What You Can Do with a Master of Science in Project Management and Why You Need It

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Project management is perhaps at the heart of everything today’s businesses focus on. Yet, business professionals often focus on “getting through it” rather than achieving the best possible outcome.

If you’re interested in the short-term process that can achieve long-lasting results — one that can make a huge impact on your career and your future — it may be time to consider a Master of Science Degree in Project Management.

Opening the Door to New Career Opportunities

Professional project managers — ones with the credentials and the skills to back them up — are in demand. In fact, they’re necessary in just about every field.

The supply chain industry needs these professionals to step in and find the most affordable way to move product down the line. In finance, project managers lead companies on managing data and overseeing new strategies. Project managers also work in construction, healthcare, and even in nonprofit areas.

A master’s degree can take your career to the next level. And the right master’s degree program can help you focus your education on your career goals. You could specialize in areas such as enterprise architecture, supply chain management, and enterprise resource planning … or even create an independent study on the area that best fits your interests.

Remember, the demand is there. According to Project Management Job Growth and Talent Gap 2017-2017, an analysis done by Anderson Economic Group for the Project Management Institute (PMI) looking at specific areas of opportunity in 11 countries, there is a serious need for well-trained professionals in project management.

Filling the Gap in Project Management

That same PMI study also tells us that by 2027, the project management industry will:

  • See seven sectors with growth of at least 33 percent
  • Add some 22 million new jobs to the global economy
  • Potentially create a $208 billion negative impact in GDP across those countries if the shortage continues

In short, by 2027, there will be a need for nearly 88 million professionals in project management roles globally. A master’s degree with a focus in Project Management can help you go far, especially one that allows you to customize your education to specific industries like healthcare, software development, finance or construction.

Where Does a Project Manager Work?

Different industries offer different “office” environments. Here’s a quick overview of a few of the potential career opportunities available to qualified professionals, along with a look at their work environments, salary expectations and more.

Engineering Project Management

Engineering continues to be one of the most important sectors for project management. Engineering is the process of developing solutions to complex problems and creating products from ideas. This is exactly the type of work that a project manager tends to do. These professionals communicate with clients to gather insight, applying methods to determine the best way to build a product, and helping lead teams throughout the process. Though there are several different engineering industries to consider, engineering project management software applications is a huge area of opportunity. These engineers can find employment with powerhouse brands like Google or Apple.

Engineering project managers tend to be some of the biggest earners with an average yearly wage of $184,000 according to Payscale.com. Large bonuses and benefits are common here, too.

Resource Project Management

There is constant and continuous concern about natural resources — how we use them, access to them, renewable, non-renewable … that’s just the tip of the melting iceberg. Project managers in this field are also very in demand. Professionals in this field may have a concentration in areas such as petroleum, mining, and agriculture. Their job is to determine the best solutions to accomplishing the end goal while also providing team management skills. They have a high priority for minimizing waste as well as for accurately communicating the company’s efforts in the area. These individuals spend time outdoors, working with people, and working on complex job sites.

Income in this industry runs the gamut. In some cases, working on small-scale organizations and farms, these professionals will earn a median $45,000 a year. In other cases, managing large environmental management tasks for Fortune 500 companies, they can earn $120,000 or more annually, on average.

Consultant Project Management

For those who want to work across a number of industries or in a variety of companies, obtaining a consultant project management focus can be ideal. In this field, individuals will consult companies about project management or take charge of one-off projects within organizations. They tend to focus on sales, natural resources, software development, or other areas, but can work in just about any industry. It’s a rewarding opportunity for those who look for the flexibility to build their own career path.

That career flexibility makes forecasting income a bit more complex. Generally speaking, professionals with a consultative nature can earn between $85,000 and $130,000 a year, depending on what types of projects they work on and for which companies.

What Does a Project Manager Do?

The task of a project manager is to determine the best way to successfully complete a project and then to make it happen by working with skilled employees. They will:

  • Determine the best way of achieving success within a specific area or project
  • Work to gather information and resources to obtain this project success
  • Oversee the work, assess it, and make changes to workflow to achieve various goals
  • Work to deliver the project on time and within the constraints for the project
  • Make changes as necessary to improve efficiencies and costs

Project managers have a challenging job to do, one that requires excellent people and process management skills.

What’s the Job Outlook for a Project Manager?

Very, very positive. As noted previously, there is a huge demand for qualified project management professionals and will be for quite some time. In general, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has often recognized about the growing need for professionals — supervisors, managers, leaders, etc. — with project management skills across fields and within industries. And the profession’s leading certification provider, the Project Management Institute, notes a massive 30 percent growth rate in the project management field in the healthcare industry alone.

Scrum Master vs Project Manager: Know the Difference

Do you already work within project management in a high-tech or system-based field? You may be wondering what skills you will learn differently. A key area of concern in this industry is with the scrum master. Keep in mind, this is a very different focus within the industry than a project manager. Though the tasks and skills may seem similar, there are some key differences.

A scrum master works as a coach. A project manager, on the other hand, manages key components of the project, such as the resources, the timeline, and the overall scope. The project manager’s goal is not just to get the project done, but also to meet the requirements set forth within the project to meet the business’s goal. Some project managers oversee multiple projects within the business. Most often, a scrum master focuses on a single area.

In truth, both are valuable components to managing a business. Both the scrum master and the project manager may be present within an organization. When this happens, it’s important to understand each other’s roles to work together harmoniously.

Is Non-profit Project Management an Option?

Short answer? Yes. In a non-profit organization, the goal is still to solve a problem, overcome obstacles and fulfill a need. The focus, however, is not on earning a profit. There are various opportunities in non-profit project management. Some of them include:

  • Government work — handling a variety of tasks to overcome problems and achieve goals
  • Charity work — overseeing leadership and managing groups of people for specific tasks
  • Nonprofit work — facilitating the most affordable way to build or create the product or service

Opportunities exist across the board, and there is nothing but growth in the future for those who carry the education and skills to do well with it. With proper education, you can overcome some of the most challenging of aspects of managing a business.

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