Project manager job outlook

Project managers (PMs) are in demand. New technologies and solutions affect businesses every day, as disruptions emerge and require companies to adapt. Companies look to competent professionals trained and educated in the arts and sciences of project management to direct these initiatives and set the project up for success.

This need for skilled PM talent underscores the importance of a comprehensive and informed background. Business processes continue to become more complicated with each new iteration of software; meanwhile, consumers are demanding more of products and services, forcing companies to further adapt their manufacturing and delivery processes. Getting a graduate degree (like the one available through Brandeis University’s online Master of Science in Project and Program Management) is one avenue for project managers to build their profiles and attractiveness for a position. Here’s a look at some of the factors influencing the job outlook for project managers.

IT needs create PM needs

Software and hardware have become fundamental business expenses. The question isn’t whether to invest in digital tools, but rather which solutions to choose. Increasingly, the platforms and features companies opt for are at the forefront of technology, and these trends affect all industries, from retail to manufacturing. For instance, factories are adopting automation and smart tools, creating the need for project managers to guide the implementation of these critical tools and oversee their use. PMs may be needed, for instance, to ensure clean data is produced from machine-to-machine communication.

Artificial intelligence is another recent target of IT investment. Solutions that use machine learning can extract insight from volumes of data and find patterns (possibly in the market) for users to leverage. They are also complex tools that require a good deal of preparation and roll-out for companies, which project managers are uniquely skilled to address. In fact, according to Gartner many of the top IT trends would call for similarly high-level projects. Those include:

  • Intelligent apps and devices (drones).
  • Blockchain and ledger applications.
  • Virtual and augmented reality.
  • Adaptive security systems.

Government needs PMs too

The public sector will be just as important in driving demand for project managers. Government agencies (state, local, municipal and especially federal) need to keep up with the same trends businesses deal with. In order to gain capability and capacity, government decision makers will look to project managers for help in positioning them for success. Yet recruiting PMs with the necessary qualifications and skills has been a challenge.

According to a post in Federal Times, Chairman of the House Armed Service Committee Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX) addressed these challenges in a memo to HASC members proposing changes in defense acquisition systems. Rep. Thornberry wrote:

“While the [Department of Defense] has made substantial strides in increasing the size of its acquisition workforce … concerns remain across several key career fields. Challenges persist in recruiting, developing and retaining experienced program managers for major defense acquisition programs.”

Despite those challenges, government is taking greater notice of project managers, as 2018 will see the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics classify the position as a recognized occupation for the first time. It will allow for greater tracking of project management data, like salary, and is a nod to the growing importance of the profession in all corners of life.

How an MSPPM can improve a resume

Companies are actively looking for project managers. Whether they are hiring a PM to guide implementation of a critical new tool, or revising an internal process for better efficiency, organizations need competent PM talent. However, a gap in skills has emerged, as evidenced by DoD troubles and complicated recruiting.

Students can take advantage of this situation by continuing their education to gain enhanced technical and practical knowledge. Earning a graduate degree may help round out a project manager’s knowledge base or skill set, and make them an attractive candidate. Interested individuals can contact admissions at Brandeis University to learn more about its online Master of Science in Project and Program Management and how it may fit into their career plans for the future.



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