Career Advice in RE Development

Looking for some feedback/advice on what my next move looks like at my current company (less than 100 employees). Currently, I'm working in a Cost Analyst type role mainly focused on reigning in our variance and managing budgets along side our operations team. I started in a very Development focused entry-role when I first came on, but was presented my current role as an opportunity to learn cost in hopes of having more accurate underwrites. However, I feel I am moving further and further away from development and becoming more project management. My managers have told me that true development is being able to execute as close as possible to the underwriting, managing all the teams involved, and tying that all back in to future underwrites. I've been told by them that this isn't a forever role and that they want to move me back onto the Dev track eventually. They've also mentioned that "anyone can learn to underwrite" so it's not the most meaningful skillset and ultimately is passed on to lower-level employees. In conclusion, I'm afraid of continuing in the role that isn't "sexy" and not being as attractive in the market when compared to true Development Analysts. Can anyone provide their thoughts on my managers' comments and/or advice as to what my next move should be?

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2mo
redever, what's your opinion? Comment below:

So, you were essentially transferred/promoted/lateraled into this cost analyst position? Are you working across projects/markets/teams? Like doing this role firm wide? And were you on a development team before? Is this new role more accounting/finance or still project focused/oriented? 

Some more details may get you better answers/advice. With what you have given, here are my thoughts...

- Your managers are correct about the importance of estimating costs, managing costs, and controlling costs as very important to execution and YES having a strong background there will make you better at underwriting and executing deals

- Your concern of this being too narrow focus seems warranted as well, but many many junior development roles are like this (i.e. hyperfocused on a narrow set of tasks at hand), and really takes time/promotions to get to be allowed to do more broad based activities (like to development manager). 

- So, can you ask to shift back to a more balanced role, like 50% cost analyst and 50% development team member? That seems one easy way to figure this out, OR is there a set timeline you can move around upon OR is this just "right of passage" type role at your firm? either way, this is fair ground for discussion with manager (seems like you are talking, just not sure what the full answer is tbh). 

- Also, is this assignment based on needs of the day.... i.e... the firm is not doing to many new pursuits and is mainly managing active projects (thus, no need for "underwriters" as you call it, but lots of need for cost/project mngt?). Thus, could or would you get moved based on shifting needs of the firm/team? (tbh, most devcos keep lean teams by necessity, so this type of role flips based on state of project portfolio is very common everywhere). 

- If you don't see a great path, believe in the firm, etc.... then look at moving I guess, probably around that 2-3 mark where a lot of analysts move. Keep in mind the market cycle, if this is active/stable, may be smart to "ride out" the tough market here vs. jump to less stable place (tbh, this should always be part of the equation but is hyper important these days.). 

2mo
theREdon, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Thanks so much for the feedback and advice! Greatly appreciated! Yes, I started out in a role they've titled as Development Coordinator (some underwriting, AM, but mainly pre-con stuff + project mgmt). There wasn't a true development team at the time, so the other guy in the same role and myself did the underwriting as the owner requested, and we maintained the actuals models. After 7 or 8 months, I was asked if I was interested in helping out in a cost-focused role for a bit. I took the offer in hopes of learning more about the company, cost issues, and project delivery. I now am in this cost analyst role focusing on all of our projects and meeting with all teams (construction team, architecture, etc.). The job is not finance heavy at all but more project focused as you mentioned. Also, The development team is still being built out and my main concern is being overlooked/forgotten about as we continue to grow. More importantly, afraid it will be hard to market if I were to seek opportunities away at "high" finance teams. I'll take your advice of just having an honest conversation and asking for more clarification.

2mo
redever, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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