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How to go from tech to project manager

By ramabrooks ·
I have spent the last 4 years as an IT tech. most of that time as a desktop tech and the last 6 months as a help desk tech. I have CompTIA A+ and Network+ plus I just recently earned an Associates of Applied Science Degree in CIS.

I am looking for other folks who have made the career change from tech to project manager to see how they did it. Currently I am studying for the CompTIA Project+ cert. Thanks.

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Principal Elements

by humph In reply to Techie to PM

I agree with James advice . The key elements are education, involvement at levels that reveal your talents, and in particular be known as a team player.

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All in All

by a16659235 In reply to How to go from tech to pr ...

Greets to 'Ram' and all our fellow readers,

Project Management has been around for centuries right? From the 7 Wonders of the World to the complex nanotech industry. All have accomplishments from the few managers who lead the way with vision and the thinking and management skills the 'get the job done' for their customers. Customers are the reason to get the job done in my honest opinion. Completion and delivery are the utmost of importance as well as planning and the scope. Time and money are factored in with the overall accomplishments of seeing your and the designer's vision come to fruition. I agree with many of the replies on this topic because they all were successful in their projects with deliverables as their final output. You won't be remembered for how smart you were with your many degrees of schooling but how well the outcome of the project was and was it on time and within or under budget. Take the architectual industry for example. The world's icons of design and technology that have made it into the history books are not entirely based on works of the highly educated.
So back to your specific question: Does your current employer have projects to work on? If so how are you going about getting in on the team? Visions? Do you elaborate on discussing these with your co-workers and project managers/consultants? Are you proactive in asking for a place on one of these PM teams? You may have to be assertive and dig in for the long haul with patience and perserverence. Training such as you are applying for is helpful as well. Get to know the persons running the projects and learn more about the scope and desired outcomes. Be creative as well. IT can be "canned" or as elaborate as the designer's imagination. Project Management is a very stressful and taxing job inasmuch rewarding. Deadlines are always looming and when things don't go the way you have designed them to go, what do you do? Do you have the insight to plan for the "B" outcome or are you always striving for the "A" approach. I also agree with some of the other's comments that not only will you be managing the project but the project team as well. You will need to manage personalities which also can return mixed results. Keep positive, always! I wish you the greatest of returns from your future projects---we know you can do it.

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Get some experience

by A contractor In reply to How to go from tech to pr ...

PM is not an out of the book, got a certification, "I can do anything" job. Start asking to be on projects, working your way from small projects to larder and larger teams with increasing complexity in the project. Learn the language of business and how to talk fluently in it. In this business 4 years experience is nothing so don?t be surprised when you don?t get the high-end projects and the big money. There are IT folks who have forgotten more than your certifications and A.A.S. degree have taught you in 4 years still waiting to get those kind of project.

Also, it is my experience that good to great techs USUALLY make really poor project managers.

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Try Doing Some Work

by temmerth In reply to Get some experience

I am certain that you are a very ambitious and hard working person, but try doing some work and stop the certifications for a while. Project Management takes a lot of experience as well as certifications. No disrespect intended.

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by LynnS In reply to How to go from tech to pr ...

Just my 2 cents... When I transitioned from the role of IT professional / Developer to Project Manager, I did it based on my ability to communicate with the project stakeholders. In the role of Project Manager your strongest trait will be communication, with your technical resources, your product managers, other project managers, and of course the project stakeholders. PM's are much more about the business than they are about the technology.

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project mgr trek

by TK2005 In reply to How to go from tech to pr ...

In my experience, project manager often needs business experience as well. Often times the projects are for the different business areas. Therefore fluent knowledge of the processes of each area can help in addition to excellent communication skills and/or a project mgmt certificate. I strongly suggest you research the PMI certificate and a bachelors or Masters in a relate area or business administration. This will give you a variety of skills that you can mix with your technical expertise giving you a well rounded approach.

Lots of luck!!

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YAR - Yet Another Response

by MrChiGuy In reply to How to go from tech to pr ...

I see you've received a large number of responses to your inquiry, and I agree with most of them. Almost a month has passed since you asked your question, and I'm curious if you've made any decisions based on these posts?

I transitioned from a career in software development into a career in project management many years ago. Here are some points I have found to be true for me:

1. Technical knowledge does not necessarily have any impact on management ability. You can have all sorts of technical certifications and experience, but if you do not excel in communications, you will not succeed in management.

Your technical knowledge is certainly not wasted. This gives you very valuable skills for managing projects relating to your knowledge area. Specifically, having expertise in the types of projects you manage will help you set reasonable goals, objectives and estimates for those projects. It also will help you understand and trust the feedback you receive from your project team.

2. People skills are the most important for a manager. I repeat, if you do not excel in communications, you will not succeed in management. How do you respond to pressure? What do you do when things are not going according to your expectations? Do you ever show a temper? Can you maintain an even keel when an upset customer is yelling at you and blaming you for a failure? Can you turn a negative situation into a positive one? Do you look for scapegoats or do you accept your responsibilities?

3. PMP certification is likely to help in many ways: a) the process of studying to obtain it will help identify your strengths and weaknesses, b) it will make you more attractive to (certain) employers, c) it may allow you to command a higher salary (combined with sufficient experience), d) it may convince you that project management is not for you and that you should focus on growing technically instead.

If you decide to go the PMP route, may I suggest the course offered online by Villanova University? It consists of 3 8-week courses culminating in a PMP test prep course. (
It's not cheap, but I enjoyed it and found it to be a very informative and pleasant format. I don't work for them or get anything for endorsing them; just a personal observation I'm sharing. There are many, many options available to you.

Best of luck to you, and I wish you nothing but success!

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Thanks for the feed back

by ramabrooks In reply to YAR - Yet Another Respons ...

I have been reading the posts as time has been permitting. I really do appreciate the feedback. Currently I am searching the web for free information on learning more about project management.

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To get started go to PMI Bookstore

by Sumjay In reply to Thanks for the feed back

Hi Ramabrooks,

To get started in understanding some principles in the PM Processes, it may be worthwhile investing in the PMBOK (Project Management Book of Knowledge) which you can get from the attached link.

Hope that gets you started.


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Useful material

by yeoman In reply to To get started go to PMI ...

I assume you have signed up for the TechRepublic project management newsletters at

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