Your guide to becoming a Project Manager

Back to Blogs
Blog Img

Your guide to becoming a Project Manager

The growth of opportunities in the fibre industry continues to grow, thus, we are focusing our attention on the role of a Project Manager in fibre. We will provide a guide on what it takes to become a project manager in Fibre specifically and highlight its difference in the wider profession.

This blog will give you a guide on the path to take to becoming a Fibre Project Manager. What it entails, what you need to develop and how you can succeed in the fibre industry.

If you’re a Project Manager interested in entering the world of fibre, or someone interested in becoming a Project manager in telecoms, we have all the answers you need, read on!

What does a Project Manager do?

It is important to address that the role of a Project Manager in the fibre industry can be referred to different titles on job adverts. These can include the following:

  • Fibre Project Manager

  • Civils Project Manager

  • Civil Project Manager

In the wider profession, a Project Manager is usually responsible for completing a project in line with the plan, tracking work to be completed, delegating tasks, and identifying any potential risks. Your main responsibilities will involve:

  • Initiating the project, working out budgets, planning, developing the teams, and resources needed for the project

  • Monitoring and managing the progress of the project

  • Reporting regularly to management and the client and making any changes throughout the process

  • Closing the project by evaluating its success and challenges

In fibre however, the role of a Project Manager is a bit more specialised and you will typically be responsible for a team of supervisors to assist with design/pre site walk-outs to provide clear and accurate information on the project. As well as, to make sure a close working relationship is formed between the commercial and delivery team, sub cons and client.

The general duties/responsibilities of a Project Manager in the fibre industry specifically are as follows:

  • Own the successful completion of pre-enablement activities for each opportunity from a planning, technical specification on the fibre build

  • Work closely with the Senior Delivery Manager to ensure Sub-Con resource is in place and right sized for each opportunity

  • Work closely with the Commercial Manager to ensure any complex or challenging sections on route are captured within commercial conversations

  • Lead on all PIA activity ensuring all Network Adjustments and NOI's are raised in good time


How much does a Project Manager earn?

Our recruitment experts in the fibre industry note, the typical salaries for a Project Manager in the sector can fall in between £35,000 and £60,000 per year.

Additionally, we have conducted a labour market data report through Lightcast, showing that from January 2022 – April 2023, the annual median advertised salary for a Project Manager in fibre/utilities is £54,912 per year in the UK.

What are the most important skills/qualifications of a Project Manager?

The typical requirement for a Project Manager in the wider sector is strong organisational skills, including, the ability to multitask, prioritise tasks, to ensure processes are running smoothly and in line with the common goals of the project.

For a Project Manager in the fibre industry, your ability to manage and supervise a project team within a fast-paced environment is important. As well as your ability to drive results through planning the delivery of a project within the timescale, making decisions, and providing solutions.

The qualifications needed for a Project Manager in the wider sector is an APMP/APM PQ (practitioner qualification), APM RPP (registered project professional), PMP (certified project management professional) and CMI diploma in project management.

In terms of the qualifications required in the fibre sector, you will need a NRSWA supervisor certification, CDM and support in the production of method statements and risk assessments. Also, you may wish to pick up some professional Project Management qualifications, with the most popular ones being Prince2 and Association for Project Management (APM).

What experience and knowledge do you need?

You will need some experience of working in the telecommunications or similar industry, a level of formal project management training and a clear understanding of project management methodologies. Including, an excellent understanding of telecoms network build practices, both underground and overhead.

A proven track record of working at a senior management level on high value projects within the telecoms industry or other utility industries is also needed. Also, you will need proven experience in the delivery of FTTP/FTTH including civils activities, PIA infrastructure and processes (e.g., A55s, walkovers, street works).

How can you progress?

The career route to becoming a Project Manager in the fibre industry is usually through the stages of Fibre Supervisor or Fibre Manager. You can also come from a different industry with a level of project management experience or from a utility, civils background and learn the fibre sector. The career progression from project management is quite varied and this is dependent on the company, but most Project Managers progress into an Area Build Manager or a Senior Project Manager.

A Build Manager is responsible for the management and coordination of planning, staffing, scheduling, budget management including P&L, quality control, safety, and overall delivery of their allocated project. On the other hand, a Senior Project Manager is responsible for larger and more complex projects and may be put in charge of several projects at a time.

There are lots of other opportunities available for a Project Manager within fibre and these can include:

  • Area Build manager – project management experience and strong team leadership skills are essential for this role, with salaries ranging from £45,000 and £65,000 per year.

  • Senior project manager – senior project managers can earn anywhere from £40,000 and £65,000 per year.

  • Commercial manager – as a commercial manager, you will be responsible for all commercial matters on projects in either a geographical area or covering certain clients/contracts. For this role, you can £60,000 and £100,000 per year.

  • Program manager – program managers usually have a project management or business administration background that allows them to align projects with their companies’ strategic goals. They can earn £45,000 and £60,000 per year.

  • Delivery manager – for a delivery manager, you will be responsible for ensuring the smooth running of fibre operations and to ensure it is done safely and efficiently. You can expect to take home between £60,000 and £80,000 per year.


The key takeaway

The fibre industry is continually growing and the potential for development in the industry is boundless, especially for a Project Manager. The earning potential in fibre is higher than it is for Project Managers in various other industries – with salaries of up to £60,000, as opposed to the UK average for Project Managers which is £47,500.

If this is a role that is of interest to you, we hope that this blog can help in the start of your journey! Alternatively, you can search our live roles in Project Management and read our guide on applying for a job in the fibre industry here.

Search Project Manager jobs