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Project Management Degrees and Certification Options

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After nearly 30 years working in the field of science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM), my focus has shifted from being more of a doer to more of a thought leader, and from my personal achievements to more service to others. That service comes in the form of sharing my experience, successes and failures through mentoring and coaching. Hopefully, by learning from my triumphs and failures, I’ve been able to help colleagues and mentees attain their career goals.

For many people, the hardest position to attain is their first. That’s not because a first job is unattainable, but because marketing oneself through a series of resumes, interviews and negotiations are learned skills that take practice to perfect.

Likewise, as a hiring manager, it’s daunting to find the right candidate by wading through a sea of formatted resumes, interviewing candidates with a list of canned questions and often canned answers, and devising key recruitment and onboarding strategies.

So how can we bridge this gap to connect qualified candidates with the appropriate organization that needs their skillsets?

Teaching Project Management Skills

In the project management profession, the curriculum and practices equip students with industry-accepted skills designed to scope out, resource, organize, integrate, deliver, and optimize complex projects using the best talent available.

In essence, project managers create the scaffolding around the construction of impactful projects. What students learn in the online classroom is what’s being used in the field today, whether you’re starting out in project management or preparing to attain the next level of expertise.

The field is constantly evolving and no two projects are ever alike. From these experiences, project managers learn how to anticipate and adapt to change. They learn from their failures and their successes, and they often retain those lessons and use that knowledge to optimize their own career skills.

Project management education is important at all levels, but individuals should also be exposed to a wide variety of duties early on so their career aspirations can align with their skill sets. The old adage, “Pursue your passion and you’ll never work a day in your life,” is the key to career happiness; however, attaining that goal is especially challenging when the requirements continually evolve. That’s where education comes in to help professionals evolve with the industries they support. 

In a recent article I wrote on the importance of scheduling, I encouraged those who are struggling to enter the project management field to consider acquiring a new skill set. In addition to a four-year degree, many adult learners are opting to pursue specialized certifications to upskill. Certifications can complement current degrees or skill sets and are evidence of personal effort to gain special expertise within the project management field.

But project management is more than just projects or management. It is a holistic approach to a time-bound challenge that requires people, resources and expertise.

I’ve written several articles on project management to highlight the need for professionals to oversee key aspects of scheduling, executing, and producing a desired result within a limited timeframe. In addition, I’m part of a team that has created new, cutting-edge courses to aid those who are pursuing certification. I’ve also underscored how both companies and employees need to pivot in order to remain relevant.

Project Management Is Applicable to Most Disciplines

Project management is applicable to most disciplines by assisting businesses as they move toward their strategic goals. For example, project management scales across the entire sales cycle to include:

  • How products are delivered
  • How to track and monitor projects
  • How to develop a schedule and integrate it with costs and risks
  • How to prepare presentations for leadership and stakeholders
  • How to create status reports
  • How to optimize the supply chain

Organizations depend on project management professionals to stay competitive by developing new offerings, determining the technology needed within the enterprise, updating processes and procedures, and successfully completing projects for their customers.

The 2021 course catalog offers an undergraduate certificate in IT project management following the successful completion of 18 credit hours. For students with a bachelor’s degree, the University also offers a graduate certificate in IT Project Management that can be applied toward earning a master’s degree.

Dr. Kandis Y. Boyd Wyatt, PMP, is an award-winning author, presenter, and professor with nearly 30 years of experience in science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM). She is the creator of the Professor S.T.E.A.M. Children’s Book Series, which brings tomorrow’s concepts to future leaders today. A global speaker, STEAM advocate, and STEM communicator, she holds a B.S. in meteorology and an M.S. in meteorology and water resources from Iowa State University, as well as a D.P.A. in public administration from Nova Southeastern University. She is a faculty member in Transportation and Logistics for the Wallace E. Boston School of Business.

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