I Want To Go Into Automobile or Aeronautics as a Project Manager, What Do You Suggest?

Hello Jerry,

I want to go into automobile/aeronautics as a Project Manager or possibly, computer engineering. What would you suggest? This is sequel to the free consultation service. — Akintola, PMT student at FUTA

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Dear Akintola,

I am glad you are interested in the aviation and automobile industries.

Automobile and aeronautical could be related but are definitely two different industries with their own challenges and opportunities, and you can definitely succeed in any of them. They both require high level of technical expertise and are both experiencing some form of technological advancements such as self-driving cars, hyperloop and reusable rockets.

Whichever of the two that you’re able to secure a good job or internship opportunity, go for it. The starting point is not always very clear for most recent or new graduates. However, you should be able to figure out which of the two industries call out for you more, later in your career.

Mentors: Look for at least 2 mentors: One who is successful as an Aeronautical/Aviation/Aerospace Project Manager and another who is successful as an Automobile/Automotive Project Manager. Build mutual relationships with your mentors, share your career goals with them, and ask them intelligent questions about your career and theirs. Learn to respect their time but make sure you keep in touch with them from time to time. If you find something very interesting about the industry, share it with them as one of the reasons they are mentoring you is to also learn from you. You should have virtual mentors, too.

Formal Knowledge: You are already pursuing a bachelor’s degree in project management. So, what you would need after graduating is are certifications or a postgraduate degree that is relevant and directly connected to any of the industries of your choice. If you could secure a job or internship opportunity immediately after graduating, it would help you decide on what next to do as regarding which professional course to study. You also need to start reading books and attend some events that would teach you things relating to aviation/aerospace management, aeronautical engineering, automobile designing, automobile engineering, aviation administration, etc. You really need to have some technical knowledge about your industry.

Membership Association: Most professions now have their own recognised membership associations in Nigeria. Do a research on the membership associations that are either connected to the aviation industry such as the Aeronautical Information Service Association of Nigeria (AISAN) or the automobile industry. Find out what it takes to become a registered member of those associations. Membership association is a great place to search for mentors, network with like-minded persons and have inside information in the industry of your choice.

Social Media and Blogs: There are some Aeronautical/Automobile Project Managers who share their wealth of knowledge and experiences online. Search and get connected with them on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Learn from them and engage in their conversations. Subscribe to their blogs and tap as much as you can from them.

If you have any question or need some clarifications, don’t hesitate to get in touch with me.

I hope this helps!

-Jerry Ihejirika

Originally published at JerryIhejirika.com.

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