Project management methodologies are widely recognized and used worldwide. Its roots date back as early as the 1950s to organize and plan all stages of engineering projects systematically. The methodology is now used in a variety of disciplines to ensure many different types of business projects are completed on-time and within their designated financial budgets. The technology boom of the 1990s also allowed non-technical professionals to oversee technology projects using this methodology. The result of the methodology being used across many industries has led to colleges and universities creating degree programs in this discipline, including a master’s degree in project management.
Project management is based on a basic five-step process which includes initiation, planning and development, production and execution, monitoring and controlling, then finishing and closing the project. It allows one or several individuals effectively oversee projects from conception to completion using this streamlined process.
The Project Management Institute (PMI) is a recognized organization that teaches project management methodologies and can allow professionals to obtain certification.* Certification from PMI is not the same as a master’s degree in project management, but many educational institutions use PMIs methodologies for this degree program.
A master’s degree in business administration, such as one at Penn State or another university, with a specialization in project management encompasses teaching the five-step process in detail, as well as other required skills to be successful in this career. This includes financial management, law, as well as managing staff effectively on each project. Some of these programs are offered through distance learning online and also provide graduates with certification in project management. Certification programs are not through PMI, but the educational institution that provides the degree program.
Successfully obtaining a master’s degree in project management can lead to a variety of career options, depending on the individual’s undergraduate coursework. This includes careers in a variety of industries such as construction, production, information technology and general management. In the manufacturing industry, a project management degree can lead to careers in scheduling, production and quality. In information technology, careers include project management of software, hardware and other computer related projects, as well as an information technology focusing on technology operations. General business occupations include a variety of analyst occupations such as planning, financial or projects. In general business operations, a master’s degree in project management can lead to careers including sales, or administrative fields.
Professionals who pursue this educational path can improve their employment opportunities and move into a management role. Those who complete the degree program and do not have any professional experience can pursue a career in a variety of occupations.