Starting Points for a Career in Project Management

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Written By: Jennifer Glatz, P.Eng., PMP

September 7, 2019


There are many possible starting points to a career path in project management, each that bring different strengths and knowledge to the role.

A few examples include:

1. Field Based Path Example (Strength: Construction Process)

Labourer –> Trade –> Foreman –> Superintendent –> Supervisor –> Project Manager –> Project Leader

2. Technical Based Path Example (Strength: Design Process)

Engineering Degree –> Engineer in Training (Design) –> Project Engineer –> Project Manager –> Project Leader

3. Administrative Based Path Example (Strength: People Enablers)

Administrative / Management Diploma –> Administrative Assistant –> Coordinator (years of experience) –> Project Manager –> Project Leader

4. Education Based Path Example (Strength: Solid PM Processes)

Project Management Diploma –> PM Degree –> PM Masters –> Project Coordinator (years of experience) –> Project Manager –> Project Leader

Familiarizing yourself with different career path starting points can give you some insight into what skills and knowledge you may need to further develop to make you a well rounded PM. If you come from the Design/Engineering side, learn a bit more about construction processes. If you come from the Administrative side, brush up on your technical skills. Or if you come from the education path, try exploring the People Management side of things and get yourself well connected with design and construction experts.

Whichever entry point set you on a path to Project Leadership, feel confident that your strengths give you a good foundation. The next step is to explore the other areas and surround yourself with various subject matter experts and a solid mentor or coach.