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How To Start A PM Career

Posted on | June 1, 2008 | Comments Off on How To Start A PM Career

Starting a PM career is not difficult but if you are outside the information technology field you need to know where to find the available learning resources. I, for example, became one first then learned how to be one.

This is how it happened: I was a data entry/operator and was already getting bored when a relative of mine got me a position as an entry level developer. After a few years of being a developer and always having to learn the latest and greatest programming language I got bored too, then I started leading other developers. More and more I saw myself doing PM work (planning and managing work, leading, negotiating, organizing, estimating, etc.) although I wasn’t one (and was definitely not being paid as one either) until I was finally given the title and some of the money. At this point I had what it took, had the title and performed the work but did not have the academics, the experience or the certification. So, I said, hum! Why don’t I get training and get certified to round up my skills set? I did, through a combination of formal and informal resources, and now I am writing this article.

But some people want to become PMs before they are given the opportunity, nothing wrong with that. Regardless of which one of these groups you are in the learning resources available to you are plenty but not well known if you are outside the IT field.

If you have what it takes these resources are for you:

• Formal training for those of you who need instructor lead classes

– The Project Management Institute (PMI) offers training and mentoring through local chapters in many countries

– Colleges and universities such as the George Washington University and the Florida International University are now incorporating more and more master degrees in project management

– Your own employer may already have training and/or mentoring programs and material of their own or in partnership with external vendors

– PMP certification requires mandatory training for all who want to obtain it and it is the best path for any PM

• Informal training for those of you who can self-learn

– Books and self-study materials abound everywhere in the project management topic and are very detailed. They can be used in combination with formal training as reference material

– The Internet, although not exactly an informal training, offers a myriad of sites dedicated to project management training that can be taken both online or in a regular classroom

Beware of those places that promise you learn project management in 15 minutes. The smartest of you won’t even be able to pass the PMP exam without heavy studying let alone learn the profession and be ready to manage a project.

Whatever method you choose to start a PM career make sure you know what you are getting into. It could be very rewarding or very frustrating.

And never forget that if you want to become something you should act like one first. Your boss will notice and promote you. Don’t you think so…? Well, I do.


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