Learn the basics of project management with these free courses

Project managers are ultimately responsible for the success or failure of a project.

By U2B Staff 

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According to the PMI-commissioned talent gap analysis by Anderson Economic Group, through 2027, the project management-oriented labor force in seven project-oriented sectors is expected to grow by 33%. This translates to nearly 22 million new jobs. Findings suggest that by 2027, employers will need nearly 88 million individuals in project management-oriented roles.

When the pandemic hit, many organisations, big and small, were forced to make the shift to working remotely and managing projects online. This made a profound impact on the labour market, but the demand did not slow down. 

Project managers have always been in demand. Regardless of the industry, professionals will always be needed to plan and oversee the execution of projects. Understanding the fundamentals of managing a project is seen around the world as an asset, as these professionals are known to provide a versatile range of skills for managing change and achieving project goals in any sector or business. 

The need for project managers and the current lack of skilled professionals makes the field attractive for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, higher demand always leads to higher salary. Secondly, the field has a lot of opportunity for growth and advancement. 


A good way to get your foot though the door is by beginning with introductory online courses to get a better understanding of project management in general. These courses usually provide tasks and assignments designed to give participants a better feel of the occupation and the responsibilities that come with it. Here are five free online courses worth considering:

Introduction to Project Management 

This free six-week course by the University of Adelaide provides participants with the opportunity to learn practical ways to use project management skills, for projects that are both big and small. 

Upon completion, learners will gain core knowledge and applied skills in not just project management, but also in essential communication. An added bonus is a breakdown of what makes today’s projects more complex than ones from before.

Diploma in Project Management

This free online course teaches learners how to implement project phases professionally. The programme guides participants through the most important aspects of the study in a clear and simple manner while covering the crucial phases of the system development life cycle, including analysis, planning, design, and evaluation. It then goes on to describe the methodology of project management in detail.

Project Management Principles and Practices Specialisation

Offered by the University of California, Irvine, this free specialisation is a precursor to the Applied Project Management Certificate. In this intensive and hands-on series of courses, learners acquire the skills to ensure their projects are completed on time and on budget while ensuring users receive the product they are expecting. 

In approximately five months, participants will be able to identify and manage the product scope, build a work breakdown structure, create a project plan, create project budgets, define and allocate resources, manage the project development, identify and manage risks and understand the project procurement process. 


Fundamentals of Project Planning and Management 

This free introductory course focuses on the key concepts of planning and executing projects. Offered by the University of Virginia, the programme identifies factors that lead to project success and teaches the fundamentals of planning, analysing, and managing projects. Learners will also be exposed to state-of-the-art methodologies and taught to consider the challenges of various types of projects.

Results-Based Project Management: Monitoring and Evaluation

In this eight-week course, participants will learn the basics of results-based project management for free. Once the framework of results is introduced, along with its associated performance indicators, the focus shifts to how monitoring systems and evaluations provide a crucial source of evidence for making decisions in management.