Interested in a Career in Project Management? Three Ways to Test Your Readiness
Looking for a career change? Or are you just starting your professional career journey and not sure which road to take?
Project management is a growing profession with endless opportunities, whether in IT, construction, automotive, aerospace, or other industries. Consider this: Through 2027, the project management-oriented labor force in seven project-oriented sectors is expected to grow by 33%, or nearly 22 million new jobs.
Perhaps you know someone who is currently a project manager. Or you’ve heard about the profession and it sounds interesting, but you don’t know much about it. As a PM, leading teams to a successful project outcome is challenging and rewarding. But it’s not for everyone. So, a bit of research will go a long way to ensuring it’s the right move for you.
Consider these three tips to test the waters before diving into expensive formal training or certifications.
Observe how PMs operate in real time. Sit in on some of their meetings or presentations to understand how they work with teams and stakeholders.
Ask how they approach a new project — the process they follow from project start to finish — and how they manage roadblocks or team conflict. On-the-job shadowing is the most effective way to learn the ropes.
If you work for a company that does not have PMs on staff, consider connecting with local project managers on LinkedIn or other social media outlets. You may find that they are open to spending an hour or two out of their day to help someone interested in their profession. And, who knows, they could end up being a valued mentor during your career.
Attend project management networking events as a guest. You can find events across North America and abroad, and many of them are little to no cost. Check the Project Management Institute (PMI) local chapter events calendar or Meetup.com. There, you will have the opportunity to meet PMs in all types of industries.
Be prepared to ask questions like, “What do you enjoy most about being a PM?” and “What’s the most challenging part of your job?” Inquire about the lessons learned on the most complex project they’ve managed. Most people will not pass up an opportunity to talk about what they do for a living!
All project managers have the same objective – to successfully lead teams to achieve an agreed-upon end goal — but they may have different ways of getting there. I’ve worked with many project managers over the years and I’ve learned something new from all of them. They provide a different perspective that you may not have even considered before.
[Related: How to Reach the Next Level in Your Career]
Search for PM podcasts, blog articles, videos, or webinars that talk about the most critical skills required and pros/cons of project management. There are a wide variety of online resources available – resources that I did not have when I began my career in project management years ago.
There are also some great discussion groups you can join on LinkedIn and other sources where you can post questions for the general project management community or an industry-specific community. The purpose of these groups is to share ideas and resources and network with project managers across the globe.
Still unsure if project management is right for you? Try jumping into the role with both feet and learning as you go. Or take an entry-level position in a company with a Project Management Office (PMO) that will allow you to work alongside other project managers with varied experiences.
Whatever strategy you take, you’ll gain the valuable experience needed for a thriving career in project management for years to come. Good luck!
Veronica Thraen is the Owner and Principal Consultant at Maven Project Management, a technology project management consulting firm in Phoenix, Arizona that helps growing organizations put processes and tools in place to keep projects on track for long-term growth and success.
Have more questions? Follow up with the expert herself.
Owner and Principal Consultant
Maven Project Management, LLC
I am the Owner and Principal Consultant at Maven Project Management, LLC. I provide project management services to growing organizations, with a focus on process/methodology and IT and software development project leadership. Over the past 20 years, I have managed projects for companies in a wide variety of industries including healthcare, technology, education, real estate and others. My expertise is leading cross-functional teams for medium to large, complex projects. Services include: > Project management process/methodology implementation for IT,... Continue Reading
You deserve more.
No matter the challenge, you don't have to face it alone - but it’s up to you to take the first step. Join Ellevate to find the people you can trust, who understand what you’re going through, and who genuinely want to help you succeed.
Already a Member?