How I Became an IT Project Manager
Updated: Nov 16, 2021
When I first decided that I wanted to be a project manager the entire process of getting there seemed daunting. It was as if I was at the base of a mountain and staring up at the snow-capped peaks wondering how I was going to get up there. I wanted to share my experience here to hopefully inspire those of you looking to make the move the IT Project Management.
At the time I studied for the PMP certification, I lived in New York City and had a 1 hour commute both to and from the office. I leveraged this time to study for the PMP exam. In addition, I studied for 2 hours in the evening for a total of 4 hours per day. On the weekends, I also planned for 4 hours each day. Over the course of 3 weeks, I studied for about 84 hours. This included taking short sample exams for each knowledge area of the PMP exam.
After the 3 weeks, I focused on taking full-length practice exams over the course of the next 2 weeks. My thought process was that there's only so many variations of the way you can be asked a multiple choice question. Taking the full-length practice tests was beneficial as I saw similar questions on the actual exam.
I structured my resume so that it was project based and listed out my accomplishments rather than responsibilities. The main points I wanted to get across were: what the project was about, its financial benefit to the organization, team location and how it integrated into the overall program strategy. I also noted the title of the people I interacted with as well as any special accomplishments or milestones met.
When I had no IT Project Management experience, I organized my work experience into "projects." I identified what the opportunity was and described the results - focusing on accomplishments.
The first thing I did to prepare for interviews was to understand my resume completely. The majority of the time, the hiring manager will have little to no time to prepare for your interview as their days are very hectic.
When the hiring manager arrived at my interview they quickly looked at my resume to generate questions from it. If I knew my resume and could explain my work experience, that was where the majority of the interview questions came from.
Once on the job, I wasn't afraid to make mistakes as I knew the projects I would work on offered many challenges. The critical thing was that I learned from these mistakes and understood how to mitigate them the next time they happened.
Also, I sought every opportunity to get training on certain aspects of project management or leadership Every day was an opportunity to learn.
That's the story of my journey into IT Project Management. Not everyone will have the same exact journey so I'm interested to find out what was your journey. How did you become an IT Project Manager?