A PMP isn't just for IT, job opportunities abound

I have my PMP and have been working within IT my whole career. I like IT, but I’m tired of doing the same thing for so many years. Any suggestions on other things I can do with my IT and project management experience?

I recently spoke at a professional management Institute (PMI) conference on professional branding and asked those in attendance what type of projects they were managing. Much to my surprise, only about two thirds of the people in the room were managing projects related to IT. The others were in Biotech, construction, and a variety of other areas. I don’t mean working on IT projects in these industries, I mean having nothing to do with IT.

This was quite an eye opener for me both in regard to the value of having a PMP and the non-IT career opportunities it provides.

If you are out of work and looking for a job or gainfully employed as a Project Manager within IT and are not particularly happy, this could be a whole new place to look for a new job.

If you decide to look outside of IT for your next opportunity, the best place to begin your search is within the industries that you know best. For example, if your professional experience has been managing IT projects within the health care industry, then the best place for you to look for a non-IT job is within the project-oriented areas of health care. As an example, there may be projects automating patient records on the business side, overseeing patient trials (certifications may be needed), upgrading nursing stations with new equipment, etc.

In effect, you are trying to pivot the business knowledge you gained supporting the technology of a business area into a job within that part of the business. There are many advantages of this approach including the following:

• You know the basic acronyms and jargon. • You have a general idea of the processes. • You may have friends in the business group you supported with contacts you can take advantage of during your job search. • You understand the technology needed to support the business function. • Your resume will show that you have been working in that general business area.

A second place you can look is in industries related to your personal passions. For example, if you love fixing cars, look for a project management job in the automobile industry. If you are a strong believer in helping others, look for a job at a non-profit or charitable organization. There are many advantages of this approach also, including the following:

• You’ll be in an industry you truly love. This passion will show in your attitude, commitment, and work. • It allows you to combine two areas of your knowledge into your profession. • If it’s a passion that you have had since childhood, you will be bringing a long term and very deep perspective of the product/industry to your job. • It will be easier for you to get a job in this industry, over industries you don’t know, because of your deep personal knowledge.

A third area you can consider is teaching others about project management. This can be done in a number of ways. You could:

• Stay in IT, but within the Project Management Office (PMO), helping to define internal project standards and processes and then teaching those standards to others • Become a professional trainer, teaching PMP and/or Agile certification classes • Join academia. There are a number of local colleges teaching project management related topics

The key for you here is to be willing to think outside the box and take true advantage of your PMP certification, whether that’s inside or outside of IT.

If you have any questions about your career in IT, please email me at eric@ManagerMechanics.com or find me on Twitter at @EricPBloom.

Until next time, work hard, work smart, and continue to grow.

Read more of Eric Bloom's Your IT Career blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Eric on Twitter at @EricPBloom. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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