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steping into project management

By pcbuddy ·
I would like some advice on how one can get into prjoect management.I have cisco and microsoft networking experience. I was just wondering if doing the IT project + certification would be the first step, im currently studying for a bsc in computer science and would like to major in project management.I have no project management experience..what kind of career path have those already in project management done? thanks.

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by CG IT In reply to steping into project mana ...

I think that most misinterpret what project management really entails. Project Management encompasses not only the technical aspects of a program but manufacturing, subcontracting, engineering, accounting, cost control, scheduling, contracts administration, legal as well. For a solid hands on experience and background in project management, I would say go to work in the aerospace field and get yourself attached to a program and learn how a project works from womb to tomb. For education, a BS in engineering [if your thinking of IT get one in electrical engineering] with a MBA in business administration with an emphasis in project management. Companies like Lockheed, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, Litton, Raytheon, just don't make airplanes, or ships or space shuttles, they have hundreds and hundreds of projects going in a variety of disiplines. If you really want to get into the really really "good" stuff. Then high end, high tech goodies, try Bell Labs, Cal Tech/JPL, John Hopkins. All have many different projects going, some really big, some not so big, but they work on some of the truly nifty stuff the general public doesn't hear about except maybe 10 years down the road.

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by CG IT In reply to

oh, by the way, the Internet as it is today was a product of not only some scientists at universities like Stanford, John Hopkins, Berkeley, but out of ARPA/DARPA funded programs for Advanced Satellite Antijam Secure Communications. The Defense Satellite Communications System III [now in its 5th version] out of the Defense Communications Agency was using a very early version of TCP/IP packets for their antijam secure strategic voice and data communications in the 80s. And all that came out of the work by those universities and contractors like Magnavox Research Labs [which was bought by Hughes Defense Communications which was bought by Raytheon] and funded by DARPA.

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by CG IT In reply to

the only way to get in project management and the nifty black programs, is to start at the bottom, get your ears wet, gain some experience in working on a project, show apptitude, talent, ability, curiosity attention to detail, and get on a small program. Being on a BIG program means your lost in the hoards. A BIG program may last a long time, but its the small ones that are sucesses, both in terms of delivering but cost as well is what gets ya noticed. Not only with who you work for, but the customer e.g. the govt, as well. Noticed by the customer for providing what they want, when they want it and for the price you said you would do it for weighs with the govt more than one would believe. Not only that but, the customer [govt]will want you to work on another program. Happens all the time in Aerospace. Project Mgrs move from company to company for that reason or are hired and recruited for that reason.

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by pcbuddy In reply to

answers out of topic!! i meant project management in IT I have no clue about aerospace engineering.i need info. on career path,maybe some project manager could tell me how they got where they are.

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by In reply to steping into project mana ...

Many Project Managers have become such by first being what is termed an "Accidental Project Manager". What that means is they have been managing projects but that was not necessarily their title. What that means to you is, it will not be easy to break in to PM work, you will really need to prove yourself as a manager first.

Your curent certifications are a definite plus because you need to know the industry for which you will be managing projects. I would suggest getting a PMI certification. However, there is a bit of a catch-22 here in that you need to have PM work under your belt in order to qualify for the cert. The only way to get around that is to list any management work you have done as PM work.
I would advise that you check out and for some really good insight to the certs. Also check out Villanova University's websight (google it) They have some good online PM courses.

Hope this helps!

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by BarnumThomas In reply to steping into project mana ...

Here's a great tip for you: You'll greatly increase your odds of getting approved to sit the Project Management Institute's PMP (Project Management Professional) exam if you have the IT Project+ certification and a few years of project management experience.

If you've installed networks, computers, software or anything else, you've already worked on projects at the very least. You've probably managed projects and just don't realize it.

I teach thousands of people how to manage IT and non-IT projects every year and the most common comment I get is this: "This stuff's really just common sense, isn't it?" The answer is yes.

For example, here's a project management term for you: "Linear Responsibility Matrix or Chart". Know what it is? It's a spreadsheet listing who does what on your project. That's basically it. See what I mean? It's common sense, but to pass certification exams you will need to know the terms and some formulas such as NPV, IRR, Pert Estimation and more.

Good luck to you and maybe I'll see you in a training class some day,
Thomas Carpenter
Senior Consultant - BarnumThomas

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by vanight In reply to steping into project mana ...


Background: Systems Administrator, High School Degree, A+, MCP. I am actually contemplating the same thing but have already been in IT for over 10 years. Though it was slightly off topic I agree with the person who mentioned all of the other things that PM encompasses. Though smaller IT projects dont always require the "hands on" person be involved in these other areas, you can still volunteer to do more than just upgrade all the desktops to XP as I will explain below. Oh, as a side note I recommend getting the "What color is your parachute" book if you haven't already, before, you go forward with anything else. It was immensely helpful for me. Now, the lady who mentioned you already have been managing projects is correct, however, I really consider those types of things "Micro-projects" or pieces of the actual project. END PART ONE

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by vanight In reply to steping into project mana ...

Part TWO of response:

If you are already in the IT industry your a step ahead of some. Nothing wrong with certs as long as you are not "Paper thin". If your in IT, be sure to make your intentions are known and start getting involved in small projects at work. You will eventually start learning all the aspects of managing projects in bite size pieces. For example: If you know there is going to be a desktop migration going on you might volunteer to manage the hardware inventory tracking aspect of the project. Make sure you conscience go outside of the IT specific realm whenever possible. You may actually find that there is truly a lack of project management going on thus identifying one of the hidden positions that you might even create for yourself. VERY IMPORTANT: Don't assume people at work are doing things right. Go to the PMI site and others and study everything you can find on general non IT specific project management and use those methods to organize the parts you get involved in. Use the terminology in your documentation, this will help you learn it while actually gaining recognition and catching attention at work. Its really funny how simple things really are in this world and how often we overcomplicate things. Last but not least, structure these little projects so they sound big and management them as if they were. You may even be able to use some or all of these "Bites" of the PM pie to fill some of the prerequequisites for the PMI cert. A certified PM will need to comment on my reasoning there, but I dont see any reason why you wouldnt. Hope this helped. Some advice for the future, at one time I thought I would never have a desire to be in any other realm that the IT world. 15 years later that has changed. While your "self learning" PM, keep it in mind you may not want to be in IT forever.

Good Luck,


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by pcbuddy In reply to steping into project mana ...

well, I would like to thank everyone for their for your advise.its opened up my eyes;-)i ve started applying this and will keep you posted.

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by Goldenboat In reply to steping into project mana ...

Dear Shikabwe

I suggest you take a couple of classes in business and technical writing. The skill of writing clearly, and spelling correctly, is fundamental in being able to communicate even at entry level. As you build experience, this skill will help you to document your projects, and to report concisely.

Best of luck, and have a great career!

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