Get into Project Management?

Tuesday, July 14th, 2009 - career change, career management, career transition, economics, Education, professionalism, project management, Qualifications

How can I get into Project Management?

024-The Development Process 1

Andrew asks: After more than 3 years as a online journalist/copywriter, I want to make a change and retrain as a project manager, but I’m not sure how to go about it. Any ideas? I studied Politics at Uni (got a 2.1), and I have an MSc in Contemporary Russian and East European Studies.

In answer:
Project Management is an applied art, but its quite a disciplined art where employers engage people on the basis of experience in that field, and proven delivery – inside time scale and too budget. Secondly, most Project Managers progress from being a professional in that area, to being a Project Manager. Employers like this as this means they know the working practises before trying to manage them

I think therefore you have a number of challenges in being able to complete your desired career move:

  • Your professional skills are in creative writing, not classical main stream PM areas of construction or IT
  • Your base degree is not in a classical PM area
  • In light of the current economic climate, younger/cheaper people are driving out older experienced hands from many operational area. This is resulting now in a present glut of good and experienced PM’s

Project Manager training

There are degree courses which offer first degrees in Project Management, which if you really are set on making this your career choice, would seem the best way in. The professional Project managet bodies would want to see either 5+ years of experience before certifying you or a suitable degree. No certification, and there is not a lot of chance of employment, let alone in well paid positions

The ultimate Project Management qualification is Prince2 – presently costing around £10,000 and taking 2weeks – which many employers require as it is a pre-requisite from their insurers. But without the background certification and experience in a base trade, there would be little point in you presently undertaking this.

Overall, I think you need to consider your options. To gain a PM position at a reasonable level equivalent to your current earnings would take 3years of study or hard graft inside the trade in which you eventually wish to become a PM. I think there are quicker options to a better career on a higher income with your background and experience. I would strongly suggest you explore your career anchors and aspirations via Career Coaching or Career Option Assessment.

Good Luck!

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