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Junior project managers are management-support associates responsible for project administration and support. Under the direction of the program manager or project director, they oversee the completion of project tasks and monitor adherence to perpetual project management process standards. The project management office relies on junior project managers to follow up on open items and track issues. They apply their knowledge of the best practices for project administration to their key duties, including resource allocation, task planning and progress reporting.
Job Profile and Primary Responsibilities
In the absence of the program manager or project director, junior project managers may monitor work efforts, assign resources, delegate tasks and report progress to senior managers and various stakeholders. They support project management offices and document all project-related assignments, issues and risks. Junior project managers are technically astute and assist with creating reports and presentations using a variety of office productivity tools. They also aim to improve project administration processes by identifying inefficiencies and recommending solutions.
Professional Skills and Traits
The competencies critical to a junior project manager's job success include knowledge of the best practices for project management and business research, superb organizational skills and keen attention to detail. Junior project managers can communicate clearly and concisely with diverse audiences, in both oral and written contexts, and are comfortable giving and receiving feedback. Individuals with extremely high standards and a maniacally low threshold for errors and inefficient processes are ideal candidates for this position.
Education and Training
Many employers prefer project managers with bachelor’s degrees. Degree concentration in a business or management subject area is not required but may provide practical guidance for future work. For other employers, adequate experience is sometimes acceptable in lieu of a bachelor’s degree. Professional certification credentials can help to demonstrate knowledge and project management acumen. The Project Management Institute (PMI) offers certification programs for project managers with at least three years of job-related experience.
As junior project managers achieve more work experience, they often become individually accountable for projects or move on to handle larger teams on more complex projects. Some project managers may advance to leadership positions and accept responsibility for an organization’s project management office, while others may choose to seek out new business opportunities in an unrelated field. Project managers at the senior level may shift to business development or project management consulting careers.
Junior project management occupations in the United States, such as project coordinator and project analyst, average annual earnings of $57,722 to $109,455, as of 2010, according to national income trends from CareerBuilder. The average expected salary for a project analyst in the United States is $76,783. Comparatively, the median salaries of project management occupations at the senior level, such as program manager and project director are $78,879 and $126,088, respectively.