I want to pursue a career in project management, what are some of the entry-level roles that I could take a look at?
What a great question and like many a great question the answer inevitably begins with “well, that depends”.
In this case, I would say “that depends” based upon your current position and then your career aspirations in the field of project management.
What’s Your Experience?
At its simplest level what you need to do is think about your current experience, be that technical or administrative and explore how that may be useful in a project delivery team!
If you are currently working, search out the project department in your organisation and start building a relationship with them. See if there’s any project based work available or something that can be done to help them, then ask if you can get involved. This will get you the experience you need in a real project environment and the opportunity to learn about the process’s and methods used.
If you are not working, again think about how your current skillset can secure you a role in an organisation that is project centric, where you can get exposure to the project environment using the existing skills that you can bring to the table.
By attaining some experience of working in a project environment you will not only gain an appreciation of the project environment but possibly more importantly you will gain an appreciation of the roles that are on offer in the world of project management.
The project management family is a very diverse church as you will see when looking around for new roles and opportunities, so for a neophyte it is important to get a feeling for a potential path that you would like to follow. Do you want to be the leader, are you happy to work in a supporting role or do you want to become a specialist? All these are important questions as it they may impact what you see as an “entry-level role”.
Supporting roles, for example, are great starting positions as they allow for you to be present in a project management environment. They give you the chance to observe and learn from the project or programme leader and their team, whilst also providing valuable experience in the environment and the opportunity to contribute.
Roles such as Project Administrator, Project Co-ordinator and Project Support Officer, sometimes collectively identified as PMO. Can sometimes be used as an entry point and then a steppingstone into the deeper world of project management. On the other hand, some practitioners see the support route (PMO) as a career path in its own right.
Many Entry Points!
So there is no singular answer to the question regarding entry-level roles when it comes to forging a career in the field of project management and sometimes you need a bit of luck for it to happen.
If you really want to get into project management you need to show that you have the determination and drive to do it, so to some degree it starts with you making your own luck.