We’re living through a lot of turmoil right now — economic, global health, social and racial justice. The federal government recently reported that 13.6 million Americans remain out of work as of August. With so much uncertainty surrounding us now, this might be an ideal time to take stock of your career path and consider where you’d like to see yourself in the future.
The field of project management offers an opportunity that’s poised for growth and highly in demand. According to the Project Management Institute, new jobs in this area are expected to grow by 33% through 2027. And for people with a natural knack for organization and finding order in chaos, could there be a better time to make a career pivot into this field? So if you’ve been spending your quarantine time making a detailed inventory of the contents of your pantry and creating a spreadsheet to organize your family’s Zoom calls, you may want to pause for a moment of career reflection.
Tuyet Thai, who holds a Master of Science in Project Management from City University of Seattle and now works for Amazon, says that project managers are “people who are action- and solution-oriented, who find joy and satisfaction in organizing and watching their plans transform into value for their stakeholders. You know you would be a great fit for project management when you get excited seeing a well-planned schedule. Whether it’s for a Thanksgiving dinner party or a 10-day road trip, the act of planning, coordinating, budgeting and executing makes you a project manager.”
One of the primary highlights of project management as a profession is its versatility. And in anxiety-inducing times like these, having options is a good thing.
“Project management allows for being involved in diverse work and it continues to be a field in demand,” says CityU Principal Faculty Deanne Larson, Ph.D. “Running projects is never boring and can be a stepping stone to higher-level positions and provide experience in managing people dynamics that is not rivaled in other positions.”
“All kinds of positions benefit from having a project management background, as essentially project management is how organizations get work done,” she adds.
“The biggest appeal of project management is that it can apply to most fields and all endeavors — we all have projects in our lives regardless of our profession or who we are,” says Arlene Hiquiana, a senior business analyst at CityU and PM program alumna. “So those projects, big or small at home or at work can benefit from understanding project management principles from the most basic to the most complex concepts.”
In modern project management programs, students benefit from instructors who currently work in the project management field, bringing current and real-world experience to their classes.
“All of the instructors are practitioners, which means the instructors do what they teach and teach what they do,” says Larson, describing the CityU program in particular. “Leveraging instructors with real-world experience keeps the curriculum current.”
“One of my favorite things about the [CityU] program was my professors,” says Thai. “We had five to six professors for the entire program as most of them have 10+ years of project management experience. Their expertise from working at corporations such as Boeing, Microsoft, Apple and P&G was invaluable in the learning process.”
Studying project management as a discipline also offers the opportunity for a holistic learning experience, since students don’t just learn from their professors. The field draws diverse mix of people coming from all career stages, meaning that students are able to learn from each other’s experiences as much as from their professors’. And the networking connections that can be forged through this dynamic are priceless.
This offers the advantage of giving students knowledge that can be implemented in their day jobs from the very first class session. The investment of time and tuition into a project management program can pay immediate career dividends.
“The degree has given me the knowledge and experience to integrate into my day-to-day efforts to produce long-lasting and impactful solutions for my team and customers,” says Thai. “The program gave me the confidence to apply for jobs at companies I never thought I would qualify for. Yet my one-year anniversary at Amazon is coming up in two months.”
City University of Seattle is a private nonprofit university accredited through the doctoral level. It has been ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the Top 50 in the country for its online bachelor’s degree programs for eight consecutive years.