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A Career In Project Management

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A Career in Project Management


This paper describes some of the functionality and benefits of project management in an information technology environment. The paper provides a comparison of leadership and management roles. The paper shows how project management skills relate to information technology jobs in the scope of real world examples. From this paper you will be able to see some of the requirements, some of the challenges as well as some of the benefits of becoming a project manager in an Information Technology field. This paper will give some insight on project management in general as project management can range from a small privately owned company to global corporate project management.

A Career in Project Management

Program management is the effective implementation of change through multiple projects to realize distinct and measurable benefits for an organization (Becker, 1999).

Many people confuse program and project managers. Smaller companies such as Nextel Partners, INC. (2002-2007) did not have a budget for both project managers and program managers, so they made the title Program/Project Manager. For descriptive purposes program managers generally work on ongoing "overall" courses of action, such as maintaining low cost structure, working the business efficiently to maintain or expand budgets and working with the operations teams to help ensure smooth transitions with changes in production or productivity issues. Whereas, project managers are typically working with specific issues that are time based and help individual issues that collectively help with the bigger picture. The project manager may be more involved with the start to finish of the project and use their experiences on the topic to make sure the project is facilitated to maximize efficiency.

According to Arnstein (2005) "Project management training is everywhere. There are over 900 PMI Registered Education Providers, and some 30 Masters Degree programs in project management in the U.S. and 32 throughout the rest of the world. There are over 130,000 PMI members and over 79,000 PMPs. The education is thereƐ'..." (Becker, 1999). There are many Web sites created to help developed a person as a project manager as well as a host of seminars.

It was interesting to see in my research some of the challenges of becoming trained and educated as a project manager. In an article I read by Li, Ma, and Wang, (2006) called How university professors teach project management for information systems. I really got a chance to see some of the demands and struggles of getting project managers,

This article explains the needs and demands for the skills of a project manager. With studies, showing projects in the IT field are delayed or over budget due to the lack of project managers at those companies. According to a "consortium of industry and educational advocates" the article claims the major contributor is an academic lack of project management and suggests curriculums be expanded in to emphasize project management more in depth. (Li, Ma, and Wang, 2006, p. 574-577).

The article suggests that due to time constraints of current curriculums and the amount of hours needed to effectively teach a project management course, this may be the reason that many courses do not cover the fundamental areas need to produce a curriculum that could satisfy the needs of the industry. It is not that the topics are not being taught, as stated below "Fortunately, the lack of available course hours merely challenges but does not stop dedicated academics. Instead, survey respondents report that when they are unable to implement a dedicated project management course they add project management content to other courses it is that because that are not being taught in to cover more topics, the project management portion is not as effective as it could be. (Li, Ma, and Wang, 2006, p. 574-577).

This shows the needs for quality project managers with proper education; with proper education the benefits can be great. To get into this field I suggest following theses steps.

1. Determine your career path.

2. Write a plan to follow and keep yourself on track.

3. Pursue a degree in the related project management field.

4. Get into an internship or apply with a company in the related field that you want to pursue.

5. Practice and hone your skills at organization and business communications.

6. Ask to help with projects at work and at school if applicable.

7. When helping with project make sure you are accurate and complete, your work is usually judged and can make the difference in getting into that field.

8. Look into a business analyst or any to of analyst of management position to help prepare you for the demands of project management.

9. Industries change so stay on top of these changes to help keep an edge.

These steps along with a lot of hard work in the building of your educational background will help obtain any goals or aspirations of becoming a project manager.

Project managers have to be detailed oriented and very organized. They have to keep track of everyone working on the project and make sure everyone is focused and on track. Time can determine if a project is successful or not. There could be legal implication if not completed on time. Below is an example of a Visio timeline a project manager might create to keep up with the progress of a given project or to plan in advance for an upcoming project. The use of these types of graphics helps make clear and concise illustrative descriptions. This helps to keep up with stages of a project, over/under on production or budget, as well as tracking accountability of participants involved in the project.

I also conducted a survey of family and friends to see what percentage were in (IT) Information Technology fields and what salaries they had. It also shows the level of education obtained.


With the results of my survey, I have found that 80% of the participants have at least some college experience as shown in Figure 1.1. I also found there $30,000 difference in annual salary from the person with just a high school education and that on someone who has completed their bachelors degree.




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