Why project management? Career outcomes for professionals
Earning a master’s in project management may prove to be a good bet for those interested in the field or looking to set themselves apart from the competition. One key draw to project management is its applicability across a number of industries. Businesses of all types and sizes launch new projects routinely, and they need educated and dedicated managers to steer these projects toward success.
The global importance of project managers cannot be understated: In a study by the German EBS University of Business and Law, 80 percent of responding organizations agreed to the high importance of project managers to their companies. Respondents hailed from a diverse number of industries, which further illustrates the career prospects a project manager may choose from.
Here are some of those industries to consider for project management:
IT has a particular need for project managers. Now that everyday personal and business lives depend on the internet, the projects behind the products and services have taken on increased importance. IT also has a problem with project failure rates, a trend that could use the expert skills of masters of project management. IT is much more varied than being a monolith of servers to contend with; there are several exciting avenues within IT that could benefit from creative project managers, including:
- Software development.
- Mobile applications.
- Device innovation.
- Big data analytics.
If there’s one thing project managers are drilled in, it’s organization. Tracking the flow of resources, standardizing workflows to eliminate mistakes or redundancies, communicating with all stakeholders involved—these are all project manager essentials that naturally lend themselves to a career in supply chain and procurement.
Project managers deft in these areas of expertise are also increasingly important to supply chains that have grown in size and complexity. Thanks to the greater trend toward globalization, suppliers of a company may dot all across the map; not only does the company need greater organization to meet the scale of operations, but it needs those partners communicated with as well. Supply chain project managers may also be asked to run a cost-benefit analysis or optimize inventory so that it’s neither short on certain items, nor overstocked and losing value on the shelf.
Health-care settings have always had a need for project management. Providers must continuously measure, analyze and improve care quality, delivery and coordination. Project managers play a central role in guiding these initiatives.
But beyond that, the health care industry has experienced transformative and sometimes tumultuous change in the last decade, which may yet abate as reform continues to loom. In a new age of consumer-centric health care, providers need more help than ever in strategizing their collection and revenue cycle efforts. Technology has also pressed health care to evolve, and project managers may be well-suited to tackle the current complications of telemedicine and electronic health records to unlock their benefits.
Continually burgeoning international trade and the rise of ecommerce have contributed to logistical headaches for some companies. What, for instance, is the most efficient and least costly way to get a product halfway across the world to an online shopper? Problems like this have led transportation or logistical companies to seek the solutions a project manager can bring.
Infrastructure is also an important part to transportation. Particularly in the U.S., infrastructure investment is a hot topic, and investment in the area is sure to spawn new projects that aim to increase commuter convenience, improve roads for fleets and improve the safety and condition of things like bridges and highways.
Construction is one of the most primary industries when it comes to project management—after all, they are natural fits. Much of construction is inherently project based: specific deadlines, progress that needs to be made at certain points, coordination between teams, budgetary concerns, continuous planning.
Some subindustries of construction include:
- Residential (apartments, single/multi-family homes, condos).
- Commercial (spaces for business, conventions, retailers).
- Industrial (warehouses, manufacturing plants)
- Infrastructure (water delivery systems, sewers, dams)
Energy is at the same time a traditional and emerging powerhouse for project managers. Oil and gas activity has been around for awhile, and increased domestic production has refueled the demand for competent managers who can incorporate regulations, cost, time and environmental impact into planning for new pipelines, refineries or drilling locations. New methods, like hydraulic fracturing, present further opportunities for project managers to refine and optimize extraction.
Renewables are a large piece to the draw of energy, as well. As sources of energy like wind and solar continue to ramp up and scale to meet the needs of a nation, companies in the space will need adept project managers to guide programs.
Finance is another industry rocked by modern advances in technology, but also the sometimes choppy waters of reform. Specifically after the Great Recession, new regulations were put in place to improve oversight over big banks, which cannot afford to lag and need proficient project managers to initiate, plan, implement, monitor and improve new strategies that counter the challenges as they materialize.
Companies may need help within their own finance departments with accounting, cash flow, budgets and auditing tasks that a project manager can handle.
Much like health care at large, pharmaceutics has undergone recent change related to a changing marketplace and supervision. The FDA approval process can be a challenging gauntlet that takes years to satisfy, and afterward, there are continuing compliance requirements that must be met.
Interested project managers may enter this industry to address areas like:
- Clinical trials, particularly phase iii trials that can determine a product’s fate.
- Product launches and commercialization.
- Adherence to regulations on marketing, among other parts of operations.
A benefit of completing an online project management program is that the degree can be applied in a number of fields. Everywhere, projects that may shape how the world lives, socializes and works are being undertaken in critical industries, like health care, IT and construction. They will need project managers with a strong skillset and base of knowledge to achieve success and impact. Enrolling in the online program for Brandeis University’s Master of Science in Project and Program Management may help support interested students in considering these industries.