MUNCIE, Indiana – A project manager brings a lot to the table. Without them, employees may have goals but will lack structure. If you’re interested in this field, you’ll need a background in the STEM philosophies, but there is a lot of room for growth.
What Project Managers Do
Project managers help to coordinate all elements of a project and its team. They are one part leader and another part motivator, and their goal is to help a team of workers complete a project on-time and within budget. Project managers also create smooth work ﬂows and help employees launch products by removing development obstacles in their way. They help create a project starting point, deadline, and give the project context through a concrete goal.
Project managers are the key to a project success, and are the only high-level team members present throughout development.
A strong candidate usually has a background in mathematics or computer programming. He or she may also have some familiarity with software development, typically as a software engineer. Computer science is a popular major for many looking to get into the field, but extended education in one of the STEM principles will give you a good start.
Lean Six Sigma principles are also important for more companies looking to utilize skilled project managers. Candidates with an advanced lean principles and tools certification are known to place an emphasis on the needs of the customers, making them valuable assets during development.
A graduate’s degree will help you stay competitive, but may not be necessary for every position in the field. In order to apply for more competitive companies, be prepared to receive heavy certification.
A good project manager sees a problem from all angles. He uses analytical skills to consider how to solve a problem with the resources at hand. Project managers must be able to balance the needs of the project with the constraints of budget and time.
Project managers may also have the need to communicate complex instructions to subordinates. Someone who can clearly phrase problems in a language that is easy to understand, and give instructions without coming across as entitled will be a valued project manager. You may also need to explain what you do to high-level management, who will require “just the facts” about an idea and have little time for explanations.
Decision making skills are required of project managers, as the project needs are constantly at war with the needs of the customer and the budget. That takes leadership as well, which extends to motivation. A good manager is able to push a team toward a goal, effectively doing more with less.
Be ready to coordinate with many departments on and offsite. As a project manager, you may be responsible for developing the systems your clients or workers use to communicate vital information. That takes someone who is organized and able to multitask.
Growth and Job Outlook
A lot of growth is expected to occur in the IT sector moving forward, primarily in health care. More businesses are in need IT restructuring, and members of management will require aid throughout the transition. Security is another concern, and IT departments will need to deal with more factors like employees who bring their own devices to work.
Businesses are also shifting toward cloud computing, opening more jobs up in the sector. Big data is a major growth factor in the advertising industry, but it’s influencing other industries as well. Game developers use data to tell them how players behave. Auto makers use it to explain driving patterns and suggest design improvements.
There is a growing market for professionals willing to handle this data, and help create the systems that people will use to get access to and process it.