Project managers are essential leaders on most construction and engineering projects. They usually undertake many responsibilities, such as planning new projects, managing finances and labor, determining the most efficient building strategies, and ensuring the quality of finished jobs. Dozens of different industries rely on skilled project managers, and there are several areas in which a professional can choose to specialize. Project manager careers exist in architectural and engineering firms, construction industries, software development corporations, and pharmaceutical companies, among many other settings.
The majority of project manager careers are found in the fields of civil engineering and architecture. A manager usually works with drafters, landowners, and engineers to plan new-large scale projects. He or she helps to create initial plans and then reviews the blueprints or schematics for a proposed structure. The project manager is often responsible for calculating how long a project should take and the expected costs involved.
Building a new structure within budgets and deadlines requires the cooperation of workers, site supervisors, and construction project managers. A project manager usually advises the construction site supervisor on the types of tools and materials they should use to keep costs down, guarantee efficiency, and protect worker safety. He or she helps to set workers' schedules and determine the need for additional labor. A construction project manager monitors overall progress on a build and writes formal reports to keep landowners or project sponsors informed of the headway being made. Once a construction project is completed, the manager inspects the quality of workmanship and identifies any potential structural problems or potential safety issues.
Some project manager careers involve designing and improving computer programs and communications systems. Many skilled projected managers work for software development firms, where they lead groups of technicians and engineers on a variety of projects. A manager is usually involved in every aspect of creating a new program, from identifying problems with existing programs to tweaking the appearance of new versions and interfaces of a program. Other project manager careers are found at telecommunications companies, where professionals determine new and better ways to provide Internet, telephone, and television service to customers.
There are several other types of specialized project manager careers. Pharmaceutical companies rely on project managers to oversee laboratory tests and clinical trials of new medications. Those who work in manufacturing plants and research and development divisions of large companies make decisions regarding the design and assembly of new products. Regardless of the industry, a project manager is expected to be a strong leader, communicator, and problem-solver to ensure quality and efficiency.