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Who is a Project Manager? Skills, Responsibilities, Salary

19th Feb, 2024
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    Who is a Project Manager? Skills, Responsibilities, Salary

    Now, you have probably heard of this term, and you may have some idea of what a project manager does. This article will help you learn about what is a project manager, the roles and responsibilities of project manager, the skills you need, the pros and cons of being a project manager, and how you can be one!

    What is a Project Manager?

    A project manager is an individual who is responsible for ensuring a project is delivered to the client and stakeholders as per requirements. He/she is responsible for initiating, planning, executing, managing, controlling, and closing a project while maintaining the budget, meeting the timeline, and staying within the scope of the project.

    The project manager is the glue that binds the entire project and the project teams together. When there are multiple moving pieces in a project, the project manager ensures that all of them contribute to making the project a success.

    Let’s start by going through the stages of project management:

    Project Managers Roles and Responsibilities

    1. Planning: A project manager needs to plan the entire program, from how the project will be executed, managed, controlled, and closed. The project manager can use the right planning strategy ( Waterfall, agile or hybrid) depending on the project and its needs.

    2. Aligning individual goals with the organization’s goals: The project manager must ensure that all the individual pieces of the project must directly contribute to the project and the organization’s goals. That means he/she must negotiate with the project teams, manage the responsibilities of the individual members, motivate them to work as a team, and contribute toward the organization’s goal.

    3. Managing time and resources: A project manager must ensure that the project timelines are met, the budget is within acceptable limits, and the project's scope is managed. He/ she must manage the given resources and ensure a realistic expectation is communicated to the stakeholders.

    4. Stakeholder satisfaction: The project manager must ensure that the stakeholders are informed regularly about the project's updates and are satisfied with the end delivery of the project.

    5. Communication: The project manager must ensure that all the project members are well-informed and updated. The key job of the project manager is to communicate with the project team about the stakeholder requirements and expectations. The project manager ensures that the stakeholders are regularly updated about the project’s progress and key deliverables.

    6. Executing the project: The project manager leads the project team in executing the project requirements and coordinates between different project teams. The project manager manages the project's resources and ensures all resources are being used efficiently.

    7. Monitoring the deliverable: The project manager monitors whether the deliverable is per the stakeholders' requirements and meets all the required standards. The project manager is required to do due diligence from his/her end before presenting the deliverable to the stakeholders.

    8. Removing roadblocks for the project team: In case of any roadblocks coming in the way of the successful completion of the project, the project manager strives to remove the obstacles from the path and supports the project team in obtaining the most suitable approach.

    9. Documenting progress and reporting: The project manager must record all the observations, requirements, and lessons learned through the project. The project manager is required to create regular reports for stakeholders about the progress of the project.

    Why Do You Want to be a Project Manager?

    Certain needs and/or skills drive the desire to be a Project Manager. You would want to be a Project Manager if you already possess or willing to develop certain traits/skills such as great interpersonal relationship, organizational ability, open to keep learning/improving, etc. If you prefer to have not just a job, but also a career that is challenging, rewarding, and has job security, a career in project management may just be what you want.

    1. Demand: There is a great demand for project management in different organizations because of the risks associated with the ever-changing business environment. Businesses are rapidly expanding and positioning themselves for the future, and these create a huge demand for Project Managers to keep everything under control.
    2. Salary: Project management salaries are highly competitive because of the multitasking nature of each project - where the Project Manager needs to manage a team, handle clients, and ensure that everything is running on a budget. The average annual salary of a Project Manager in the United States is $131,822 US Dollars as of September 28, 2018 ( With the steady year-to-year increase in the demand for Project Managers, salaries of PM roles increase correspondingly, offering more attraction for you to want to be a Project Manager.
    3. Teamwork: If you are naturally a people person, good at working with teams, and have great communication skills, you may want to pursue a career in project management. The ability to manage human relationships effectively is necessary for the success of any project. Each project has many moving parts and a Project Manager is essential to keep everything working towards the project's objectives.
    4. Industry: Although many Project Managers can fit into many industries, only professionals handle projects in specialized industries such as construction or IT.  Therefore, if you are a professional in any of these specialized sectors, and want to build your career in it, you can be a Project Manager and still be in your career path.
    5. Management and Leadership: Are you the type of person that naturally finds yourself in leadership and management roles in a group? These are great skills, and project management can help you develop them more because you will have the responsibility to drive and motivate team members for optimum performance.
    6. Responsibility: Do you crave responsibility? Are you comfortable taking ownership of any assignment given to you? Do you enjoy the pressures that often come with deadlines and timelines? Then you would succeed as a Project Manager.
    7. CEO Position: The exposure and demands of both a CEO and a Project Manager are much similar. They set objectives and communicate expectations to team members. They both manage people, use leadership skills to produce results, and have a clear focus on financial goals. Therefore, a Project Manager position can be a preparation towards becoming a CEO in the future.

    Project Managers Required Skills

    Now, as a project manager, you need certain skills to succeed at your job and grow on your career ladder.

    • Technical skills: The project manager should have basic knowledge of the skills needed to deliver the project, along with the ability to draw budgets, create schedules, monitor project progress, and prepare reports for the project.
    • Decomposition: You must possess the ability to break big tasks into smaller tasks and create multiple such tasks for the project team. This gives the project manager room to optimize processes and ensure efficient use of resources.
    • Effective Communication: The ability to share ideas, information, and feedback with people is the most needed skill to be a great project manager.  This can be verbal, written, or non-verbal communication. 90% of the project management job requires you to communicate with other project managers, executive staff, customers, stakeholders, and team members.
    • Mediator: The ability to make people with conflicting goals work together to meet the project and organizational goals is a handy tool for project managers. This also involves negotiating and settling disputes among team members.
    • Leadership: The ability to lead different project teams to successfully deliver the project goals and requirements is a must-have quality in a project manager. The project managers are required to guide, mentor, motivate and coach their team throughout the project to ensure each member is dedicated to the common goals.
    • Resource management: The project manager must ensure that all the resources provided to the project are used efficiently. Both under and exploiting these resources is an added cost for the organization.
    • Risk management: Identifying, analyzing, and minimizing risks to ensure the successful completion of a project. This also includes analyzing the impact of risks on the cost, timeline, and scope of the project.
    • Stakeholder management: The ability to manage different stakeholders at a time and ensure all the needs are satisfied is a skill that successful project managers possess. It is also important for the project manager to identify how a stakeholder impacts the project and what their approach toward the project is.
    • Stress management: Sometimes projects can get stressful, and the ability to maintain cool and work under pressure is required in a project manager's toolbox. When the project manager maintains his cool, he can guide and support his team better. This also helps the team trust the project manager and be more dedicated to the project.

    How to Become a Project Manager?

    Apart from the skills mentioned above, there are things you need to become a project manager. Let’s explore some of them below:[Text Wrapping Break]

    1. Academic Qualifications

    To be a project manager, you must have a bachelor’s degree. The subject of your bachelor’s degree can be anything for a general project manager. But it is useful to have the subject in bachelors for more specific roles such as IT project manager or construction project manager.

    You do not need a Master’s degree in order to be a project manager however, a management degree can be beneficial.

    2. Certifications Required for Project Manager

    Apart from degrees, it is beneficial to have professional certifications that qualify you to perform as a Project manager. These professional certifications meet global standards and reward the certification holders with global opportunities.

    Even though you need these certifications to get a job as a project manager, these certifications can be instrumental in helping you achieve success and more career opportunities.

    3. Experience

    ​With the necessary education qualification, you then need to gain some feel in an environment that exposes you to what project management is all about. Get involved in any organization/club/group that aligns with your project management career goals. For instance, if your desire is to be a construction Project Manager, you can take up an internship in a construction company. You would be amazed at the quality of project management skills you can acquire from this.

    4. Personal skills

    While acquiring some project management skills and techniques, you need to develop the right human relationship skills to succeed as a Project Manager. People make up projects. Without understanding, training, and communicating effectively with the project team, it will be impossible to be successful as a Project Manager. It is also important you have a mentor at this stage. This should be an expert in your career path.

    5. Tools of the trade

    Riding on only the knowledge of soft skills in project management such as processes, techniques, etc., may not be enough to make you the complete Project Manager you aspire to be. Organizations tend to complete projects on time, within budget, and with better quality when incorporating project management software. Budgeting, scheduling, risk management, contract management etc., are all essential skills a Project Manager needs to acquire. Do not neglect them.

    How to Become a Certified Project Manager?

    Getting a certification in Project Management Professional (PMP®) can be difficult, but the rewards are great. Follow the steps below to become a certified Project Manager.

    1.  Eligibility: The Project Management Institute (PMI) stipulates that to be eligible for the PMP certification you must possess the followings:
         (i) A four-year degree and 4500 hours of leading and directing projects or a secondary degree (high school diploma, associate’s degree or the equivalent) and 7500 hours of leading and directing projects.
         (ii) 35 contact hours of project management education.
    2. Membership: Once you are certain of your eligibility, register as a paid member of PMI. This is not compulsory but recommended because it qualifies you for discounts on a variety of purchases including exam fee. You also get a free downloadable current edition of PMBOK®Guide (Project Management Book of Knowledge), which helps you prepare for the exam.
    3. Application: Apply for the exam on the PMI website by filling the online application form. Then pay the examination fee ($405 for members and $555 for non-members).
    4. Exam schedule: At the approval of your application, you will get the PMI eligibility ID.  Choose an exam date that will give you enough time to study. A minimum of 3 Months is ideal. Also, choose a test location suitable for you.
    5. Prepare: You need to study and understand everything in the PMBOK® Guide to stand any chance of passing the CAPM® or PMP® exams. You can either take paid preparatory classes that will equip you with exam-focused tips, or study the materials on your own.
    6. Exam: You will appear in person for the exam which is a 4-hour test that consists of 200 multiple-choice questions. You need to pass 175 questions out of the 200 multiple-choice questions in the PMP exam. At the end of the exam, you will take a short survey, after which you will have access to your result.
    7. Result: Pass or fail, you will know immediately after the short survey. If you passed, you will see your name in the PMI's certification registry in less than a day. Your certificate will come in the mail within a month. You are now a certified Project Manager.

    Project Manager Salary

    The salary of a project manager can depend on various factors such as technical skills, academic qualifications, and work experience.

    According to, the annual average salary for a Project Manager in the United States as of September 28, 2018, is $131,822 US Dollars. However, because of certain variables such as education, a number of years of work experience, level of certification, additional skills etc., salary ranges from $117,345 to $147,570 US Dollars. Apart from the salary, Project Managers in the U.S. can also earn compensations that include bonuses, retirement, and healthcare benefits, up to an average total of $139,926, with the range falling between $122,589 and $160,280 US Dollars.

    Below are the Average salaries of a PMP in different countries of the world, According to the survey released by the Project Management Institute based on survey collected from 26,000 project management professionals in 34 countries.

    Annualized salary (in USD) by Country

    Median Salary Exchange rate





    United States


    United Kingdom


    New Zealand










    United Arab Emirates


    Career Pathways in Project Management

    There is no typical career path you can take as a project manager. Every stage will expose you to numerous opportunities to choose from, and you can design your own path in this career.

    The following image represents the opportunities that you have at each stage of your career in Project management:

    What is a Project Manager in Construction?

    A project manager is critically important when it comes to the construction sector. Not only is the project manager required to initiate, plan, execute and manage, monitor and control, and close the projects, but he/she is also required to ensure that the constructed building meets the health and safety guidelines.

    This role requires the project manager to be regularly present at the construction site and coordinate with various stakeholders and vendors. From procurement of the materials to the interface with the consumer, the project manager must be on top of everything.

    • How to become a project manager in construction?

    Even though most project managers have academic backgrounds in engineering, construction, and architecture, this is no such requirement to be a project manager in construction.

    You can enroll in a course that trains you on the basics of construction, building design, and safety guidelines. There are various certifications as well that certify you in these areas.

    Once you have basic knowledge in the field, you can join a construction firm as a project coordinator to get hands-on experience with the day-to-day activities.

    • What is the difference between a project manager and a construction manager?

    The main difference between the two is related to the scope of their work. The project manager has a broader scope than the construction manager.

    A construction manager is responsible only for the construction of the building that is a part of the project.  A project manager is responsible for everything from selecting the site of construction to onboarding the construction manager. The project manager ensures that the Contruction manager and the project team have all the resources they need to complete the project successfully.

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    What is a Project Manager in Healthcare?

    As a healthcare project manager, you will be leading the projects that impact the lives of patients and doctors. Everything from adopting new machines for diagnosis to replacing old instruments to opening a new wing in the hospital is managed by you. You help improve processes, remove inefficiencies and ensure that your stakeholders are satisfied with the project results.

    This is a critical role as health care is a heavily regulated sector with high stakes. The risk involved is high, the stakeholders are diverse, and the regulations are constantly updated. As a project manager, you must be on top of things with good knowledge about the health sector.

    How to Become a Project Manager in Healthcare?

    Most healthcare project managers have an academic background in the health sector, pharmaceuticals, hospital administration, health management, and nursing.

    Advanced or Masters's degrees like Business management or health management can help you shine amongst the other project managers. Apart from this, you can certify yourself as a project manager through various governing bodies.

    To be a healthcare project manager, it is important to have some background in the healthcare sector.

    Are you seeking to enhance your proficiency in managing projects? Our PRINCE2 Foundation course provides the ideal opportunity to achieve mastery in this field. With our expert guidance and convenient online format, you can receive the necessary support to succeed. Enroll now and start building your path towards success!

    What is a Project Manager in the Tech Industry?

    As a tech project manager, you are expected to play the dual role of a leader and a tech expert. You will be leading projects while managing a team of experts to deliver projects related to IT.

    Since the tech is changing rapidly, the project manager must be capable of handling change well and must be a catalyst in helping his team adapt to changes. The projects in this sector usually follow the Agile planning method, as things constantly change throughout the project.

    The project manager should always leave room for some creativity while maintaining the timeline to foster innovations and ensure the successful completion of the project.

    How to Become a Project Manager in Tech?

    To start with, it is recommended that you have an academic background in Information technology, computer science or any similar field. You can also gain this experience while working in the tech industry. You can start by assisting tech project managers as a project coordinator or junior project manager and gain experience with how the project teams work.

    Apart from that, a certification as a project manager is recommended to land a job in this sector.

    Here is more information on the Project Management expert Certification.

    Project Manager Career Outlook

    According to research by PMI, project manager job opportunities are expected to increase by 33% through 2027, and the average salary of PMP professionals is expected to be 23% higher than non-PMP professionals.

    Since companies will keep improving their processes, adopting new technologies, and innovating, the demand for project managers will also be high in the future. Currently, there is a major shortage of project managers in the market, and companies are looking to hire more and more project managers.

    This industry has experienced exponential growth in the last decade and is expected to continue in the coming years.

    This is the one job that cannot be replaced with AI and automation, as empathy and communication are important parts of the job. That means a project manager will use AI to be more efficient in his/ her job, but AI cannot substitute it.

    Why Pursue a Career in Project Management

    • Increasing demand: The demand for project managers is increasing rapidly, and there are not enough project managers to meet the growing industry demand.
    • Freedom to choose the industry: As a project manager, you can choose the industry you want to work and grow in. Switching from one industry to another is comparatively easier as a project manager, as most skills are transferable.
    • Global exposure: As a project manager, you get to interact with project teams or clients from different parts of the world. You learn to work in a diverse group with different cultural and social norms.
    • Career progression: Numerous opportunities emerge once you start growing in your career as a project manager. The next few opportunities could be the project director, portfolio manager, program manager, and top management.
    • Freshness: Since every project is new and different, you will not experience monotony over the duration of your career and will face new challenges in every project.
    • Make an impact: You will see yourself contributing to new innovations and positively impacting your organization's and industry's future.

    With the help of technology, you can work with teams worldwide and gain new understanding and tact.

    How to be a Successful Project Manager?

    In the highly competitive project management industry, simply being a good Project Manager may not set you apart from the rest. In order to take your career to the next level, you must transit to being a successful Project Manager, whose approach has some uniqueness and produces amazing results.

    1. Get involved
    2. Be proactive
    3. Bargaining power
    4. Time, Budget, and Quality

    How to Get a Project Manager Job?

    A Project Manager's role is very demanding. It needs someone that is flexible with strong leadership skills. The role spans across several industries such as construction, IT, human resources, etc. You will need to plan, organize, delegate, budget, and document all aspects of a new project. This profession is also highly rewarding. To get a Project Manager job, the following steps will guide you.

    1. Employer requirements: Research the qualities employers desire in a Project Manager. Some favorite important traits common among employers include strong leadership, effective communication, integrity, initiative, and foresight.
    2. Evaluation: Assess yourself and your experiences. Compare your skills with those required by employers, determine where they overlap, and where there are gaps. Deepen and reinforce all current skills that are project management focused and improve to fill the gaps identified.
    3. Get qualified: It is becoming very difficult finding entry-level roles in project management. Having some sort of degree qualification, which can be different from one industry to another, is often the first essential step to securing a job. Even without a degree, there are now many online platforms where you can get project management courses without going through a university.
    4. Keep improving: The career path in project management is far-reaching. Whether you are looking to secure your first job in project management or aspiring towards higher roles in your career, you can succeed as long as you have a positive attitude and stay motivated. Keep updated on the trend within your industry, and regularly add to your skills, qualifications, and knowledge accordingly.


    As a project manager, your every day will be different and unique. Even though the job can be stressful due to the risks involved, the approaching deadlines, and any unfriendly stakeholders, it is one of the most rewarding careers out there.

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    1What exactly does a project manager do? 

    A project manager helps in initiating, planning, executing and managing, monitoring and controlling, and finally closing a project. He/ she acts as a captain on a ship and directs all the team members towards a common goal - successful completion of the project.  

    2Is a project manager a good career? 

     Project management is a lucrative career option, not just today but also in the future. The demand for project managers is increasing rapidly, and few professionals can fill these positions.  

    3Can I become a Project Manager as a Fresher? 

    As a project manager, you need to have some experience in the industry and learn how projects work. Generally, you must have some experience as an expert or as a project coordinator before landing a job as a project manager. 

    4What qualifications do you need to be a project manager?

    You must have a bachelor's degree in any field to start with. In addition, a professional certification or an advanced degree can help you get the attention of recruiters.  

    5What do project managers do all day?

    Apart from communicating (which is 90% of the time), the project manager’s work includes the following things: 

    • Creating plans 
    • Building teams  
    • Creating schedules  
    • Laying out workflows 
    • Defining KPIs 
    • Choosing the right tools and resources 
    • Reporting 
    • Conduct meetings- with team and stakeholders

    Shikha Bhakri


    An alumna of Shri Ram College of Commerce, Delhi University ( SRCC) and is currently working with Mindvalley as an experience manager. She is a CAPM and is preparing for PMP certification. She is a Bharatanatyam dancer and a writer by passion.

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