Career Advice for Project Manager

BAE Systems / Project
BAEPM

BAE Systems Project

BIO
Project Manager w/ 15+ years experience working with government contracts & the DoD looking for opportunities in new industries and promotion to Program Manager
BAEPMmore
Apr 22 5 Comments

Looking for some advice for where I should take my career. I’m Project Manager II with 15 YOE currently making just over $100k/yr. I have mostly worked/consulted for government acquisitions and been involved in minor supporting roles for proposal writing/business dev. I will soon (6 months or less) be in a Program Manager position if I stay the course. I have a BS in psychology, minor in Communication with a focus on organizational comms. I have completed PMP training and will have PMP cert soon.

Im not entirely satisfied working in defense and would love to get into a new line of work. Companies I think I’d enjoy working for hire a lot of product managers, but I don’t really have PLM experience nor marketing. That being said, client/stakeholder mgmt/relations/xp I’ve got tons of and obviously project management. But I don’t know that I could be competitive there. Project Management outside of acquisitions in Defense typically want someone more geared to software projects, which I don’t have legit experience with. My business dev xp is light so my accomplishments there are minimal for bragging about to stand out I fear.

What would you suggest I start looking at career wise if I want to transition away from the defense industry? Can I do so without taking a major pay cut? What advice would you give to someone with my background to be more competitive in my job search in other industries? What industries should I target? What would be the most lucrative thing I could do with my career/experience?

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TOP 5 Comments
  • Mentor Graphics entrep
    Your best bet would be:
    Project Management -> Program Management -> Product Management.

    I am not sure whether you are focused on hardware, systems or software. At each transition, figure out how the next two years in your role will prepare you for the subsequent move. Then gain skills in order to strengthen your profile and do side projects/courses.

    Most of the big companies - Google, Amazon, Microsoft etc are doing a lot of other work in addition to software development and have a lot of Program Management positions too.
    Apr 22 4
    • BAE Systems / Project
      BAEPM

      BAE Systems Project

      BIO
      Project Manager w/ 15+ years experience working with government contracts & the DoD looking for opportunities in new industries and promotion to Program Manager
      BAEPMmore
      OP
      Would it be worth my time by your estimation to snag my MBA? It’s always felt like a given that it would be necessary to do so, especially to be competitive shifting industries. But I have heard some say experience is far more important.
      Apr 22
    • Google uzaname
      MBA with this yoe likely won't add much value, unless it's one of the top tier schools. You might also consider switching to consulting, especially with strong government and aerospace & defence teams (Bain, McK). That would mean immediate jump in TC and easier rebranding for an industry jump afterwards.
      Apr 22
    • BAE Systems / Project
      BAEPM

      BAE Systems Project

      BIO
      Project Manager w/ 15+ years experience working with government contracts & the DoD looking for opportunities in new industries and promotion to Program Manager
      BAEPMmore
      OP
      Thanks for the advice on the consulting front. Would I be a suitable candidate for strategy consulting?
      Apr 22
    • Google uzaname
      Probably not for generalist consulting track but usually there are expert positions that are practice affiliated where actual industry experience is needed. Best to network with some partners active in these areas.
      Apr 22

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