The Best Project Management Course for Beginners

With increasing demand and average annual pay of $110,000 for Project Managers, this is the right time to get into this field with a quick certification.
According to PMI (Project Management Institute), employers will require nearly 88 million project-related workers by 2027. Project managers are in high demand worldwide, and this trend will continue to grow. This is the right time to get into Project Management because the future is bright. This guide will help you understand what a Project Manager is, what they do on a day-to-day basis, how much they earn, and if this is a worthwhile career to invest your time and money in.
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If you are new to Project Management or if you are exploring it as a career option you have come to the right place. This guide covers in detail every aspect of the subject. We will not only explain to you what Project Management is but help you evaluate if it is a good career path to choose for your future.

The Project Manager's role has long shifted away from someone who can check tasks off a Gantt chart as completed and toward a more strategic leadership position for effecting change in an organization.

The great news is that while a bachelor’s degree does help, you can even start off your career in Project Management with a simple High School Diploma and a short certificate course from an accredited community college. A lot of people even use certification from accredited community colleges to switch careers to Project Management.

Related: Can I use community college to help me change careers?

In this guide, we will also suggest how you can kick start your career in Project Management with some highly recommended certifications. So let’s start by understanding what a Project Management course for beginners can do for you.

Interested in Project Management for beginners?

Unmudl has the right course for you to get started in Project Management!

Project management course for beginners

The shift to project-based management has been a dominant business trend over the last few decades. Instead of traditional styles of management, an increasing number of businesses are consolidating diverse resources under individual projects. While being more efficient, this tends to complicate things and a system has evolved to manage such complexities.

If you work in the services industry, you're probably already familiar with this strategy. Project-based management has the potential to reduce costs while improving outcomes for stakeholders and project teams. This is not to mention the substantial increases in project success rates due to this discipline. 

Of course, success with a project-based approach necessitates effective project management. This critical skill defines how to organize project planning, management, and delivery.

Photo by Christina Morillo

What is Project Management?

Before we get into project management fundamentals, let's define what a "project" is. Sure, you've probably been assigned a number of "projects" in school, college, or on the job, but how do you define a ‘Project’ exactly?

A "Project," according to the Project Management Institute, is "a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service, or result."

The term "temporary" implies that projects must have a clear beginning and endpoint. This means that each project must have a timeline, scope, and resources. Because it is a one-time event with a beginning and an end date, it is not part of ongoing operations. This leads us to our second point...

A project's goal must be to create a one-of-a-kind product, service, or result. This means that a project will be initiated in order to achieve a specific goal that is typically outside the scope of normal business operations. 

It also means that the project team may include individuals who do not normally collaborate and will require resources that are typically outside the scope of day-to-day operations. Every project is composed of the following minimum components: 

  1. Goal: What are you attempting to accomplish?
  2. Timeline: When are you hoping to complete it?
  3. Budget: How much will it cost to achieve this goal(s)?
  4. Stakeholders: All the major players involved in this project?
  5. Project Manager: The person who will ensure that everything that needs to be done is done on time, on budget, and as per the stakeholder’s expectations.

Now that you understand what a project is, let’s look at what ‘Project Management’ involves.

The practice of applying knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to complete a project in accordance with specific requirements is known as Project Management. Understanding project management boils down to identifying the problem, devising a solution, and then carrying out that solution until the problem is resolved or the expected outcome is achieved. 

That may appear straightforward, but there is a lot that goes into it at each stage of the process. The origins of project management can be traced back to the construction of the Pyramids of Giza and the Great Wall of China. 

The modern development of project management, on the other hand, began in the nineteenth century, when railway companies purchased tons of raw material and employed thousands of people to work on the transcontinental railroad.

These practices gained traction across industries, and the International Project Management Association and Project Management Institute were founded in 1965 and 1969, respectively to develop and adapt practices to an ever-evolving business landscape.

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What does a Project Manager do on a day-to-day basis?

In short, project managers are in charge of project planning, execution, monitoring, control, and completion, so they must have a thorough understanding of project management. However, this is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to project management fundamentals. 

Just to give you an idea, the following are some of the primary project manager responsibilities:

  • Create a plan: Project managers are in charge of charting the most feasible course for the project. The project scope, timeline, and budget must all be included in the plan. This can also include determining the appropriate tools for the job.
  • Assemble the team: Choosing the right team is essential for understanding the fundamentals of project management. Depending on the scope of the initiative and the functions required to complete the project, each project team will be unique. It is ideal to find specialists and subject matter experts for each of the required tasks.

For example, in the same organization, a Project Manager will assemble a different team to write the code for a game app (comprising mostly of programmers) while he may assemble a different team to design the visual environment of the game (comprising mostly of graphic artists).

  • Assign tasks: Project managers must provide their teams with a detailed breakdown of specific tasks and timelines for each phase of the project. Although each team member is responsible for their own tasks, many tasks will necessitate collaboration from both internal and external team members.
  • Leading the team: Now that the team has been assembled and their tasks have been assigned, the project manager must keep the machine running smoothly by covering project management fundamentals and beyond. 

Checking in on individuals for status updates, identifying and removing roadblocks, resolving disagreements, maintaining team morale, and providing training and mentoring are all part of the job.

  • Budget management: Because most projects will incur some expenses, understanding how to create a project budget and manage costs is critical for success. This will entail comparing actual expenditures to estimates and, if necessary, adjusting the project plan.
  • Managing timelines: Just like the budget, project managers are responsible for keeping everything on track so that the team meets its projected completion dates. This will necessitate setting realistic deadlines throughout the project's lifecycle, communicating regularly with their team for status updates, and maintaining a detailed schedule.
  • Stakeholder engagement: Stakeholders play an important role in your project. They are usually senior people who will be impacted by the project. 

Project managers must maintain a good relationship and an open line of communication with stakeholders, who can not only help clear roadblocks and empower your team but can also create unnecessary bottlenecks and derail a project if they become dissatisfied with the direction.

  • Record the procedure: Identifying and documenting "lessons learned" is a good practice not only for personal development but also for passing on that experience to other teams throughout the organization for future use. This will assist others in avoiding the same mistakes or taking advantage of discovered shortcuts.
A person doing presentation in front of his colleagues
Photo by Yan Krukov from Pexels

So, why is there so much demand for project management?

Here are some statistics from Workamajig that demonstrates the value of project management:

Statistics to demonstrate the value of Project Management
Statistics to demonstrate the value of Project Management

These graphs depict the startlingly low success rate of most projects, as well as the primary causes of project failure. Just looking at them you can imagine the alarm bells going off in company boardrooms where senior managers need to account for investments into projects and are answerable for their success or failure.

Is Project Management a good career path to take?

It should be obvious to you by now how critical a role Project Managers play in any organization. But what does this translate into in terms of remuneration?

Project Managers’ earnings depend a lot on the industry they operate in. Salaries can also vary greatly depending on a variety of factors, including education, certifications, additional skills, and the number of years you have worked in your field. 

For example, for Project Managers in the construction industry, as of April 26, 2022, the average annual salary in the United States is $110,599, with a salary range of $96,407 to $124,637.

Project Managers in the IT industry, on the other hand, earn more. As of April 26, 2022, the average IT Project Manager’s annual salary in the United States is $130,468; however, the range typically falls between $119,259 and $141,069.

Job outlook for Project Management

According to a PMI report, employers will need to fill nearly 2.2 million new project-oriented roles each year through 2027. Furthermore, the report discovered that a projected project management shortage could cost $208 billion.

In short, Project managers will be in high demand for the foreseeable future.

How to kick start your career in Project Management

Although obtaining a general project management certification is not required, some employers may prefer to better compensate certified project managers. The Project Management Professional (PMP) certification is the most popular and is administered by the Project Management Institute, but it is not the only one available. 

You can use the many benefits of studying at a community college to work in your favor like affordable payment plans, small classes with dedicated attention from teachers, and the option for night classes in case you already have a full-time job.

A project management course for beginners from an accredited community college can quickly get you started in Project Management.

Unmudl recommends the following short certifications that can quickly add this as an additional skill to your arsenal or even launch your career in the field:

Best Project Management courses for beginners:

San Juan College: Project Management for Beginners

Introduction to the course: Project management is no longer limited to construction engineers and military logistics experts. Today, in addition to your regular job duties, every manager is frequently expected to take on extra assignments and complete them well, within budget, and on time. 

You will be able to identify the phases of a project's life cycle and use project planning tools to optimize your project management strategies by the end of this one-day workshop.

Course Fee: $122.52 Total Price (Excluding Tax)

Duration of course: One day workshop

Beginner level work activities you can put on your resume after the course:

  • Monitor the performance of organizational members or partners.
  • Analyze data to inform operational decisions or activities.
  • Analyze financial records to improve efficiency.
  • Implement organizational processes or policy changes.
  • Provide basic information to guests, visitors, or clients.

About Tombolo Institute at Bellevue College: "Success Matters" is more than just a tagline at San Juan College; it is at the heart of everything they do. 

The college provides a world-class education in the breathtaking Four Corners Region, which connects Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico. They are committed to the success of their culturally diverse student population from our main campus in the high desert of Farmington, New Mexico. 

Tombolo meets their students where they are, whether they are advancing in their careers or even if they never imagined attending college to start with. They know how to deliver success by providing their students with the skills they require to thrive. At San Juan College, success is important.

For beginners with already a basic understanding of Project Management:

San Juan College: Project Management - Intermediate

Introduction to the course: In case you are already familiar with the basics of Project Management then this Intermediate Level workshop is exactly right for you. 

This workshop is designed for those who are familiar with the conceptual phase of a project's life cycle, which includes setting goals, developing a vision statement, and developing the Statement of Work. 

It will guide you through the final three stages, which are planning, execution, and termination.

Course Fee: $122.52 Total Price (Excluding Tax)

Duration of course: One day workshop

Intermediate level work activities you can put on your resume after the course:

  • Monitor the performance of organizational members or partners.
  • Analyze data to inform operational decisions or activities.
  • Analyze financial records to improve efficiency.
  • Implement organizational processes or policy changes.

Advanced level Project Management:

Pima Community College: Mastering Project Management with PMP Prep

Introduction to the course: What if you are already familiar with all the basics of Project Management and would like to get a certification for an advanced level?

This PMP course by PIMA will help you gain a better understanding of project management concepts and how to apply them in the workplace. You will be ready to take the Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification exam at the end of this course.

This course delves into key project management topics and concepts in depth. Once completed, you will have intermediate to advanced-level comprehension and will be prepared to take the exam. 

Project selection, strategy development, complex schedule modeling, forecasting, risk identification and assessment, statusing, recovery, and other topics will be covered. You'll also learn about project proposals, planning components, and project evaluation, as well as the importance of a project manager in an organization.

Course Fee: $1,868.75 Total Price (Excluding Tax)

Duration of course: 10 Hours per Week, 26 Estimated Weeks

Advanced level work activities you can put on your resume after the course:

  • Gather information about the needs of your customers.
  • Monitor the performance of organizational members or partners.
  • Analyze data to identify trends or relationships between variables.
  • Analyze data to inform operational decisions or activities.
  • Analyze financial records to improve efficiency.
  • Examine the security of systems, networks, or data.
  • Determine the information technology project's resource requirements.

Final Thoughts

You don't have to be a project manager to "do" project management. Whether you're a freelancer or a manager in any specific role, learning the fundamentals of project management will help you manage your work better and advance your career.

The future is bright for Project Managers as the industry is growing at a faster rate than the average job growth rate in the US. Couple this with an annual coverage compensation between $110,000 to $130,000 from industry to industry, and you have solid prospects with good pay for the foreseeable future.

In this article, we not only showed you what Project Management is but also discussed it as a viable career path. Finally, we showed you three different courses - Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced level, that can start your career off as a Project Manager or advance it considerably

Unmudl wishes you the best of luck for your future!

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