Become a


What is a Project Manager?

Reviewed By Product Expert and Coach
Elizabeth Hogue
February 10, 2023
Project managers are the organizational superheroes within companies. To put it bluntly, a project manager makes sure things get done as quickly and efficiently as possible by equipping team members with necessary information and tools to do their jobs well. Becoming a project manager is a great way to break into the product and technical career space.

In larger companies, often a group of people is assigned to work on a "project" for 3-6 months to maximize efficiency and productivity. A project has many moving parts and people, and to keep other team members focused on their main roles, a project manager is assigned to make sure balls keep rolling.

Often this is done with a spreadsheet “project plan” with different timelines for each team member. This can be extremely valuable for the team, because often their jobs rely on someone else partly (for example– you can’t develop a site that hasn’t been designed yet! If a developer got the designs for a page a day before the deadline, everyone would fail).

A project manager’s work can vary extremely based on the company, whether they are client facing (link to blog post) or not, and where they sit in the company (marketing, product, elsewhere). But the core competencies remain the same.

If organization, spreadsheets, and planning are your love language, read on. This is one of the easier jobs to break into, and provides exposure to many other roles. This is a great way to break into the tech/remote space and see what kinds of activities you like to do at work!

What does a Project Manager do?

A project manager is responsible for getting things done, and their day to day activities reflect this.

You can expect to make and upkeep “project plans”, often, which are schedules of when certain milestones should be hit to achieve tasks before a deadline.

Often there is a budget associated with the project, and that will need to be tracked too. Communicating the project plan and budgets associated with other team members, updating the plans, and making sure project “milestones” are hit in a timely manner are the backbone of the job.

Do I need a degree to be a Project Manager?

None required for an associate/entry level position. This is actually one of our favorite jobs for breaking into tech, with tons of upward mobility.

Job descriptions will often mention a requirement of SOME degree, but this is not a hard rule. If you can demonstrate organization in other things (restaurant management, secretarial or customer service work), you have a great shot at a project management job. Mid Level roles sometimes require a PMP (project management professional) or others outlined in the certifications below. Often a company will pay for necessary training for associates.

  • Anyone with heavy planning experience, like veterans or teachers
  • Liberal arts degrees with good soft skills
  • Data entry, accounting, and receptionist professionals
If you're new here to bridged, we're glad to meet you! We are huge fans of alternate forms of education, and recommend specific certifications to target skills. While this job works great with degrees, you have other options. Learn more here.

Our Favorite Project Management Certifications

Career Path of a Project Manager

While this sample career path is very common in the tech industry, project managers can have a range of roles and responsibilities. Often project managers transition into other product roles, and sometimes even research roles!

Project Manager
2-3 Years
*Or Associate
Senior Project Manager
3-5 Years
Program Manager
5-10 Years
Senior Program Manager
4-6 Years

What is a Project Manager's salary?

We've aggregated thousands of salaries across glassdoor and linkedin, and project managers can make anywhere between 65k - 86k, depending on their location and skillsets.

Top Skills of a Project Manager

We've compiled thousands of job descriptions for project managers to record the most common requirements to save you time. While preparing for interviews, keep in mind specific times you've demonstrated these skills.

  • Running daily standups and other planning meetings such as refinements or sprint planning
  • Budget creation and monitoring
  • Time management for yourself and others
  • Experience with Agile Teams & Planning
  • Communication with internal and external teams
  • Account Management
  • Creation of new team processes and norms
  • Multi-team scheduling
  • Managing team burn reports

Top Tools of a Project Manager

We've also compiled the most common tools listed in job description. If you're serious about becoming a project manager, get familiar with these and be ready to talk about them.

For Scheduling & Time Tracking

  • Calendly
  • Harvest
  • Hubspot
  • Google Suite

Other Helpful Tools

  • Basecamp
  • Airtable
  • Wrike
  • Miro
  • Smartsheet

For Task Management

  • Trello
  • Clickup
  • Notion
  • Clickup

Key Traits & Competencies of a Successful Project Manager


Arguably one of the most important competencies of project managers is keeping track of team member's tasks.


Project managers have to resource plan under budgeting constraints. They also have to visualize and report on budgets.


Project managers need to keep themselves and their team meticulously organized to get work done as efficiently as possible.


Project managers must be detail oriented to make sure their teams do not miss critical information.


Project managers need to be adept at people management to make sure the team meshes.


Project managers have to be able to handle multiple swim lanes of communication at a time, and make it look easy! 

As a Project Manager, you'll work all kinds of roles. These are the most popular: 

Product Managers
Learn more
Learn more
UX Researchers
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Learn more

Difference between Project Manager and Program Manager

Project managers are mostly entry to mid level roles, and usually manage one big project or client at a time. They hop from project to project in various timeframes, but usually their focus is dedicated.

Program managers on the other hand are more senior than project managers. Program managers usually oversee multiple projects that roll up into an area. They may also manage project managers, or have several on their team working on projects that roll into a program.

Therefore while a project manager may work to improve a single area of a mobile application for a company, a program manager may be responsible for all the improvements on the application, or even multiple applications and the related projects involved.

Get Project Management Experience at Home

Learning on the job is one of the fastest ways to get familiar with new topics, and showing is much better than telling. Create a few free accounts with some popular project management tools (such as ASANA, Jira, Trello) and create a task manager for a household project. Watch Youtube or take a recommended class to learn how.

A project could be something as easy as logging steps to a family cooking recipe, or something as complex as managing a home remodel project. This is great content for a mini"portfolio" to talk about and reference in interviews.


Key Takeaway: Project Managers can organize from anywhere by keeping their team on track.

Being a project manager is a great entry-level way to get experience with several roles and responsibilities within an organization. It's also a great way to break into a tech career because it does not require any hard skills to be successful.

Here at Bridged we are huge fans of stacking micro-certifications to achieve desired career results. We're building a product to make your career planning fun and affordable, and we'd love to talk to YOU! Was this article helpful? Did you land an interview for a role in project management?

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How to Get a Job as a Project Manager

We love a stepped process for quick and specific results. The 3 tiered process is best.

We recommend starting out by documenting things about you, how you like to work, and how these things might tie into your next job. For example, a person with motion sickness should not become a trucker. Same deal here.

Learn more
  • decorative heading

    do your research.
    Check out our list of relevant core competencies and skills. Research other jobs in the field to see if any of those appeal to you more.

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    identify skills.
    If those sound good, look at our job descriptions. Identify and check off what skills you already have, and start thinking about ways to target the ones you don't.

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    take classes.
    we recommend classes and certifications to get familiar with specific, relevant job requirements. Learn from your home with no more fluff or expensive bootcamps.

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