Career Profile: Project Management
Professionals are accustomed to doing project management on a daily basis, albeit most perform on a modest scale in comparison to those who have made project management their career. Project management is simply the act of managing projects under exceptional schedules and pressure. Most of us manage our days according to the tasks and/or projects that must be executed for that particular day. Project managers oversee the execution of all of these smaller tasks contributed by different people in order to ensure that they lead to the conclusion of a project. Project managers, are by the very definition of their title, managers of projects.
Project management is not exclusive to only a few specific industries but instead embraces all industries and organizations, with a considerable presence in construction, architecture, manufacturing, engineering, biotech, pharmaceuticals, and high tech. Most companies hire project managers when they are looking to launch a new product, implement new processes, introduce new technology, etc. Bottom line is that a project manager is charged with seeing the completion of a project that relates to the business interests of their company, the particular responsibilities included in that depend upon what industry they work in and project they manage.
Aside from the main objective which is to see a project through completion, project managers are also concerned with making sure that the project is delivered on time, under budget, and is of respectable quality. In construction for instance, project managers are responsible for ensuring that a project will be delivered on time, even when faced with negative externalities such as bad weather that may delay activity on building. Depending on career ambitions, project managers can work in almost any industry. A leading advantage of becoming a project manager is the flexibility it presents as a project manager can transition from industry to industry and focus their efforts on growth-oriented sectors that will need project management assistance.
That said the majority of project managers typically work in a reserved industry throughout the course of their careers in order to gain experience and a reputation for leading important projects in a timely and budget-conscious manner. Through 2014 the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that project management will remain a strong industry; keep in mind however that project management career opportunities are dependent on the state of the economy. When the economy is doing well, companies are more apt to invest funds into projects. When the economy is slowing, most companies resist initiating new projects. However, project managers in the biotech and high tech industries will be among the more growth-oriented fields in the coming years, so projects should be affluent and available.
Similar to other careers, project managers do not start at the top, but instead at the entry-level and work their way up. Many begin as project coordinators and learn the ins and outs of project management. From there, opportunities exist such as an assistant project managers. Of course, titles and rank will differ across companies according to organizational structure, but most project managers can typically expect career growth.
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