Career Paths for the Entry-Level Project Manager

Josh Nankivel, PMP, project manager and career coach, shares examples of career paths for new project managers. What will yours look like?

By Josh Nankivel, PMP, founder of

14 June 2011

If you’re graduating from school or just trying to break into a career in project management, there are many questions you should be asking yourself right now. Chief among them is what your career path should look like.

Generally, once a minimum requirement of formal education has been satisfied, work experience becomes the biggest driver in advancing your project management career. Certifications and advanced degrees are valuable, but make sure you gain some experience (which will also help you become eligible for many of the certifications).

Entry-level roles come in many forms. They vary widely across organizations and industries and include but are not limited to: project coordinator, assistant project manager, junior project manager, project analyst, work manager, project lead and project manager.

Now, here are four common career path examples, and what you need to know to traverse them.

Penny: The New Graduate

Sayid: The Tech Whiz

Emily: The Manager

Juan: The Industry Jumper