Advice on entering field of Program Management?

Sunday, August 10th, 2008 - Blog

Program Management

External Memory - Analog saved me
Creative Commons License photo credit: Christmas w/a K

Daffyd asks: I currently run a Project Management Office and eventually would like to move into full-scale Program Management or into a Senior Project Officer role. Can anyone, particularly recruiters who recruit for these types of positions, give me any advice on

  1. The best way to leverage my skills and talents
  2. Training, courses, certifications to take or get to improve my chances of landing such a position?

In answer:

Modern careers are based on a balance of….

  • Certified skills
  • Relevant experience

There is also a lot of evidence that modern employers are basing their recruiting choices on niching and pinnacling. As pressures mount on modern industry, they want the right skills/experience and the top person to minimise commercial risk.

Project or Program management is now a classical “err towards the certificates” career, and is often derived from another career choice before hand – ie: telecoms engineers becoming telco PM’s, construction engineers becoming construction PM’s, etc. There are also sub-niches to those main markets, and its resultantly an easy career to get “niched” into both employment – and unemployment!

I would hence choose to first certify as a PM with one of the main bodies, and also gain a Prince2 qualification – the basics in the PM world. After a few years (by say mid-30’s, or latest mid 40’s). I would then consider undertaking an MBA and/or a finance certificate qualification. As you get older, if you choose a technology based market or sub-niche, the technology you know will get replaced and you stand a greater chance of unemployment: the MBA and finance qualifications recognise your wider skills.

PM is a great career choice, and is one of the still developing professional career choices which you can’t see going out of fashion in one or two generations.

Good Luck!

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