Tag Archives: education online

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?

Career: Business Analyst Career

Most IT jobs have a clear, specific job description and career path. However, the business analyst career path tends to vary, as do the descriptions from job to job. David Foote, president of Foote Partners LLC, an IT career research firm in New Canaan, Connecticut, explains the business analyst career path best.

David says, “There are career tracks that zigzag back and forth between IT and business. Someone might start as a business analyst, then move into a project management job, then an IT management path, then go back to an innovation path … then to process management, then move up a rung to process leadership or process ownership, and then go back over to management as manager of an IT line of business.”

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

Starting Your Career as a Business Analyst

Beginning business analysts need to have either a strong business background or extensive IT knowledge. With that, you can start to work as a business analyst with job responsibilities that include collecting, analyzing, communicating and documenting requirements, user-testing and so on.

Entry-level jobs may include industry/domain expert, developer, and/or quality assurance. Within a few years you could choose to become a Subject Matter Expert (SME). This is the time to delve into the areas that interest you most and develop those areas that can help you progress into higher management positions.

Moving Up the Ladder

Once you have several years of experience in the industry, you will reach a pivotal turning point where you can choose the next step in your business analyst career. After three to five years, you can be positioned to move up into roles such as IT business analyst, senior/lead business analyst or product manager. The more experience you have as a business analyst, the more likely you are to be assigned larger and/or more complex projects.

After eight to 10 years in various business analysis positions, you can advance to chief technology officer or work as a consultant. You can take the business analyst career path as far as you would like, progressing through management levels as far as your expertise, talents and desires take you.

How Much Do Business Analysts Make?

Depending upon which business analyst career path you choose, you’re certain to benefit from a highly rewarding and lucrative career. To give you an idea of how profitable this field can be, take a look at these job titles and average salaries for a variety of business analyst jobs:

Job Title Average Salary
Executive Sales Representative $160,000
Management Consulting Business Analyst $109,000
SAP $101,000
Solutions Architect Sales Representative $92,000
Senior Business Systems Analyst $89,000
Systems Business Analyst $87,000
Senior Business Analyst $86,000
Executive $83,000
Business Systems Analyst $81,000
Business Intelligence Analyst $80,000
Technical Business Analyst $79,000
Business Analyst $76,000
Senior Credit Analyst $65,000
Associate Analyst $55,000
Administrative Analyst $53,000

In USD as of Nov 10, 2009, according to http://www.Indeed.com.

Certification = Fastest Route to Higher Salary + Increased Opportunity

Business analysts who want to enhance their expertise and expand their career options achieve industry-recognized certification. The current leader in business analysis certification is the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA®).

The IIBA offers the prestigious Certified Business Analysis Professional™ (CBAP®), a designation accomplished by candidates who successfully demonstrate their business analysis expertise. As a candidate, you’ll need to detail your business analysis work experience, and pass the CBAP exam. One of the most critical steps on your business analyst career path, certification can boost your salary by 16% according to Certification Magazine.

Expand Your Business Analysis Skills – and Your Professional Value

One of the best ways to prepare for your CBAP certification is to earn your Master Certificate in Business Analysis from Villanova University – 100% online. Not only will you be able to gain the critical knowledge you’ll need for the certification exam, but you’ll also be attaining a valuable credential that demonstrates your solid understanding of core business analysis skills and shows your career dedication.

Throughout Villanova’s online business analysis courses, you’ll learn to:

  • Initiate project plans and schedules for requirements
  • Identify, analyze and design processes to enhance information flow
  • Develop superior strategies for gathering, documenting and reviewing
  • Explore advanced data definition, traceability, quality management and other techniques
  • Understand methods for dealing with requirements changes and their impact on testing and product quality.

Challenges in Human Resources

The rapidly transforming business landscape means that there are currently many human resource management challenges which will continue to evolve for years to come. Tom Marsden, Director of Professional Services at Alexander Mann Solutions says that HR departments really need to be adding real business value to their organizations. “Although the restrictions of the recession aren’t over yet, companies are recognizing that in 2010, they will need to take steps to retain their workforce. This could be through an increased emphasis on training and engagement programs or by investing in areas that will optimize expenditure, such as integrated technology systems or improved candidate attraction schemes. The signs are that HR departments are preparing to maximize their resources and staff as organizations look to grow.”

The Evolution of HR Professionals

Coach. Counselor. Employee advocate. Business strategist. As the business world changes, so does the role of HR professionals. Since human resources is a business-driven function, effectiveness depends on a thorough understanding of the strategic corporate direction, as well as the ability to influence key policies and decisions. In addition, human resource management challenges must be defined and solutions determined in order to succeed.

Today’s Top 10 Human Resource Management Challenges

Due to the fluctuating economy as well as local and global advancements, there are many changes occurring rapidly that affect HR in a wide range of issues. In the Survey of Global HR Challenges: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers on behalf of the World Federation of Personnel Management Associations (WFPMA), several challenges for human resource management were revealed. This survey, which concluded that “despite national and regional differences, there was remarkable unanimity,” disclosed the following top 10 human resource management challenges:

Challenges % of Companies
1. Change management 48%
2. Leadership development 35%
3. HR effectiveness measurement 27%
4. Organizational effectiveness 25%
5. Compensation 24%
6. Staffing: Recruitment and availability of skilled local labor 24%
7. Succession planning 20%
8. Learning and development 19%
9. Staffing: Retention 16%
10. Benefits costs: Health & welfare 13%

Taking a Closer Look at the Top 3 Human Resource Management Challenges

1. Change Management

Since this is generally not a focal point for HR professional training and development, change management represents a particular challenge for personnel management. The WFPMA finds that “This may also be the reason why it is cited as the foremost issue as HR continues to attempt to help businesses move forward. An intensified focus on training may be needed to develop added competencies to deal with change management.”

2. Leadership Development

As the second of the biggest challenges for human resource management, leadership development needs to be a critical strategic initiative. HR professionals are faced with being expected to provide the essential structures, processes, tools, and points of view to make the best selection and develop the future leaders of the organization. The WFPMA reports that, “Across the globe leadership development has been identified as a critical strategic initiative in ensuring that the right employees are retained, that the culture of the organization supports performance from within to gain market position, and that managers are equipped to take on leadership roles of the future so that the organization is viable in the long term.”

3. HR Effectiveness Measurement

How can improvement happen without the right tools to measure HR effectiveness? As with many other areas of business, this profession also needs to be able to measure results in terms of transaction management, as well as in terms of the positive influence on business. “Utilizing metrics to determine effectiveness is the beginning of a shift from perceiving HR’s role as purely an administrative function to viewing the HR team as a true strategic partner within the organization,” the WFPMA says. “In fact, the next section reports that survey participants believe a critical future issue for HR will be organizational effectiveness – again supporting HR’s critical role as a strategic partner to management.”

This world federation also notes that, “Where HR departments have traditionally focused on measuring their own effectiveness, there is an evolving recognition that they can provide organizational value by measuring the effectiveness of the entire business organization. The shift is significant as it represents movement from simply counting the numbers hired to determining the ROI of collective and individual hires on a long-term basis. Going beyond measuring turnover, this new approach considers ‘bad’ turnover and ‘good’ turnover along with the overall cost of replacement hires.”

The Numbers Speak Volumes

When you start looking at the numbers, you realize the significant impact of trends and challenges in human resource management. There are many variables that influence human resource management. To give you a glimpse at some of the upcoming changes, the HR Leadership Council has released the following statistics:

  • One in four high potentials plans to leave their organization in the next year.
  • By effectively developing employees, managers can be better coaches and improve performance by up to 25%.
  • Three out of five organizations have either restructured or plan to restructure within the next six months.
  • Recent declines in employee engagement further decreased overall productivity by 3 to 5%.
  • Leaders with strong people development skills are 50% more likely to outperform revenue expectations.
  • Delivering on critical onboarding activities boosts new hire performance by 11.3%.
  • 77% of midsized companies use (or plan to use) wellness to reduce costs.
  • 46% of midsized-company CFOs anticipate a merger or acquisition in less than six months.

Advancing Your Human Resources Career with Education

As a degree-holding professional working in Human Resources, a master’s in HR can lead to a variety of potential career advancements, such as senior and executive management positions. It’s also important to note that having a strong résumé is vital to helping you get noticed by potential employers.

One way to strengthen your résumé is to highlight extracurricular activities along with your master’s degree in human resources. If you aren’t sure how to go about it or how to start, here are four different ways to get you started.

1. Earn Certifications and Join a Professional Association

For those of you who want leadership positions in HR, your Master of Science in Human Resource Development degree gives you the necessary skills to become certified and positions you as a valuable member of a professional association.  SHRM, Society for Human Resource Management, is the world’s largest association devoted to human resource management, which represents more than 250,000 members in over 140 countries.

As for certifications, the HR Certification Institute (HRCI) provides globally recognized certifications for HR professionals. These certifications require continuing education credits and retesting, at times. Two respected certifications offered by HRCI are:

* PHR® (Professional in Human Resources)
Eligible candidates have at least two years of HR exempt-level experience as a practitioner, educator, researcher or consultant.

* SPHR® (Senior Professional in Human Resources)
Eligible candidates have at four to six years of HR exempt-level experience.

Earn a Better Salary, Get What You Deserve

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in its Occupational Outlook Handbook 2010-2011, employment for the Human Resource industry is expected to grow by 17% over the next decade. And master’s degree holders who have earned their certification would have the most opportunities.

*Annual salary rates for HR professionals may vary according to occupation, experience, training, location and the firm they work for.

Compensation Outlook from the BLS

Title Median Earnings as of 2008
Human Resource Managers $96,130
Training and Development Managers $87,700
Benefits Managers $86,500


2. Masters in HR, It’s Time to Become a Master Social Networker
LinkedIn and HR Professionals Go Hand In Hand

Recently, SuccessInHR.com published an article about the importance of LinkedIn for HR professionals. LinkedIn has over 37 million members on the site, 450,000 of which are HR professionals. Many are not maximizing the value the site can provide them.

LinkedIn, and other online social networking sites, provide HR professionals with a plethora of options:

* Recruitment
* Professional networking
* Research
* Peer-to-peer help on message boards
* New career opportunities
* Consulting

If you are looking for a new career opportunity, an updated résumé on your profile is crucial. List your credentials (i.e., Master of Science in Human Resource Development, SPHR® certification, SHRM membership) in your résumé profile; credentials can increase your résumés visibility among the masses.

Tweet Your Credentials

Be creative with the 140 character allotment you’re given. Potential employers, recruiters and head hunters search for keywords, and if you have these keywords in your profile you’ll show up for those queries.

If you want to take charge of your job hunt, try Tweep Search. This site searches current Twitter profiles. Some keywords you could use for your search are: talent acquisition, executive search, master’s in hr, sourcing.

3. Climb Up Another Rung on the Corporate Ladder

Your master’s in HR allows you to move from basic management positions to roles that include more authority and responsibility, such as:

* Director of Human Resources
* Vice President of Human Resources
* HR Business Partner
* HR Practice Leader
* HR Operations Analyst
* HR Learning and Development

4. Think Outside of the Box

Remember, sometimes “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know”. You need to know (i.e. be educated), but knowing the right people helps. Social networking can help by reaching out to as many people as possible. Another way to get someone’s attention (networking) while giving back is to volunteer.

Consider volunteering. Look to an issue you’re passionate about and would like to participate in (e.g.; cancer research, blood donation, homelessness). Once you’ve selected a  cause, it’s time to research. Find local organizations in need of volunteers. Contact the volunteer director, pitch why you would like to help out and how you can add value to their team. By volunteering, you will increase your network, your experience, and you’ll feel good.

Create Your Own #5!

What would you add to these tips? Put your thoughts in the comments.

Professional Education Programs Online

Villanova offers several professional certificate disciplines.

The top two disciplines from VU include:

Project Management

One of the world’s most in-demand skill sets and one of the fastest growing professional disciplines in North America, Project Management breaks down the chaos of an overwhelming workload into manageable elements. Villanova’s online Project Management program provides professionals with the latest tools and techniques to lead improvement initiatives that can boost return on investment, increase sales, improve customer satisfaction and retention,
decrease time to market, enhance employee motivation and more.

Courses include Essentials of Project Management, Project Management for IS/IT Professionals, Mastering Project
, PMP® Exam Prep, PM Capstone, Advanced Strategic Project Management Practices, Maximizing Team Effectiveness and Maximizing IS/IT Team Effectiveness.

Villanova’s project management courses are the first to include content and best practices from the latest Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide − Fourth Edition) from the Project Management Institute (PMI®). Professionals who complete three courses earn a Master Certificate in either Applied Project Management or IS/IT
Project Management and develop the skills to prepare for Project Management Professional (PMP®) or Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM®) certification from PMI®.

Six Sigma and Lean

Six Sigma and Lean are fast becoming required knowledge for professionals involved in helping their companies streamline productivity and improve performance. A focused and measurable management discipline, Six Sigma is structured to reduce product and service failure rates to near perfection.

Professionals discover how Six Sigma and Lean strategies and tactics fit into a larger management system and how to apply these techniques to solve
and prevent critical business process problems.

Villanova’s comprehensive online Six Sigma programs include 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 and Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt.

Professionals who complete three online Six Sigma courses earn a Master Certificate in Six Sigma, Six Sigma – Healthcare, Six Sigma – Financial Services, or Six Sigma – Information Technology. Earning a master certificate is an ideal way to obtain vital information to achieve industry-recognized certification from Villanova University.

*From the UA .pdf of Professional Education Certificate Programs Online through Villanova