Why You Need to Take a Project Management Course in College
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You know what they say about choosing classes in college: you have to do it right. Otherwise, you can consider both your time and money wasted.
Since you’re reading this, you’re already pondering which classes would be the right ones for you next semester. And while the full answer depends on your major and your college’s teaching staff, don’t be too quick to discard project management (PM) as irrelevant for your future.
The thing is, you don’t have to strive to become a project manager to benefit from taking a PM course in college. In fact, if it were up to the people who already have taken it, they’d probably make it compulsory for all students. Let’s break down five main reasons why.
Should You Choose Project Management Over Other Courses?
What if you doubt you’ll have enough time for a PM class? In this case, the best course of action for you is to keep reading and compare the pros and cons of taking a PM course. Then, you’ll see whether it’s better to choose a project management course over something else.
But it doesn’t have to be an either-or question. You can make time for one more course. How? For example, you can always pay for paper writing services to offload the most boring of your homework. Or you can quit that extracurricular or cut down on social outings.
All in all, there’s one thing for sure. If you’re determined to find a way to add one more course to your schedule, you will.
1. You’ll Become a Pro in Setting Goals
Few projects can become successful without well-defined goals. That’s why how to set them using the SMART technique is going to be one of the first things you’ll learn in a project management class. Here’s a spoiler on what SMART stands for:
But why should you bother with goal setting if you don’t see yourself ever working in the PM field? Well, this particular skill will come in handy in your personal life. Here are just three examples of how.
- If you want to start your own business as a student, setting the right business goals is essential for using your resources efficiently.
- If your New Year’s resolutions don’t seem to ever work out or “come true,” formulate them as SMART goals instead.
- If you want to get better at something, learning objectives should become your milestones on the roadmap to becoming an expert.
2. You’ll Learn to Plan Wisely (& Act on Your Plans)
After the goals, there’s the action plan. It’s the how of reaching the goals you set. In project management, creating an action plan means determining
- who needs to work on the project;
- what short-term goals the project should be broken down into;
- each team member’s tasks and deadlines;
- what timeline is suitable and realistic enough for finishing each task and achieving the overall goal.
But a plan is only as good as its execution. And project management doesn’t overlook that fact. That’s why this course won’t just teach you how to plan – you’ll also learn how to
- distribute the tasks to every team member using tools like Trello or JIRA;
- monitor their execution and ensure the high quality of each person’s work;
- spot problems and solve them before they can do any harm;
- provide resources when needed.
All in all, planning can make every aspect of your life easier. Can’t get started on writing that huge paper? PM has the answer: break the goal into smaller, short-term tasks and set deadlines. Want to organize a surprise birthday party for your best friend? You’ll know how to delegate tasks and make sure everyone does their part on time.
3. You’ll Build Strong Resource Management Skills
Whatever you set out to do, your resources can make it or break it. So, assessing and managing them is a must. And if you don’t know where to start, project management is a comprehensive subject that will help you build the following.
- Time. There’s no way to succeed in any professional field or personal project without time management. This class will teach you to think in terms of timelines, schedules, and deadlines – the three essentials of effective time management.
- Finances. Struggle to budget or save money? Think that even hacks for broke students can’t help you? Then you’ll want to take in every word of the financial management part of the course.
- Other resources. PM doesn’t take into account just the time and money you have. It teaches you to look at all resources at your disposal, like your connections, knowledge, and competencies.
4. You’ll Understand What It Takes to Be a Leader
Any group needs someone to organize them. Think about that time you and your friends couldn’t decide which bar or café to go to. At some point, someone took the matter into their hands and facilitated the whole decision-making process.
This is exactly what being a project manager is about: directing the team’s efforts (and making sure everyone is on the same page). Thinking in terms of goals, tasks, resources, and deadlines is essential for leading a group – even if it’s your football team, family, or friends.
It’s not just the group as a whole that would benefit from your informal leadership efforts. You yourself will be able to make the most out of collaborating with anyone, which will make you a great team player.
A quick side note. You might think you’re not a natural-born leader: you don’t have the charisma, or you’re not a “people person,” or whatever it is that you tell yourself. But leaders aren’t born; they’re made. Leadership is a skill, just like problem-solving, communication, or logical reasoning.
5. You’ll Get a Head Start in Any Career
All of the skills described above will come in handy not just in your personal life. This skill set will also boost your career, no matter the field. And yes, you’ll see that these skills make you a more desirable candidate even when you apply for entry-level positions.
Why is it so? The thing is, even if a particular job has nothing to do with management per se, having the following four soft skills will make you a better employee. Here’s why.
- Organizational skills: possessing them means you’re organized enough to meet your deadlines and do your work efficiently.
- Teamwork skills: there’s no job out there that can be done in a vacuum, without any collaboration whatsoever.
- Leadership skills: you don’t have to hold a formal leadership position to help the team do their best.
- Resource management skills: if you know how to manage your time and other resources, you can be your most productive self.
And that’s not even all! During the course, you’re likely to practice your problem-solving, research and analysis, and presentation skills – all of which are valuable in their own right!
At the end of the day, project management competencies are invaluable both as life skills and as professional soft skills. Taking a course on this subject will make you more organized, goal-oriented, and productive, both on your own and as a part of any team. What’s not to like?
So, if you’re convinced you should take a PM course, the next part should be easy for you. That part is, of course, making enough time for it. Whether you’ll choose to use the help of homework help services or drop an extracurricular activity next semester, don’t hesitate. This course is worth it; it’s an investment that’ll pay itself off tenfold.