Managing Your Military Transition: 4 Reasons to Consider a Career in Program Management

Military Transition

Why is now a good time for you to pursue project management?  Here are a few facts that you might find interesting.

Military Member? Natural-Born Project Manager

First, having served in the military, project management is part of your makeup. It is in your DNA. Commercial project management was born in the United States military. Project management is a daily task during your military service. The same skill sets you mastered in the military – leadership, work ethic, responsibility, organization, and communication – are all considered essential attributes of a quality project manager. You’ve performed project lifecycle tasks such as receiving requirements, planning, preparing and executing essential tasks to accomplish the mission. In fact, a recent survey by the Project Management Institute (PMI®), found that 70 percent of veterans have experience in managing the project lifecycle.

Manager with Mission Focus

Second, servicemembers and veterans have naturally developed a mission focus. Your understanding of mission criticality and success will not allow you to let the mission fail. Like the military, project management is also a mission focused profession.  Therefore, your understanding of mission accomplishment places you miles ahead of your commercial contemporaries.

Project Management = a Growth Industry

Third, project management is a growth industry across many business sectors. Employers will need to fill 2.2 million new project-oriented roles each year through 2027. According to PMI®, sectors such as health care expect 17 percent annual growth in project management. Not only is the career field growing, but there’s a definitive corporate ladder for project managers. Whether you start out as an associate or a full-fledged project manager, you are on a potential path for program management, portfolio management, business unit leader or corporate officer.

You Like Results – You’ll Get Results

Fourth, if you are like most, you enjoy the satisfaction of a job well done. Many projects allow you to see results. You will facilitate change, through coordination and the motivation of others.  Project management is one of the best professions for working as an organizational change enabler. Just like the military, no two days are the same. Working with interesting people, solving challenging problems, and enjoying mission focused work are just a few of the benefits of this profession.

So, what does the roadmap to transitioning into the project manager career field look like?  There are a few crucial steps:

  • Learn commercial project management vernacular
  • Know yourself, be aware of your knowledge skills and abilities (KSA)
  • Understand the commercial project management environment
  • Translate your military experience using commercial project management terminology
  • Get certified

This path to successful completion of these crucial steps is much easier if you join a local organization like the PMI.  You might even find a local PMI military liaison who can put you in touch with a mentor.

Is a project management career in your future?

Wishing you a lucrative transition.

Jay Hicks is an author, instructor and consultant. With a special kinship for military personnel, Jay provides guidance on successful civilian career transition and has co-authored “The Transitioning Military Series”. He is the co-founder of Gr8Transitions4U, where advocating the value of hiring military personnel is the key focus. More about Jay and his passion can be found at Gr8Transitions4U.com.