Top Resources for Future Project Managers

Resources to Guide Project Management Professionals

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If you’ve chosen project management as a major in college, you most likely are already a planner. You may like to know everything you need to know about a situation before you get started. You’ve come to the right place. This guide will help answer some questions you might have about getting an education in project management, including what to do once you’ve graduated. Below, you’ll find information about schools, accreditation, financial aid, organizations to join, and certification you might want to pursue once you graduate. There’s even some information about how to network while still in school and after you attain your degree. So, if you want to know everything before you start to pursue your chosen career, keep reading.

Resources for Before and After College


Resources for Project Management Students


Understanding Accreditation


Accreditation is something students need to consider when choosing a school as well as a project management major. Attending a school, or majoring in a program, that isn’t accredited can make starting your career difficult if not impossible to start. One reason is that employers like to hire workers who graduate from accredited schools. Another is that many certifications you’ll need to advance in your career require you to have a degree from an accredited school and many grants or scholarships are only available to students attending accredited colleges. So, it’s important to make sure the school and programs are accredited before you begin your studies.

There are several types of accreditation, but the one most favored is regional. Schools that have regional accreditation have the seal of approval from the Department of Education.

There are several regional accrediting bodies:

As the names would indicate, each region is tasked with accrediting schools within its geographical area. Your school should have accreditation from one of these bodies to ensure there won’t be problems later on.

Along with the school being accredited, some schools also get programs accredited.

Project management can be accredited through several business school accreditation bodies including:

Questions About Financial Aid


Most students can’t whip out their checkbooks and write a check for their tuition from their own funds. The reality is that many students need financial help paying for college. Fortunately, there are many funds available for students, some of which don't require repayment.

The three most common forms of financial aid students use are grants, loans, and scholarships. One of the most popular grants is the Federal Pell Grant. This is available for undergraduate students who are enrolled at least part-time in an accredited program. It can be used for tuition as well as room and board. Other grants are also available. Your intended school will have a list of available grants. Check the list and see if you can apply for any of them. Many require the student meet certain requirements, such as choosing a particular major or having a parent who worked in a particular industry.

Loans are another option for students. The federal government has several loan programs for students or their parents. Check with the financial aid counselor at your school for the best options. Federal loans are offered by the Federal government, while private loans are offered from specific banks.

The third option is scholarships. There are business scholarships for everything, but they aren’t always made as public as they could be. Check with your school and see what scholarships they offer students. You can also search the Department of Labor’s scholarship database for scholarships that might work for you.

Students can use one or more of the above options to help pay for college. For example, a student might be awarded two scholarships, get a Pell Grant, and take out a federal student loan to pay for school. Or maybe, thanks to the grants and scholarships, they can afford to pay for the remainder out of pocket and avoid student loans entirely. It can pay to seek out all the grants and scholarships available.

Project Management Associations for Students


Even as a student, you can connect to those who are also studying and working in your chosen field. Many schools have clubs and organizations dedicated to certain professions, so check around your campus or school website for information on these groups.

  • Phi Beta Lambda - FBLA:
    Phi Beta Lambda is the college version of Future Business Leaders of America, a group many business students participated in while attending high school.
  • Beta Gamma Sigma:
    College students make one membership payment and reap the benefit of the organization for the rest of their lives.
  • Beta Alpha Psi:
    One of the most popular business student organizations. It has members worldwide and is a good networking resource for students studying in all business areas.
  • PMI (Project Management Institute):
    Made up of project, portfolio, and program managers throughout the world, this global advocacy organization strives to help its members create initiatives that solve a variety of problems around the globe.
  • Association for Project Managers:
    APM helps project managers with networking, educational opportunities, and ways to seek out, find, or become speakers and experts in the field of project management.
  • International Project Management Association:
    This global organization helps professionals improve and increase the project, program, and portfolio management competencies. They do this by offering courses, workshops, and networking opportunities throughout the world.

Student or Open Access Journals


Staying in the loop in the industry you’re studying is a good idea. Luckily, several project management organizations allow students access to their organization’s information. Reading a professional journal in the field you plan to enter helps you determine if this is the path you still want to take and, if so, keeps you as practically informed as possible while you’re still a student.

Apps


“There’s an app for that” is a phrase that becomes truer with each passing day. For students in all areas, apps that help with the college experience are plentiful. Whether you have an Android device or an iPhone, there are plenty of apps out there that can help you on your college journey. Some are free and others require a purchase or subscription but, regardless, these apps will make things easier and help prepare you for the workforce and the requirements that go with it.

  • Freedom:
    When you need to work or sleep, the constant notifications from apps can be distracting. This app blocks those apps and allows you to concentrate on your work - or sleep.
  • Mint:
    College students sometimes have trouble keeping track of their money. This app helps with that.
  • Evernote:
    This is a great app for keeping track of class notes and other things you have going on.
  • LinkedIn:
    For students in project management, LinkedIn is a great resource for networking, keeping up with the industry, and connecting with students and other project managers.
  • GroupMe:
    Want to manage your group chats in a simple to use app? GroupMe is the answer.

Internships


Internships are a good way to get practical work experience while still in school. Although most internships don’t pay, the experience can be invaluable and, often, interns are favored when an organization is hiring permanent employees. Internships exist at both large and small organizations. Your school should have a list of local businesses that are seeking interns so, when it’s time to start pursuing one, contact your program leader for availability and the application process. They can also let you know which internships are paid and which are unpaid if this is something you need to consider.

Some companies that offer internships include:

  • Amazon
  • Microsoft
  • IBM
  • Bank of America
  • Intuit
  • Facebook

Resources for Students and Professionals


Project Management Certification Options


Like most professions, certifications are available to help reflect the knowledge and experience project managers have gained throughout their careers. Certifications exist for managers just starting out as well as for seasoned professionals. The more certifications a manager has, the more he or she can command in salary and benefits.

  • Associates in Project Management:
    The Global Association for Quality Management (GAQM) is the organization that offers several certifications such as the Associates in Project Management.

    This entry-level project management certification program focuses on:

    • a broad knowledge base
    • an emphasis on effective resource allocation
    • clear direction
    • adaptability to change
    • effective communication
    • assurance of quality deliverables at minimal risk
  • Certified Associate in Project Management:
    Offered by the Project Management Institute, the Certified Associate in Project Management is a certification for those who are currently working in the project management field but aren’t ready to pursue the Project Management Professional Certification. It is also a certification option for managers with project management experience that don’t have a degree.
  • Project Management Professional:
    This is the ultimate certification for project managers. Offered by the Project Management Institute, this rigorous exam covers everything a successful project manager needs to know and understand. The program is continuously updated to keep up with the latest and best policies and practices in project management.

Resources for Project Management Professionals


Professional Project Management Associations


Once you’re out of school, and working in the field of project management, it’s always a good idea to connect with others who are working in the same field. Keeping up with your former classmates and former fellow employees is one way to do it, but joining professional associations and organizations also serve this purpose. Not only can professional project management organizations help you connect to other project managers, but it’s also a good way to learn of additional educational opportunities, job possibilities, and keep tabs on the industry so you’ll always know what’s new and trending in project management. Associations exist on the local, national, and international stages, so finding associations that match what you’re looking to get out of such a membership is easy to do.

  • PMI (Project Management Institute):
    Made up of project, portfolio, and program managers throughout the world, this global advocacy organization strives to help its members create initiatives that solve a variety of problems around the globe.
  • Association for Project Managers:
    APM helps project managers with networking, educational opportunities and ways to find or become speakers and experts in the field of project management.
  • International Project Management Association:
    This global organization helps professionals improve and increase the project, program, and portfolio management competencies. They do this by offering courses, workshops, and networking opportunities throughout the world.

Popular Project Management Journals


Along with joining project management organizations, project managers who want to stay in the know should also subscribe to journals and other publications dedicated to project management. These publications help those in the industry stay on top of trends and the people who are making waves in the industry. It’s also a good way to learn about educational opportunities, gatherings, and meetings around the world and locally.

  • PM World 360 Magazine:
    A digital project management and leadership magazine, PM World 360 magazine covers all aspects of project management on a global scale.
  • PM Today Magazine:
    This worldwide publication offers news, interviews, and education for project managers and leaders around the globe.
  • Project Journal:
    The official journal for the Association of Project Managers.
  • Journal of Modern Project Managers:
    The JMPM strives to keep its readers abreast of the latest technologies and techniques being used by project managers.

Industry Conferences for Project Management Professionals


Attending conferences and conventions is a vital part of a project manager’s career. They're great for networking and learning about the newest methods and technologies in the field, and they offer attendees a chance to learn from the current top project managers. Conferences for project management and its professionals are held worldwide and throughout the year, so finding at least one conference to attend should not be an issue.

  • The Technical Project Management Conference:
    A conference for experienced project managers who want to delve into the technical side of project management. The conference covers various project management frameworks and details how to set up a technical project management environment.
  • Agile and Beyond:
    For project managers that use agile project management methodology as part of their projects, this conference is a good way to keep track of what’s new and what’s coming. It’s also a great networking opportunity.
  • PMO Conference:
    For project, portfolio, and program managers who want to keep up with the latest technology, programs, and methods being used by the top managers around the world.
  • PMI Global Conference:
    PMI is the gold standard in the project management industry. The global conference brings project managers from all over the world to learn about the changes in project management. It also allows managers to network and exchange ideas.