By Ethan Clark
10th June 2016

I’ve been working in the project management space for a while now and have placed a fair few PM’s, mainly at a senior level, however I was interested to find out how the people I have placed went about getting into project management.

I always have a lot of people asking me about this and I always felt I was on the back foot and was left wondering, just how do you get into one of the most exciting and challenging careers there is.

So I asked my LinkedIn and candidate network, how did you get into project management and what advice would you give to those that are looking to get their foot in the door?

Through asking my network the same answer kept creeping up “it was by chance”. Is project management the kind of career you don’t plan for but end up in? It is clear that many of the people that end up in project management have a degree of training and development experience from previous roles.

Many of the candidates I speak to have similar skill sets which can surely be attributed to most PMs. Although the specifics of the role vary depending on the industry, project managers will come across the same issues.

Due to the high demand of this job project managers will have a set of transferable skills that they will have to use on a daily basis. These skills include problem solving, time management, organisational skills, strong attention to detail and communication skills.

All project managers I speak to are organised and enjoy leading, this may be why they naturally fall into this career choice. As a project manager they are, as the title suggests, in charge of executing, monitoring, and finishing specific projects within a business.

Through working with these particular roles I have noticed that there is a high demand of people with the ambition to work in project management. I have noticed a certain trend into the progression on project management.

On one side those that know they want to be a PM tend to start in a PMO role and focus on progression, however on the other side those who have “fallen” into project management tend to start work in a business focused role such as a Business Analyst.

Although this blog may not have completely answered my initial question of how to get into project management, it does show what skills are needed to get into this career and if you feel you tick the boxes a career in project management could be for you!

Project Management

Are you a project manager? What advice would you give to those just starting out? I would love to hear your comments below.

This blog was originally published by Ethan on LinkedIn. To read the original article please click here

Comments

"Nice piece Ethan. One thing I'd add is that I used to work on a number of PMO roles years ago. There was a noticeable trend of a number of ambitious office administration and secretarial specialists who had made a conscious effort to get themselves involved in as many areas of project management as possible alongside their existing roles. Often they were making the effort to get themselves some sort of project management qualifications on their own time. 

Eventually they managed to get a full time PMO role from where they could either choose to specialise and progress in the project office, where there is a good choice of progression available, or move again into project and eventually programme management." - Mark Dexter

"Interesting piece - don't forget those who have come from a technical background and are working in the PM space, generally from a point of knowledge on what it will take technically to deliver these projects - they tend to be ex-implementation consultants, as they have many of the BA skills required, and are actively looking to step away from development." - Owen Williams

"Hi Owen, that is a very valid point and one that I didn't really come across when I was researching for this article. However, I can see how it could be easy to make the transition from an implementation role into a project manager role; as you have described above not only would you have the relevant BA skills but you would have also worked alongside project managers on a regular basis so you will have a good understanding of the role and its responsibilities allowing you to make a judgement whether project management is right for you." - Ethan Clark (in reply to Owen Williams)

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