Project Management

Moving through a Project Management Career Path

The role of project manager is not necessarily one that is coveted. More often than not, the role of project manager is filled by a person from an indirect path. In a post for the Association for Project Management, Paul Naybour explores the untraditional career path of the project manager.

The Dirt Road

The project management career path is not a paved road with directional signs; rather, it is a dirt path that is uniquely carved out by everyone. There are a myriad of different courses and certifications that a person can invest in to get them started. However, one of the best career builders in general is experience as a project manager. Both paths have their merits, but what it all really boils down to is the individual and their unique personality and skills.

If a person decides to take a more traditional route to the head of the project manager role, they will likely start from the bottom and rise through the ranks. Initially, this may mean they work on a project team. Having the experience of working on the team will allow for them to develop their skills in time management, handling risk, and other project-related activities. Seeing how project plans actually play out can help them to better formulate plans of their own.

In the beginning, a person might be a project assistant, project coordinator, or project management support. Individuals with a degree or some experience may find themselves thrown directly into the role of project manager or implementation manager. As projects become more and more time extensive and require more skills, the individual may level up into a senior role of project management. Management consultant, program manager, portfolio manager, head of projects, and director of projects are all senior level positions, which are the culmination of a project manager’s career.

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