Academy Xi Blog

Market update: Penetration Tester demand and salary in Australia, 2022

By Academy Xi

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Cyber attacks are rapidly rising with a 125% increase in 2021, costing businesses an average of $4.35 million USD per breach. The demand for ‘ethical white hat hackers’ has never been higher, as corporations double down on getting their cyber defences sorted. Discover where ‘Pen Testers’ fit into the big picture.

Penetration Tester Demand 

It is anticipated that an additional 16,600 cyber security professionals will be needed nationally by 2026, including penetration testers.

Penetration Tester Salary

The average annual salary for Penetration Tester jobs in Australia ranges from $120,000 to $170,000.

Penetration Tester Skills

Industry-focused, practical training will ensure you’re equipped with the right skills and mindset.

The pandemic undoubtedly added rocket fuel to the levels of cyber crime, with ransomware and data theft being the forerunners. As a result, businesses are seeking cyber professionals in-house and as contractors en masse. 

Recent research commissioned by CyberCX and conducted by independent think tank, Per Capita, reveals there will be a staggering lack of qualified cybersecurity professionals over the next four years, to the tune of 30,000 unfilled positions nationwide.

If a future in penetration testing has been calling you – now is the time to act.

What do Pen Testers do?

what do pen testers do Australia

Penetration Testers, often referred to as ‘Pen Testers,’ are responsible for running pre-planned and authorised simulations of cyber attacks, carried out on IT infrastructures to evaluate current levels of security. 

Running such a simulation can reveal any system vulnerabilities which need addressing to bolster the framework and make it more resilient against hackers.

This proactive approach to cyber security can involve using a range of hacking tools and techniques, with the pen tester acting in the role of hacker in an attempt to find any system holes that a real cyber-crime could exploit. 

Pen Testers need to document their entire process to develop a penetration test report, which can be shared with relevant stakeholders to highlight the current state of security and where different levels of action or monitoring are required. 

Daily responsibilities will vary depending on the industry and organisation, but some common tasks include:

  • Researching different attack strategies and tools
  • Reviewing code for potential vulnerability 
  • Automating testing approaches to increase efficiency
  • Ongoing documentation of any compliance threats
  • Development of pen testing methods
  • Conducting ongoing testing after security improvements 
  • Generating reports of findings 

Are penetration testers in demand in Australia?

It is anticipated that an additional 16,600 cyber security professionals will be needed nationally by 2026, including Penetration Testers.

The table below demonstrates the cyber security workforce need and shortfall forecast for Australia by 2026.

Penetration tester salary in Australia

As with many occupations there are a range of factors that can impact earning capacity such as experience, location, training and qualifications.

The average annual salary for Penetration Tester jobs in Australia ranges from $120,000 to $170,000, with Canberra, Sydney and Melbourne based roles being the highest paid.

Be mindful that we are talking in-house positions and there are likely many that can be performed remotely, from wherever you’re located.

Junior pen tester salary

Depending on the industry and organisation, some entry level Pen Tester salaries can start at around the $90,000 mark.

Senior pen tester salary

Those with more industry experience can command salaries of $175,000 and up as Penetration Testers. 

Can penetration testers work as a freelancer?

Yes. Freelancing can provide freedom and flexibility, but it isn’t recommended as a starting point for your pen testing career. By taking on in-house positions within cyber security, you will gain a breadth of experience, meet a range of people within the industry and ultimately ‘cut your teeth’ with the pros. Venturing into freelance before establishing a solid foundation can prove to be a lot more challenging, as you will likely not have the industry contacts, which can be helpful when securing your initial clients. 

What skills do you need to be a penetration tester?

penetration tester skills Australia academy xi

First and foremost, a willingness to be continually learning is an important attribute for anyone wishing to delve into the world of penetration testing, or cyber security in general. 

The playing field is forever changing, requiring constant research and investigation. Specifically, key skills include knowledge and a working understanding of:

  • Coding
  • Programming languages (Python, Ruby, Java, Perl, BASH)
  • IT security technologies
  • Threat modelling 
  • Penetration testing management platforms
  • Computer networks and capabilities
  • Components of different networks
  • Security assessment tools
  • Remote access technologies
  • Vulnerabilities and exploits beyond tool suites

In addition to the above skills, it’s also important to have excellent communication skills, both written and verbal, so you can present your findings effectively and with impact to all relevant stakeholders. 

Similar specialisations and career paths

  • Information security analyst
  • Security software developer
  • Security architect
  • Security engineer

How to become a penetration tester Australia

Pen tester demand and salary australia

Ensuring you have industry-ready skills is definitely required to break into penetration testing. While it is not uncommon for pen testers to have tertiary qualifications, such as a Bachelor of IT or computer science, it’s actually hands-on industry experience that will be appealing to most employers.

By fast-tracking your training with industry-built, practical and outcomes-focused courses, you will graduate job-ready in a fraction of the time it would take you to complete a degree, getting you out into the working world at pace.

Our Cyber Security Engineering: Transform course will ensure you are equipped with the skills needed to enter the world of penetration testing with confidence. The course can be completed part-time in 10 months, with practical learning, expert mentoring and 1:1 career coaching.

If you have any questions, our experienced team is here to discuss your training options. Speak to a course advisor and take the first steps in your penetration testing journey.

Academy Xi Blog

Market update: Product Manager demand and salaries in Australia 2022

By Academy Xi

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Considering a career in Product Management and assessing if it’s the best move for you? We’ve rounded up the latest industry insights and stats to assist your research.

What does a Product Manager do?

A Product Manager is tasked with identifying the true needs of the target customer market, along with the key objectives of the business that a new product, service or feature will fulfil. The Product Manager then assembles a team that can bring this new idea into the real world, firstly establishing a clear picture of what success will look like, then setting achievable goals and keeping everyone motivated along the way. 

In addition, Product Managers need to have an understanding of what the competition is offering for the same market and how what is being proposed fits in with the wider objectives of the company.

Career prospects are plentiful, with any company offering a product or service needing a Product Manager. 

“The role of Product Manager is expanding due to the growing importance of data in decision-making, and increased customer and design focus, and the evolution of software-development methodologies” (McKinsey)

Product Managers salaries in Australia

Demand for Product Managers in Australia is steadily rising, with national employment rates set to increase by 10.3% in the next five years

The average annual salary for Product Manager jobs in Australia ranges from $120,000 to $140,000. Industries offering the highest average salaries for Product Managers include:

  • Insurance and superannuation
  • Information and communication technology
  • Banking and financial services

Junior Product Manager salary

Entry-level Product Manager positions start at around the $115,000 mark, but be mindful that this is an overall national average. Starting salaries can differ greatly depending on the industry, any transferable skills you bring to the table from previous positions and the quality of your training.

Once you’ve been in the game for a while you can expect a mid-career Product Manager salary average of approximately $137,000 per year.

Senior Product Manager salary

The most experienced Product Managers attract salaries in the ballpark of $170,000 per year, but again this will be dictated by the hiring industry and prior experience of the candidate.

Can you be a freelance Product Manager?

It’s possible to freelance with many speciality skill-sets in today’s working world, and Product Management is no exception. In order to land contracts with companies as a freelance Product Manager, having a solid employment history with a range of examples of your work is paramount, as is knowing a network of contacts who are willing to refer you for any work opportunities. 

While freelancing as a Product Manager is entirely possible, it isn’t likely to be the first stage of your Product Management career. It’s recommended that you work in-house for at least a few companies to begin with. Doing so will provide you with much needed experience and also assist you in discovering which industries you might prefer working in.

How much can freelance product managers make?

As a freelance Product Manager, you can set your rates by hour, day or project. In terms of what to charge, you need to factor in all of the outgoings that your standard in-house salary would cover, including sick leave, superannuation, and additional training costs. 

Day rates for freelance Product Managers could range from $500 per day to anything north of $1000. It really will depend on the industry, project, allocated budget and how well aligned your experience is to the project requirements.

Freelance rate calculators can be a helpful tool to guide your rate, along with researching what others in the field are charging. It pays to do your research. You will also have an idea from your time working in-house of what different companies have paid for contractors, which can help shape your expectations.

What skills are needed for Product Management?

product managers skills salary australia If you’re new to the game, or looking to sharpen your existing abilities, there’s a number of soft and hard skills every Product Manager needs in their toolkit. Here’s a few to get you started:
  • Web development

Don’t fret, you don’t need to be a full-stack developer to be a great Product Manager, but having an understanding of web development will be highly beneficial. Having this understanding will give context to your work and enable you to communicate more thoughtfully and effectively with your IT colleagues.
  • Market research

Establishing the true needs of the target audience and gathering customer feedback is all part of effective market research. Having the skills to conduct this research is vital in Product Management. 
  • Understanding UX

As a Product Manager you will be working with User Experience (UX) Designers, so having an understanding of the best practices will enable you to better collaborate with these members of your team and have an appreciation of their responsibilities. On the soft skills front, Product Managers need the following on their side:
  • Communication skills
  • Time management
  • Creative problem-solving 
  • Critical thinking 
  • Flexibility 

How to start a career in Product Management

Whether you’re looking to upskill or venturing into a new career direction with Product Management, quality industry-focused training is highly recommended to ensure you’re equipped with the right skills and mindset.

At Academy Xi our Product Management courses are built with experts from Accenture, MYOB, PwC and Deloitte and will provide you with the latest frameworks and techniques to ensure you’re able to hit the ground running in your first Product Management role.

For those upskilling, Product Management: Elevate will see you gaining immediately applicable Product Management skills and give your professional development a serious boost.  

Product Management: Transform will take beginners to job-ready with in-depth practical training, live client projects and coaching from a Career Support Program that delivers 97% of graduates straight into the industry.

Graduate with highly practical skills and the ability to:

  • Conduct market analysis to identify strategic opportunities
  • Articulate a product vision and roadmap
  • Manage the design phase using human-centred design principles
  • Plan your product backlog using Jira
  • Develop a go-to-market strategy
  • Manage your Agile scrum sprint
  • Create financial modelling
  • Manage and improve products throughout their lifecycle based on data-driven insights
  • Use soft skills to get stakeholder buy-in and influence outcomes
  • Build desirable, viable and feasible products using cross-functional leadership

If you have any questions, our experienced team is here to discuss your training options. Speak to a course advisor today and take the first steps in your Product Management journey.

Academy Xi Blog

What is Service Design and why is it important?

By Academy Xi

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We’ve compiled this list of questions most frequently asked about Service Design to help you understand what it’s like to start a high-impact career as a Service Designer.

  • Service Design and why it’s important
  • Service Design essentials
  • Service Design skills
  • Careers in Service Design
  • Industry demand for Service Design
  • Becoming a Service Designer

Already know you’d like to study Service Design? Get in touch with our Course Advisors to discuss training options, and check out the upcoming intake.

Service Design and why it’s important

What is Service Design?

With so many rival businesses competing for customers these days, offering outstanding service is one of the best ways to stand out from the crowd. 

Service Design is a Human-Centred Design practice that emphasises the needs of the customer and strategically organises a business’s people, infrastructure and processes to provide seamless services.

Improving the customer’s service experience can help increase brand differentiation and build customer loyalty, leading to sustainable long-term growth. As well as improving the customer’s experience, a business that champions good service often provides a productive and enjoyable working environment for employees.    

How do businesses use Service Design?

With markets evolving quicker than ever before, what a customer deems to be an amazing service can change in the blink of an eye. Paying attention to Service Design allows a business to remain connected to its customers, ensuring continuity of change and enabling it to meet their current and future needs. 

Service Design uncovers the criteria customers have for committing to a company and making a purchase, helping a business validate its offerings and identify opportunities for improvement.  

The impact of Service Design isn’t restricted to customer-facing departments. Having an end-to-end service blueprint helps all internal stakeholders comprehensively analyse the service experience, instead of viewing it as a series of scattered actions. This breaks down silos and brings departments together, paving the way for a more innovative and customer-centric business model.

What does a Service Designer actually do?

What do service designers do

A Service Designer looks holistically at a business and its customer interactions, aiming to create amazing service experiences that permeate a whole company. 

Although no two roles will ever be the same, some of the day-to-day tasks that go into being a Service Designer include: 

  • Performing customer research 
  • Prioritising service features
  • Designing a service blueprint
  • Coordinating different teams 
  • Assigning and managing tasks 
  • Liaising with stakeholders, both internal and external
  • Determining metrics for success
  • Collecting and analysing data  

Service Design essentials

What are people, props and processes?

In order to optimise a business’s service, Service Designers focus their efforts on three key types of resources:

  • People

This refers to anyone who creates, uses or is indirectly affected by a service. First and foremost, this involves customers and employees, but could even include business partners and external investors.

  • Processes

This refers to the workflows, procedures and rules needed to successfully deliver a service, including hiring and training new employees. Many processes are carried out behind the scenes, but will ultimately impact the customer’s service experience.  

  • Props

This includes the physical or digital artefacts used throughout a service, as well as business spaces such as shops and showrooms. This could also include the digital platforms that businesses use to interact with their customers, such as social media sites and online stores.

What are the front and backstage elements of Service Design?

Taking a holistic approach, Service Designers research and optimise the front and backstage elements of a service. 

Front stage elements include:

  • Shops 
  • Websites and apps
  • Customer-facing staff 
  • Emails and chatbots
  • Telephone conversations

Backstage elements include: 

  • Company processes and policies
  • Workflows and systems 
  • Infrastructure 
  • Tech
  • Staff training programs

When problems exist with backstage elements, they often have frontstage consequences, including poor service, inconsistent communication and customer frustration. Streamlining backstage processes improves the employees’ experience, which in turn allows them to create a better service experience.

What is a customer journey map?

A customer journey map is a visual representation of a customer’s experience with a company. From gaining awareness of a brand via social media to the aftercare received from customer service, there are normally many steps in between that a customer journey map addresses.

Rather than predicting the experience of a service based on internal opinions, a customer journey map clarifies the physical and emotional responses to a service based on the customer’s perspective.

Customer journey maps provide an understanding of the needs and concerns of potential customers, which directly motivate or inhibit their actions as they interact with a brand. Service Designers use this information to enhance a business’s service, leading to increased customer retention.

What is a service blueprint?

A service blueprint is a diagram that visualises the relationships between the different components of a service – people, props and processes – all of which are directly tied to the different touchpoints in the customer’s journey.

Similar to customer journey maps, service blueprints are instrumental in planning how an end-to-end service will be delivered. Blueprinting is an ideal approach for planning services that are omnichannel, involve multiple touchpoints, or are coordinated by multiple departments.

Keep in mind that a business might have multiple service scenarios, which will lead to multiple blueprints. For example, a restaurant might have separate service blueprints for customers ordering takeout food versus customers who are dining-in.

Service Design Skills

service design skills academy xi

What skills does a Service Designer need?

A successful Service Designer will rely on a broad range of hard and soft skills when completing their day-to-day work. Here’s a shortlist of the fundamental skills that any aspiring Service Designer should aim to develop.

Hard skills

  • Commercial acumen 

Service Designers need to understand the target market, customer demographics, market demand and their business’s value proposition. Commercial acumen helps Service Designers deliver experiences that not only meet specific customer needs, but are also commercially viable.

  • Analytical skills

Service Designers rely on quantitative and qualitative data to understand a service from the perspective of customers, employees and other stakeholders. Analytical skills help Service Designers build sound, well-informed service blueprints that are based on data insights, rather than just their best guess.

  • Project management

Designing and implementing service improvements often involves coordinating input from multiple teams. A Service Designer relies on their project management skills to facilitate collaboration and ensure team members complete tasks according to a brief within set timelines.

  • User research

Any Service Design project will always begin with user research. It’s crucial that Service Designers know how to ask open questions that elicit a deeper understanding of people’s needs and behaviours. Capturing a customer’s perception of their experience relative to their goals will directly inform how a service can be improved upon. Service Designers need to be able to analyse research data and turn insights into actionable solutions that can be incorporated into a service.

  • Prototyping and testing

Service Designers need to be able to bring ideas to life and test their practicality with early and inexpensive prototypes. Prototypes take many forms, from rapid and iterative, to physical and digital. Customers will normally use the prototype, giving Service Designers the chance to test their design. Customer feedback will often decide which features are included in the final service blueprint.

Soft skills

  • Empathy

At the very heart of the Service Design process is empathy and a burning desire to improve people’s lives. Service Designers need the ability to listen and interact with their service users so they can explore different perspectives and experiences. Service Designers use their skills of empathy mapping to craft customer solutions and enhanced user experience.

  • Problem-solving

A Service Designer’s job involves multiple departments and many moving parts, which often leads to complications (budgetary constraints, conflicting beliefs, etc). A Service Designer with a problem-solving mindset can brainstorm ideas and identify solutions that will satisfy the customer’s demands as well as a business’s objectives.

  • Communication

Service Designers work cross-functionally, collaborating with anybody from tech teams to marketers. Strong communication skills enable Service Designers to secure stakeholder buy-in, nurture meaningful work relationships and align an entire company around a strategy.

  • Strategic thinking 

From the identification of improvement opportunities, to the development of a service blueprint and its implementation, Service Designers are often required to think strategically. Service Designers rely on their strategic skills to ensure that all teams, infrastructure and resources are properly organised to deliver incredible service experiences.

  • Decision-making

Inevitably, a range of choices have to be made when taking charge of an end-to-end service. Service Designers have to be able to weigh-up options, anticipate probable outcomes and make smart decisions that positively impact the service the customer receives.

Careers in Service Design

service design career demand australia

There are a wide variety of reasons to choose a career in Service Design. In particular, it’s a profession that’s highly sought after. These days, businesses in every industry understand that profitable companies are built on delivering great service.   

Before you embark on a career in Service Design, it’s useful to have a clear picture of what a typical pathway might look like. 

What does a career path in Service Design look like?

Here’s an example of a typical Service Design career pathway, broken down into roles of increasing responsibility and seniority: 

Junior Service Designer

The entry-level position that will kickstart many careers is a Junior or Associate Service Designer. Organisations with larger teams will often hire Junior Service Designers, who are normally freshly qualified in the field. 

Some of a Junior Service Designer’s responsibilities include: 

  • Assisting more senior Service Designers with their duties
  • Conducting customer research
  • Gathering and reporting on data

Mid-level Service Designer

After gaining a few years of entry-level industry experience, you’ll be well placed to apply for mid-level Service Design roles. Being a mid-level Service Designer is more strategic and relies on your ability to coordinate the efforts of different teams. 

A mid-level Service Designer’s responsibilities might include:

  • Identifying problem areas through key performance indicators
  • Proposing changes and improvements to the service experience
  • Liaising with other teams to implement an improved service 

Senior Service Designer

Once you’ve accumulated roughly 5 years of experience as a Service Designer, you’ll have the chance to move up to the role of Senior Service Designer. At this level, you’ll be taking on more serious responsibilities, which include:

  • Planning a company’s end-to-end service blueprint
  • Leading collaboration across cross-functional teams
  • Managing interactions with internal and external stakeholders
  • Setting the service vision for an entire company

Industry demand for Service Design

demand for service designers in australia

How high is the demand for Service Designers in Australia?

With businesses in every industry recognising the need to offer gold-standard service, Service Design is now one of the hottest roles in the employment market. 

A recent International Service Design Institute poll found that three quarters of Service Designers believe they have more employment opportunities than ever before. 

In Australia the demand for Service Designers is particularly strong, with LinkedIn currently advertising more than 3,000 specialist roles

You should also remember a professional Service Designer’s skills are in demand globally, so wherever you find yourself living, you’ll have work experience and a resume that hiring managers are actively searching for. 

How much do Service Designers earn in Australia?

Because Service Designers are now highly sought after across a full range of industries, the pay opportunities in Australia have never been better. 

The average Service Designer salary in Australia at $119,178 per year (or $60.12 per hour). Even entry-level positions start at $109,421 per year, while more experienced Service Designers make $157,907 per year on average.

Becoming a Service Designer

How hard is it to learn Service Design?

Even for a complete beginner, mastering Service Design is not as hard as you might think. That said, it’s important you begin with a strong desire to connect with customer needs and think big-picture about how a business functions. 

You’ll need to learn how to manage the service experience from end-to-end and it takes time and dedication to grasp the research methods that underpin an effective service blueprint. 

If you’re aiming to get a foothold in the profession, you should consider earning a formal certification in Service Design. It will be difficult to secure your first role without this, since so many other applicants will have a certified skillset.

Where can I study Service Design?     

There are many options when it comes to qualifying as a Service Designer. In the past, many have chosen to take a Bachelor’s degree in a related field, which takes 3-4 years to complete, before specialising in Service Design.    

There’s less of an expectation for Service Designers to be university trained nowadays, with most employers favouring skills, experience and a strong portfolio over formal degrees. 

As a result, more people are enrolling in condensed bootcamp-style courses, which leave graduates industry-ready in a much shorter period of time. These courses focus on the tangible skills that today’s professionals need to make their mark on the industry.

What Service Design courses does Academy Xi offer?

Academy Xi offers practical, industry-recognised training that’s designed for digital careers. Our beginner-friendly Service Design courses will give you the hands-on skills and strategic mindset needed to design end-to-end services that focus on the customer’s experience at all touchpoints.

Whatever your lifestyle and time commitments, Academy Xi has a course that’s perfectly suited to you. 

Both courses have been built in collaboration with industry professionals from top digital companies, offering you the chance to:

  • Access a comprehensive toolkit containing all the templates and tools a Service Designer needs – it’s yours to keep and you can use it on the job straight away.
  • Demonstrate your strategic skills to employers by researching and creating actionable current and future-state service blueprints. 
  • Put the theory of Service Design into practice by working on weekly practical activities and hands-on projects. 
  • Choose from a range of real-world scenarios or bring your own Service Design problem to solve. 
  • Add value in any business by Identifying customer needs, creating user stories and designing company-wide approaches that ensure exceptional service.

Not sure which course is right for you? Chat to a course advisor and we’ll help you find the perfect match. 

Want to discuss your transferable skills and training options? Chat to a course advisor today. We’ll help you to find the perfect course so you can kickstart a career in the fight against cyber crime.

what is digital product management

Academy Xi Blog

What is Digital Project Management and why is it important to businesses?

By Academy Xi

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what is digital product management

We’ve compiled this list of questions most frequently asked about Digital Project Management to help you understand what it’s like to start a fast-paced career as a Digital Project Manager.

  • Project Management and why it’s important
  • Project Management essentials
  • Project Management skills and tools
  • Careers in Project Management
  • Industry demand for Project Management
  • Becoming a Project Manager

Already know you’d like to study Digital Project Management? Get in touch with our Course Advisors to discuss training options, and check out the upcoming intake dates.

Digital Project Management and why it’s important

What is Digital Project Management?

In the simplest terms, a project is a set of tasks and activities that are completed to achieve a specific goal or result. Project management is the process of leading a team that delivers that project and the best possible outcomes.  

Projects are normally temporary, rather than recurring. They should have a fixed timeline, allocated resources and a defined beginning and end. Projects may be large or small, complex or simple, and may take years to complete, or could be completed within a few days.

In a digital setting, projects come in all shapes and sizes, from developing large-scale web apps to orchestrating marketing campaigns. Digital Project Management is all about using cutting-edge tech to get the job done more efficiently and guiding a digital project from conception to completion.

How do businesses use Digital Project Management?

The pandemic has significantly accelerated the pace of digital transformation among Australian businesses. Recent years have seen organisations across the country acting rapidly to digitise business processes and migrate their activities online. 

This drive towards online business is a necessary response to the changing needs of customers and staff. As a result, businesses are initiating more digital projects than ever before, generating a growing need for a new breed of Project Manager. 

Digital Project Managers don’t stop at simply managing a team to deliver a project. They often adopt leadership roles and spearhead innovation on the widest scale, setting the strategic direction, owning the customer experience, and initiating projects that deliver results.

What does a Digital Project Manager actually do?

what do Digital Project Managers do

In the broadest sense, Digital Project Managers are responsible for planning, organising, and directing the completion of digital projects for an organisation, while ensuring these projects are delivered on time, on budget, and within scope.

Although no two roles will ever be the same, some of the day-to-day tasks that go into being a Digital Project Manager include: 

  • Planning projects (often using the waterfall approach)
  • Motivating, managing and getting the best out of your team
  • Running Agile Scrum sprints
  • Troubleshooting and getting failing projects back on track
  • Managing scope, time, budget, resources, risk and quality
  • Dealing with internal and external stakeholders 

Beyond getting the job done, a good Digital Project Manager builds trust, guides decisions, and is equally comfortable talking to developers and business executives.

Digital Project Manager essentials

What is waterfall?

Waterfall project management is generally considered the most straightforward way to manage a project.

The waterfall project management methodology breaks a project into distinct, sequential phases, with each new phase beginning only when the previous one has been completed. 

The Waterfall system is the most traditional method for managing a project, with team members working linearly towards set deliverables and goals. Each team member involved has a clearly defined role, and more often than not, none of the phases or goals are likely to change.

Waterfall project management works best for projects with long, detailed plans that require a single timeline. By contrast, Agile project management involves shorter project cycles, constant testing and adaptation, and overlapping work by different teams and contributors.

What is Agile?

Agile is a process for managing a project that involves constant collaboration and working in iterations. Agile Project Management works off the basis that a project can be continuously improved upon throughout its life cycle, with changes being made quickly and responsively.

The Manifesto for Agile Software Development laid out a groundbreaking approach to delivering value and collaborating with customers throughout projects when it was published in 2001. Agile’s four main values are:

  • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
  • Working software over comprehensive documentation
  • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
  • Responding to change over following a plan

In project management terms, the last value might be the most important. Agile is one of the most popular approaches to Digital Project Management because of its flexibility, adaptability to change, and high level of customer input.

What is Agile scrum?

Combining the Agile philosophy with the Scrum framework, the Agile Scrum methodology is a project management system that relies on incremental development. Each iteration consists of two to four-week sprints, with the goal of each sprint being to build the most important features first and come away with a deliverable product. More features are then added in subsequent sprints and adjusted based on stakeholder and customer feedback collected between sprints.

Whereas other project management methods emphasise delivering an entire project in one operation from start to finish, the Agile Scrum methodology focuses on quickly building and refining a product to provide stakeholders with the highest business value in the least amount of time.

What is a scope of work document (SOW)?

A scope of work document is an agreement on the work a team is going to complete throughout a project. When Project Managers produce a scope of work document, it will normally include four key components: 

  • Deliverables Completing a project tends to involve a number of deliverables. Whether it’s delivering a report, building a piece of software, or finalising the design of a product, you need to have each deliverable item clearly identified in advance.
  • Timeline – This section of the document delineates the major phases of the project and their projected timelines. It will also mark the points in a project when certain deliverables are expected to be ready. A timeline is best presented visually (in a rolled-up Gantt chart, for instance), so team members and stakeholders can see exactly what’s happening and when.
  • Milestones – Larger phases of the project are often marked by milestones. Milestones are a way to help you monitor a project’s progress and ensure it’s adhering to your planned schedule. A Scope of Work document should have all milestones laid out on the timeline, including project kickoffs, presentations, hand-offs, etc.
  • Reports – You’ll probably be generating reports throughout the project, delivered to either your team, client or stakeholders. These might include status reports, progress reports or variance reports, to name just a few. The purpose of reporting isn’t just to flag whether or not the project’s progressing on schedule, but also offer a chance to highlight its successes on a more granular level.

Digital Project Management Skills

Digital Project Management Skills

What skills does a Digital Project Manager need?

A successful Digital Project Manager will rely on a spectrum of hard and soft skills when completing their day-to-day work. Here’s a shortlist of the fundamental skills that any aspiring Digital Project Manager should aim to develop.

Hard skills

  • Proficient with Project Management software  

Having a practical understanding of Project Management software is a must-have technical skill for project managers in today’s world. There are many Project Management software options available on the market, so you’ll need to determine which tools and features are best for you and your team’s workflow.

  • Project planning

A project plan is the foundation of the project management cycle, including the project schedule, resources and costs. The forward planning for any project lays the foundation for everything that follows, including the success or failure of the project.

  • Time management

Project management is all about meeting deadlines and getting your deliverables out on time. Project managers have to be proficient in managing their time, their team’s time and setting the overall cadence of a project. 

  • Risk management

Any project, big or small, comes with inherent risks. Before executing the project, you have to create a risk management plan to identify, assess, and control any risks involved. The more you can manage risks, the more likely your project is going to succeed.

Soft skills

  • Leadership

Project Managers are expected to break projects down into actionable items, prioritise tasks and allocate responsibilities to teammates. They use their leadership skills to motivate colleagues, offer guidance and give constructive feedback, ultimately keeping everybody fired up and a project on track.

  • Problem-solving

A Project Manager’s job can involve the work of multiple contributors and departments, often hinging on many moving parts. This can lead to complications and obstacles, such as budgetary constraints, conflicting beliefs and technical issues. A Project Manager with a problem-solving mindset can brainstorm ideas and identify solutions that help a project reach its goals.

  • Communication

Project Managers work cross-functionally, collaborating with anybody from designers to tech teams. Strong communication skills enable Project Managers to secure stakeholder buy-in, nurture meaningful work relationships and keep an entire project team focused on the end goal.

  • Strategic thinking 

From planning a project at the ideation stage, to allocating the budget wisely, Project Managers are often required to think strategically. Project Managers rely on their strategic skills to ensure that all teams, infrastructure and resources are properly organised to deliver a project to brief, on time.

  • Decision-making

Inevitably, a range of choices have to be made when taking charge of a project from end-to-end. Project Managers have to be able to weigh-up options, project probable outcomes and make smart decisions that positively impact a project’s progress.

What software does a Digital Project Manager use?

Digital Project ManagerThere are a variety of reasons to choose a career in CX. First and foremost, it’s a profession that’s in high demand. These days, businesses in every industry understand that placing the customer’s needs first is a surefire way to be competitive.   

Before you embark on becoming a CX specialist, it’s useful to have a clear picture of what the average career path might look like.

What does a career path in Customer Experience look like?

In the digital age, project managers use collaborative tools and software to synchronise teams and successfully deliver projects with greater efficiency than ever before. Here’s a shortlist of some of the software options that are powering-up today’s industry. 

TeamGantt

A Gantt chart is a visualisation that helps with scheduling and monitoring specific tasks and resources throughout a project. It consists of a list of tasks and bars indicating each task’s progress.

TeamGantt is project planning software that brings Gantt charts online. It offers free tools for creating gantt charts and allows you to share them with teams, stakeholders and clients, enabling project plans to take shape collaboratively. 

Jira

Jira is part of a family of products designed to make managing team projects easier. Digital Project Managers use Jira to create roadmaps, product backlogs and sprint boards, which can be accessed and worked on by an entire team. Jira also helps Digital Project Managers:

  • Assign and manage tasks
  • Estimate workflow 
  • Create project reports
  • Perform project analytics
  • Assign user permissions

Offering a range of functions for collaborative working, Jira allows Digital Project Managers to plan, track and coordinate an entire team’s work using just one tool.

monday.com

monday.com is an online work management platform that helps teams of all sizes plan, track and schedule their daily tasks. From large-scale product roadmaps to daily iterations, monday.com enables teams to define clear ownership of tasks, track productivity, manage sprints and collaborate effectively. 

monday.com is popular among Project Managers because it offers total clarity over a project’s status. A simple checkbox marking a task as “complete” or “incomplete” doesn’t provide enough information for a team to know where things are really at. Members can provide detailed status reports in monday.com, indicating exactly what stage a task has reached, or even highlighting any blockers that have stopped the workflow.

Careers in Digital Project Management

digital product manager careerThere are any number of reasons to choose a career in Digital Project Management. Not least of all, it’s a profession that businesses of every kind are on the hunt for. With digitisation impacting just about every industry, Digital Project Management is no longer a ‘nice to have’, but instead a key operational component for any growing company.   

Before you embark on a career in Digital Project Management, it’s useful to have a clear picture of what a typical pathway might look like. 

What does a career path in Project Management look like?

Here’s an example of a typical Digital Project Management career pathway, broken down into roles of increasing responsibility and seniority: 

Project Coordinator 

The entry-level position that will launch many careers is a Project Coordinator. Businesses with larger project teams will often hire Project Coordinators, who are normally freshly qualified in the field. 

Project Coordinators normally report to the Project Manager and assist with administrative tasks on projects. It is their responsibility to ensure the Project Manager and all team members have what they need to meet deadlines and reach a project’s milestones. This means that Project Coordinators must be across all aspects of a project, from short and long-term goals to the scope of work and budget.

Project Manager

After gaining a few years of entry-level experience, it’s likely you’ll have most of the technical skills in place required to run projects and become a full-blown Project Manager.

Project Managers take the lead on a project and oversee everything from planning through to completion. Going from Project Coordinator to Project Manager will likely mean a healthy jump in your salary, but will also come with more responsibility, since the success (or failure) of a project will largely fall on your shoulders.

On a daily basis, a Project Manager is in charge of overseeing the budget, reporting on progress, managing stakeholder expectations and synchronising the work of different team members. You’ll need the ability to strategise on a high level, yet also be across the key day-to-day details.

Senior Project Manager

For anyone with big ambitions, once you’ve got several years of Project Manager experience under your belt, you’ll be in a strong position to apply for a Senior Project Manager role (sometimes called a Project Director). 

As well as all of the duties that come with a normal Project Manager role, you’ll take on the additional responsibilities of coordinating the work of all Project Managers, handling relationships with suppliers and subcontractors, reporting at an executive level, and hiring new team members.  

Industry demand for Project Management

With businesses of every kind recognising the value of being more strategic in how they approach projects, Project Managers are hot property across a full range of industries.  

According to a recent survey, 71% of Product Managers believe the perceived value of their role is increasing, rising significantly from 55% in 2019.

In Australia the demand for Project Managers is particularly strong, with Seek currently advertising more than 5,500 specialist roles

You should also remember a professional Project Manager’s skills are in demand on an international scale, so wherever you find yourself living, you’ll have work experience and a resume that hiring managers are actively searching for.

How much do Project Managers earn in Australia?

Lucrative pay opportunities for Project Managers in Australia are representative of a profession that businesses are searching for. 

 Talent.com records the average Project Manager salary in Australia at $124,750 per year (or $63.97 per hour). Even entry-level positions start at $105,387 per year, while more experienced Project Managers make $162,179 per year on average (all salaries as of October, 2022).

Becoming a Project Manager

How hard is it to learn Project Management?

Even for a complete beginner, getting to grips with Project Management is not as hard as you might think. That said, there’s a range of skills and approaches you’ll need to develop, including managing scope, time, budget and risk, motivating teams, troubleshooting and getting failing projects back on track. 

You’ll also need to dedicate time and practice to getting the most out of the industry’s latest tools and software. 

If you’re aiming to get a foothold in the profession, you should strongly consider earning a formal certification in Project Management. It will be difficult to secure your first role without this, since other rival applicants will have a certified skillset

Where can I study Project Management?  

There are many options when it comes to qualifying as a Project Manager. In the past, many have chosen to take a Bachelor’s degree in Project Management, which takes 3-4 years to complete.    

There’s less of an expectation for Project Managers to be university trained nowadays, with most employers favouring skills, experience and a strong portfolio over formal degrees. 

As a result, more people are enrolling in condensed bootcamp-style courses, which leave graduates industry-ready in a much shorter period of time. These courses focus on the tangible skills that today’s professionals need to make their mark on the industry.

 

What Project Management courses does Academy Xi offer?

Academy Xi offers practical, industry-recognised training that’s designed for digital careers. Our beginner-friendly Digital Project Management courses will teach you how to use collaborative tools, software and a strategic approach to synchronise teams and deliver high-impact digital projects.

Whatever your lifestyle and time commitments, Academy Xi has a course that’s perfectly suited to you. 

Both courses have been built in collaboration with industry professionals from top digital companies, offering you the chance to:

  • Learn how to plan and manage projects using Waterfall and Agile Scrum methodologies.
  • Complete a project relevant to your business or workplace – walk away with a number of deliverables and the foundations for an executable project management plan. 
  • Master those all-important leadership and communication skills, including building trust and managing remote projects. 
  • Gain confidence with digital concepts and terminology with weekly topics designed to help you coordinate digital projects and collaborate with technical teams. 
  • Get access to a comprehensive workbook containing a range of Project Management templates – use it to complete your projects and keep it to use on the job. 

Not sure which course is right for you? Chat to a course advisor and we’ll help you find the perfect match. 

Want to discuss your transferable skills and training options? Chat to a course advisor today. We’ll help you to find the perfect course so you can kickstart a career in the fight against cyber crime.

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