Finding the best project management courses can be tricky.
There are a multitude of options, a wide range of costs and commitments, and a plethora of sub-specialties to hone in on.
It can be overwhelming even for the most seasoned professional.
To help, we’ve created this simple but actionable step-by-step guide to help you make the smartest decision for you and your unique requirements.
Step One: Define Your Goal
To begin, understanding your motivation for pursuing outside learning and defining your end goal will be crucial. Nothing is worse than plunking down money for a course only to realise it’s not a good fit for your needs or a prospective employer finds it unnecessary.
Here are some key questions to consider upfront:
- Are you embarking upon this learning journey to make a shift into a different career or to improve the one you have?
- Will you pursue a course of study toward a formal degree or is your goal to obtain specialised skills or certification? For most project management roles, a university degree specifically in project management is not required. Work experience plus certification is usually enough to advance.
- Is your goal to earn professional development units, or PDUs, to maintain a specific certification? If so, take the time to research exactly what you need to take to stay in compliance and asked about the credentials of the organisation hosting the course. Don’t let something you’ve worked hard to achieve fall apart because of a lack of due diligence.
- What’s your budget? Some professional development courses can be covered by your employer so it pays to ask ahead of time.
Flexibility is often a key characteristic when it comes to professional development courses as most will be learning alongside their full-time job and, often, other commitments outside of work, such as family and volunteering.
Remember, you shouldn’t worry about what the person next to you might be doing — this is an investment in your future, not a competition.
Step Two: Define Your Learning Style
Another key consideration is your preferred learning style. Do you require more interaction and guidance in order to learn most effectively or is something relatively hands-off or self-paced perfectly OK? There is no one right answer.
Here are the relative pros and cons to help you choose between an “in-house” program, which would be in-person and possibly hosted on-site at your workplace, and an online program. Don’t assume online is synonymous with completely “hands off”. There may still have plenty of interaction and support, but would be conducted mostly online.
Advantages of in-house training:
- Save money by training as a group
- Can address specific issues to company/employee
- No one needs to travel – the training comes to your job or location
If this is your preferred method, make sure the firm offering the training uses hand-picked trainers with high levels of experience interacting and motivating.
Advantages of online training:
- Highly flexible; can be self-paced
- Typically drills down into only what you need to know, which can be beneficial for people who already have a lot of professional experience
Step Three: Learn!
Now that you’ve found the perfect learning opportunity, don’t forget to sharpen your pencils and get into the right mindset.
As an additional source of motivation, know you are doing so much for your career by choosing a path of continuous learning.
The Guardian newspaper talks about the strong correlation between learning and sustained employment. “Candidates who demonstrate that they’re conscientious about their personal development are likely to be seen as highly motivated and engaged. Their openness to learning also suggests they’re flexible, adaptable and will bring a continuous improvement ethos to the workplace – all of which is appealing to an employer.”
Now how’s that for an investment that pays real — and lasting — dividends?
For more information on PM-Partners group in-house training options please click here or contact us on +65 6818 5771.