The well prepared engineer should think hard about taking a project management course preferably near the end of their program. Most new hires directly out of their engineering program will most likely be performing a lot of basic footwork and small projects. They can put a lot of what they learn about the business during this period in perspective with a project management course under their belt and be more successful in the process. The reason is that a well designed project management course based on the Project Management Institute’s guidelines is essentially a guide book about how to get things done in the complex human environment embodied by all technical, academic or business organizations.
Particularly interesting to an engineer is that a project management course would provide the mechanics of initializing, planning, executing, monitoring and controlling and finally closing a project. These processes are never discussed in typical technical courses and many times relegated to a subordinate stature during the rush to finish the senior project. Although extremely useful when managing a project the knowledge obtained also provides thoughtful engineers with a framework to organize how to use the information they absorb during their first and second years. It provides them with strong direction about the type of information to gather about the potential stakeholders of their current and future projects. The subject matter covered also suggests what they should be learning about the mechanics of an organization to be successful in the smallest or largest project. Essentially a well designed course expands the engineers outlook into the full range of activities necessary to bring any project to a successful conclusion and a future benefit to the corporation.
Good project management is essential for effective product development. It distinguishes a professional engineer from his peers. A project management course provides the type of knowledge that would impress corporate hiring managers and increase the graduate’s potential to succeed in their first and subsequent years as a professional engineer. Undergraduate Biomedical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering Technology programs would do well to include it in their curricula.
To start with here is the website of the Project Management Institute which confers the Project Management Professional certification.