The main purpose of a project engineering manager is to complete engineering and construction projects by planning, organizing and controlling all elements of the project. The manager supervises all development and implementation of a project. He or she also oversees facility upgrades and is actively involved in any other project-related work.
The tasks related to a career in construction project management or general project management are numerous and varied. Each project has different specifications, goals, environmental conditions, and financial considerations. Below is a list of general job duties of a project manager, though these will vary depending on the specific project.
Project engineers must demonstrate knowledge in civil engineering principles, practices and methods, environmental regulations, engineering project management methods, workplace safety, budgeting, employee supervision and personnel management.
A project engineer must be flexible and able to work well in a fast-paced environment. He or she should be competent in handling simultaneously occurring tasks and smaller projects, and have excellent written and oral communication skills. It is helpful for a project engineer to have conversation skills in at least one other foreign language, most commonly Spanish.
This career requires analytical and mathematical skills, quick thinking, and a solid understanding of the main principles of engineering, construction, and architecture. A successful project engineer should also seek out available professional development and continuing education opportunities.
There are a number of options for formal education in project management. A certificate program will demonstrate project management skills for employers, while further education will serve to develop more specific technical skills.
Those interested in a certificate usually complete the process in three stages: post-secondary education, project management experience, and the certification examination, which is granted by the Project Management Institute. Candidates for a certification must typically have a minimum of three years’ project management experience before being eligible to sit for the project management certification examination. To ensure all requirements are met prior to taking the exam, students should check with the certifying partner for the most up-to-date certification requirement information. Preparation courses and seminars are often offered by different associations.
An Associate’s Degree in Project Management is an option, but in general, businesses prefer candidates in this field to have at least a bachelor’s degrees in construction management, project management or engineering.
In addition to formal education, employers prefer candidates with previous work experience in the field and demonstrated skills in written and verbal communication, coordinating resources as well as the ability to analyze data and solve problems.
Populations and businesses are expected to grow at a modest rate in the upcoming years, resulting in both new and renovated construction projects. Opportunities will open for “residential dwellings, office buildings, retail outlets, hospitals, schools, restaurants, and other structures that require construction managers.” (http://www.bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/mechanical-engineers.htm)
Another area of growth is in “green construction,” making structures more energy efficient. Jobseekers may want to consider pursuing targeted training, coursework and experience in this area as the demand continues to grow in this type of project.