How to Transition Into Project Management

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Project management is a growth industry. If you want to get on that career rocket and get more PM training, then watch Jennifer Bridges, PMP, and learn how to blast off.

Here’s a screenshot of the whiteboard for your reference!

how to get into project management as a career

In Review – How to Transition into Project Management:

Jennifer noted at the top of the video how much she loves to hear someone ask her how to move into a project manager position. It shows intention.

Many people are what she and other formally trained PMs call “accidental project managers,” which means that they’ve found themselves leading a project without any targeted PM training or experience. Often these people will forge ahead like any of us would when given an assignment. We try to do our best, but without the training and the skills specific to managing a project, there could be problems.

We all have some experience with projects, as they’re anything we set out to do with a goal or project to achieve at the end of it. What many of us didn’t know at first is that there are specific methodologies designed to reign in these endeavors to make them more efficient and productive.

You might find yourself in a different position at work when the job of managing some project is thrown on your desk. Now, what do you do?

Training

Regardless of how you find yourself at the door of project management, there are two ways to develop the skill set you’ll need to successfully lead that project.

  1. Formal training: You could study to become a project manager at school. There are many academic institutions that offer a degree in the field. There are also project management certifications, though many of those require that you first have some experience.
  2. Informal training: Sometimes the organization you are employed at has in-house PM training to bring you up to snuff on your new responsibilities. There are also mentors who can help shepherd you into the industry.

Once you’re trained in the methodologies of project management, you’ll want to explore project management software as a means to manage your projects. ProjectManager is award-winning software that helps you plan, manage and track your projects in real time. Use our robust Gantt charts to organize tasks, link all four types of dependencies and set a baseline. That means you can compare your planned effort to your actual effort and keep your project on schedule. Get started with ProjectManager today for free.

ProjectManager's Gantt chart
ProjectManager has Gantt charts that help you plan and track your tasks in real time. Learn more

Experience

Then there’s the real-life versus book smart debate. While there’s no answer to that question, probably both is best, there are several ways for the college student with their eye on project management and the accidental project manager to garnish the experience they need to help them lead their project to a successful end.

  • Co-Op: A great asset for the college grad is to join a co-op and take on the project management responsibilities there.
  • Internship: There’s also the tried and true approach of working as an intern while still in school, some positions of which even over a small salary.
  • Volunteer: A college student can also volunteer their services and learn the industry from the ground up, which looks great on a resume. This is also a great way for someone already working to help transition into a new position as a project manager, by showing initiative.
  • Step Up: If you’re already working and want to transition, just raise your hand when the boss is seeking help. By showing enthusiasm and interest, you can put yourself in a place of advancement.
  • Shadow: Workers can also ask to shadow a project manager and learn from them as they work.
  • Mentor: Having a mentor is different from shadowing, as it’s not more a person who can offer you guidance through your transition on the job.
  • Coach: An employee can seek help from a coach, who like in sports can show you want you’re doing wrong and keep you on your game.

How to Get There

There are a lot of pathways for a person to get into the project management profession. Best of all, it’s a growth industry. There is a need for talented project managers. If you want to be there, you can get there by following Jennifer’s practical advice.

Pro-Tip: Whether you’re new to project management or trying to get in the door, the one thing that you both share is a need to never feel complacent. That’s the kiss of death in an industry that’s constantly changing. So, to boost your PM career work on expanding your network, finding industry advocates and making sure your reputation is sound.

Thanks for watching!

ProjectManager is ideal for seasoned and novice project managers alike. Our software enables you and your team to deliver any kind of project in any kind of industry. See what we can offer your next project and how we can help you break into the industry. Try ProjectManager for 30 days with this free trial. 

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