Choosing a career is an important decision which requires sound approach. The choice of career determines one’s lifestyle. Both management analyst and urban/rural planning are economically rewarding careers. They have different characteristics due to the difference in the nature of work. This report tries to compare both careers on different aspects and provides relevant findings and recommendations.
The aim of this report is compare two careers: management analyst and urban/rural planning as potential career choices. The report provides a comparison on the main areas and provides conclude conclusion and recommendation to influence people on career choice.
Sources and methods
This report has been prepared after an intensive research on up to date information on the two career choices. The information is obtained from websites (bureau of labor statistics and American planning association), journals and news paper articles. An interview of self employed management analyst who were previously employed was conducted.
The report focuses on educational and training requirements, salary and benefits, nature of work and work environment and job prospects and job security.
Educational and training requirements
Different careers require different educational training. This is due to the difference in the duties and responsibilities undertaken.
The requirements for one to be a management analyst vary according to the entry level position. For junior level one may need only a bachelor’s degree while for higher levels a masters or specialized expertise is required. This is only a general view because the requirement for the entrance to the private sector differs from entry into the public sector. In most cases financial analyst in many private sectors are required to be a holder of a master’s degree in business administration or related field irrespective of the entry level position. In addition to this the private sector may also require several years of experience. This is unlike the public sector where an analyst may be recruited with only a bachelor’s degree and few years experience.
Management analyst is usually trained in many fields. This includes accounting, statistics, management, computer information science, economics, engineering or marketing. This is because they have a wide scope of responsibilities in their work.
An employer may require a potential recruit to posse’s analytical, proper communication, time management, creative and innovative skills.
A new recruit may first work under supervisor and as one advance, acquires adequate experience to able him/her to manage their time well. This means that one can be allowed to manage a project after proving to be responsible. A senior analyst is able to ménage several projects at once and also seek out new business. (Management analyst, 2011).
According to the united states bureau of statistics very few institution offer formal training in management analyst, however, the institute of management consultants USA offers formal training to certify management analyst. For one to be admitted to this institution the minimum requirements have to be met. Those who hold the certificate in management consultant are recertified after every three years.
Rural/ urban planning
The dynamic nature of planning it requires one to have necessary formal education and experience to be efficient in this field. Educational institution offering bachelors, masters and doctorate degrees must be accredited by planning accreditation board. This board ensures that institutions meet specified standards. The standards enable planners to acquire the relevant knowledge, skills and values to practice this field.
The fields of study covered by the formal training acquired in this accredited institutions includes studies in ethics, structure and functions of urban settlement, the administrative, legal and political aspects of planning and policy implementation, quantitative analysis, plan making and program design as well as planning in a democratic society. These areas of study enable one to be all round rural/ urban planner.
The level of education determines ones entry level in the planning profession. Young undergraduates may go for junior positions while those with masters and doctorate degrees will be in the higher levels.
Institutions offering planning education have formed an association of collegiate schools of Planning (ACSP). Some institutions are not accredited by the planning accreditation board because some colleges and universities are accredited by other bodies. (APA/AICP Planners Salary Survey,2010)
Practioners in planning are required to be holders of a master’s degree in planning; however, there are some undergraduates who practice planning. It is not mandatory for one to hold a bachelors degree in planning so as to enroll for a master’s degree in planning. Those with a bachelor’s degree in geography, architecture, urban studies or sociology are eligible for admissions for master’s degree in planning.
Planners are certified by the American institute of certified planers. Those who hold this certificate have a competitive advantage. Doctorates degrees are not certified by the planner’s association board. Those who obtain a doctorate degree in planning may choose to pursue a career with research or policy institutions.
No one can practice without the necessary education background because those standards must be followed strictly.
Salary and benefits
The economic benefits of management analysts and those of rural/ urban planner sometimes differ. This may not be so critical in choice of career because one looks for the job of his /her interest.
The economic gains of management analysts depend so much on experience, education level and the kind of employer. Usually large firms offer nice packages to their management analyst, while small and middle sized firms may only be able to pay lower packages. The median annual wages of a management analyst was $73,570 in 2008. (Bureau of labor statistics, 2010).
Management analysts receive benefits such as retirement plan benefits, vacation and seek leave and health and life insurance. Those who are self employed only benefits from profits earned from their day to day operations. In private practice an analyst must struggle to keep nice records with clients so as to keep profits increasing. (Management analyst, 2011).
An interview on management analysts in private practice who were previously employed indicated that their earning increased. They attributed this to their previous experience.
Urban/ rural planning
Planners are usually promoted by the American planning association and the American institute of certified planners. The median annual salary for planners in 2008 was $70,000 and $56,000 and $95,000 in lower and upper quartile respectively. (APA/AICP planners salary survey,2010).
The amount of salary received by planners depend on experience, certification by AICP, the area of specialization, the type of employment(part time/full time) and the type of employer
The graph below shows the variance of salary with years of experience. (APA/AICP Planners Salary Survey, 2010)
Figure 1: Source American planning association.
Urban/rural planners receive benefits such as retirement plan benefits, vacation and seek leave and health and life insurance. Those who are self employed only benefits from profits earned from their day to day operations. In private practice an analyst must struggle to keep nice records with clients so as to keep profits increasing. (Education in planning, n.d).
Nature of work and work environment
The changing business requirements make firms to continually depend on management analyst to remain relevant and increase their market share. Analyst are required to analyze new challenges and put forward ways in which the organization structure should be changed to cope with the new dynamics. Change is usually critical to firms to enhance efficiency and increase profits.
Different firms hire management analyst for different purposes, for example a large enterprise may hire an analyst to reorganize the organization structure so as to eliminate bureaucracy. A small firm may need an analyst who will help to initiate a form of inventory control.
The development of technology and that advancement in electronic commerce has brought unexploited ground for analyst. The analyst is always under pressure because of the changing nature of this field. This calls for great creativity and innovativeness for analyst working in this field.
Analyst may specialize in a single or several fields. The level of specialization depends on the kind of employer. Those employed by the government may specialize on their line of agency only. Those in the private sector may need to be experts in several fields especially when the firm deals with a wide range of clients. The work of analyst changes from one project to another. Even when the duty of analyst change according to the project is always entitle to collect, review and analyze information so as to give an informed recommendation.
Enterprises need analysts to advise them on several business issues. Some enterprises may need a management analyst to advise them on the kind of resources required to accomplish certain projects. Other firms need analyst to advise on risks involved in undertaking certain projects and the ways of minimizing the risks. An analyst reports to management in several stages of a project. This is geared towards keeping the management fully informed on what’s happening on the ground.
Management analysts are required to coordinate their offices and site of the projects. They are required to be on site on some occasions to coordinate those who are working and get first had information on how the project is doing. In other instances they stay in their offices to update clients. They may work extra unpaid time due to the nature of their work. Sometimes their work is stressful due to strict demands and schedules of clients.
An urban/rural planner develops either long or short term plan of land use. They help local officials to avoid environmental, social and economic problems that may be caused due to poor location of infrastructure and public utilities. They suggest zoning regulations imposed on private property. To undertake this role effectively a planner needs to have an insight on future needs of the people. Majority of urban/rural planners are employed by the local governments to provide best use of communities land and resources of residents for both commercial and recreational purposes. They help the local governments to address economic, social and health issues of the growing population. Urban/rural planners do advice the government on ecologically sensitive areas that need to be protected.
The work of urban/rural planners includes pollution control, locating of new land fills and wet land preservations.
This means that the government relies on their advice when drafting environmental, social and economic legislation. Urban/rural planners study on the current land use then prepare a report on how better the land can be utilized. They provide data on types of industries in community, economic and employment trends. The information obtained is recorded and analyzed using computer-aided programs. (Urban and regional planners,2011).
Urban/rural planners are required to travel to required sites of development. Sometimes they spend most of their time out doors due to the nature of their work. In many cases they are forced to work on weekends so as to meet citizens to hear their views on land issues. Work pressure is common especially when there are several interested groups in one piece of land.
Job prospects and security
High economic benefits are achieved when one joins a stable career. In the career ones capabilities may play a critical role in enhancing prosperity. Job security may depend on macro economic situations of a country especially if the firm does not operate multinational level.
There is intense competition in this field due to the attractiveness of prosperity. This calls for creativity for anyone to prosper in this field. According to the national employment matrix the growth of employment of management analysts for the next decade is to grow by 24 percent. Despite this projection there is a lot of competition in this field of management analyst.
As the business environment changes the work of management analysts adjust to keep phase with these changes. The change may result from technological improvements, regulatory changes and advances in electronic commerce. When climatic laws of a country change, a consultant is required to advise the management on the way to adjust business operations in accordance with the law to avoid penalties.
Globalization influences the duties of a management analyst in the sense that one must obtain diverse information to keep the enterprise globally competitive. Advancement in technology exerts pressure on management analysts because the market is expanding so first, but, the industry is quite volatile. This force successful management analyst to consult in some areas where one has inadequate knowledge. Poor advice to management may cause heavy losses. When management analysts prove to be inefficient may easily loose his/her job. Those in private practice must be very efficient least they lose many clients. (Management analyst, 2011).
There is increasing need for management analysts because different firms require analysts for several reasons. A firm may need analyst to help in launching a new product, opening a new branch, entering into foreign markets or when changing the type of goods and services offered by the company. Despite these new diverse opportunities the pool of entry to this occupation is very high. This prompts a management analyst to stay focused so as to keep his/her competitive advantage. Those who are under permanent employment contracts may not be easily sacked as the law provides security of tenure.
Job opportunities for rural/urban planners keep on increasing as population increases and peoples need for land utilization diversifies. Those with master’s degree in planning have better job prospects. Bachelor degree holders with additional skills in mapping usually acquire entry level positions, but, may face challenges when advancing.
Job openings are created as old and experienced urban/rural planners transfer to other occupations and retire. New planners are required to have vast knowledge in computer and software due to increased need of effective data analysis.
The private sector offers very few job opportunities to urban/rural planners. The rural/urban planners usually have security of tenure because majorities are employed by the government under permanent and pensionable terms. (Urban and regional planners,2011).
Conclusions and recommendations
The two professions: management analyst and urban/rural planning are attracting large pool of people. Management analysts based on the aspects of comparison have higher chances of economic prosperity due to the individualized nature of the job. On the other hand urban/rural planning has higher job security. In both careers income is directly proportional to experience. One has to prove his/her capabilities in management analyst; this finally pays when one wins the confidence of clients.
Those who wish to be self employed should train as a management analyst, while those who look forward to be employed the government should take a career in urban/rural planning.
APA/AICP Planners Salary Survey (2010). American planning association report. Retrieved from http://www.planning.org
Education in planning(n.d). The association of collegiate schools of planning. Retrieved from http://www.acsp.org/ (Accessed 2011, February 19)
Management analyst (2011). Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved from http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos001.htm (Accessed 2011, February 19)
Urban and regional planners (2011). Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved from http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos001.htm (Accessed 2011, February 19)
Measuring success in management consulting (n.d). Association of consulting firms. Retrieved from http://www.amcf.org/amc (accessed 2011, February 19).