Engineering project managers (EPM) play a critical role in engineering projects for successful execution. EPM are subject experts, capable to evaluate the different facets of the work they are handling. To start your career as an engineering project manager, it is essential first to have a bachelor’s degree in engineering. It will help in transition into the position of project management. I suggest you also acquire a PMP (Project Management Professional) certification from an accredited organization. Develop excellent communication and leadership skills which will assist you to become an engineering project manager. Additionally, focus on building a network with industry professionals. They will share their knowledge and guide you to grab potential opportunities.
Who is an Engineering Project Manager?
An engineering project manager is a professional responsible for overseeing and coordinating the planning, design, development, and implementation of complex engineering projects. They are responsible for managing budgets, schedules, and resources, as well as ensuring compliance with safety, quality, and regulatory standards. Their roles include developing project plans, setting project goals and objectives, managing stakeholders, and ensuring project deliverables are met.
Engineering Project Manager Job Description
The Engineering Project Manager is responsible for engineering team management. As an EPM, you must ensure that delivered projects are technically sound for targeted purposes and will match the statutory demands. Now to understand their descriptions better, let’s look at these responsibilities that an EPM shoulders:
- Prepare the project plan that defines the project goals and delivery timeline.
- Provide input on project governance reviews.
- Prepare a report for the project technical performance scope based on the designed plan and mention the benefits the project will offer.
- Identify the technical deliverables, depending on the scope mentioned by the Project lead.
- Define the provision of the project estimates and share the project execution plan.
- Provide technical support to the team to ensure the project delivers the planned objective.
- Provide technical support for budget decisions and estimation of projects.
- Identify the technical project risks and ways of managing them.
- Monitoring of the prospective risk and review of the same along with the team
- Monitor project quality plan throughout the project lifecycle.
- Establish effective communication with all stakeholders, team members, and other associated parties of the project.
- Managing stakeholders' and team members' expectations, feedback monitoring, and resolving issues during the project's lifecycle.
- Manage and organize the job of project engineers, contractors, designers, and other team members.
- Provide technical support to the supply chain for handling the purchase of any product or services for the project delivery.
- Any other responsibilities that vary from project to project with the role.
Engineering Project Manager Requirements and Eligibility Criteria
1. Earn a bachelor's degree
The first step to becoming an engineering project manager is to earn a bachelor's degree. First, you must research to find the best institutes that offer engineering and project management degrees to aspiring professionals. Pursue a degree in mechanical, computer, civil, or electrical engineering. Decide your major that suits your professional objectives.
2. Earn professional experience to become an EPM
Post-completion of a degree, it is essential to gain real-world experience. Engineering project management demands dedicated responsibility and will need time before taking charge of significant projects. Aspiring engineering project managers must focus on gaining professional experience. To become an EPM, you must have the required abilities to apply and compile a portfolio of team projects completed successfully.
3. Pursue your PG degree
After graduation, you can go for a post-graduate degree. Select from several PG degree programs available. Pick the one ideal for a career in engineering project management. You will learn the basics of engineering business, project scheduling, feasibility analysis of projects, and many more.
4. Join certifications programs
Certifications can provide you with valuable tools, skills, and credentials. It will be helpful to perform the role of engineering project manager effectively. Indeed, such credentials are not mandatory for the position of an EPM. But they can keep you ahead of the competition. At the time of career upgrade, these credentials are beneficial.
How to Become an Engineering Project Manager in 5 Simple Steps?
I have listed some simple steps that you must follow to become an engineering project manager-
Step 1: Master Skills
In addition to engineering skills, an EPM should master the necessary skills to deliver the project on time with no quality compromise. Engineering projects are complex. To manage complex projects, an EPM must stay focused, act methodically, and remain proficient.
A. Top Skills Needed to Become an Engineering Project Manager
Engineering managers need to be the ones who can communicate about all requirements associated with the project. As an EPM, you must understand the project risks and objectives and share the same with all stakeholders efficiently. Leading and motivating the teams to achieve project objectives demands outstanding skills.
- Communication Skill: EPM must have excellent communication skills. You must know how to communicate efficiently to exchange information with stakeholders and team members. Communication skills include both verbal and written communication. Verbal communication skill is a must to establish a strong bond with the entire team and stakeholders. Written communication skills will help you prepare productive status reports.
- Skills to adapt: EPM needs to be a multitasker and manage several projects simultaneously. You may need to switch frequently between projects. You need adaptability skills when managing existing and new projects without missing deadlines.
- Time Management skill: Engineering project managers manage multiple projects simultaneously—deadlines to be met without compromising quality. Excellent time management skills will help to execute every project with perfection.
- Negotiation skills: To stay focused on the goal, the Engineering project manager must have patience, adaptability, and integrity. Negotiation skills can be improved by learning and positive thought processes. Negotiation power will help bring all stakeholders and team members to a mutual agreement. It will help to decide the final deliverables of the project. Negotiation skill is one of the important project management skills.
- Organizational skills: Organizational skills are necessary to schedule projects on time and save data. To be an engineering project manager, develop your organizational skills to manage projects. Deadline management will be simple when you know how to organize every aspect of the project.
- Problem-management skills: Problems or issues may arise in any project. As a project manager, you need to identify the issue promptly and offer solutions to avoid delays in project delivery. Knowledge of project management processes like Agile, Waterfall, PRINCE2, and Scrum is essential to run a project successfully. You need to enroll yourself in project management online training courses for that.
- Innovative skill: EPM needs to collaborate with other teams to assist them in planning. Innovative skills will help develop alternate solutions to problems to deliver breakthrough projects.
- Budgeting: For engineering project managers, cost management and budgeting expertise is a must. The budgets of different projects are different. EPM needs to ensure the project gets executed within the planned budget.
I have mentioned the necessary soft and hard skills to become a successful engineering project manager. Other competencies will make you a deserving candidate in the industry. Technical skills, conflict management skills, and regulatory compliance are a few other additional skills for an engineering project manager job.
B. Top Engineering Project Manager Certifications / Degree
Are you wondering how to become an engineering project manager? You can improve your credentials as an engineering project manager with the right certification and degree.
The following are some of the most prestigious certifications in the industry for engineering project managers.
- Project Management Professional (PMP): It is among the widely accepted and notable qualifications for project managers across numerous industries, including engineering. This certification is awarded by the Project Management Institute (PMI). It focuses on the core ideas of project management. The course covers scope, control over risk, control over time, and more topics. You can earn this certificate by enrolling in the PMP training course or PRINCE2 training online.
- Certified ScrumMaster (CSM): CSM certification is vital for those working in software development and other industries where agile approaches are applied. The ScrumMaster certification emphasizes Agile project management principles. If you are managing dynamic engineering projects, you will earn benefits from this certification.
- Certification in Risk Management Assurance: The CRMA certification is for professionals focusing on risk management and assurance. CRMA is awarded by The Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA). The course includes:
- Frameworks for risk assessment
- Risk mitigation
- Risk management.
- CompTIA Project: Project management fundamentals, the project lifecycle, communication, and risk management are all covered by this CompTIA certification. Candidates in the initial phase of project management careers will find this certification useful.
These are some of the top certifications for Engineering project managers. Achieving these certifications will pave the path to becoming an engineering project manager. You can check more certifications by visiting KnowledgeHut's online Project Management course.
Step 2: Determine Your Ideal Timeline
Engineering project management skills hold supreme importance in industries dealing with engineering projects. It takes decades to earn education and experience to lead an engineering project.
A. Start Learning in a Format That Suits You
- Education: A Bachelor's degree in engineering or a similar subject is required. It usually requires four years of full-time education to do this. Depending on the engineering specialty you choose, the exact tenure may change. After a bachelor's degree, you need to obtain a master's degree. Several master's degree programs in engineering project management are now available. Post master's degree, you need to take some certification courses to increase your chance of suitability for the position of EPM. It may take a few weeks to a few months to prepare for and earn a certification like the PMP or CAPM.
- Gain work experience: To get practical expertise in your field, work as an engineer or in a comparable technical position. To understand the practical aspects of engineering projects and to develop technical skills, you need a minimum of 2-5 years of experience.
- Transition to project management: Start accepting minor project management duties after a year or two of junior-level employment. It will help to lead a team for the engineering projects you are part of. You will start managing budgets or organizing work flawlessly.
B. How Long Does It Take to Become an Engineering Project Manager?
An engineering project manager takes around 7 to 10 years to take charge. This timespan includes the period to earn a bachelor's degree, followed by a master's degree and around 3 to 5 years of work experience. EPM is a mid-higher-level position and demands high qualifications and experience in the industry.
Note that these durations are estimates and may change depending on your commitment to learning, the difficulty of the projects you're working on, and the job market statistics. You can be an Engineering Project Manager with an early career start, sufficient experience, right certifications and eventually assume project management duties. As you proceed in your profession, stay committed to learning and adapting to the changing demands of the industry.
Step 3: Begin Building Your Portfolio/Resume
Building an impressive portfolio is a must for the Engineer Project Manager application. It should highlight the educational and professional skills and achievements.
An example of what to put in the portfolio is shared below:
- Overview/Summary: Describe yourself and your background in a few lines. Mention your Engineer Project Manager certifications. Describe the purpose of your portfolio and mention why the employer will hire you.
- Work experience: List the significant responsibilities you have taken and briefly explain each. Mention the project's goals, scope, important stakeholders, difficulties encountered, and achievements. Include it in chronological order if you worked for more than one employer.
- Education: Mention your educational qualifications and professional certification with the year of completion in chronological order. Mention the percentage of marks for every qualification.
- Case studies:
- Mention key initiatives from your project list and give a summary of case studies for each.
- Detail the project's setting, objectives, methodology, involvement, and any difficulties you encountered.
- Describe how you overcame obstacles, controlled risks, and produced good outcomes.
- Project plans, Gantt charts, risk assessments, and other pertinent documents should be represented visually.
- Engineering Project Manager Skills: In particular, mention your expertise in risk management, budget management, stakeholder communication, and other areas of project management. Include examples of how you've used these abilities in your projects to demonstrate how they helped the project succeed in your explanation.
- Testimonials / Recommendations
- Include positive testimonials you have received from stakeholders, team members, clients, or superiors.
- References from coworkers or superiors can be a helpful source of validation for your project management abilities.
- Professional Development
- Add more training, workshops, or certifications if taken to strengthen your project management skills.
- Give an example of how your continual professional development helps you to be efficient in project management.
- Cover Letter: A cover letter is an important part of your resume. You need to select an impressive cover letter format. Use a professional font to write the letter with the correct letter spacing. The cover letter should open with a positive statement to encourage the employer to continue reading your resume. Mention the reasons for selecting you as the ideal candidate. Conclude with an impressive call to action. The complete letter should be of a maximum of 3 to 4 paragraphs.
Step 4: Where and How to Find a Job?
Employing various job search techniques, networking, and online resources will help you get employment as an engineering project manager.
A. Top Companies Hiring Engineering Project Manager
B. Job Outlook for Engineering Project Manager
The Bureau of Labor Statistics released no data in recent times for the positions of engineering project managers and engineering managers. However, many industry experts predicted the demand will increase by 3% between 2018 and 2028.
There may be fluctuations in the demand for engineering project managers in the industry. You must keep an eye on the job market and industry trends to stay updated. Consider consulting industry reports, attending conferences, and talking to people in your network for the most up-to-date and precise information about job prospects.
Step 5: Ace the Interview
The engineering project manager career path is not complicated. The path will be simple if you know how to crack the interview. The interview process evaluates your technical knowledge, project management ability, leadership qualities, and cultural fit with the firm.
The standard interview method I described briefly below.
A. Brief overview of the interview process
Step 1: Screening
It is the preliminary interview stage to determine if you are an ideal candidate for the job. The screening process is conducted over the phone for about 15 to 20 minutes. This stage decides the candidates who will appear for the first interviews.
Step 2: Technical interview
The technical interview will be your first face-to-face meeting with the interview board. The interviewer will target to know and assess your skills and experience in the industry. They will decide if you will match the job role expectations. The interviewer may ask you to explain technical terms, solve engineering puzzles, or talk about how you've used particular tools or technologies.
- Project management skill check interview: If you qualify for the first interview, you need to appear for the second interview. This interview will test your project management knowledge and expertise. You need to answer questions related to your experiences in stakeholder management, risk management, budgeting, and project planning. The interviewer will ask specific questions, and a few will follow up on previous interviews. This phase will identify how you will manage your work environment.
- Behavioural Assessment: A behavioral assessment or situational judgment test may be required in specific circumstances to determine how you might react in various working scenarios. After this interview, you will learn about the exact work culture and how the day-to-day work of a project runs.
- The decision: It will be the final stage if you qualify for the behavioral assessment test. The senior management member or the Senior HR will take this last round. You will be assessed for your strategic thinking, alignment with organizational goals, and leadership potential here. If selected, background and reference checks will be done, followed by the issuance of the offer letter.
B. Tips for Interview
Getting an interview call for an engineering project manager is exciting but makes you nervous, too. Here are a few tips to guide you in your interview preparations.
- Prepare your introduction: Start the interview with a powerful intro speech. It should be a maximum of 90 seconds of speech to talk about your skills, goals, and contributions you can make to the prospective employer.
- Research: Know about the company culture by doing research online. You can visit the company website for better understanding. The interviewer should understand that you know the company and its work. It will impress the interviewer.
- Prepare your answers: It isn't easy to understand what the interviewer will ask. But you can prepare some common questions in advance. Keep the anecdotes ready. It will help for discussions relevant to the skills needed for the EPM position.
- Check your social media: Many employers visit your social media profiles to learn more about you. Keep your social media accounts updated with that much information that you will not mind sharing with them.
- Arrive early: Being early for the interview is something you should always do. It shows your professionalism and seriousness in the selection.
- Dress professionally: A casual dress code is common in most corporate houses. I recommend you dress professionally to represent your desire to get this position.
- Prepare interview file: Prepare a list of documents the interviewer may ask to check. Prepare your interview file at least seven days before the interview. Keep a copy of your resume to share with the interviewer.
- Ask questions after the interview: The interviewer may request you to ask questions, if any, after the interview. Make sure you ask a few. Keep a few questions ready in mind to ask. Sharing a few examples:
- Please share more info about the work culture of the company.
- What are the specific projects for which my skills fit the best?
- What are the future expansion plans of the company?
- Thank you note: Make sure to send a thank you note to the HR or interviewer of the company within 24 hours of the interview. Express gratitude for the interview session and thank you for the opportunity to meet them in person. It will create a lasting impression.
Who can become an Engineering Project Manager?
Engineering project managers can be from various engineering specialties, such as civil, mechanical, electrical, software, and more. For those interested in how to become an engineering project manager, the following basic requirements are below:
A. Engineering Project Manager Requirements
- A bachelor’s degree in engineering
- Post Graduate degree in engineering
- Earn professional experience to become an EPM
- Earn professional certifications
- Natural leadership qualities
- Organisational skills
- Excellent communication skill
- Creativity and curiosity
- Solution finding skills
B. What’s the Demand for an Engineering Project Manager?
Project management is considered essential for any successful business. Especially those in the engineering and construction industry are in high demand. There is a considerable increase in the responsibility of an EPM. EPM must ensure projects get planned, managed, and executed, maintaining the highest standard. Undoubtedly, there is an increase in the demand for engineering project managers. It's a rewarding career option.
There is a fast increase in the global population, with high demand for construction and engineering project managers. To match it, there is a massive global demand for the best candidates to get hired as EPM. The latest research forecasted that by 2027, across the globe, businesses will need almost 88 million candidates as project managers. Out of this, around 9.7 million openings are for project managers in the engineering and construction industry. Expert's prediction states that engineering will be the leading sector to offer engineering project management jobs.
C. Salary details for the top 5 countries
To become an engineering project manager, one must have all essential skills. You must have strong technical skills to understand the purpose and goal of the project. Technical skills and leadership qualities are essential for an Engineering Project manager profile.
You need to be the one to make outstanding contributions to projects, besides excellent team management, budgeting, and cost management skills. I shared every detail of how to become a project engineer. As an Engineering project manager, you need to plan projects, give ideas, do budgeting, manage costs, and lead the team to successful completion of the project.