Group for certified Project Management Professionasl (PMP)via the Project Management Institute (PMI)
Program Management MBA (career) Opinion?
March 14, 2010 at 4:42 pm #95037
I posted this in the career discussion area, but I figured I might get a better response from the people who have “been there, done that”.
I know it sounds silly to ask total strangers what they think about your personal career goals. But, I think it makes more sense then me just jumping into something that I have just been introduced to.
Picking a career is like a marriage. This is the first time I have seriously found something that really fits my background and personality, but I don’t want to be fooled by the “looks”. I am about to invest a lot of time and effort to pick this as my chosen profession, and I want to make sure this is what my friend talked to me about.
I am at a serious turning point in my life, and I need to make sure this is where I belong.
I feel I will get true input from my friends on Govloop.
Here it is….
Over the years I have obtained so many Graduate credits I am sure I have enough to have a Master’s degree, but I never settled on one subject. I have taken Graduate credits in Emergency and Disaster Management, International Business, International Law, Contracting / Acquisitions, and I finished a few law classes. The problem I ran into is, I liked all the fields very much. I did well in all the classes. I wanted to do all the degress. But, I know I only have one life, and I need to figure out what I really want to do for the rest of my life.
I talked to someone at work in F&E and he told me that with my varied background I would be great in Project Management. He told me that in the PM career field I would be doing all of what I have been going to school for (and more) and in fact all of those classes would help me know what everyone else was doing.
So, here is the deal. I don’t know anything about the career field of PM. I really had never thought about it. So, I am going to let my trusted friends here on GOVLOOP tell me what they know about Project Management, and if it really is a good career field for someone with a lot of varied experiences and education. (I have experiences which range from Medical Assistant, welding, construction, high school teacher, to something as crazy as a Merchant Marine)
** And what do I do with all the Graduate credits I have from various schools? Most schools only accept 9 credits from other schools. Should I just apply them to certificates? Your ideas are welcome. ***
I thank you for all your input.
(Hey, I just read that Andy has his PMP! So that alone gives me good vibes! 🙂
BTW – If I decide to move into the PM career, my Doctorate Degree will either be in PM, or in Public Administration. What are your opinions?
April 23, 2010 at 6:50 pm #95045
Today, I’m a credentialed Project Manager with PMI and I’ve been a practioner of Project Management for over 20 years with a college degree. You will find that years of experience, education and a credential will provide you with a good foundation to negotiate a competitive salary.
You really have many options. You are in a very good place to be in so consider the following:
What is your current job/profession?
What are your passions?
Do you like to lead or follow? Are you good at both?
Do you expect to manage people, programs and projects or one or more?
Do you like to teach and mentor others?
Would you like to help advance the profession and mentor other leaders?
What are your salary requirements for work/life balance?
Take a look at the recent PMI salary survey in the CIO Online magazne entitled Inside Project Manager’s Payachecks – http://bit.ly/b8xE4b. The article is very insightful and the detail is very telling of how both experience and education can put you in a good place in the Project Management field.
So, if you wish to consider Project Management; reflect on your passions, consider work/life balance and make the choice today.
It’s was choice I made years ago and I don’t look back. I look forward every day as I make a difference, mentor other leaders and help to advance the profession one project manager and project at a time.
All the best,
Follow me on twitter @califgirl232
April 24, 2010 at 2:36 pm #95043
Thank you Naomi for your time to give me a very detailed response. I certainly appreciate it.
I am considering all you have written. I recently enrolled in Columbia Southern University for their Project Management Graduate Degree. With my schedule, and funding, this college was perfect for me.
May 10, 2011 at 3:01 pm #95041
I felt the same way when I was getting my undergrad degree. I liked everything – started out computer science with a minor in business and ended up political science with a minor in music industry. I’ve been a project manager with the government for 2 years and time and again I find my varied background has helped me with my job. I think it actually gives me an edge on my peers.
Many senior leaders (program managers) around here have varied backgrounds as well. I work with military folk and they seem to be REQUIRED to have a varied background/education as they progress through their career. I think they may be on to something…
May 10, 2011 at 4:12 pm #95039
Amanda: I have run major ecommerce operations for years, and have started a number of project management teams (called web producers in the dot com world), run more large projects than I care to remember, and made hiring decisions about project managers. To me, experience trumps education. The best project managers I saw had the least formal project management training but had years of blood, sweat and tears working the down and dirty details of complex projects.I interviewed but rejected a number of candidates who had PM certification galore but no real experience.
The difference is that no project ever goes according to plan- after all, people are involved- so constant adjustments must be made. Inexperienced PMs with only book learning at PM school and even with high IQ that doesn’t have strong EQ and people skills will fail in project management as they say, “But it’s not supposed to work like that!” Nope, it’s not, but that’s the reality we have to deal with in most projects. Instead, the most successful project managers I have seen have a wide range of experience across multiple disciplines along with the “street smarts” and communications skills to work with people up, down and across boundaries.
However, HR departments and some hiring managers don’t know this, so they fall back on requiring formal PM education and certification as a barrier to entry. (Not a bad plan, actually, in a world where much resume padding is done.) In a government environment where many projects are worked on in coordination with with private sector personnel, there are also strong benefits to standardization of project documents, phases and terminology between public and private sector- often a problem for government personnel who have their own internal jargon and methods. For these reasons as well, getting formal training in industry standard project management techniques would be beneficial as you would need to lead this effort to “translate” between the different worlds.
I think you are in a position to have the best of both worlds. By adding the formal credentials to your impressive cross-functional and cross-industry experience (that no one coming out of school could match), you would have the formal polish to add to your roll-up-the-sleeves, in-the-trenches real life experience. A winning combination- for you and your employer!
Best of luck,
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