Project Management in Belgium: Job description, Courses & Online training
What does a Project Manager do?
In short, project managers supervise a project’s initiation, planning, execution, monitoring and delivery. They typically oversee a team working towards a common objective: the project’s completion, whether that be in Engineering, IT, Maintenance or Sales. Their main tasks are defining targets, timelines, resource allocation and budgets.
On a day to day basis, the working hours depend heavily on the ongoing project. It also determines the location of the project manager switching from the office to the project site as necessary. The only constant between all projects are the regular meetings a project manager must attend and lead with their own team as well as clients. In Belgium, a project manager can earn around 50,000 € gross per year.
So, what makes a great project manager? Which qualities and skills will make you stand out for recruiters and ensure your team’s success?
A strong set of technical skills is important for a project manager in any field especially in Engineering and IT. Combining those with the following skills is bound to give you the keys to great project management. In the end, don’t forget that the job is about managing the work, not doing it.
Communication skills – Project managers are in touch with their clients on a regular basis so communication is probably one of the most important skills. A project manager should know and instil in their team members how to interact comfortably with your supervisors, team members or stakeholders. A big part of communication is listening to the other party and making sure they understand what is required of them. Keeping it simple is the key.
Organisational Skills – An efficient team leader knows how to deal with constraints in order to reach their objectives. Planning out the different phases, setting out short- and long-term milestones and aptly delegating between team members are all essential to successfully executing a project. Set yourself up for success by learning how to use dedicated management tools and software resources.
Time management – Being a good project manager is being a reliable one. To ensure you deliver your solutions in timely fashion, make sure you set realistic expectations for your team, include buffer time and prioritise between tasks.
Leadership skills – As a project Manager, you are responsible for leading your team. This entails taking initiatives and mobilise the team members. Make sure you learn about each member’s personalities and skill set and leverage on them to achieve your common goals. In short, listen to and involve your team. As Chris Field said, “The role of the project manager is first and foremost to create an environment in which the project manager's team can be successful—nothing more, nothing less."
In short, being a project manager is about creating a productive work environment and leading your team.
What are the requirements to become a project manager? How can I become a project manager in Belgium?
Project managers often hold at a minimum a bachelor’s degree in business or management or else a certification in either project management or engineering science. If a project manager holds a master’s degree in these fields, it generally means they have more advanced knowledge of project management and business. In Engineering and IT, technical skills are extremely important. For instance, any project manager in that field should be able to use appropriate software to track their projects.
All the major universities in Belgium offer top courses and degrees where you can learn these skills. For example, the KUL offers an excellent business engineering programme and the Antwerp Management School has first-rate programmes in Management.
Are certifications important for a Project Manager? Where can I get certified in Belgium?
In some cases, project managers without one of the aforementioned degrees grow into the job as they acquire valuable work-experience in a related industry and at least 3 years of management experience. A must-have for these profiles is a project management certification.
For instance, the Project Management Institute (PMI) issued the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) guide for working professionals. Their Project Management Professional (PMP) Certification is one of the top industry-recognised certifications in project management. Currently, there are over 1 million active certified individuals worldwide. The true value of this certification is its global reach and its worth in many industries including Engineering and IT.
If you are interested in the PMP Certification, you can take an online training course with QRP or SGS. The EHSAL Management School also offers a PMP preparation course in Brussels. As for Antwerp, Unichrone delivers regular PMP certification training.
Another trending methodology is Agile Project Management which uses short development cycles to focus on continuous improvement during a project. Working professionals can also get an Agile Certification to buff up their resume by attending Agile training in Brussels with Agile Scrum or QRP who also offers this training online. Another great option is the online foundation certificate by NCOI and passing the exam in one of their locations in Flanders.