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I am a PRINCE2 Practitioner with a strong Business Administration and Economics background. In my years as a PM, I have always been responsible for projects focused on the Business User area and final client. I must admit that I have found these projects very enjoyable because they connect you to the real users.

Nonetheless, I have developed a strong interest in Object-Oriented projects and Business Intelligence, and I would like to roll out my experience in projects of this kind.

I have learned a lot liaising with IT and trained on different methodologies but, unfortunately, my CV still lacks of experience. How could I transition into the IT area? What are the key requirements or steps that I could take to support my development?

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The short but hard answer is: get some experience so your resume looks better.

  • Look for projects within your organization. Maybe there is a project where they lack a helping hand from PM and would appreciate your help. Also, in some organizations, there are thing like innovation programs or 20%-projects (e.g. Google) where people can work on different areas they have. If it's possible you can use such program to launch a project of your interest.

  • Launch your own side project. Look for some startup idea you'd like to pitch and try to build something which lives at least as long to become a valuable point in your CV. Then you can prove both your PM skills (your past history) and IT skills (your side-project). Note: it requires a lot of consistency and usually quite much time to run side-project.

  • Look for a small company which looks for PM. Often big companies are very orthodox in a way they look on people's resumes. I find small companies way more flexible here. You may be able to convince them you bring a good mixture of proven PM skills with yet-to-be-proven IT skills.

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I don't know how it is playing out in other regions, but in Silicon Valley I've been seeing more and more IT groups looking for stronger business skills in their PMs. This creates an opportunity.

You need two things: 1- clear stories on how your skills can help improve a process, project, business. Show that your current skills are well developed and will be a value to an organization that already has strong technical people.

2- A track record of learning fast and on the job. "I don't know SQL, but I taught myself HTML in a month." I've successfully parlayed my ability to learn quickly into more than one job. I had the organization and leadership skills and an ability to learn quickly. I was hired for my soft skills, which were deemed harder to train.

Best, Joel BC

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In addition to PRINCE2 I would recommend you to get yourself familiar (and certified) with some software development framework, like:

  • Rational Unified Process (RUP)
  • Microsoft Solutions Framework (MSF)
  • Software Engineering Body of Knowledge (SWEBOK)

They will give you a lot of IT-related information you can't get from PRINCE2.

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If you want to combine PRINCE2 with development, I would go for Scrum, XP or RUP from a PM's point of view. They all fit in prefectly together with PRINCE2.

Out of my experience, I find Scrum a very good way to follow up development, and it fits perfectly on the level of 'managing product delivery' in PRINCE2.

If you want to go into development, I recommend you subscribe for some object-oriented training in Java, .NET or another language. Also, try to create a small application. In development, there is only one good rule: Do it, to learn it.

If you are not going in the code itself, try looking into some techniques, like OO design patterns, to understand what goes on behind the scenes.

Good books on this are:

Lessons on the basics of programming can be found in my blog post titled, Programming Methodology Lectures, (I published them once on my blog).

  • if you downvote, provide comment why you did that! – Kennethvr Mar 23 '11 at 7:42

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