What Chances Do I have If I Intend to Specialise in IT Project Management?

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Hello Jerry,

Nigeria economy seems to have stereotype project managers to construction and engineering projects/sector. What chances or opportunity do I have if I intend to specialize in information technology? Or what other sector aside construction and engineering can I specialise in?

For the purpose of industrial training in 4th year, can you help with organisations that use project management skills and hire project managers, aside construction and engineering companies?

As regarding certification, I wish to have a certification on/before concluding my 4th year, at least an IPMA Level D certification. I want you to counsel me on various levels of certification and different bodies awarding certificate, which one is globally recognized, and pocket friendly for student.

How do I enrol, prepare and pass the certification exams before graduating especially before I conclude my 4th year, that is, on conclusion of my internship before commencement of my final year, so as to concentrate on my final year project and examinations. – Taiwo, PMT student at FUTA

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Dear Taiwo,

During my early days of pursuing a bachelor’s degree in project management technology and based on the orientation we had at the time, I thought project managers were people who were mostly into construction and engineering projects but before I graduated, I discovered that there were various types of project managers and that you can find a practising project manager in almost any industry or sector you can think of. I also discovered that project management is a skill that can blend with a lot of technical skills. In fact, the IT (information technology) sector is one of the fastest growing sectors in last decade and it’s not slowing down, and IT project managers are in hot demand and are one of the highest paid project managers around the world.

The world is going online; digital disruptions and technological innovations are happening in Nigeria and around the world. A lot of organisations are searching for people with technological skills so your chance of getting employed is high if you have good technological skills.

To become an IT Project Manager, you need to first learn or develop an IT skill. You need to know how to use your IT skills to solve real problems before thinking of managing an IT project or team. Some of the hot IT skills you can learn during your internship include but not limited to coding, artificial intelligence, networking, app development, data analysis or analytics, cloud computing, database administration or management, data mining, information systems, IT security, UI/UX, troubleshooting, software development, web development or design, and chatbot development. Just choose one, focus on it, learn as much as you can and keep practising. By the time you would graduate, you must have learned a lot about the IT skill, then look for companies or startups in any industry or sector that are in need of people with that particular IT skill.

For your 6-month industrial training or internship, do not go about looking for organisations that would hire you as a project manager. Most won’t because you don’t have the experience yet. Look for companies or startups where you can practically learn one or two of the IT skills I mentioned above or that you find interesting. Read books and follow blogs that talk about those skills, too. We are currently adding jobs and internships in various aspects of project management to our site. We are also attracting recruiters and employers who are seeking for project management talents in Nigeria to the site. So, visit the site, create an account, login and complete your profile, build your digital resume, upload your CV and write your cover letter.

The IPMA Level D certification − Certified Project Management Associate − is an entry-level project management certification and it’s globally recognised. It requires no experience or undergraduate degree and is similar to the PMI’s CAPM. For more information on how to get the IPMA Level D certification here in Nigeria, send an email to info@pmdan.org. There are also IT-related certifications you can pursue before or after graduating.

Furthermore, instead of telling you the various levels of certification and the organisations that own the certification, I would advise you take your time and do a self-assessment. Get a piece of paper and list the skills you currently have, most especially those skills that could be beneficial to your career. Most of us take a lot of skills we have for granted and some of those skills might be what would elevate your career or land you that dream job. After writing down your current skills, do some research and career assessment and list down at least two IT skills you think you would like to learn or develop during your 6-month industrial training period. Then use the Internet to search for companies or startups that would practically teach you at least one of those skills.

Finally, focus more on developing your IT skills during the early stage of your career as some of the other certifications you might be interested in cost some money and require some form of experience. When you graduate, list your IT skills in your cover letter and CV and highlight them during interviews. And I’m telling you this from experience, listing a needed IT skill you can do and defend is more powerful than listing paper certificates you can’t defend.

I hope this helps!

-Jerry Ihejirika

Project Lead at CareerinPM.com.ng

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Originally published at LinkedIn.

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