The question: On course for project management role?
I am an IBM AS/400 professional with seven years' analyst programming experience. I am working for an insurance company where I do not see myself progressing either as a team leader or through acquiring new skills. I am considering getting into project management and I am preparing for PMI certification. Can you please advise me if I am going in the correct direction and guide me through a few ways to get into project manager roles.
The solution: PMI certificate will help your cause
Training can never be wrong and rarely can you have too many qualifications. Opting to train for the Project Management Institute certificate shows commitment to project management and will stand you in good stead if/when you enter the field formally.
In terms of what you can do in your existing role and with your current employer, try to get involved in small projects and focus on a more business analyst type of role initially before building towards bigger projects and undertakings.
As well as formal qualifications and working with your employer to get experience on relevant projects, there are other areas of development you may wish to consider. In addition to technical aptitude, communication skills are critical to project management roles, so perhaps some external course in team communication or verbal/written skills would be beneficial.
In order to ensure your skills are still relevant to the world outside your current employer, I would suggest you try to gain skills working with the IBM iSeries, which is the natural progression from AS/400. This way, if the move into project management is unsuccessful, your skills will be relevant for new analyst programmer roles.
This was first published in August 2005