Project Management: A Career Profile Overview
Project Management uses skills, knowledge, and techniques to accomplish project goals and objectives administered by a company or client. The core skills needed to be successful at managing projects are the ability to plan, organize, communicate, lead, and problem solve. Project Management is a fast-growing, highly focused industry that offers competitive pay and a strong set of core interpersonal skills that are valuable in any industry. The consensus of research indicates that project managers break into their field by progressing through entry level positions or through happenstance (Marion, Richardson and Earnhardt); however, having a professional certification credential of Project Management Professional (PMP) or Certified Associate Project Management (CAPM), a credential similar to that of a CPA, gives an individual a competitive advantage over their peers.
Job Description/Nature of Job
Its important to distinguish the differences between a Manager and a Project Manager to understand the nature of the job and job duties. A Project Manager will usually have a position in a highly focused area such as software engineering, technology field; lead design architect, construction industry; or business strategic initiatives, finance sector. Even though they have a specialized background, Project Managers essentially perform the same functions as other managers. They use the same set of core skills to accomplish their work. The difference being
Student Last Name 1
the general managerial position oversees everyday routine processes whereas; a project manager manages the lifecycle of a project.
The Project Management Institute defines a project as a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service, or result (as cited in Larson & Gray, 2014). Managing a project requires the project manager to develop a project scope, set deadlines, schedule resources, manage a budget, lead project teams and so forth; everything needed from start to finish. For example, an IT Project Manager (PM) will oversee the implementation of a new data security system for the company in which they work. Once the project is finished, the PM will begin another company initiative, depending on the company strategy. The project manager uses skilled techniques to analyze risk, evaluate critical tasks, and meet strict deadlines. A key skill for a PM is communication since they collaborate with many diverse individuals, key partners, top executives, and subject matter experts. The PMBOK Guide (Project Management Body of Knowledge) published by the Project Management Institute indicates communication has been a major factor of project successes as well as project failures (Project Management Institute). Interpersonal skills such as communication and leadership are highly valued in any management profession.
Education and Certification
Since Project Management has become recognized as its own profession, many universities have developed Project Management Programs and concentrations. Graduate programs are offered at several accredited four-year degree universities like Pennsylvania State University which offers a Masters in Project Management program (The Pennsylavania State University). A Project Management Certificate Program is also available at Central New Mexico Community College (Central New Mexico Community College). Once the program is
Student Last Name 2
completed the student will have the education credits needed to be certified as a CAPM. A combination of education and work experience are needed to pursue professional certification from the Project Management Institute, a professional organization recognized globally for universal project management standards.
There are two certifications associated with Project Management: The Certified Associate Project Management (CAPM) and the Project Management Professional (PMP). The entry level certification CAPM requires, at minimum, a high school diploma and 1500 hours of project management experience or 23 hours of project management education (Project Management Institute). This associate certification demonstrates an individual has the basic understanding and knowledge of Project Management. The PMP is the professional designation which requires a four-year degree, 4500 hours of leading and managing projects, and 35 hours of project management education (Project Management Institute). The PMP requires more in depth knowledge, experience, and demonstrated competency in the field. Once an individual has the required degrees, project management experience, and education they are ready to take the certification exam. The CAPM and PMP professional certifications have additional requirements to maintain credentials after the initial certification and annual membership fees.
The salary for a project manager is very competitive. According to the Project Management Institutes Talent Gap Report, PMP credential holders in the U.S. earned an average of 16 percent more (approximately US$14,500) than non-credentialed peers in 2011 (Project Management Institute, 2013). They also reported the median salary across all countries for project management roles to be $81,000/yr. (Project Mangement Institute). This statistic
Student Last Name 3
compares to the local salary average of $87,143/yr. in the Albuquerque area as represented by GlassDoor.com a survey company. Salaries also range based on industry; the technology field showed a higher salary range for project managers at $110,405/yr. (Glassdoor, Inc.). Although the technology field showed a greater range of salaries for project management, the other industries are also well compensated.
Student Last Name 4
(Project Mangement Institute)
According to the Project Management Institute (PMI), Between 2010 and 2020, 1.57 million new project management roles will be created globally across seven project-intensive industries: Manufacturing, Business Services, Finance and Insurance, Oil and Gas, Information services, Construction, and Utilities (Project Management Institute, 2013). A quick search of project management positions in the local area revealed 147 jobs posted within the last two weeks (Glassdoor, Inc.). Even though there were plenty of job opportunities most of the postings required several years of project management experience. By becoming a member of the Project Management Institute (PMI), you can take advantage of many membership benefits including access to publications, continuing education classes and job searches. PMI also has two local chapters: The Rio Grande Chapter and the Otowi Bridge Chapter, that are available for
additional networking opportunities, local job listings, and professional development. (Project Management Institute)
Advantages and disadvantages
Project Management has both advantages and disadvantages. A benefit of pursuing a project management career path is the earning potential and experience gained with core interpersonal skills that can be utilized in any profession. While the salaries are attractive, a disadvantage is that the project manager role is not easy to obtain without experience or progression from other entry level positions into the field (Marion, Richardson and Earnhardt). It may take longer to reach the full potential than expected. David Steele, CAPM; project coordinator for CPP in California, stated he had been trying to pursue a project management role without much success until a mentor mentioned the CAPM certification. Mr. Steele was quoted as saying I was given a lot more opportunities once he obtained his certification (Parsi).
Due to the rapid growth of the profession, competitive pay, and skills that can be used almost in any position, make pursuing a project management career an ideal choice. During the past several years, [Executive] managements knowledge and understanding of project management has matured to the point where almost every company is using project management in one form or another (Kerzner, 2013). The competencies gained from project management such as interpersonal skills that add value to an individuals professional background, along with the CAPM or PMP certifications; make an individual highly desirable when competing for Project Management positions and will set him or her apart from the competition.
Student Last Name 5
Central New Mexico Community College. CNM Programs of Study. 23 July 2016.
Glassdoor, Inc. Project Manager Salaries. 17 July 2016. <https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/project-manager-salary-SRCH_KO0,15.htm>.
Kerzner, Harold R. Project Management: A Systems Approach to Planning, Scheduling, and Controlling. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2013.
Larson, Eric W and Clifford F Gray. Project Management The Managerial Process Sixth Edition. New York: McGraw Hill Education, 2014.
Marion, James W, Tracy M Richardson and Matthew Earnhardt. “Project Manager Insights: An Analysis of Career Progression.” `Organisational Project Management (2014): 53-73.
Parsi, Novid. “Rising Stars.” PM Network August 2015: 32-37.
Project Management Institute. A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK
Guide). Newtown Square: Project Management Institute, 2013.
. PMI Certifications. 2016. <http://www.pmi.org/certifications/types>.
. Project Management Membership Local Chapters. 22 July 2016. <http://www.pmi.org/membership/chapters>.
. Project Management Talent Gap Report. Newtown Square: Project Management Institue, 2013.
Project Mangement Institute. Earning Power: Project Management Salary Survey. Newtown Square: Project Management Institute, Inc., 2015.
Student Last Name 6
Seymour, Tom and Sara Hussein. “The History of Project Management.” International Journal of Management & Information Systems (2014): 233-240.
The Pennsylavania State University. PennState Graduate Programs. 23 July 2015. <http://bulletins.psu.edu/graduate/programs/P/GRAD%20PRJ%20MGT>.