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Why 2018 is the Year of the Project Manager

Why 2018 is the Year of the Project Manager

The votes are in. It’s never been a better time to be a project manager than in 2018.

While the IT skills gap is driving demand for talent in the cyber world, the project management skills gap is growing. In fact, it’s estimated that by 2027, employers will need to fill nearly 90 million project management related roles.

What does that mean for project management professionals? In short, it means opportunity, a well-compensated career, and a chance to do work that is desperately needed.

In this article, we’ll discuss exactly how and why project managers are needed in 2018 and how talented professionals can forge a career they love in this current market.

The Terrible Cost of Bad Project Management

project management professional 2018

Before we talk about how project management can help, it’s important to discuss why project management is important. The truth is, bad project management practices aren’t only wasteful and annoying, they can mean a huge loss of revenue.

Here are just a few shocking statistics about how bad project management professionals slow down production and cost businesses millions of dollars.

  • Around 70% of all projects fail
  • The failure of IT costs the U.S. economy $50-$150 billion annually.
  • IT failure rates are estimated to be between 5-10%, a loss of $50 billion to $150 billion per year in the U.S.
  • 75% of respondents lack confidence in project success due to fuzzy business objectives, out-of-sync stakeholders, and excessive rework (Source.)

It’s clear that working without project managers, or with unskilled project managers, has a negative, measurable impact on revenue. However, project managers can also have a real positive or negative effect on team morale.

Perhaps one of the most important ways project managers help is by identifying over or underperforming workers. An underperforming worker could be disengaged and not pulling their weight, leaving a burden on the rest of the team. Meanwhile, an overperforming employee may be micromanaging other employees or bringing morale down.

Lastly, good project managers shut down toxic workers. This is especially important because reliable employees are 54% more likely to quit their job even when there’s only one toxic employee.

The Magnitude of the Project Management Talent Gap

Now that we’ve identified the need for project management professionals within an organization, it’s important to return to the talent gap. First of all, how bad is it?

As we mentioned earlier, employers will need to fill 90 million project management related roles by 2020. This includes positions like project managers, program managers, portfolio managers, business analysts, change management experts, and more.

What industry will be host to these new jobs? The short answer is, everywhere, but some of the biggest needs will include:

  • 7 million jobs in manufacturing and construction
  • 5 million jobs in information services and publishing
  • 6 million jobs in finance and insurance
  • 7 million jobs in management and professional services
  • 279,000 jobs in utilities
  • 49,000 jobs in oil & gas

Source.

This problem gets even worse when you widen the scope internationally where the result could be a potential GDP loss of 208 billion dollars in 11 countries.

Estimated Project Management Jobs by Country 2017-2027project management skills gap

With this all in mind, it’s clear that there are a lot of opportunities to build a much-needed, well-compensated career in project management. Now the question is, what does project management look like in 2018?

Project Management Trends in 2018

This field has undergone quite a few changes in the last few decades and this article wouldn’t be complete without touching on some of the most important trends. In 2018, here’s what will be at the forefront in the minds of most project managers.

  • Resource Management: As qualified workers become scarce across the board, project managers must figure out how to make the most of the staff they have. This means that deciding when you have the proper resources to start a project is becoming more important.
  • Hybrid Project Management: In the past, it may have seemed that traditional and agile project management were in conflict. However, as different situations call for different management styles, there will be a call for more hybrid project management styles. This is something we touched on in a previous article.
  • Project Management Office: More organizations are seeing a need for a group or department to standardized project management across a company. This is known as a PMO or Project Management Office and there are definitely benefits. In companies that have a PMO, 38% more project succeeded and 33% fewer projects were deemed failures.
  • Project Management & Cyber Security: There is now a  wide range of online solutions to help coordinate projects. That means that cyber security is becoming more and more of a concern. While online solutions make it easier to collaborate and can be great for productivity, there are concerns about data being vulnerable to hackers and a need for solutions.

Now that we’ve established the top trends for project management, as well as the overwhelming need for project managers in general, it’s time to talk about salary.

Salary Trends in Project Management

Internationally, the median salary for project managers is $74,900 even for those with less than three years of experience. However, this number rises to $108,200 for project managers working in the U.S. For professionals with more experience working in high-demand areas, the median salary can climb as high as $125,000 annually.
project management salary

These numbers may change yet again when it comes to project management talent in the most demand industries. In places like the financial world, IT/tech, or staffing, the salary range can top out as high as $165,000.

PMP Project Management Salary

Another factor that has a huge effect on salary is certification. In general, project managers who are certified are more competitive job candidates and have a better chance at a higher salary. This is especially true for high-value certifications like the PMI’s Project Management Professional (PMP) or Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) certification.

Project Management & PMP Certification in 2018

What exactly is the value of a PMP certification? Well, according to one estimate, a certified project management professionals in the U.S. commands around 20% more in salary than their uncertified counterpart.

PMP Certification Fast Facts

  • In nearly all countries, median salary steadily increases with PMP tenure.project management skills gap
  • Titles that a PMP-certification project manager might have include director of project management office, portfolio manager, project management specialist, and project management consultant.
  • The Program Management Improvement and Accountability Act (PMIAA), signed into law in 2016, means that many federal government project management jobs require a PMP certification.

In terms of salary breakdown, here is exactly how the PMP certification affects salary.

project management salaries

Why is this difference so stark? The answer is simple. The PMP certification “codifies what a project manager is, and how a project manager works.”  Basically, project management is all about organization and the PMP provides a strict framework for completing project effectively.

It’s clear that project managers are needed, important, and well-compensated. So, if you’re looking to start or advance a career in project management, what is the next step?

Getting PMP-Certified with LeaderQuest

Project Management SalaryAt LeaderQuest, we employ expert instructors who will not only help you prepare for your PMP exam, but are veterans of the application process as well. We pair the ITIL, CAPM, and PMP certifications together in our Senior Technology Project Management program so you have all the tools you need to be successful.

Our scheduling is flexible with classes that are available on campus, online, during the day, or at night to fit any work schedule or learning style. Once you’ve finished your first class, our career services team will use their contacts and resources to help get hired!

Project management isn’t just important, it’s sorely needed in a world where bad project management can cost valuable time, money, and man-hours. If you’ve been thinking about getting into this field, why wait? With the project management skills gap, a career in project management in 2018 is sure to be an incredibly valuable career. The time is now.

If you’ve been looking for a way to invest in your future, take the leap today!

Get PMP Certified!

How Agile Project Management is Changing the PMP® Exam

How Agile Project Management is Changing the PMP® Exam

With the demand for certified project management skyrocketing (and good talent hard to come by), it’s time to talk about an important part of project management; Agile.

While the Agile methodology is no newcomer in the IT world, it’s only now that it’s been officially incorporated into the Project Management Professional (PMP®) exam. For all those hoping to join the ranks of the PMP® certified, understanding Agile is a part of your ticket in.

Without further ado, here’s the what, why, and how of Agile project management along with other changes to the PMP® exam you need to know to pass with flying colors.

What is Agile Project Management?

Agile Project MethodologyThe Agile movement focuses on building and responding effectively to a changing environment. It was originally created by software developers in search of “continuous delivery”, or the ability to address a variety of changes, while sustainably delivering products to customers.

In the early 1990s, software infrastructure lagged behind big business’ needs by an estimated three years. On top of that, customer needs and market demands changed so rapidly that many projects were canceled because they could not keep up—even if the project achieved its original goals. The system was a lose-lose for everyone.

All that started to change in 2001 when the Agile Manifesto was published. It formally introduced its 12 key principles to take on infrastructure challenges. Jim Highsmith, co-founder of the Agile Alliance and co-author of the Agile Manifesto, explains Agile this way.

“[It’s] about delivering good products to customers by operating in an environment that does more than talk about ‘people as our most important asset’ but actually ‘acts’ as if people were the most important and lose the word ‘asset’.”

-Jim Highsmith

Why Do We Need Agile Project Management?

A traditional element of project management is to gather the entire project team to discuss the full project goals and all changes throughout each phase. This can be extremely time-consuming.

To save time, Agile Project Management uses focused groups that meet more frequently and discuss very specific project goals. This facilitates rapid change implementation, ensuring teams can meet customer demands.

As Highsmith puts it, “Agile organizations view change as an opportunity, not a threat.” This is because change does not derail Agile projects, just refocuses, to meet customer needs.

Other advantages of Agile:

  • Improved teamwork and feedback
  • Emphasis on specific customer needs
  • Reduces waste by minimizing resource consumption
  • Rapid defect detection

Let’s use the plot of Disney’s, A Bug’s Life as an example. An ant colony has the annual project of collecting food for themselves and their neighbors, a group of tyrannical grasshoppers. The ants divided their island into sections and distributed the work. The project was near completion when Flik, an overzealous inventor, decided to use one of his gadgets to speed up the process.

Pictured: The face of project management gone very, very wrong.

Unfortunately for Flik and his colony, his attempt backfires and inadvertently sabotages the whole project. The angry grasshoppers demanded double the food by threatening their annihilation. While the rest of the colony regroups and formally re-starts the project, Flik gathers a smaller, specialized team of circus misfits who collaborate and creatively overcome the obstacles!

Although modern project teams do not work under such life-threatening (or grasshopper-heavy) situations, this analogy highlights what an Agile way of thinking can bring to the table. In this scenario, the ant colony is comprised of a leader (project manager), the worker ants (project team members), and an accident which delays the project (unforeseen environmental factors).

Flik is an example of an internal factor—a team member’s mistake delaying a project. The lack of food on the island is an external factor based on raw resources and our pesky grasshoppers are an example of market demand changes.

Elements of Traditional Project Management in A Bug’s Life
  • Project ManagementProject Manager: Sole leader
    • I.e. Queen Ant
  • Project Team Members: Individuals involved in the project
    • I.e. Worker Ants
  • Unforeseen Environmental Factor: A problem in the current environment that causes a delay in a project
    • I.e. Flik knocking over/destroying the food stores with his invention
      • Internal Factor: A problem with the project management group that causes a delay in the group
        • I.e. Flik
      • External Factor: A problem coming from outside the project management group that causes delays
        • I.e. Lack of food on the island
  • Market Demand Changes: A change within a project that is necessitated by changes within the market
    • I.e. Grasshoppers demanding food from the ants

Pictured: An amazing Agile project management team!

Where Agile comes in is through the circus bugs in the movie. Unlike the longer, more formal project where one person has defined a plan and goals, the smaller, more specialized team tries a number of ideas through the sprint method of plan, design, build, test, and review.

For example, let’s take the idea of defeating the grasshoppers (the clear goal of all of these projects) by constructing a giant, fake bird. It’s worth noting that this idea is quickly put into production after the previous idea of, “pretending the circus bugs are fierce warriors,” fails. That will happen sometimes in project management and that’s okay!

Elements of Agile Project Management in A Bug’s Life
  • Plan: We need to raise enough food to survive the winter and get the grasshoppers off our back. Let’s build a giant bird.
  • Design: Flik and a small group of others create blueprints, schematics, and design ideas for how to make the bird look, sound, and act real.
  • Build: Other groups gather materials and create individual parts of bird (wings, voice, etc.).
  • Test: The grasshoppers come and the ants swoop down upon them with their giant, fake bird.
  • Review: Long story short, the head grasshopper gets eaten by a real bird thereby eliminating the need for gathering extra food. What success!

The smaller, more specialized team was able to meet the overall goal of protecting the colony’s food in a time-sensitive, effective way. Agile thinking helps teams resolve project issues through sprint sessions and focused thinking rather than regrouping the whole team.

It is important to note that Agile is not an all-or-nothing approach. Many teams have found a mix of Agile and traditional processes to work best for their teams—what matters overall is project successes.

Agile in Action: Saving Money and Time

Worldwide surveys reflect Agile’s staggering success. This is what practitioners are saying:

  • 98% of respondents have seen success through Agile projects
  • 88% deem the ability to manage changing priorities as a significant benefit to Agile
  • 81% cited project delivery time as their main reason incorporate Agile practices
  • 74% of respondent’s state that Agile methods reduce project risk

The numbers speak for themselves, but agile management is not a fit for every project. With its less formal structure, Agile may not be suited for more traditional organizations with less flexible stakeholders. The other drawback is that, throughout the development process, Agile favors project teams, customer needs, and developers, but can neglect the end-user experience.

Practitioners Have Spoken

Agile has officially shown up in A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide), a globally recognized standard that provides a roadmap for the project management profession. The guide continuously evolves as practitioners’ steer and direct its content towards best practices, tools, and techniques to enhance project efficiency.

PMP Agile Exam Guide

Agile’s integration into project management is not new, but its techniques had not been incorporated into key knowledge areas until now.

Changes include:

Each knowledge area will feature new sections, detailing:

  1. Agile and Iterative Adaptive Environments
  2. Tailoring Considerations
  3. Trends and Emerging Practice
  4. Key Concepts

Knowledge areas have been renamed:

  1. Schedule Management (previously Time Management)
  2. Resource Management (previously Human Resource Management)
  3. A new chapter on the role of a PM with emphasis on effective leadership

PMI® also states that the PMP® exam will be changed to compliment the new standards of the PMBOK® Guide. That means:

  1. Exam topics and percentages will remain the same
  2. There will be no edits to the PMP® exam content outline
  3. Anyone taking the exam prior to March 26, 2018 will be tested using the old standards

Prepare for the PMP® Exam with an Expert

Agile Project Management & PMP<sup data-recalc-dims=® Exam Prep” width=”300″ height=”200″ />From this overview, it’s clear that knowing a little background on Agile will help you as you dive into your prep class and study for the exam. If you’re interested in getting a certification that’s in high-demand and adds a lot to an organization, the PMP® certification can get you there.

Looking to increase your chances of success with PMP®? LeaderQuest can help. With our classes available online or on campus and during the day or night, we’re able to fit your schedule and help you get the training you need to pass the PMP® exam and certification process.

Interested? Sign up below to learn more.

Help Me Pass the PMP® Exam!

PMI, PMP, CAPM, and PMBOK are registered marks of Project Management Institute, Inc.

Must Have Tech Skills for 2016

Must Have Tech Skills for 2016

Around the world, there is one overwhelming fact: Computers play a greater role in day-to-day business operations than ever before. In the 1960s, computers were bulky and complex and technology experts were not as widely needed. In the 80s and the decades that ensued, more and more businesses began to rely on computers and the demand for IT professionals began increasing exponentially. With the advent of the Internet in the 1990s and 2000s, knowledge of computers was plainly required to acquire and keep a high paying position in almost any field. Technology skills are needed in just about any industry from the automotive field to aeronautics to even the music industry!

The trend continues into 2016. Professional recruiters are looking for candidates who are knowledgeable about computers–whether it is data analysis, website development and design, or technical support. Here we’ll examine some of the top fields in which information technology experts will be needed, and the IT training to take to prepare for a career in IT in 2016!

Computer Service Technicians / Help Desk and Technical Support

Computer service technicians are valuable for their ability to troubleshoot and repair a variety of consumer devices including personal computers, laptops, mobile devices, and personal assistant devices. Technology is infiltrating our lives more each day. From media to automobiles, lights to security systems, even furniture, appliances and the newest – “wearable tech” …technology is everywhere.

crumbling_effect_by_shiftwear-d9hlnda

As we all know, technology is great but only when it works. But when it doesn’t, technicians are the ones who save the day! Job growth is expected to grow exponentially as technology invades all aspects of our lives – whether we want it to or not!

For those wishing to begin a career in IT, this type of position is a great starting point. To become a service technician, most companies will require a basic skill set in personal computer essentials, networking, and basic security. CompTIA (Computing Technology Industry Association), founded in 1982, at the dawn of the personal computer age, offers a variety of courses such as A+, Network+, and Security+ that will get you up to speed quickly on these basic requirements. By attaining IT certifications in these courses, it will prove to potential employers that you have a solid understanding of foundational IT concepts. They also have set guidelines of ethics and professionalism. Many CompTIA training and certification courses can be completed in under a month and CompTIA certifications can get you started on the path to working for Fortune 500 companies across the country. The courses and certifications pay for themselves in the long run. No matter which IT career or field you wish to enter, this training and certification looks excellent on a resume.

If you are interested in learning more about this career path, be sure to visit our Computer User Support Specialist IT Training program page!

Project Management

According to the Computer World website, 39% of their survey respondents said they will be seeking a candidate with project management experience in the next 12 months. This skill has been in the top of desired skills for several years and is not going anywhere! There are so many businesses that wish to move ahead with all kinds of information technology projects. These companies need people who can design such projects and see them through to completion. This line of work requires that its workforce possess not only the ability to create and design projects, but also to lead a team. Recruiters seek leaders who have successfully led a team of IT professionals. Project management positions require several years in the IT field. Once you have the necessary experience, you can enroll in a project management training program that will help you get your PMP (Project Management Professional) certification to prove your skills to potential employers.

Programming/Application Development

This skill is very much in demand today, and that need will increase in 2016. People who can design programs for cars to accomplish feats they were not capable of executing 20 years ago are sought after by recruiters in the car industry, for example. Back in 1995 few people envisioned that a program would be able to speak to a person in a very pleasant voice and give driving directions. Moreover, at that time driverless cars were not even thought of! Yet because of programming and application development, these things exist today.

If you are hoping to land a job in this field, you must have a strong computer language background. You should look for IT training that specializes in computer languages such as JavaScript, Python, Ruby, SQL, Java, Python, C#, Swift (formerly Objective-C), Ruby, PHP, C.

Web Development / User Interface Design

Web Design and Development continues to score among the top 10 skills that job recruiters in our area seek because businesses understand more every day about the importance of a strong Internet presence and the power of such a presence in building a customer base. A Web designer must be able to build a website that looks professional, has an intuitive and mobile friendly user interface, write and optimize content and tags for search engines, and more. Classes in HTML, CSS, AJAX, jQuery, and search engine optimization will aid in the acquisition of this very much in-demand skillset.

Cyber Security

Cyber Security continues to be among the top 10 most needed skills in 2016. Internet and network security breaches are prominently featured on the news all the time. U.S. News estimates that hackers cost companies more than $445 BILLION annually! Someone who is knowledgeable at keeping hackers and other cyber criminals at bay is extremely valuable and well paid at modern IT companies. There are several courses of study available for cyber security, from CEH (Certified Ethical Hacker) to CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional) to Vulnerability Assessment to Penetration Testing. With all of these specialties, talking to an experienced IT career consultant is advised to determine the best cyber security educational path.


The field of IT is rife with opportunity. Computers and the Internet are now integral parts of everyday life. They affect how you read, communicate, drive, check the weather, shop, watch TV, listen to music, and more! Computers have majorly impacted those individuals who work in fields such as health care, finance, retail, and education, just to name a few. Think about a career in IT and start your new future today!


LeaderQuest has campuses in Denver, Colorado Springs, Dallas, and Jacksonville. Contact us today for a campus tour or to discuss your IT career with an experienced IT Career Advisor. (866) 378-0761

Top 8 Highest-Paying IT Certifications (& What You Need to Do to Get Them)

Top 8 Highest-Paying IT Certifications (& What You Need to Do to Get Them)

It’s no secret that the IT industry is plagued by and inundated with IT certifications. PMP, CCNA, CISA, MCSE, MCSA, CISM, CEH and the list goes on and on!

It seems like you can get an IT certification for every little thing you can do with a computer, and sometimes, the hard thing with all these possibilities is knowing which opportunities are most worth your time and your effort. (And even your money.)

And while money isn’t the end-all be-all of career happiness, making more of it generally doesn’t lead to all-out dissatisfaction. (And let’s be honest… one of the up-sides to getting into an IT career is the earning potential.)

So if you’re wondering which IT certifications you should be planning for and going after, this list will help you narrow down your list to the ones that will up your salary… getting you closer to where you want to be financially.

 

1. CRISC – Certified in Risk & Information Systems Control

  • Salaries revealed online: $118,000 to $119,000*

This is a fairly new IT certification, just coming on the scene in 2010, that is offered by ISACA, a non-profit group that advocates for IT professionals.

The certification is designed for those in IT who are responsible for identifying and managing risks from the design of a system, to its implementation, even through general maintenance.

To qualify for the CRISC exam, you need to rack up a minimum of three years of experience in three of the five areas the certification covers. Then, of course, you need to pass the exam, which is offered twice per year.

Because only 17,000 people have passed the exam since 2010, it’s an in-demand IT certification that pays well.

You can register for the next upcoming exam and find locations here.

2. CISM – Certified Information Security Manager

  • Salaries revealed online: $114,000 to $118,000*

Also regulated by the ISACA, this particular IT certification focuses more on the strategy behind computer security and analyzing the policies and methods a company has in place, rather than being so concerned about the actual work of implementation.

It’s a bit older than CRISC, coming on the scene in 2002. And since only 24,000 have been certified in those 13 years, it’s got a small supply of qualified individuals, which makes this certification something that’s sought-after and worth paying a high salary for.

To take the exam, you need to have racked up five years of experience in information security, with at least three of those years in a security management role.

The exam is given three times per year, and is one IT certification that’s recognized all over the world.

Find the upcoming exam dates, registration deadlines, and study materials on the CISM section of the ISACA website.

3. CISA – Certified Information Systems Auditor

  • Salaries revealed online: $106,000 to $112,000*

This is the third and final one on the list from the ISACA. It’s also their oldest certification, dating back to 1978.

It’s focused around the work of information security auditors who work in monitoring, controlling, and assessing IT systems, and measures a person’s ability to manage vulnerable spots, update policies, and confirm compliance with pre-set standards.

To take the exam, you need to have five years of experience in information systems – either in cybersecurity, auditing, or control, and the exam is offered three times per year.

Find the rules of taking the exam, when and where you can take it, and registration forms on ISACA’s CISA page.

4. PMP Certification – Project Management Professional

  • Salaries revealed online: $108,000 to $109,000*

No, PMP certification is not exclusive to IT, but it IS a popular one in the IT industry. (Because everything in IT—from a software program to a security system—is a project that needs managed.)

It’s offered by the Project Management Institute (PMI), and is the most popular project management certification out there.

To qualify for the exam, you need to have 7,500 hours (around 4 years of full-time work) of project management experience if you don’t have a Bachelor’s degree, or a minimum of 4,500 hours (a little over 2 years of full-time work) of project management experience if you’ve earned a Bachelor’s degree or higher.

Once you qualify, the exam itself goes over the five most important areas of the project management lifecycle, which include initiating, planning, executing, monitoring and controlling, and closing.

There are several schools that offer formal PMP certification training as well as many self-study guides that you can find online. If you’re not sure which is the best path for you, our in-house PMP expert and certified trainer tackles the question of self-study vs. formal PMP certification training here.

Learn about the facelift the PMP exam is getting starting in January 2016.

5. Certified Scrum Master

  • Salaries revealed online: $101,000 to $107,000*

This is another certification that isn’t necessarily IT-specific.

It’s basically project management, but a totally different approach to project management than is required by the Project Management Institute for the PMP certification.

The term “scrum” actually comes from rugby, and is when a game has to be re-started because someone violated the rules or the ball bounced out of play.

When it comes to project management, the scrum theory says that expectations and requirements will change throughout project development, requiring a restart of sorts… instead of trying to identify everything upfront.

This certification, unlike the PMP certification, doesn’t require a set number of hours of experience. What you need to do instead, is become familiar with the scrum philosophy, attend an in-person CSM course lasting two days, and then pass the Scrum Alliance’s exam.

The first thing the Scrum Alliance wants you to do before becoming certified is familiarize yourself with the Scrum philosophy, and they’ve created an entire page full of resources to help you do that.

6. CEH Certification – Certified Ethical Hacker

  • Salaries revealed online: $95,000 to $103,000*

Given by the EC-Council (International Council of Electronic Commerce Consultants), this cybersecurity IT certification tests your know-how when it comes to finding weaknesses in a company’s network defense strategy using the same techniques as the unethical hackers trying to cause harm.

Because e-commerce security is such a big deal, the need for certified IT professionals in this area is pretty high, resulting in pay that is also pretty high.

The EC-Council itself has self-study and instructor-led options to prepare you for the exam, but if you’re looking for something that might be a little more local to you (and quicker), we have a CEH course that will fully prepare you to take the exam in just five days.

7. CCDA – Cisco Certified Design Associate

  • Salaries revealed online: approx. $99,000*

This IT certification covers the use of Cisco’s hardware in designing and setting up on-campus networks, requiring those taking the exam to be familiar with routing and switching, wireless connectivity, IP, security, and a few other things.

Since it’s an Associate-level IT certification from Cisco, you must first earn the CCENT, CCNA, or CCIE certification. After that, you’ll have to study the preparation materials and then pass the exam.

If you’re ready to prepare for the Certified Design Associate exam, Cisco’s website has overviews, study materials, and practice exams for you to look over.

(However, if you’re still in need of one of the other certifications to qualify for this one, we’ve got a great program that’ll prepare you for the CCNA exam in just 15 days.)

8. ITIL v3 Foundation

  • Salaries revealed online: $95,000 to $97,000*

This IT certification was created in the 1980s by England’s government to help standardize IT management across the country.

This one is open for entry-level IT professionals (because it covers foundations), and in fact, the ITIL is nothing more than a set of books that outlines the most commonly used IT management framework in the world.

The books cover capacity management, availability, operations management, incident management, and change. Getting the ITIL certification demonstrates that you understand the basic concepts of the IT lifecycle and all the terminology involved.

The AXELOS website has free papers you can use to test yourself on the certification’s concepts, and an easy search tool to find a local place to get your official training from. Many times, however, it’s helpful to find an ITIL prep course to help you pass the ITIL exam the first time!

(Loads of our own professors have this certification.)

 

Keeping Your Expectations Realistic

While a few of these IT certifications are relatively “easy” to reach in comparison to others, most actually take years of planning to obtain, which is why their reflected salaries are so high. (Though some don’t take years, so there’s good news for everyone.)

However, even if your particular goal certification does take you a number of years, having that specific goal in mind will guide your IT career choices and help you get to your goal… and your ideal salary… much faster.

(Also, if you’re one of those smarties that does manage to race to the top – Congrats! – keep in mind that some of the salaries listed also reflect career time and progression and are not 100% dependent on the IT certification itself.)

What are your goal IT certifications and target salaries for your IT career? What steps have you taken so far to move in that direction? What are you going to do next? We know that answering these questions is not always easy. We are dedicated to helping you reach your IT career dreams. Contact us anytime and we can help you create or refine your career goals and recommend a good IT training path that will work on your budget in your timeline!

 

*Salaries compiled from available 2015 online resources

What Exactly Does a Project Manager Do, Anyway?

What Exactly Does a Project Manager Do, Anyway?

By Marcia L Ingino, PMP, PMI-ACP, PMI-PBA, CBAP

I have probably been an “unofficial” project manager since I was about 10 years old while attending Girl Scout events. I was always the girl who was a quick learner and was probably a bit bossy. In high school, I found myself doing more projects as a programming “nerd.” These interests lead me to attend college and study computer engineering, so that I could “lead technical people.” Obtaining my engineering degree and working as a programmer lead to many more “projects.” I moved to Colorado after graduation, yet another project, and found myself working as a test engineer and wanted to do more than just being a contributing member of a project team.

At this point, I discovered there was a “real” job title of project manager. I was hooked, very excited, and worked hard to learn how to become a project manager. After some project management courses and mentoring by a wonderful boss, I was promoted and was finally a REAL project manager. I soon realized that it took more than technical knowledge to be an excellent project manager.

I was often asked, “What exactly does a project manager do?”

“Manage projects,” I would answer without much thought.

After many confused looks and blank stares, I decided that I needed to come up with a better answer.

As I put more thought into the question, I came up with “lead people to get things finished” and “solve problems.” These simple answers still didn’t seem to work very well, and I knew people still didn’t understand even when I gave a long detailed answer. So, I kept thinking and brainstormed a list of what project managers do —

  • Manage and control
  • Lead and direct
  • Communicate and coordinate
  • Decide and take action
  • Motivate and reward
  • Give and take
  • Negotiate and obtain agreement
  • Take risks and develop opportunities
  • Schedule and monitor
  • Budget and spend
  • Check and validate

I knew I could not say all that, so it was back to the drawing board.  I experimented with a variety of answers, and nobody, including my own mother, really understood what I did as a project manager. Even people who worked for project managers didn’t seem to know what project managers do!

Over the years, I have used these humorous answers to explain what a project manager does:

I am a project integration expert!

A project manager herds cats.

I develop people through hard work.

A project manager does the impossible!

I make it difficult for other people to get their work done.

A project manager turns worrying into planning!

I create dreams from deadlines.

Today, when someone asks me what a project manager does, I give one of these answers and chuckle to myself. If they only knew, what project managers really do!


Project Managers are in HIGH DEMAND! Are YOU interested in becoming a project manager? LeaderQuest offers a complete Project Management training program, complete with PMP and ITIL certifications, that will have you qualified for Project Management positions in no time! Call us today at (866) 378-0761 to learn more!

The Top 6 IT Skills Cloud Companies are Hungry For

The Top 6 IT Skills Cloud Companies are Hungry For

Despite the fact that the cloud’s revolutionizing everything, the good news for IT professionals is that the vast majority of their skills aren’t being outdated.

Companies still need skilled developers, talented project managers, and data analysts.

But those working for cloud companies will be expected to take their skills to the next level… to be on the cutting edge of both tech and business.

But taking an extra course to stay on top of the cloud is well worth it… jobs for cloud companies are hot right now.

There’s loads of meaningful, cloud-based tech startups that will turn into giant companies in the future, and they’re hiring the people who will build their companies to their full potential.

But just having the bare minimum of skills and education to coast by for the rest of your career isn’t going to work. Because the cloud combines tech and business sense, you’ve got to know both to get your foot in the door at one of these fast-growing companies that could turn into a rockstar tech career.

But before you go signing up for any random IT certification just so you can look better on paper, consider the top 6 IT skills cloud companies are hungry for so you can decide which one fits best with your dream job and which will set you apart the most from your job-hunting peers.

1. App Development

Even if you’re not a developer, a rudimentary knowledge of mobile and cloud-based computer app development can go a long way in truly understanding the depths and inner workings of a cloud business.

The cloud lets single end users and businesses access the applications they need to get work done from any device, anywhere in the world with an internet connection (part of the BYOD phenomenon). So a basic knowledge of what it takes for apps to function well on any device is more than appreciated by everyone in the business.

If you don’t know where to start, a simple development course can get you up and running quickly. Look for Java and .NET in the curriculum – they’re the leaders of the pack right now.

2. Virtualization

Virtualization is the technique that lets you run multiple operating systems at once on the same piece of hardware.

Since development for so many different devices and operating systems is essential to what the cloud is, this skill is vital to each and every cloud company out there.

Microsoft’s got a cool virtualization training program with an on-site tool to help you find institutions near your town that teach it.

3. Business Smarts

At the end of the day, there’s only one reason cloud companies are going so well—and that’s business.

Going to the cloud is one of the best business decisions a company can make, but a lot of legacy software companies (and their customers) still have a problem adapting to the idea of using the cloud and its inherently different payment models, not wanting to fix what isn’t broken.

Even a basic understanding of business and finance will help you to make the case for deployment to the cloud.

Hint: A lot of cloud-based companies like to hire business liaisons who speak IT and business languages to help get both sides of the company on the same page.

4. Data Analysis

Big data is something that’s gaining traction in almost every industry you can think of—from finance to environmental issues to farming to marketing trends and crime fighting—big data, if properly sorted for analyzation, can give a business the keys it needs to unlock success faster than ever before.

Cloud companies love data because it doesn’t require the possible mishaps involved with best guesses and intuition. It gives them answers about what to do and how successful a certain move will be.

Employees who know how to design the systems to track relevant data from the cloud in an efficient way are incredibly valuable, but so are those who know how to take that data, run the numbers and actually do something with it that leads to smarter business decisions.

5. Security & Compliance

On the cloud, more so than on a private company-based server, security is a huge issue.

No company wants their data stolen, lost or hacked.

First and foremost, every employee at a cloud company will need to know what their security protocols are, so if you know more of the reasoning behind those protocols, you’ll be seen as far less of a potential liability.

But beyond just the basics of keeping information secure, there’s some compliance regulations set by each industry that a cloud company serving that industry would also have to follow. For example, if your company handles the financial data of individual investors, you’ll need to know what risks exist and how to diminish them.

At another level, there’s also national and international mandates for data handling such as HIPAA and Sarbanes-Oxley that each company has to follow no matter their industry.

6. Project Management

Whether you’re working on a project that will move a company from old-school software into cloud computing, or you’re working on projects specifically for a cloud-based company, knowledge of the project management process helps a lot.

For example, knowing where and how to avoid scope creep and keeping projects on-budget and on-deadline while doing the best work possible usually isn’t possible without some meticulous, advanced planning. And taking a project management course helps you learn how to do that planning and work with your actual project manager to get things rolling in the right direction and not be a hold up.

The Actual Tools that Are Hot Right Now in the Cloud

Rick Blaisdell, CTO of Motus, made a list of the top basic skills cloud companies are looking for. Among them, he mentions:

• Development languages like Perl, Ruby on Rails, Python and Java
• DevOps
• Linux
• Virtualization
• Puppet and Chef
• Database skills like MySQL, Hadoop and Cassandra
• Vendor skills for Amazon Web Services

90% of Companies Use the Cloud – It’s Time to Get on Board

According to CompTIA’s 2014 cloud computing survey, a whopping 90% of companies in the United States use cloud computing in some form or another, and 60% of companies want to expand their hiring to bring on employees to help them transition from traditional software technology to cloud computing.

By getting on board with cloud-based knowledge and expanding your understanding and skill set, you’ll be on par with what the industry needs, and your career path will thank you.