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Advancing Your Career In The New Project Profession

Paul Naybour Paul Naybour

Published: 3rd March 2017

Almost all businesses and organisations are now project-centric and either have an in-house project management capability or use external project management consultants. Projects are a major part of all business environments as organisations strive to improve their products in the high-tech landscape and streamline processes for better cost-efficiency. And where projects tend to be complex, organisations have learnt (often the hard way) that they need professional project managers with the right experience to deliver successful results through controlled and structured management of project tasks and best-practise processes.

And yet, still, a substantial proportion of projects fail to deliver on their promises and so skilled, experienced and well-qualified project managers are much in demand as companies seek to improve the success rate of their projects. Whilst some project managers may have simply migrated into that role without much thought and gained their experience on the job, increasing numbers are choosing PM as a specific career path (even at under-graduate level).

Professional Status

Because there has been a growth in the need for professionalism in project management during recent years many organisations are investing in training their own project managers in internationally recognised methodologies such as PRINCE2, APM or PMI. When employing new PMs many are insisting on professional qualifications in addition to relevant experience as research shows that training initiatives lead to improved project performance.

Consequently PMs are recognising that there are opportunities to build a lasting career in project management as it starts to become accepted as a new profession alongside the traditional professions of accountancy and law. The Association for Project Management (APM) offers a range of qualifications and accreditation for project management professionals from the basic Introductory Certificate to the Registered Project Professional (RPP) credential for which a candidate has to demonstrate previous experience delivering complex projects in commercial environments, competent leadership and a commitment to continuous professional development (CPD).

The RPP accreditation was established by the APM in it’s bid to have project management recognised with chartered status in the same way that more well-established professions such as engineering and accountancy have been for many years. In 2013 in the UK it was agreed that a Royal Charter would be granted although, following a challenge to this decision by the Project Management Institute (PMI), and various subsequent appeals the Royal Charter was not finally granted until December 2016.

With chartered status now available to project managers it is clear that project management has become a recognised profession with various levels of qualifications and continuous professional development opportunities. It is a skill that can be used in almost every industry and business field, both nationally and internationally, opening up a world of career opportunities to those dedicated to gaining the right skills and accreditation. There are also a number of universities that now offer PM under-graduate courses and also post-graduate courses for those with an existing degree in a different discipline.

The Benefits of Recognised Qualifications

Project management is a highly-regarded profession with a well-defined career path so if you are already carrying out the role of a project manager but have yet to embark on the route to professional certification why not talk to your employer about the correlation between training and improved project success rates. For those whose employers are unwilling to invest in a training programme many individuals are funding their own training courses in the Association for Project Management or Project Management Institute qualifications in order to boost their career prospects and their earning potential.

And for those unsure of which career to embark upon why not consider this newest of professions – project management is a skill very much in demand right now and looks set to continue that way for the foreseeable future as businesses continue to invest in projects in a bid to keep up with their customer’s appetite for innovative products and continual improvement.

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