The role of a project coordinator may have many similarities to that of a project manager. Still, there are some key differences if you consider applying to one or both types of jobs. Understanding the difference will help you position yourself appropriately during the application process and sell your capabilities in an interview setting. If you’re seeking a career as a project coordinator in the power industry, these are the necessary experiences you should have under your belt.
Understanding the Role of Project Coordinator
Project managers are seen in a wide variety of industries and businesses, so it makes sense that the boundaries between project managers and project coordinators within the field of information technology can be confusing. But the differences are important. Project Coordinators, as their title would lead you to believe, coordinate all IT projects and ensure company resources are utilized appropriately. They compile project status reports, coordinate project schedules, manage project meetings, and identify and resolve technical problems. Being an IT Project Coordinator means identifying and analyzing systems requirements and defining project scope, requirements, and deliverables. You coordinate project activities and ensure all project phases are documented appropriately. This role generally requires a bachelor’s degree and typically reports to a supervisor or manager. They typically have 4-7 years of related experience and contribute to moderately complex aspects of a project, and are expected to work independently and collaboratively.
Similar Skills but Different Roles
Coordinators are historically compared to project managers, albeit perhaps at a more junior level. And while it is true that project coordinators do use some of the same skills and have the same desired qualities as a project manager, the job itself is very different. Those skills include organization, interpersonal communication (whether over the phone or by email), problem-solving, time and resource management, technical skills, and even data entry. Coordinators, however, may work under a project manager to help with administrative tasks on a specific project. They help make sure all team members and departments have what is needed to meet the deadlines and milestones set by the project manager. To do this, project coordinators must be familiar with every aspect of the project, including all short and long-term goals, the entire project calendar, and budgeting details.
While project managers oversee the process from planning to completion, the project coordinator’s role focuses on executing specific stages of a plan. The project coordinator’s goal is to help enable the project manager to focus on broader issues and any problems that may arise by managing the day-to-day minutiae of a project. Sometimes coordinators may expand their responsibilities to include multiple projects or move into project management roles with more oversight as they gain experience and leadership skills along the way.
Knowing the key differences between a coordinator and a manager is critical to positioning yourself correctly to get the job you want. For example, if you are applying for a project manager role but only have qualifications or experience for a coordinator role, you will unlikely get pulled in for an interview. This is also true the other way around. Suppose you are applying for a coordinator role but fail to understand the difference between a project manager and a coordinator. That case reveals a lack of understanding of the two roles that will not serve you well in the application process.