How to Become a Project Analyst

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How to Become a Project Analyst: Career Path Guide

A career as a project analyst could be a great fit for you if you have an interest in data analysis, information technology, and project management, and you like the idea of your work involving aspects of each.

 

This field can offer a chance to work independently but as part of a team, a consistent work schedule, excellent pay, and plenty of room for career advancement.

 

So, if you'd like to know more about the ins and outs of this field then read on; we’ll fill you in on what you would be doing for a living, how much you could earn, and what you’ll need to break into this profession!

 

 

Education Needed to Become a Project Analyst

Computer skills, data analysis skills, and business skills are all needed for a career as a project analyst. For this reason, many employers prefer to hire candidates for project analyst jobs that have earned a bachelor’s degree* in a field such as:

 

• Business information systems

• Computer Science

• Industrial engineering

• Information science

• Management

• Management science

• Mathematics

• Operations researcher

 

*Some employers may accept a diploma in one of these areas, some a bachelor’s degree, while others will require a master’s degree.

 

 

 

So, What Exactly is a Project Analyst?

A project analyst is someone who provides support to the Project Manager in planning, managing and monitoring projects from concept stage through to completion; they analyze, review and document the requirements of a project throughout its lifecycle.

 

Serving as a liaison for the project's technical and operations teams, they must help the entire project team complete the project within its planned scope, schedule and budget.

 

 

General Job Duties of a Project Analyst

Although a project analyst's job duties can vary from job to job, they are generally responsible for performing the following functions:

 

• Creating, managing and disbursing reports related to a project

• Maintaining project assets, communications and related database(s)

• Developing online management reports and key performance parameters

• Evaluating and monitoring the overall project

• Determining the efficiency of ongoing projects

• Reviewing and reporting the project’s budget and finances

• Routinely performing complete or component analysis

• Preparing presentation materials for management reports

• Notifying the entire project team about abnormalities or variances

 

 

Experience Needed to Become a Project Analyst

Many employers will want you to have a few years of relevant work experience before they take you on as a project analyst. Fortunately, many employers offer internship and similar training programs for new graduates.

 

Often times having a graduate-level education in a relevant field (such as Business Information Systems) can help you overcome the need to have on-the-job experience.

 

Alternatively, some employers will also hire you for roles of lesser responsibility, and let you work your way into a project analyst role. 

 

 

Skills Needed to Work as a Project Analyst

In order to do the job of a project analyst effectively, you’ll need to have a mixed bag of computer, data, and project management skills:

 

 

Computer Skills

 

• Competence with SAP

• Competence with databases and various project scheduling software

• Competence with Microsoft Office Products, such as Excel, Visio & Project

 

 

Data Analysis Skills

 

• Working knowledge of systems analysis and design techniques

• Strong numerical and analytical skills and understanding of cost control systems

• Able to evaluate impacts for identified issues and risks

• Able to keep up with new technologies as they are introduced to the workplace

• Able to analyze department or program specific data, such as budget/cost estimates, contract specifications, flow charts, labor hour estimates, and/or field operating funds

 

 

Project Management Skills

 

• Working knowledge of setting up a project and to facilitate simple project closeout

• Ability to facilitate sessions and keep conversations on track

• An understanding of cross-functional team structure and processes

• Ability to work collaboratively with diverse stakeholders, manage conflict and decision making processes to optimize outcomes

 

 

 

Is This Career Right for You?

In order to survive the ups and downs of this field (and enjoy yourself along the way!), you’ll need to have certain qualities, including:

 

• You need intellectually stimulating work

• You need a job that involves synthesizing information

• You enjoy working with people and information technology

• You’re interested in a 9-5 career with great pay

• You can complete projects independently based on general direction

• You enjoy advising others is in areas in which you are knowledgeable 

 

 

Types of Organizations that Employ Project Analysts

Project analysts are hired on a part-time, full-time or contractual basis by large and small organizations, with relatively few being self-employed. Most project analysts however, are hired as full-time employees by large organizations.

 

Jobs for project analysts tend to be in large urban areas, as that is where many companies and public organizations have their head offices. Types of organizations that employ Project Analysts include:

 

• Banks and other financial institutions

• Construction companies

• Utility companies

• Oil, gas and mining companies

• Hospitals and health care organizations

• Colleges and universities

• Federal, provincial/state and municipal government departments

• Transportation and logistics companies

• Telecommunications companies

• Insurance and finance companies

• IT and management consulting companies

• Manufacturing and distribution companies

• Pharmaceutical companies

 

 

 

Project Analyst Job Opportunities

Project Analyst Jobs - Canada

 

Project Analyst Jobs - United States

 

 

 

Project Analyst Average Salary Level

The salary level you could earn as a project analyst can vary, depending on the following factors:

 

• Your level of experience

• Your level of education

• The type of industry in which you work

• The region in which you work

• The scope of your job duties

 

Project Analyst Salary - Alberta: According to the 2013 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans working in the Information Systems Analysts and Consultants occupational group earn an average salary of $84,672 per year.

 

Project Analyst Salary - Canada: According to Service Canada, the average salary level of Canadians working in the Information Systems Analysts and Consultants occupational group is $70,900 per year.

 

Project Analyst Salary - United States: According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary level of Americans working in the Operations Research Analysts occupational group is $76,660 per year.

 

 

Career Advancement as a Project Analyst

Displaying competence and a good work ethic in this role can afford you plenty of career advancement options, including:

 

• Earning a higher wage or salary

• Working on bigger projects and taking on more responsibility

• Becoming a project manager

• Moving into executive management of the organization you work for

• Becoming self-employed as a consultant

 

 

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Working Conditions for Project Analysts

Work Setting: Your work would take place in an office setting, possibly shared with other employees. Aside from your daily commute, your work would likely involve little travel.

 

Working Hours: You would most likely work normal, weekday business hours. Although it’s rare, your schedule could include evenings and weekends on occasion, depending on whether or not you need to complete time-sensitive tasks and projects.

 

Working Conditions: Your time would be split between working independently in front of a computer, attending meetings with your team members, supervisors, and colleagues.

 

 

Careers Similar to ‘Project Analyst'

Listed below are occupations in our database that have similar responsibilities, and/or require similar skills, or be in the same sector of industry, as Project Analyst:

 

• Business Analyst

Industrial Engineer

• Management Consultant

• Operations Analyst

• Operations Manager

• Project Manager

 

 

References

Please consult the following resources to learn more about what project analysts do for a living, and how you can become one:

 

• Alberta Learning Information Service website - Information Systems Consultant: occinfo.alis.alberta.ca

• Alberta Learning Information Service website - Operations Research Analyst: occinfo.alis.alberta.ca

• FDM Group website - Becoming a Project Analyst: www.fdmgroup.com

• United States Bureau of Labor Statistics website - Operations Research Analyst: www.bls.gov

 

Please Note: Some information for this career path guide was also obtained from actual job postings, not listed above as they are no longer available.

 

 

Scholarships for Becoming a Project Analyst

The “Applicable Majors” section below shows fields of study relevant to a career as a project analyst. You can search for scholarships matched to those fields of study on the following pages:

 

Accounting Scholarships

Computer Science Scholarships

Marketing Scholarships

 

Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you even barely qualify for, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!

 

 

Becoming a Project Analyst: Applicable Majors

Studying one of the college/university majors listed below can be helpful (or are necessary) for becoming a project analyst. Click on the links to find out what else you can do with these majors!

 


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