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Thread: Planner to project panager, or straight to PM?

  1. #1
    Cyburbian
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    Planner to project panager, or straight to PM?

    Ultimately I think I would like to do project management at a land development firm, however I don't have the expertise or the experience to do so. I'm going for my MUP next year, but should I take a job as a planner for a few years (learn the ropes), then try to get a job in project management? Or should I take a lower level job with a land developer then work my way into project management?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Plan-it's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Victory View post
    Ultimately I think I would like to do project management at a land development firm, however I don't have the expertise or the experience to do so. I'm going for my MUP next year, but should I take a job as a planner for a few years (learn the ropes), then try to get a job in project management? Or should I take a lower level job with a land developer then work my way into project management?
    You do not need a planning degree to work for a land development firm, but you will need experience in how to design and build subdivisions. They are different.
    Satellite City Enabler

  3. #3
    Cyburbian
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    Point taken, but PM's at land development firms spend a lot of time dealing with the city, other planners, engineers, and even the public on ocassion. It just seemed like there was some overlap between the two positions, and planning might be a good foundation.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    Plan-It is absolutely right. What types of project do you want to be a project manager of? I am dealing with a land development firm right now on my large headache, but keeps me employed project and i find it always helpful that they at least know the process of development (i.e. why do you need to engage in ACOE when you are filling in a wetland, or what is the difference between a tentative map and a final map). These types of things are what school is for, but can certainly do on the job, although not preferable imo. I guess i am having a hard time trying to figure what you really want to do.
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  5. #5
    Cyburbian transguy's avatar
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    It's my experience that land development firms give very little respect to a background in the development process (i.e. the public sector side) compared to other experience (i.e. starting with a lower position within the development firm). If you end goal is to end up at a development firm, start there; or at least don't expect them to give much weight to your planning experience.
    Much work remains to be done before we can announce our total failure to make any progress.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian FueledByRamen's avatar
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    You might not *need* a planning education to work in land development, but I salute you for getting one. It scares me that people can be in development with little more than a high school diploma. Getting an education in planning will help you understand why certain types of development are bad, even when they are profitable...something most of your future brethren don't seem to always understand.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    There are construction management degrees, or something like that. Only the largest firms would care, however.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian biscuit's avatar
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    First question is what is your undergraduate degree? If you have a bachelor in planning then I would suggest going for something in construction management, or possibly obtaining a second undergraduate degree in civil engineering. That said it's not impossible for planners to work as project managers for development companies. There are planner skill sets such as organization and communication that are valuable to performing due diligence, and keeping projects on track and on budget. However, just know that management would be a difficult position for anyone, regardless of degree, to land right out of school. You will likely have to earn your stripes in your selected field, or work your way up through the company.

    Good luck to you.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    The first question is what aspect of land development are you interested in pursuing? Do you want to do the design, or are you wanting to be the onsite supervisor? In the first case there is some design work for planners, but the majority really goes to the civil engineers or architects. What little the planners do tends to be more conceptual rather than implemented. To be honest, many of the designs that come from planners simply can't be implemented once the engineer takes a look at it.

    For on-site work, I would recommend construction management, as others have suggested. Civil engineering can be a good option for you here, too. I don't know that I have ever come across a planner in this kind of work.

    Another option you might consider would be real estate development, which would give you more of a financial perspective. You would be more involved in putting the project in place, although less directly involved in design.

    Planners I see in development firms often have a very limited scope of work - securing approvals. I have done a bit of this and find it uninteresting.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  10. #10
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    Planner OR Project Manager

    After completing my Bachelor in Planning, I have started to work with Telecom operator and vendors in the area of Site Acquisition. For the last two years, I have been working as a Site Acquisition Project Manager and now I would like to change my career completely to Project Management under PMO. From my previous experience, I think, project management can be a very good choice for planners for the long term sustainable career.
    Wish to get your feedback regarding my decision to change the career path towards PM.

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