and healthcare to finance and manufacturing, and let’s not forget digital. This means you’ll have the opportunity to work with a variety of teams, learn new skills, and network with professionals from different backgrounds. Here's a list of cool jobs you can do with your transferable skills!
  2. Opportunity to take on a wide range of responsibilities. As a project manager, you’ll be responsible for overseeing the entire project from start to finish, from planning and budgeting to implementation and completion. This means you’ll be involved in every aspect of the project, giving you a chance to learn and grow professionally.
  3. Flexibility and remote work options. Project management offers a great degree of flexibility, making it a great option for those who need to balance work and family life (especially if you are looking to be a freelance project manager). If you’re looking for a remote-first job to suit your lifestyle, project management is a great one.
  4. Great salary potential. Project managers are often well-paid for their work, and project manager salary potential is high depending on the industry (average salary can vary widely between industries). With the right experience and expertise, you can earn a comfortable living and save for the future.
  5. Possibility of advancement. As a project manager, you’ll be in a position to take on more responsibility and progress up the ladder due to your level and range of skills and years of experience. With the right qualifications, experience, and skills such as time management and problem-solving, you can move up to higher-level positions. People, product, program, operational, and process management are a few that I’ve dipped into.
  6. Challenging and rewarding work. Project management is a challenging and rewarding field of work. With the right skills and knowledge, you’ll be able to handle complex projects and provide valuable solutions to the organization. This can be a great source of job satisfaction and motivation.
  7. Positive impact on an organization. As a project manager, you’ll be able to make a real difference to the organization. By completing projects on time and within budget, and building and adapting processes, you’ll be able to help the organization achieve its goals and objectives. This can also be a great source of pride and satisfaction.

Are you hooked yet? Before you start sending out your resume, cover letter, and portfolio, let’s talk through the challenges to determine if they are equally as exciting to you as the advantages.

Challenges Of A Career In Project Management

Despite the many benefits, project management can be a demanding and stressful career path. It requires a high level of organization and a commitment to meeting tight deadlines.

If any of the following make you want to run for the hills, a career in project management may not be the right fit for you.

  • High stress level: There is a constant need to adapt, put out fires, hit tight deadlines, and constantly plan for the worst (while hoping for the best). Managing this level of stress can be difficult if you aren’t fully engaged and enjoying the role. Risk management is a daily task and requires a lot of critical thinking.
  • Difficulty in balancing work and personal life: In some industries, you may be working for clients that work around the clock. There may be an expectation for your availability to extend beyond typical working hours or adapt to the work time zone of your client.
  • Lack of recognition: Although this is not the case everywhere, project managers are often the ones cleaning up all the difficult situations, but when it comes to the final product launch, all the credit is given to the design and related data improvements, for example (ie. what the client actually sees). The project manager’s invisible management to get everyone to that point is often forgotten.
  • Need for constant learning: It is important to keep up with industry trends and know a little about all aspects of the talent you are managing (design, UX, development, etc.). This allows you to be strategic about decisions and explain all aspects of a project to your client in a way they can fully understand it.
  • Difficult to manage client expectations: Unrealistic deadlines on deliverables are a real thing and they are quite difficult to manage in the best of circumstances (get tips on setting realistic deadlines here).
  • Unpredictable budgets: This is unfortunately a common occurrence and sometimes more of a deep-rooted problem within an industry or company.
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Potential Project Management Career Paths

Nowadays there are many different project management positions that don’t fit into the typical project management box. I’m not going to go into each one in-depth, but here are a few roles that fit under the project management career umbrella.

various project management related roles under a big umbrella
There are tons of roles that fall under the project management umbrella.

Scrum Master 

The Scrum master is there to streamline and clarify the process and workflow for the project team as they achieve their goals. They do so as a team member or collaborator, and ideally not as someone in control. This role is typically associated with software development.

Here are some of the skills required for a Scrum master:

  • Communication and listening
  • Conflict resolution
  • Agile management and development
  • Planning and organizational skills
  • Coaching and mentorship capabilities
  • Knowledge of cloud-based technologies, tools such as Jira, or other agile project management software aimed at development teams

Learn about the differences between Scrum masters and project managers here.


Many organizations use these titles interchangeably, and understanding their differences is imperative to improving your workflow and efficiency. Put very simply, the typical project manager manages both the work effort and staff. The producer is more involved in the critical thinking and creation of the work itself.

venn diagram of project manager, account manager, and production manager with producer in the middle of the three circles.
The producer role is often an amalgamation of various responsibilities of other roles.

Product Manager 

Product managers identify the customer need for existing and new products and the larger business objectives that a product or feature will fulfill, manages and prioritizes product requirements, articulates what success looks like for a product, and rallies a team to turn that vision into a reality.

Here’s a summary table of the differences between project managers and product managers.

Type of workProjectProduct
TimeframeLimited in timeOngoing
Team TypeOften part-time and managing other projectsFull-time team member
GoalComplete on-time, in scope, and budgetCreating product value
Typical methodology usedWaterfall or hybrid with agileAgile

Senior Project Manager, Program Manager, or Portfolio Management 

In many companies, you can graduate to a higher-level PM role based on your years of project management experience, more strategic critical thinking skills, and project management education or professional certifications.

Learn more about how to become a senior project manager.

Request for Proposal (RFP) Coordinator 

Completing each RFP was a project in and of itself, requiring resource planning and booking, a deadline, and a vetting process to determine if we should even put in the time and effort to submit. I also started building a process around this to make RFP responding more efficient.

Project Coordinator 

Leaning on my experience with RFP projects, this role got me into project managing quick, small-budget projects for the company.

We used the PMI methodology, and this is where most of my learning and execution of project management best practices became stronger. The more experience I gained, the more I worked on larger projects.

Process Efficiency Coordinator 

As the company was going through an acquisition, a team was compiled to ensure all processes, new and old, aligned with the two companies and could scale in the years to come.

This is where my experience in project management stepped up, as I added experience in process vetting, management, building, and training. 

Process management is a valuable skill to have in today’s landscape, as many agencies work with a variety of clients and a one size fits all project management process may not always work. You need to know how to adapt and be flexible when managing projects.

Supervisor, Manager, & Director of Remote Teams

Project management naturally leads to people management, and that is the path I followed. Managing a team comes with the accountability of client satisfaction, team growth, and contribution to the department and company through process improvement and improving ROI. 

Freelance PM Consultant & PM Mentor

I’ve taken all the skills and techniques I’ve learned along the way out on my own. I’m now choosing where I work, in roles that fit my lifestyle. As a freelancer, I’ve tackled creating project management departments, being a Scrum master, managing a digital project, and managing a PM team (and writing, based on my experience and expertise in the field).

I also have the opportunity to mentor and coach project management professionals, both entry-level and long-standing, through their life and career.

Project Management Qualifications

Professional development like online courses and certification courses in project management can provide the skills and knowledge required to succeed in this field. With the right training, project managers can acquire the tools they need to achieve success in their jobs.

Some typical certifications and credentials include:

  • Certification from The DPM School
  • PMP Certification from the Project Management Institute (PMI)
  • CAPM (Certified Associate in Project Management). This is a great starter certification if you don’t have enough project management experience to take the full PMP exam (find out how to become a project manager without experience)
  • Agile certifications such as Certified Scrum Master (CSM) or Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)
  • Bachelor’s degree in project management, or a master’s degree (for more senior roles)

Experience is often a key factor when it comes to becoming a project manager. Ideally, you should have some experience in leading projects and project teams in a related field such as project planning, process improvement, or project coordination. Having hands-on experience in project management is also beneficial.

Learn more about becoming a digital project manager here.

Key Project Management Skills

Soft skills are also important for project managers. This includes good communication skills with both stakeholders and project teams, as well as the ability to work well with these teams. Strong problem-solving and decision-making skills are also beneficial, as is the ability to remain organized and manage time effectively.

Becoming a successful project manager requires a combination of hard and soft project management skills, as well as the right attitude and mindset.

A good project manager should:

  • Be a team player
  • Have excellent communication skills
  • Be comfortable with change
  • Be able to think strategically
  • Have an understanding of the technical aspects of project management
  • Be able to manage resources effectively

What's Next?

If you're convinced you're ready to become a project manager, check out our course, Mastering Digital Project Management. You'll learn about how to lead projects throughout the project life cycle using several popular methodologies and proper project documentation.

By Kelly Ostrowercha

Kelly Ostrowercha is a freelance project management leader with 15+ years of experience successfully developing people, teams, and processes in digital agencies, small start-ups and larger corporations, with a people-first mentality.