Project Management

Project Management Central

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Topics: Career Development
Where do I even start?
Hello all! I am young business professional still in the process of determining my career path. I am trying to find information, from those with real experience, about the best path to becoming a project manager.

A little bit of my background: I currently hold an associate's degree in business and would be willing to get a bachelor's degree. I have been with my current company for 2.5 years and been recently promoted. I have completed a leadership development program where I was the successful project manger for my group. Our group is the first to ever have our project actually implemented in the company following the completion of this leadership program. I currently work in insurance, but have no passion for this industry.

I have always been interested in project management, I understand the basic skills required from the research I have already done and am confident that this a field I would like to pursue. My question is, where should I start?
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Assume from your post that you are willing to seek a new employer, if so, look for positions that can lead you into a project manager role, for example: PMO support, Project Assistant, Project Coordinator, Project Planner, Planning Specialist, etc. Given your education,past work experience and the leadership development training, you should be able to craft your resume to indicate some level of relevant project management experience. Meanwhile, also start looking into the CAPM, and/or other project management training/certifications.
Dear Liana
Interesting your question
Thanks for sharing

"Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life" - Confucius

I am convinced that most importantly find out what is your real purpose

I have a suggestion to make:
Read and practice Stephen Covey's "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People"

If you find that you want to be a Project Manager, I recommend:
1. Make sure CAPM

2. Actively participate in
As Luis has eluded to - what is your true passion? Is it really PM, or are you just "interested" in PM? There is a big difference.
When I graduated from university, PM was just becoming of age. Today it seems there is a myriad of PM certifications, and you will be one of many. Educational institutions have switched from arenas of higher learning to arenas of profit generation offering hundreds and hundreds of different (and mostly useless) diplomas/ degrees.
Don't get me wrong, a career in PM can be extraordinarily rewarding, but choose your path wisely.
First thing to understand about project management is: people are performing project management from the time they wake up to the time they go to bed. The degree of formalism is what change. Because of that you have to select the way to perform project management from PMI, GPM, IPMA, etc or method oriented like PRINCE2. With that on hand you can move forward. And remember; getting a certification is not the same than being a project manager.
I like Sergio's response. My personal experience is that there are project management opportunities everywhere. In your current role find where you can implement project management principles and do it. There is this notion that you either have to do everything PM or nothing. That is not true. In insurance, there is constant change with processes and systems being updated and business needs to be involved. Identify these opportunities and offer the manage it. While you might not have the official PM title you will gain valuable experience that you can also put on your CV. Becoming a project manager is not an on/off switch, you can gradually ease into it.

If the pace is to slow for you, by all means, look for other opportunities but with the same mindset.
Thank you for everyone’s response so far. For now I will continue to seek out what opportunities I can at my current job. When I have a little more to add to my resume I will start seeking other opportunities and perhaps a certification.
Certifications are helpful but they only go so far. I think the most important thing in project management is to have an interest and passion for it. If you're the type of person that likes to deal with challenges (as every project has them) and make sense out of chaos, PM is for you.

There's a good number of people who say they're project managers but don't understand risk management to save their lives and the end results show it.

Sure, we plan as project managers but the true art is knowing what to do when your initial plan doesn't work.
The interesting thing about projects is that they are everywhere. Even in insurance companies. Find out about projects or initiatives at work and volunteer for any role on it.

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