Project Developer Vs. Project Manager

Nov 30, 2019

Project developers and project managers play key roles in the undertaking of projects in any industry. This article will explain the difference between the two positions and provide key salary and job outlook information.

Comparing Project Developers to Project Managers

Project developers and project managers both have important functions in planning and executing a company project. These roles can be found in almost any industry area including construction, real estate, and business. While the two positions are related, their day-to-day duties and technical skills differ significantly.

Job Title Education Requirements Median Salary (2019)* Job Growth (2018-2028)**
Project Developer Bachelor's degree in business or industry-related field, 1-2 years relevant experience $64,009 7% (for all management occupations)
Project Manager Bachelor's degree in business administration or related field, 1-2 years relevant experience $73,596 7% (all management occupations)

Sources: *PayScale, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Responsibilities of a Project Developer vs. Project Manager

Project developers deal with the industry-specific duties related to carrying out a project. This means using their specific skill set to research, design, and implement solutions to the project. For example, a renewable energy company looking to build a new solar farm would hire a project developer with expertise in the solar industry. Project managers deal less with the technical aspects of a project and more with its overall organization. Project managers take on the bulk of administrative work, which gives other team members the ability to focus on more technical issues.

Project Developer

A project developer holds industry expertise in the project they are working on and uses that expertise to research, plan, and complete a project. A project developer in real estate might survey land, design building blueprints, and oversee site construction. These developers can be found in almost any industry. A business project developer might research locations for company expansion or identify effective marketing strategies for a new product. It is common for project developers to be tasked with identifying and securing sources of funding for their assigned project. A project developer should be skilled in cost-benefit analysis and feel confident making informed decisions based on research and industry best practices. Project developers looking to advance their careers can hone their industry-specific skills through work experience to become more competitive for higher-paying positions.

Responsibilities of a Project Developer Include:

  • Drafting and presenting project plans
  • Addressing setbacks that arise
  • Obtaining necessary permits for work
  • Ensuring adherence to quality standards

Project Manager

A project manager, sometimes called a project coordinator, is the primary organizer of an assigned project. The project manager creates the project timeline, builds work schedules, establishes goals, and measures progress. The project manager assigns tasks to team members and conducts follow-up to ensure work is completed at a satisfactory rate. Project managers coordinate the efforts of a project team to make their work more efficient. The project manager must track expenses, make reports, finalize documents, and complete other administrative duties related to the project. Clear communication, the ability to organize groups of people effectively, and attention to detail are skills necessary for this position. A master's degree or professional certification in project management can prepare project managers for more senior-level roles.

Responsibilities of a Project Manager Include:

  • Procuring project resources
  • Reporting progress to stakeholders
  • Scheduling team meetings
  • Using spreadsheets to track project details

Related Careers

If you enjoy project management and marketing, you may want to pursue a career as a marketing manager. If you are interested in project development, you may find a career as a real estate developer rewarding.

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