Project Management Education and Training for IT Professionals

By Allen Graves

Project management is an integral feature of practically every modern business environment, and the IT field is no exception. Although the core competencies of effective project management – resource optimization, prioritized workflows and timely outputs that meet or exceed customer expectations – are universal, IT projects carry unique challenges that can test even the most capable project managers.

Project managers often need advanced training to balance the rapidity of technological innovation with rush-to-market requirements, as well as to negotiate the multiple project dependencies that characterize most IT projects.

The Project Management Professional (PMP®) credential, administered by the Project Management Institute (PMI®), is not only the most popular and powerful advanced certification that project managers can achieve, but also the most expected by employers across industries. For some employers, the PMP credential is prerequisite to consideration for leadership positions.

Project managers who pass the PMP exam have demonstrated mastery of industry best practices. They are proven managers and directors of complex and varied projects. In fact, PMI requires ample experience simply to sit for the exam.

Specifically, to qualify for the exam, project managers without bachelor’s degrees must have at least five years of professional experience, including 35 hours of PM education and 7,500 hours leading projects. Candidates with bachelor’s degrees in the field must also demonstrate 35 hours of project management education, with at least three years’ professional experience and 4,500 documented hours directing projects.

Given the intensity of PMP exam content and requirements, PMI Registered Education Providers (REP), such as Villanova University Online, are best equipped to provide project managers with the training and education they need to achieve certification.

To qualify as an REP, providers must align their course content with PMI standards, submit student evaluations to PMI for review and have offered training for one year or more. REP’s must also offer the professional development units (PDU) that PMI requires for project managers to maintain the PMP designation.

When selecting a PM training provider, IT project managers should weigh the following:

  • Does the course content address the unique needs of project management in the IT field? Are student specializations available?
  • Does the program facilitate frequent student-faculty engagement?
  • What sort of learning environment does the program offer? Online, brick-and-mortar or a combination of the two?
  • Is the program explicitly tailored to the PMP exam? Is the provider an REP?
  • Is the cost of the program reasonable and/or justified? How does it compare to those offered by other providers?
  • What data does the provider offer about program participants’ employment and career outcomes?
  • Is the program well-reviewed by current students, graduates and industry experts?
  • How long has the program been operating?
  • Is the provider an accredited educational institution?
  • Does the program address both PM industry trends and industry standards?

For IT project managers, evaluating a PM training program entails a careful assessment of their own learning preferences and the program’s applicability to the IT field. In particular, program content should cultivate the skills PM’s need to coordinate conversions or installations and manage networking and development projects.

Project management training programs should also address global industry expectations. Most importantly, for those who are seeking the PMP credential, the program should speak to the exam’s wide range of topics and overall rigor.

Villanova University’s Master’s Certificate in Project Management programs are among those that exemplify these criteria. A longstanding project management education provider and credentialed REP, Villanova offers advanced project management certificates with specializations in various industries, including IT and IS.

By opting for a top PM training provider, project managers in the IT field can amplify their earning potential, enhance their professional abilities and secure a proven career asset through PMP certification.

 

Allen Graves writes about technology and business process improvement on behalf of Villanova University’s 100% online degree and certificate programs.