Author Archives: Online Professional Education

Commercial Contract Management Careers

Contract management careers can be very challenging and engaging. They can also be highly lucrative, particularly if you have attained National Contract Management Association (NCMA) certification.

There are many different positions available in this field, and you have the opportunity to work with a variety of different organizations and industries. Whether you are a veteran contract manager looking to expand your experience or a relative newcomer interested in learning more about contract management careers, you should familiarize yourself with all of the opportunities available for employment and advancement in this diverse and exciting specialty.

Contract Management Careers

Earn a Contract Management Certification

NCMA Certification and Contract Management


Government Contract Management Careers

Whether the government is your employer or customer, government contract jobs can be challenging, rewarding and very lucrative. Coordinating business relationships between government agencies and outside contractors is extremely intricate and regulated work, which is why skilled and certified contract managers are in demand for a variety of positions in this field.

Government Contract Careers

Government Contracting

How to Obtain a Government Contract

What is Government Contracting?


Business Analysis Career Path

Today’s Business Analyst

The 21st century business analyst’s world is multifaceted. As a mediator, moderator, connector and ambassador, the business analyst must bring the business needs together with IT resources. Successful business analysts tend to be clear communicators, smooth facilitators, precise analyzers and team players.

Plus, the ideal analyst has the versatility of various business functions, such as operations, finance, engineering, technology or architecture. Jay Michael, a business analyst for Colfax, agrees that the business analyst role is fuzzy at many companies.

He says, “I usually describe what a BA does by telling people I am a bridge between business systems from the end user to functional implementation of technical solutions. But when you tell somebody that they look at you like ’OK, what do you really do?’”

What Does a Business Analyst Do?

As you explore the business analyst career path, you’ll need to clear up the confusion and learn about the many hats business analysts wear. From being a good communicator and data analyzer to possessing project management and technical skills, business analysts regularly use a variety of techniques.

They are the bridge that fills in the gap between each department throughout every step of development. Modern Analyst identifies several characteristics that make up the role of a business analyst as follows:

  • The analyst works with the business to identify opportunities for improvement in business operations and processes
  • The analyst is involved in the design or modification of business systems or IT systems
  • The analyst interacts with the business stakeholders and subject matter experts in order to understand their problems and needs
  • The analyst gathers, documents, and analyzes business needs and requirements
  • The analyst solves business problems and, as needed, designs technical solutions
  • The analyst documents the functional and, sometimes, technical design of the system
  • The analyst interacts with system architects and developers to ensure the system is properly implemented
  • The analyst may help test the system and create system documentation and user manuals

Project Manager Career Path

Project Manager Jobs and Salaries Are on the Rise

A recent PMI report indicates that 25% of companies that have reduced their headcounts in other specialties will still be hiring project managers, while an Anderson Economic Group study projected that approximately 1.2 million project management jobs will need to be filled each year through 2016.

The availability of open positions is just part of the appeal of a project management career path; the substantial salaries are another enticement. Payscale.com reports that IT Project Managers typically earn between $74,299 and $103,710 a year. PMI’s annual salary survey indicates that those with industry certification – such as the Project Management Professional (PMP®) designation – earn upwards of $100,000 annually.

Career opportunities and potential earnings are two of the most important factors that individuals must consider before choosing a career path, and the field of project management scores well on both points.

Project Managers Have a Place in Every Industry

Professionals who have embarked on a project management career path possess skills that can be used in virtually any industry – from information technology to consumer goods to business services. This career mobility ensures that project managers can readily find work, even if their current industry is affected by an economic downturn or cyclical demand.

Skills Required for a Project Manager Career Path

Before embarking on a project manager career path, you need to ask yourself whether or not you have a passion and aptitude for this type of work. If you’re up to the challenge overseeing the contributions of a diverse team and managing the expectations of key stakeholders, this may be the position for you.

A project manager career path requires strong communication and organizational skills, the ability to juggle multiple tasks simultaneously and an understanding of the functional roles of departments throughout the organization.

Project Management Training and Education

The first step in becoming a project manager is to get the right education. You don’t necessarily need a degree in project management, but you do need to have specialized training. Industry certification will give you an even greater edge in securing the best positions.

When evaluating your training options, consider what will make your résumé stand apart from the competition. A credential from an accredited university shows that you are serious about a project manager career path. The good news is that with the widespread availability of online programs, location is no longer a limitation.

Villanova University has made a name for itself as the leading provider of project management education online through its acclaimed video-based e-learning platform. Ranked by U.S. News & World Report as the #1 university in the Master’s category/North region for nearly two decades, Villanova offers a variety of project management certificate courses 100% online, as well as multi-course master certificate programs.

Students can earn a Master Certificate in IS/IT Project Management or Applied Project Management, both of which prepare participants to pass the CAPM® or PMP® certification exam. Those who have completed a master certificate or hold professional certification can go on to earn an Advanced Master Certificate in IS/IT Project Management or Applied Project Management.

Embark on Your Project Manager Career Path

Project management training and industry certification can help professionals land their first project manager position. Over time, successful project managers will be assigned projects of increasing size and complexity.

Those who prove themselves on the job and demonstrate a commitment to continuous learning have excellent advancement potential. Take the first steps toward a project manager career path today, and you’ll be on your way toward a wealth of job opportunities, a lucrative salary and genuine long-term career satisfaction.


Project Manager Career Change

What Is Project Management?

One of the biggest misconceptions about a project management career is that it’s essentially the same as a more traditional management career. While it’s true that project managers need to have strong leadership skills, their role is primarily to manage projects – not people.

Unlike departmental managers, project managers are not part of the typical supervisory structure most companies employ. Instead, they work as a sort of free agent – a project management career involves coordinating the work of many people and divisions in order to complete a particular assignment. Throughout the course of a project, the project manager will interact with individual contributors at all levels of the company in relation to various deliverables.

Always a New Challenge

While a project manager generally relies on the same skill set for each project, the projects themselves can vary significantly. The constantly changing focus of this type of work is what makes a project management career so attractive to many people. This dynamic field is ideal for those who enjoy taking on new challenges. However, if you’re serious about pursuing a project management career, you’ll need to be sure you can handle the demands of the job.

Essential Qualities of Project Managers

Successful project managers are highly organized and pay meticulous attention to detail. They have a knack for seeing the big picture and how each individual piece of the puzzle needs to fit into place to make their project a success. They also possess excellent communication and interpersonal skills. While these qualities are important for all business professionals, they are absolutely essential in a project management career because of the need to closely coordinate the efforts of many different people.

Excelling in the world of project management also requires the ability to make good decisions quickly. Project managers must know how to size up a situation and determine the best way to proceed to avoid costly delays. While thorough planning is critical to the success of a project, the best project managers are able to adapt to unexpected circumstances and adjust their plans accordingly on short notice.

Enhance Your Project Management Career Prospects Through Industry Certification

Acquiring the skills and traits of an effective project manager is just the first step. To get your project management career off to a successful start, you should attain industry certification through the Project Management Institute (PMI®). By completing a formal project management training course, you can develop the expertise needed to pass the exams to achieve certification as a Project Management Professional (PMP®) or Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM®). These certifications will make you a more attractive candidate for project manager jobs and enable you to carry out the responsibilities of that position more effectively.


Six Sigma Green Belt Careers

Six Sigma Green Belt Career Paths

Professionals with Green Belt certification are thoroughly familiar with the basic tenets of Six Sigma and are able to apply its principles to their work on a daily basis. The positions best suited for Green Belts include mid- to upper-level project managers, process engineers, consultants and manufacturing engineers.

There are a multitude of Six Sigma Green Belt career paths available in virtually every industry, due the fact that Six Sigma can be effective in improving business processes in many different fields. That’s why a growing number of companies are looking to fill a wide variety of positions with candidates who are adept at applying the principles of Six Sigma.

In general, the highest-level leadership positions are reserved for Six Sigma Black Belts and Master Black Belts. However, Six Sigma Green Belt certification will set you apart from non-certified applicants vying for positions that require advanced process management skills. It can also prepare you to continue on to higher levels of certification if and when you decide to pursue an executive leadership position.

Leading job-search sites have thousands of postings from well-known companies offering Six Sigma Green Belt career opportunities. Employers such as UnitedHealth Group, Honeywell, GE and Volkswagen have been actively seeking professionals with Six Sigma certification to fill a variety of positions*, such as:

  • Lean Six Sigma Consultant
  • Lead Manufacturing Engineer
  • Process Development Engineer
  • Compliance Structural Engineer
  • Reliability Engineer
  • Operating System Specialist
  • Senior IT Project Manager
  • Warehouse Operations Manager
  • Business Process Analyst
  • Project Engineer
  • Director, Performance Excellence

10 Companies Using Six Sigma

Top 10 Places to Work and Cultivate Six Sigma Careers

In its second year, the iSixSigma Best Places to Work™ poll was conducted. Both iSixSigma.com and iSixSigma Magazine sponsored the list, which received more than 40 applicant companies from all over the world. Each company applying for consideration has to fill out a two-part survey online – senior Six Sigma leadership submitted answers to an employee survey, and full-time Six Sigma personnel have to submit answers to an employee survey.

The rankings process was simple, the scores from both surveys were totaled and the companies were ranked 1 through 10 as a result. The survey scores were weighted, the greatest consideration was given to the employee survey, which had five categories ranging from: job satisfaction to compensation. Job satisfaction was the category in the employee survey that was given the most weight, because that is what employees said was the most important factor to them when it comes to where they work.

The winning companies for fostering Six Sigma careers “demonstrated an even higher commitment to fostering a supportive culture for Six Sigma professionals to thrive. Overall scores this year were higher than last in each category,” said Michael Marx, research manager of iSixSigma.com and iSixSigma Magazine.

The winners of the iSixSigma Best Places to Work™ poll were:

  • Cardinal Health Inc.
  • Computacenter AG & Co. oHG
  • Ecolab Inc.
  • McKesson Corp.
  • Merck & Co. Inc.
  • Pfizer Inc.
  • Piramal Healthcare Ltd.
  • Starwood Hotels, North America Operation
  • Vought Aircraft Industries Inc.
  • Xerox Corp.

Also important to note, Marx pointed out how well these companies have performed “shining through as exemplary places for Six Sigma professionals to work, despite rough economic conditions.”

Get Your Six Sigma Training From Villanova University

Ranked the #1 Master’s University in the North, Villanova is widely recognized as a leader in online professional education. Villanova University also offers its Six Sigma Master Certificates and Courses 100% online via video based e-learning. Here is a list of the current Six Sigma certificates and courses:

Master Certificates

  • Master Certificate in Six Sigma
  • Master Certificate in Six Sigma-Healthcare
  • Master Certificate in Six Sigma-Financial Services
  • Master Certificate in Six Sigma-Information Technology

Advanced Master Certificates

  • Advanced Master Certificate in Lean Six Sigma

Courses

  • Six Sigma Green Belt
  • Six Sigma Green Belt-Healthcare
  • Six Sigma Green Belt- Financial Services
  • Six Sigma Green Belt-Information Technology
  • Lean Six Sigma
  • Lean Six Sigma Black Belt
  • Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt

If you are interested in pursuing any of these master certificates or courses, click here to find out more.