Project Management Central

Please login or join to subscribe to this thread

Topics: Career Development
How to move from IT programming to IT project management
Network:21



I’ve been in IT for two years full time, 4 years including internships. I have been mostly coding during these four years. However, I am seeing that my real interests lie in planning, organizing, and leading. I’d rather step away from programming and move to project management. I am just over 1/3 of the way through my MBA and am taking the CAPM certification test this week. What else can I do to be marketable as an IT project manager?
Sort By:
Page: 1 2 3 next>
Network:501



Explain your experience. A lot of companies know that other people/job titles (outside of PMs) can manage projects. I will say, getting your CAPM is a very big step in this direction to be marketable. Lastly, and highly recommended, is to network. Get to know people in the profession, explain your experience, passions, and interests. You truly never know where this will lead.

Good luck in your endeavors!
Network:93



While I can't give valuable advise what I can tell you is that in many companies, usually in large ones, the experience as a software developer does not count too much when applying for a project management job, even if that job is in software development projects.

On the other hand many companies have entry level project management positions for which no experience in project management is needed at all. I think you could apply to one of those jobs and become a project coordinator or junior PM. The fact that you have some experience in IT in a technical role may not help you too much.

Most PM roles are purely non-technical which means that you would be managing projects but not really managing or leading people. You would more or less be a coordinator.

If you want a real leadership position you can remain a developer and seek promotion to a functional manager position such as software developing team leader, manager, director of software engineering, etc. This route however is much harder since there aren't a lot of functional manager positions.
...
1 reply by Alison Dayton
Aug 01, 2019 7:58 AM
Alison Dayton
...
Thanks for all of the advice thus far! I realize that being in software development isn’t all that helpful in becoming a project manager. I am trying to make a career switch because I don’t enjoy programming 40+ hours a week. Our team currently does not work with project managers. Our functional manager is responsible for cost and budget and the team is responsible for schedule, gathering requirements, communication, working with stakeholders, etc. Therefore, I do have some experience in some of the knowledge areas based on my current role.

I realize that I will likely have to take a pay cut and look into a junior role for project management but am struggling to find them in my area at this time. Hopefully something pops up soon.

In the mean time, I am working on my MBA which includes courses in project management and I passed the CAPM exam yesterday! Is there anything else I should be doing to make this career switch? Thanks!
Network:106656



You may find being team leading a good step towards project management. As a team lead you should have to work closely with the project manager and will be involved in some the project management activities.
...
1 reply by Adrian Carlogea
Jul 29, 2019 2:13 PM
Adrian Carlogea
...
In software development there are many Team Lead roles that have absolutely nothing to do with projects and project management.

For instance many software support and maintenance activities are performed as Business as Usual (BAU) and not as projects. Customers log their defects to a L1/L2 Support Team and if a genuine defect is found then it is raised to a L3 Support Team that would fix it by changing the code. If you are the Team Lead of such a team you would not be working on projects and would not have to work with PMs at all. The team members and their leader work in operations only, no projects.

The same in software product development. Many software product development activities are not performed as projects and as such the product development team leads don't work with PMs as they are not used in those activities.

I have worked both in software support and product development with no PMs just Team Leads, Engineering Managers and Directors.
Network:1674



Alison -

While you might be fortunate enough to step directly into a PM role, for many folks new to the profession, a project administrator, project analyst or project control officer type role is a great stepping stone. With such roles, you will get the opportunity to develop a number of the technical skills required but are also likely to learn a tremendous amount from the PM you are supporting.

I'd also recommend joining your local PMI chapter, actively network with other members and consider volunteering to get the chance to work with others in the profession.

Kiron
Network:93



Jul 29, 2019 1:30 PM
Replying to Stéphane Parent
...
You may find being team leading a good step towards project management. As a team lead you should have to work closely with the project manager and will be involved in some the project management activities.
In software development there are many Team Lead roles that have absolutely nothing to do with projects and project management.

For instance many software support and maintenance activities are performed as Business as Usual (BAU) and not as projects. Customers log their defects to a L1/L2 Support Team and if a genuine defect is found then it is raised to a L3 Support Team that would fix it by changing the code. If you are the Team Lead of such a team you would not be working on projects and would not have to work with PMs at all. The team members and their leader work in operations only, no projects.

The same in software product development. Many software product development activities are not performed as projects and as such the product development team leads don't work with PMs as they are not used in those activities.

I have worked both in software support and product development with no PMs just Team Leads, Engineering Managers and Directors.
Network:402



Hi Alison,

You are on the right track, gaining domain knowledge in the interesting field is good to have and move towards from programing or any technical skills / SME to coordinator / Project lead / Project manager or into project management,

CAPM is the base certificate in project management, from this you are able to understand all basic needs for project management, gain practical experience by leading programming team by this you can able to sharpen your team management skill, planning, scheduling, communication, etc., so this will help to move forward and take bigger responsibility y and team size year by year and you will be project manager in another couple of years of time by going through from above mentioned stages.
Network:28



based on what you mentioned, you are already on the right path shift to project manager role, however you should to be familiar different type of projects delivery methodologies in very high lever e.g. Agile, waterfall ..etc. and if you have a chance to pair with a PM on a project as start it will be good start to get hands on experience of project life cycle.

and Good luck :) .
Network:214



I disagree with our friend from Down Under. On this side of the equator, dev skills are considered an asset in PM roles. One way to get into PM roles is to volunteer to be the go-to person on your dev team for the PM. You'll learn PM skills, and with time, the department will learn to rely upon you and give you more PM work. This will initially be in addition to your dev work, so expect to work more to get to where you want to be.

When it comes time for scoping, ask to take the lead for the entire process, not just the dev portion.

PMs hate pestering leads for status. Prepare the dev report before it is needed, so when the PM asks for status you can give it immediately. That'll make you a hit with the PM.

Good luck! You have a bright future.
Network:18047



Hi Alison,

Kiron’s advice sounds the most appropriate if you are wanting to make an immediate course correction (which it sounds like you are). There is a strong path to project management in the IT ranks, but that is not true in all companies and is unlikely to occur with just two years of full-time experience.

Serving in a project management support role will allow you to build up the necessary hours you are going to need to sit for your PMP (if you manage it properly), plus as Kiron stated you will get practical knowledge and experience that is directly relevant to being a PM.

One more piece of advice. If you take the PM support role path you will be privy to “knowledge gaps”, where business and IT are missing the mark. If you are willing, these are opportunities you shouldn’t pass up, as they will allow you to use your MBA-path skills and more importantly learn a new domain that will have a big payoff for you when you go to make the switch to become a PM.
Network:357



I would speak with your manager about including this in a professional development plan. Perhaps they have smaller projects that you could take on with some coaching, or you could support a PM with a larger project and get more hands-on experience at the planning and execution. Functional managers have more visibility of what is going on in the business around you, who is asking for help, and what new jobs are in the pipeline.

Whether or not you decide to move permanently from the technical role to the PM, you will be a more valuable employee with that experience. Even if you remain in the technical role, you will have a better understanding of what is going on in the business around you. Getting your manages commitment to support your development plan is probably an easier first step than changing employers.
Page: 1 2 3 next>  

Please login or join to reply

Content ID:
ADVERTISEMENTS

"Laughter is the shortest distance between two people."

- Victor Borge

ADVERTISEMENT

Sponsors