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Why Did I Become a Hardware Engineering Project Manager? – Talal Almasri

Talal Almasri is a member of the ProjectManagers.Org community. He shares his story on why he became a Hardware Engineering Project Manager in the following interview:

Why did you become a Project Manager?
Back in 2008, I saw the trend of most of the manufacturing of electronics goods being shipped oversea to Fareast, in particular China, I decided to switch over to project management as many U.S companies do designs locally, but they manufacture outside the U.S.

What work were you doing previously?
Electronics design engineer.

What are you doing now?
Project management.

When was the moment you decided to make the change?
During the 2008 economic recession in 2008.

Are you happy with the change?
No. The job market for (hardware) engineering project manager is minimum.

What do you miss and what don’t you miss?
I miss being able to find a job.

How did you go about making this career move?
I spoke to the project manager that I was working under and I started to understand what PM is about. I kind of liked it. I decided to pursue it, which I did.

What didn’t go well? What ‘wrong turns’ did you take?
I believe economy mainly didn’t go well. Moving from engineering was a mistake.

How did you handle your finances to make your change possible?
I was utilizing Motorola benefits, no issue was there.

What was the most difficult thing about changing?
Adjusting from the engineering way (my way or the highway), to the wearing every team’s hat (quality, EE, ME, SE, SC, marketing, etc.). I had to examine everything from all teams’ perspectives.

What were other difficulties and how did you overcome them?
Again, just to understand the needs and assessment of all stakeholders.

What help did you get?
Seminars and patience.

What have you learned in the process?
Nothing comes easy. You can please some people, but you cannot please all people.

What do you wish you’d done differently?
I wish I stayed in the design for a while and stayed technical, including focus on software development.

What would you advise others to do in the same situation?
Stay technical, learn software, stay on the top of technology, do not stay in your comfort zone, if you do, your comfort zone will be your funeral of your professional career.

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