Computers play an important part in this area of industry. For instance, take the case of undertaking a parametric analysis (it is a process that is used to estimate project costs on a per unit basis, according to the project specific requirements). A computer database is prepared that contains information about the different costs and conditions of similar products. However, computers are not used for the complete estimating process. Still, they can lessen much of the toil that an estimator must perform to evaluate tedious, dull, and lengthy calculations. Word-processing programs and spreadsheet software generate the necessary records. With the aid of these technical tools, an estimator can more easily study and analyze a variety of products.
The qualification for a cost estimator varies according to the industry which they are a part of. For instance, the construction industry will prefer an individual having a degree in construction management or architecture along with experience gained through internships or by directly working in the industry. The manufacturing industry looks for candidates who have a degree in engineering, mathematics, statistics or operation research. Even candidates having a major in economics, accounts, or finance are hired.
The skills looked for in cost estimators are the ability to analyze quickly, to comprehend, to understand, to interpret, to evaluate and assess both the detailed as well as inadequately defined data and information. They are expected to have a propensity toward mathematics. They must also possess strong communication and interpersonal skills, as they mostly work as a part of a project team where they may be asked to share their knowledge with managers, engineers, and design professionals. Self confidence and assertiveness are also sought after as key characters in the personality of the cost estimators. Expertise in computers and various estimation utilities are also required.
Different companies have different ways of managing estimates and as a result, new employees are given job training to understand the company's requirements and working system. Often new employees are put to train under more experienced and senior cost estimators to gain from their experience and understand the company's working patterns more adeptly. This suits the needs of the hiring company.
It is the construction industry that provides more than 50% of jobs to cost estimators, and an additional 20 percent are employed in the manufacturing industries. Job duties vary as per the type of size of the projects undertaken by the various industries. In fact, the construction industry is seen as a major driving force behind the growing demand for cost estimators.