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Project executives, also known as project managers, are professionals who are responsible for overseeing all of the processes that go into completing individual projects. For example, a project executive in the software development industry might oversee the design and engineering of an individual program, track budgets and time frames, manage its release, and evaluate a program's success once it has hit the market. To become a project executive, it almost always is necessary to have some formal academic training in your field, though required levels of academic preparation vary greatly among industries and employers. In most cases, a person who wants to become a project executive also should get years of experience in his or her company and demonstrate a deep understanding of his or her industry and market.
People who become project executives usually are experts in their fields and tend to have excellent track records. At the same time, these professionals normally do not have the levels of leadership experience as those in high level management and executive roles. Instead, project executives might act as team leaders or heads of departments. They meet with top level executives to report progress and obstacles and take instruction back to their project team members.
To become a project executive, it is essential that you become familiar with job requirements in your industry or field of choice while you are still in college. This information can help you to understand which courses you should take to pursue relevant degrees. For instance, if you would like to become a project executive in finance, you should take courses in finance, management, economics, and maybe even accounting. In this case, a master's degree in business can be helpful, so you should research various programs and apply to those which you believe you are qualified to enter and which offer concentrations that appeal to you.
If you want to become a project executive, you should plan on working for a number of years in entry level positions. To expedite your rise to a project executive position, it can be a good idea to engage in internships while you are a student. Many employers consider internship experience to be equivalent to entry level work experience.
Once you have a position in an industry in which you want to work, your next step to become a project executive should be to take as much responsibility as you can get. This might begin by applying for new job openings in your company, even if you are not sure that you are qualified. It is important to do this within reason, however. If you have been in a field for only a year, you probably shouldn't apply for an executive management position, though you might apply for a position that requires two years of experience.