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Roles and Responsibilities of the Projec... > Experience and Education Requirement...

Experience and Education Requirements for the Project Manager

Probably two of the most important areas dealing with the project manager are how much education is required for the project manager to do the job and how much experience or on-the-job training someone should have before he or she is chosen to manage a project. Complicating this topic is the fact that, to some extent, experience can substitute for education and vice versa. The critical issue is that all of those who have been identified as good, effective project managers have had both education and experience. Generally speaking, most project managers have a technical undergraduate degree that generally provides a great deal of knowledge and some experience in a specific technical field, but only limited knowledge of other technical fields. The ability to manage can be gained through experience and/or education in a management area. While experience is irreplaceable as a learning tool for managing people in a project, the manager should also acquire some knowledge of the management field in a more formal educational experience. Assuming that the project manager has a broad understanding of at least one technical field, he or she needs to add to this some general knowledge of other relevant technical fields and some detailed knowledge of the major functional managerial areas so that he or she may better integrate the human resources and the different technical areas of the project. This business or management knowledge is frequently gained through graduate education in business (frequently a master of business administration degree).

Although many project managers do have a technical undergraduate degree, it is also possible for a person to become a project manager by simply working his or her way up through the ranks and gaining experience as he or she goes. This is decidedly the exception, however, rather than the rule. In light of this fact, it is important to note what a project manager should be expected to get from formal education or workshops and what he or she should gain through experience.


  

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