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2 Essential Skills for College Students Who are Interested in Project Management in 2020

In the business world that we live in today, the need for skilled, talented people is more obvious than ever – especially when it comes to key roles such as project management.

The reason why it takes a lot of effort to land in such a position, is because it’s a role where technical, business, and people skills routinely intersect.

Therefore, you need to be fully proficient in project management software while having a strategic perspective on each task you undertake.

In this article, we’ll list some soft skills, as well as some hard ones, that are essential for anyone who wants to become a PM (project manager).

Hard Skills

The best way for you to start your project management career is to get yourself familiar with tools, techniques and methodologies you can apply. Most of these are straight forward steps that you need to follow and they will greatly help you on your field experience.

You can actually start by improving your 3RS, which is a well-known set of skills in project management that refers to your abilities to efficiently read, write and handle math.

While these might sound like some basic skills that anyone has, owning 3RS actually implies that you will be able to coordinate these three skills with your job position in the most efficient manner.

For example, you need to be able to read a proposal and quickly understand every legal or technical dependency that it might have, or you’ll need to be able to calculate different expenses in circumstances where there’s no place for errors.

Project planning is another set of processes that you’ll need to study very carefully.

What is the best way to plan a meeting? How can you help people estimate their work? What’s next on everyone’s to do lists?

These are all questions that you’ll need to be able to answer at any given time while being the PM on a project. You can start by learning how to work with task management tools and that will give you a better idea of how to plan out a sprint or the basics of working methodologies such as Agile.

Some other areas that require your learning include risk management, abilities to write documentation, scheduling or project control.

On the more technical side, depending on the nature of your job, you’ll be faced with a lot of technical details from that certain industry.

For example, if you’re aiming to become an IT project manager, you should get familiar with how code looks like, environments that are used by developers and some basic design principles.

Soft Skills

These skills are more personal, professional or transferable skills. We’re calling them soft because they don’t involve operating a machine.

These skills require engagement and interaction with other people, therefore, they’re harder to learn because a lot of them you can only develop through experience.

As a good PM you need to be able to take any messy project and turn it into gold, you need to map out your resources in an efficient way and always have your schedule on point.

Therefore, you need great organizational skills.

Nowadays, there are numerous support groups that you can join, where you can learn along with other people how to become an organized worker. And if you’re not into that, you have access to all sorts of books and even Netflix shows that will teach you the right way with these kinds of skills.

In this field, you’ll be faced with a lot of decision making and you’ll need to be able to prioritize every task and every request.

Sorting out your priorities is one of the most important skills that you can acquire in project management. Being able to do that and having a great sense for teamwork, will basically ensure that you always make the right decisions for your team.

You need to constantly communicate with your team about every issue, every task and inconvenience that might appear during the project.

Keep critical thinking towards everything that’s happening, but make sure you show people your human side and you create an environment where they feel comfortable approaching you.

That’s exactly what makes a good leader.

Yes, as a project manager you have to be a very knowledgeable person. You must know how to work the technical tools, the management tools and also have a great way of communicating with people.

Learning a lot of theory is an important step that you have to take in the process of becoming a successful PM, but field experience is where you’ll really learn what this job is made of.

But on the bright side, the access to information that we own in 2020, will ease your process and will help you acquire all the necessary skills in no time.