There are few skills as versatile as those of a project manager. From good communication skills, to leadership, team management, organization, and risk assessment, a project manager’s expertise is necessary in industries ranging from nonprofits to health care. Project management can take you virtually anywhere; that’s why we offer and encourage the pursuit of a Project Management Master's Degree.
But before jumping into, or switching, industries, it’s important to get a feel for the types of work you’d be doing and its unique challenges. So let’s take a look at some of the projects you’d be managing in five different industries.
Nonprofit work can be very rewarding for a project manager, especially if they care about the organization’s cause. And nonprofits often need project managers, because they have to execute their projects with a limited budget.
As a nonprofit project manager, you would work on fundraising campaigns and events, such as awards dinners, charity auctions, and more. If your organization moves locations, you might help oversee that process. You could also end up managing advertising campaigns or even IT upgrades for your organization.
Some of the challenges in nonprofit project management are budgeting and the volunteer workforce. Project budgets aren't always predictable, due to a reliance on donations and grants, and mobilizing and inspiring volunteers can be difficult. That’s why exceptional leadership and motivational skills are particularly vital for nonprofit project managers.
Hospitals and health care providers everywhere are trying to find better, more affordable ways to deliver care to their patients. Project managers are indispensable in achieving that goal.
As a health care project manager, your projects might include hiring doctors for new specialties, streamlining patient care within the hospital, building a new medical wing, or organizing outreach services in the community. You may also find yourself working on occasional IT projects involving data as hospitals digitize patient medical information.
In health care, where patient lives are involved, risk management is particularly important. Health care project managers need to be very adept at identifying and reducing risks, determining their likelihood, and making clear plans for who will be in charge of resolving those issues should they arise.
Marketing teams at businesses and agencies always have a lot of projects in the works. They need project managers to budget, schedule, and coordinate the team in order to produce marketing materials and meet campaign goals.
On an average day as a marketing project manager, you’d manage projects such as the creation of brochures, magazine ads, blog posts, social media posts, and radio spots. You'd also manage larger projects, such as developing a website, creating TV commercials, or executing large-scale marketing campaigns, like announcing a new product or increasing brand awareness.
Marketing project managers work with a lot of different people (including creatives, developers, and digital marketing specialists), and one of the project manager’s primary duties is to ensure everyone stays on top of their tasks and to facilitate the exchange of ideas and resources between team members. That makes strong communication and interpersonal skills particularly vital for project managers in marketing.
CONSTRUCTION AND MANUFACTURING
In construction and manufacturing, projects are always underway. Companies need talented project managers to help complete these projects and products in a timely, cost-effective manner.
The types of projects you’d work on could vary greatly. In construction, you might build or repave streets and sidewalks, construct parks and playgrounds, or participate in urban renewal projects. In manufacturing, depending where you work, you could end up managing the production of food, automobiles, aerospace equipment, computers, and more.
For construction, project managers usually work away from the project site, which means they spend less time interacting with construction workers, and more time managing budgets, resources, and scheduling. In manufacturing, project managers face similar challenges, with the biggest difficulties being cost management, meeting deadlines, and sharing information across teams and departments. Project managers in these industries need to be incredibly skilled communicators and great at handling client relationships.
INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY (IT)
The IT sector offers some of the most varied work opportunities for project managers out there, because the need for IT is nearly universal.
As an IT project manager, the range of projects you could work on is broad. You might oversee the development of software, such as mobile apps, computer programs, or even artificial intelligence. You could also manage hardware installations, network upgrades, file digitization, data migration, website upgrades, or the implementation of IT services.
One of the challenges of IT project management is that the advancement of technology during a project can actually result in your solutions becoming obsolete. That's why it's important for IT project managers to stay abreast of the latest technology. They also need to plan for, and be comfortable with addressing, a large number of unforeseen complications. It’s impossible to fully predict how the integration of new software and hardware will affect an organization’s IT infrastructure, so the project manager needs to be flexible and ready to address these issues as they arise.
THE PATH TO PROJECT MANAGEMENT
Every industry, as you can see, has its own unique take on the project manager role. But despite the differences, there are far more similarities. Take the first step in honing your project management skills through a Project Management, and watch as your options open up!