Getting into project management

I work for an IT outsourcing firm providing first line support for an investment bank in the City.I have an Msc in business IT...

I work for an IT outsourcing firm providing first line support for an investment bank in the City.I have an Msc in business IT and will be doing the Prince2 exam next month. I do not want to lag behind in new technology but I have lost interest in providing desktop support. How can I get into project management?

Identify your long-term focus
There are a number of different ways to move into project management. Which one you choose depends on whether you are looking to have a more technical or business focus in the long-term.

If you want a business focus, you will need to move into a business analyst type role and progress up from there. This is reasonably straightforward once you get a foot in the door. If you want to maintain your technical skills, you will have to gradually move up the career ladder. This could take a number of years and will depend on the size of the company you work for and its internal promotions policy.

Getting an exam as well as practical experience in Prince2 is excellent and, if funded by your employer, suggests the company has a need and desire to see you progress. The first stage with any career ambition you have is to communicate your desire to make a change and then support that with appropriate action. This is what the appraisal process is for.

If you have exhausted the options with your current employer, think about external opportunities. You could look at graduate publications that will show you which companies take on graduates and fast-track them.

The fact that you have commercial experience will make you more attractive to these companies. Many fresh graduates I have spoken to have complained that they are losing out on graduate roles to more experienced people - that could be you.

Direct applications to companies would be your best route to secure a project manager's role. If firms are going to invest in you and give you training, they will be less motivated to use an agency and pay a fee as well.

Solution by Tracey Abbott, Zarak Technology

The panel:
MSB International, Best International, BCS, Computer Futures, Computer People, Elan, Monarch Recruitment, Reed Computing, Netheads Consulting, Zarak Technology, E-Skills NTO

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