Where to start learning project management online
10 October 2022
Project management has developed into a skill set and occupation that continues to grow in popularity. Many organisations appreciate the value that project managers bring to the table, and actively seek this experience and training when hiring.
Traditionally, project managers have been linked to trade and the construction industry. However, project management has evolved significantly across many professional industries, including:
- information technology
- software development
- healthcare and clinical settings
- financial services
Project management is a core part of any organisation, regardless of industry. If you have the right qualifications and training to successfully implement and manage projects, your career opportunities can be significant.
Before we discuss where to start learning project management online, let’s take a look at some popular queries:
- What does a project manager do?
- Why study project management?
What does a project manager do?
Project managers oversee every aspect of any given project.
Project manager Tegwen Butler gives some insight into the tasks involved. As a project manager at Ernst & Young (EY) in the construction industry, her clients are often developers or people who own retirement villages.
“At the start, it’s about planning the project. I sit down with the client and establish their project objectives,” she says. After this, Butler puts together a project brief or project plan.
The next stage is managing procurement. Firstly, she procures the design team, a team that consists of architects, mechanical consultants and electrical consultants, along with anyone else needed to complete the design of the project.
Then it’s about sourcing the right contractor to complete the physical work and bring it to life. Butler describes this as a critical stage of the project. “You need to make sure you’re engaging the right people with the right experience,” she says.
Managing project milestones is an important part of a project manager’s role. This is to “ensure that the project runs on time”, says Butler. But it’s not simply about meeting key milestones. She notes that it also involves managing the financial side. “The client appoints us to keep the project on budget.”
Various tasks must be finalised when finishing a project. Project managers need to ensure that the completed project has met all the client’s objectives.
Once a project has finished, it’s important to review the project in detail and identify any areas of improvement for future projects. This helps you streamline and enhance your processes each time.
How does project management work within a corporate environment?
Much like the construction industry, a project manager working within a corporate office environment, such as Information Technology, will still need to follow the same structure.
When implementing a new service or program, a project manager will still need to:
- establish overall objectives
- forecast budgets
- procure resources, including staff and materials/programs
- manage project milestones
- manage budgets
- ensure quality deliverables
- report on any problems
- finalise project with a comprehensive review
Why study project management?
In Australia, there is a growing need for project managers with greater expertise. Why? Because a project manager needs to use many different skills to succeed in their role.
Some of the skills and knowledge of a good project manager include:
Problem-solving and coping under pressure
“You’re challenged a lot,” says Butler. “Every day there are issues, and they’re always different.” So being able to problem-solve whilst keeping calm under pressure is important.
Good negotiation skills
Beyond knowing how to reach their preferred outcome, skilled negotiators need to think quickly to overcome any issues that may arise along the way.
Knowing how to manage risks of projects
This means being able to identify, analyse and respond to any risk that occurs during the project. Ideally, all risks will be identified at the beginning and a plan will be created to mitigate them.
Strong communication skills
“Especially with all your stakeholders,” Butler points out. “You’re representing the client. But we’re also managing the entire design team, and then when you move on-site, the contractor as well.”
To effectively guide team members, stakeholders and the client throughout the project. This requires establishing and maintaining the trust of all parties involved.
From creating a schedule and timeline to creating and implementing a project plan that’s realistic. This enables the project timelines and budgets to stay in check.
Demand for qualified project managers
Research has predicted that project manager roles would:
- increase in Australia by 100,000 by 2027
- grow 33 per cent globally
That same research reports that the leading sectors wanting project managers are:
- manufacturing and construction
- information services and publishing
- finance and insurance
- management and professional services
- oil and gas
The project management profession will also see increased digitalisation. This makes it extremely important to stay on top of new trends in project management.
Becoming a project manager
If you are wondering how to become a project manager, then you are in the right place. Some project managers will study the field immediately after graduating, while others will transfer from other professions and upskill with further training.
Butler had an events management background before moving into project management. Many of her event management skills were transferable, but Butler also completed further study to expand her credentials and finetune her skills base.
Butler believes there is much value in pursuing postgraduate qualifications. “Having a Master in Project Management on your CV is a good asset to have. When we put together a proposal for a client, they do look at everyone’s skills, including their tertiary education,” she says.
Go the extra mile
SCU Online’s Master of Project Management lets you set yourself apart from your peers by deepening your understanding as well as your critical and analytical skills.
Butler has worked at organisations where they encouraged employees to study for a masters degree. She notes that “having that masters degree is a big asset for career advancement as well.”
With SCU Online’s Master of Project Management, you will go beyond just studying core competencies and learn how to become a leader in your field.
Graduates of the Masters can expect to:
- Understand the origin and influences behind the practice and frameworks for how they undertake project roles.
- Be able to draw on current leading theory and practice to inform the tailoring of practice in their own context.
- Be equipped to be thought leaders who are able to contribute to the continuous improvement for how, why and when they undertake projects.
These skills are all adaptable to practising project management in your chosen industry and give you the option to expand your project management career into different industries.
Where to start learning project management online in Australia
Endorsed by the Australian Institute of Project Management (AIPM) for its Master of Project Management qualification, SCU Online provides flexible courses to help you study around your professional and personal commitments. Our Master of Project Management qualification met the high standards set by the AIPM and continues to deliver an elevated standard of learning.
Our Master of Project Management will provide you with the learning outcomes you need to:
- fully understand the project lifestyle
- lead and manage projects with confidence
- tailor your project management qualification to your passion
With six intakes each year and studying 100 per cent online, you can start when the time is right for you.
What’s more, you don’t need an undergraduate qualification in project management to get started. To qualify for SCU Online’s Master of Project Management, you must have one of the following:
- a bachelors qualification in any discipline with at least two years’ work experience in a professional environment, or
- over five years’ work experience or professional standing that’s regarded by SCU Online’s Academic Board as equivalent to an undergraduate degree
Along with the above prerequisite, you must also be proficient in English.
Does changing your profession or advancing your current career in project management spark your interest? Then find out more about where to start learning project management online with our Master of Project Management today.