Professionals who have some work experience in any field know that it is fairly easier to work as an individual contributor. Things turn complex when you are handling a team and need to ensure that the team members deliver the work that is assigned to them. Well, project management is one such field, and project managers are the professionals in charge of bringing projects to successful completion. This process involves a lot of major responsibilities including keeping up the team morale as well as meeting the expectations of the stakeholders.

The top reasons why people are attracted to a managerial role are increased salary prospects, good career growth opportunities, the high demand for project managers, and a good reputation. When it comes to salary prospects, the US seems to pay the highest salaries compared to other countries. The US houses a large number of enterprises, mid-sized companies, as well as startups where people can start their careers. One of the popular US areas which have become a growing tech hub is Chicago. It is one of the largest tech employers in America and ranks 8th in net tech employment behind New York City and San Francisco. Even when you talk about project management, Chicago opens up many opportunities for those interested in this field.

How do I start a project management career in Chicago?’ is the question many people have in their minds. If you too are finding an answer to this question, then this article is for you. Find out how you can start a career in project management in Chicago and even other places.

Starting a Career in Project Management

Project managers are generally professionals with rich domain experience. So, you can’t start working as a project manager as an entry-level professional. The right blend of technical and soft skills is essential to become a project manager. The field is one of the most dynamic business environments and one needs to be capable of adapting to its varying nature and become comfortable in it.

If you look at one of the blogs on the Project Management Institute (PMI) website, it suggests that you shouldn’t wait for the project manager designation to develop the required skills. You can start by considering every office work as a project, it may even be a usual office event or a team outing. Start using workflows, responsibility and assignment metrics, work breakdown structures, requirements lists, and scope statements. This will help you build the habit of doing project-like work already.

At the beginning of your project management career, it is highly important to have a well-trained mentor. If you can get a mentor’s time in teaching you about how the project manager’s responsibilities are handled and what kind of challenges come up, then it can really shape your career. Under the guidance of a skilled project manager, you would come to know about the project management methods, processes, frameworks, methodologies, as well as best practices. You also need to be proactive in finding out opportunities where you can suggest creative ideas to deal with any particular scenario. Though you may face some challenges, you will learn a lot and broaden your experience.

One of the job roles that you can seek in project management as a beginner is the Project Coordinator. This designation involves working as an assistant to the project manager. This way, you will have a clear idea of what project managers are tasked with, so that you can gain experience and use it when you head out to manage projects yourself. You will understand what are the budget constraints, how to communicate with the stakeholders, boost productivity within the team and how to manage the risks involved in complex projects.

The PMP Certification

Apart from gaining the right experience and working under a skilled project manager, you can demonstrate your skills in this domain through a Project Management Professional or PMP certification in Chicago. This credential is administered by the renowned PMI and most of the organizations trust PMP certified professionals for their managerial positions. It shows employers your commitment to the profession and helps you command higher salaries and promotion. PMI has also found that PMP certified professionals earn around 25% higher than their non-certified counterparts.

The reason why hiring managers in Chicago trust the PMP certification is the rigorous process involved in achieving it. Candidates need a mandatory experience of at least five years to appear for the PMP certification exam. The 230-minutes long exam tests a candidate’s knowledge in different aspects of project management. This way, only those candidates who have thorough knowledge can pass the exam and become a PMP certification holder.

If you are serious about achieving this certification, then we would recommend you to take up a training course online. Reputed eLearning platforms like Simplilearn, Udacity, edX, and Coursera offer in-depth training programs on project management and will help you clear the PMP exam in a single try. You will get guidance from industry experts who are themselves PMP certified and share with you the tips and tricks to qualify for the exam.