Next Move: Project management qualification

I am a 39-year-old VB/SQL developer who has been out of work for almost a year. Prior to this I had been a team leader and my...

I am a 39-year-old VB/SQL developer who has been out of work for almost a year. Prior to this I had been a team leader and my last year was spent doing project management work. I want to re-enter the work place, but is it necessary or possible to formalise my project management experience? Also, I am keen to seek work abroad - America, Australia or any country with a warm climate appeals. Any suggestions?

It is important to update your skills
Updating your skills in today's market is vital. You need to stay ahead of, or at last in line with, the competition. While strong technical skills are a distinct advantage, there will be many factors influencing an employer's decision to offer you a contract, including qualifications, industry-specific experience, personality, ability to lead a team, time management, etc. As a project manager you would be expected to have a good mix of all of these.

Qualifications in areas such as Prince2 are a way of demonstrating your knowledge and experience, although use of formal methodologies such as SSADM (Structured Systems Analysis and Design Method) and PMW (Project Management Workbench) is equally important. Your team-leading skills are an advantage, and taking a team leader role would be a good way of getting back into employment, with a view to moving onto project management. Project Manager Today ( is a good source of information.

As to working abroad, you will come across the issue of work permits and visas. You will not need a visa to work in any EU member state. However, moving further afield, such as the US or Australia, will prove difficult. All countries need to prove that there is a skills shortage in a particular area, and that there are not any citizens of that country that can fulfil the requirement, before they will give you a visa.

For information on entry requirements for the US and Australia, contact their embassies. Alternatively, search for jobs on the Internet and ask the consultant dealing with the vacancy what the prerequisites are for working legally in that country. It is worth considering Ireland as it has its fair share of IT work at the moment.

Solution by Richard Herring, Reed Technology Group

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

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