Project Management Central

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Topics: Career Development, Construction
Breaking into a new industry: Construction Management

Hello all,

I am looking for some general advice/recommendations from those in the Construction industry on the best way for someone new to break into the industry. My background for the past 7 years has been primarily defense and government; it was easy to land a job in the same industry after I left the military but I have been fascinated with construction management and construction based projects ever since I restarted my education. I am close to finishing my Bachelor's in Project Management and have been contemplating between pursuing one of two Masters: Construction Management or IT project management (this would be a safe/ "stick with what I know" degree).

I have heard before that many companies in the Construction industry do not care if you have a degree or PMP, rather they prefer experience - is this true? Is it worth it for me to pursue my Masters in an industry I have no experience in? In other words I would hate to receive a Masters but be turned down employment opportunities because of my lack of experience. Are there certifications favored by the construction industry that would be beneficial for me to pursue? Organizations/volunteer groups? Any sort of advice would be much appreciated. Thanks!
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Although I don't work in ECM myself, I've conversed with enough folks in that industry to know that like most industries, hands-on experience as both a PM and an engineer (e.g. civil, structural) is valued over credentials.

You can certainly learn enough to "talk the talk" but that might not be enough to break into a new company in a new industry. I always recommend trying to do a transition within your existing company where hiring managers may be more willing to give you a chance...


Kiron, thank you for the advice. Unfortunately my current position has little room for growth - either laterally or vertically (that doesn't mean I won't try though). My current obstacles include trying to transition out of the technician role and into that of a project manager. I have found volunteering with my local chapter of PMI to be extremely beneficial to that end; I have been looking into the CCM certification and it appears there is a San Diego chapter for that as well- I will be looking into volunteer opportunities there.


Ben Sumi

It's true that the construction industry doesn't regard post-graduate academic or professional project management qualifications much. But you have 5 years US Navy experience. And the military will be spending big time now that Trump is in. That means projects, and project managers.

The military is one of the few sectors that absolutely loves academic (tick) and professional (tick) qualifications in addition to construction experience (tick) and domain/military knowledge (tick). If you get a Masters and top it off with a PMP down the road, you might be at the top of the tree when they hire for those multi-Biliion dollar projects.

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"What is the voice of song, when the world lacks the ear of taste?"

- Nathaniel Hawthorne