What is Project Management?
Project Management is a career that is as undefined as Instructional Design and yet does not require “quite” the same technical proficiency. It is defined by PMI (the leading authority on Project Management) as “…the application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to project activities to meet the project requirements…” It is a great place to start for anyone who is looking for a career that calls upon many of the classroom managerial skills needed to be a teacher.
Just about every industry has a person or a team who manages their projects. Because there are so many kinds of projects and managers, it should be quite simple to find a niche for your particular skill set. See more here about skill sets that we expatriates have and should use when applying for jobs outside the EFL arena.
If you’re not sure where to begin, take a look at Project Management Institute. Here you can decide whether or not project management is the right career path for you. If you decide to pursue education and certification, may I recommend Joe Phillips who taught the course I took to pass the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)®. The CAPM® is good for those of us with teaching experience but not enough project management experience to get the PMP (4,500 hours leading or directing projects + education). Once you pass, you get a pretty snazzy looking certificate:
So what do Project Managers do?
Depending on the industry and company, your job could range from writing, design, engineering, IT or many others. Many of the things we do as teachers will be similar to what is required of you as a project manager. Managing HR, scheduling, time constraints, and communicating with stakeholders are just a few of the things you might be doing as a PM.
Projects could include clients with unique problems requiring custom solutions, launching a website or even overseeing construction on a house or a building. All of these projects require capable project managers to deliver on time and within a budget.
Project managers also need to be effective communicators; you will probably be interacting with everyone involved in a particular project. You’ll need a good sense of customer service if you are liaising between clients and companies. Nobody is born a project manager as they come from an array of backgrounds, making this a great fit for former teachers. If you are curious about transitioning out of ESL/EFL into project management or other careers please take a look below.
And as always, thanks for reading!