How to Learn Microsoft Project Online

Aspiring Project Managers need to master Microsoft Project, the world's most widely-used project management software tool. With the demand for Project Managers anticipated to increase by over 33% in the next five years, mastering this software is key to a successful career in project management.

Key Insights

  • Microsoft Project holds a significant market share of 66% in project management software, indicating its importance in the industry.
  • Project management is a rapidly growing field, with over 22 million new jobs expected to be created by 2027, surpassing the number of trained professionals available.
  • Microsoft Project assists Project Managers in prioritizing tasks, tracking resources, creating budgets, and sharing calendars, among other features.
  • Despite its familiar Microsoft Office interface, learning the advanced features of Microsoft Project is crucial for managing complex projects effectively.
  • The average salary for a Project Manager is around $116,000 annually, more than double the national average across all occupations.
  • Training options for Microsoft Project range from free tutorials to live classes, allowing individuals to choose a learning method that suits their needs and preferences.

Project Managers use Microsoft Project to manage complex projects. This powerful and popular software tool provides extensive project planning, executing, monitoring, and reporting features. If you’re just starting to learn a new skill, you can find dozens of tips and resources online; learning Microsoft Project is no different. If you’ve always wanted to learn Microsoft Project, there are plenty of options at your fingertips. From free tutorials to live classes, your options are here so you can decide how to learn in a way that works best for you. 

What is Microsoft Project?

Microsoft Project is the project management software in the Microsoft Office suite of programs. Microsoft Project is the world's most widely-used project management software and has been since its release. MS Project currently has around a 66% project management software market share. Proficiency in Microsoft Project is a must-have skill for aspiring Project Managers. 

Project management is a booming field: the number of Project Manager jobs is expected to increase by over 33% over the next five years. The Project Management Institute (PMI) predicts that over 22 million new project management jobs will be created by 2027. Project management is growing rapidly because more companies recognize the need for professional help managing projects. However, there are already more Project Manager positions than employees trained in project management. 

Microsoft Project assists Project Managers in prioritizing tasks, defining expectations, delegating tasks, tracking and managing resources, creating and tracking budgets, and sharing calendars with your team. Project also includes project management methodology tools, such as kanban boards and Gantt charts. Some of Project’s major features include tools for project planning, communication and collaboration, progress tracking and reporting, roadmaps for project tracking, financial management and timesheets, and resource management. 

Project is fully integrated with Microsoft Teams, allowing team members to share files, attend meetings, and chat easily. Its scheduling features are automatic, which can help teams stay on track with less direct supervision from the Project Manager. Project also incorporates the cutting-edge Microsoft Power BI dashboard, allowing project teams to visualize and analyze data in real-time. 

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While Microsoft Project may seem easy to learn because of its familiar Microsoft Office interface, you will need to learn its advanced features to use it effectively. Senior Project Managers praise its power to manage multiple complex projects. Developing your ability to manage complex projects is the key to a successful career in project management. 

One of the biggest advantages of Microsoft Project is its full integration with other Microsoft Office programs. Microsoft Office is the most widely-used software suite in the world. If you’re serious about pursuing project management as a career, you’ll want to consider training in the entire suite of programs, including Word, Excel, and PowerPoint

Read more about what Microsoft Project is and why you should learn it.

What Can You Do with Microsoft Project?

Project management is a hot career path: the Project Management Institute (PMI) predicts that over 22 million new Project Manager jobs will be created by 2027. Even without this 33% increase in job positions, there is already a significant talent gap in project management, with more companies seeking Project Managers than qualified candidates. 

Another perk of a career in project management is a high salary: the average salary for a Project Manager is around $116,000 annually. That is more than double the national average of approximately $50,000 across all occupations. Training in project management could lead to a lucrative career. 

Project Managers need to have many skills, including soft skills such as communication, leadership, and time management. Project Managers will also need to have advanced skills using Microsoft Project, the world’s most widely-used project management software tool, for decades. 

Microsoft Project is the industry-standard for managing complex and multiple projects. Its powerful project management features include interactive dashboards for project monitoring, integrated project timeline, task prioritization and delegation, team dashboard, report generation, resource tracking and management, and the Master Project Plan for managing multiple projects.

Live Online Microsoft Project Training

In-person Microsoft Project training doesn’t happen in every area. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t achieve mastery of Microsoft Project. 

Online classes that are taught live work exactly like in-person classes. Because the course is live, you’ll be able to interact with your instructor and classmates in real-time. You’ll have the ability to ask questions. You can collaborate with classmates or get feedback on your work using screen-sharing software. One major perk of live online classes is that they can be done anywhere, even in your bedroom.

NYIM offers live online Microsoft Project courses. Students develop foundational skills in using Microsoft Project and project management theories and concepts in their introductory Microsoft Project Level I course. An expert instructor guides students through real-world projects to develop skills in defining projects, creating tasks, resource management, and creating a project plan. Graduates earn a Certificate of Completion, which is shareable on Linkedin.

On-Demand Microsoft Project Classes

If your schedule is too busy for a structured course, you may consider choosing an on-demand Microsoft Project training. On-demand courses offer a lot more flexibility because they can be completed on your own time. One potential drawback is that they lack the mentorship of a live class, and you must be self-disciplined to ensure you stay on track. 

On-demand courses can be paid or free. For example, there are on-demand Microsoft Project courses on Udemy and Linkedin that you can access for a fee. You can also use free resources, such as video tutorials on YouTube; however, you may spend more time learning unnecessary things without the hands-on guidance of an instructor. 

Noble Desktop’s Classes Near Me tool lists the on-demand training options for Microsoft Project.

Free Intro Courses & Tutorials

If you’re not quite ready to commit to taking an entire course in Microsoft Project, there are free introductory courses online. Because these courses are free, you’ll be able to see if project management appeals to you without investing the time and money for a complete course. 

Noble Desktop is a business, design, and coding school based in NYC. They offer free online seminars on various topics, including Microsoft Office. Project Managers use Microsoft Excel for budgeting projects, resource management, and creating charts and data visualizations. In Top 10 Beginner Excel Tricks You Need To Know, students learn essential tricks for harnessing more of the power of Microsoft Excel. Some tricks include creating charts, data validation, screenshots, navigation shortcuts, text and chart formatting, and tricks for streamlining your Excel workflow.

Free introductory Microsoft Project courses are typically uploaded to platforms like Udemy and YouTube. These courses can offer a great introduction to familiarizing yourself with the interface and features of Microsoft Project. 

Read about more free Microsoft Project videos and online tutorials.

Comparing Online Methods with In-Person Learning 

Live classes are the most engaging way to learn Microsoft Project, whether live online or in person. Since the class is happening live, you’ll be able to ask questions and receive feedback, receive mentoring on your resume and portfolio, and network with other professional and aspiring Project Managers. 

Networking is a vast advantage of in-person classes. You’ll have the opportunity to talk to your instructor and classmates to build relationships. You could also have access to a state-of-the-art computer lab and any software you might need. For example, having access to a lab with Microsoft Project could save you the money to purchase a program license. However, to take an in-person course, you'll need to find one in your area and commute. These could be potential drawbacks of in-person training. 

Live online classes have all the features of in-person courses: you can ask questions and interact with your instructor in real time. You’ll be able to collaborate with your classmates using screen-sharing software. One massive perk of live online training is that there is no commute, and you can learn Microsoft Project from anywhere. 

On-demand learning is usually the most affordable and easy to access. However, you lose the benefits of live instruction and interaction. Quality control can be more difficult with on-demand training: the videos may have become outdated or lack a straightforward course of study.

Tips to Succeed when Learning Microsoft Project Online

Project Managers must wear many hats, and Microsoft Project holds them for you. Experts typically describe Microsoft Project as having “a steep learning curve” because it takes some time to learn how Microsoft Project works. 

Microsoft recently updated Project to be visually compatible with its other Office products. While Project uses many of the same interface appearances as the other programs in Microsoft Office, its sheer number of features can make learning challenging. 

Microsoft Project is essentially a relational database, which is a database structured to recognize relationships between data points. If you don’t input all of the data for your project correctly at the beginning, then you won’t get the correct project data as you continue. For example, scheduling in Project requires some training because if any data is entered incorrectly, it will throw off the timeline of the entire project. 

Feel free to explore the program and interface as much as possible. Click around as much as you want to discover things. But don’t be intimidated: you won’t break the program if you click on the wrong area. 

Don’t Train Solo

While it’s important to familiarize yourself with the program first, you’ll want to seek some assistance if you want to succeed when learning Microsoft Project online. There are free resources and videos online, but you won’t be sure you’re getting comprehensive training if you rely on free resources. You’ll need some assistance, even if it's on-demand Microsoft Project training. 

Use Real-World Projects

You’ll want to use real-world projects while training in Microsoft Project. If you take a class, your instructor will likely provide a project. If you’re learning independently, you’ll want to find a complex task to begin practicing. Doing so can provide better feedback for your work, such as real-world analysis of budget and schedule tracking and risk and resource management. 

Familiarity with Other Office Programs

Being familiar with other Office programs can help you train in Microsoft Project. Microsoft redesigned the look of Project a few years ago to make its appearance more aligned with the more popular Microsoft Office programs: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook. 

Gaining advanced proficiency in these programs is required for professional Project Managers. Starting here could be a great way to help you master Microsoft Project. 

Learn the Project LifeCycle

The Project Management Institute (PMI) has outlined the concepts and terminology that define the project management field, called the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK). Aspiring Project Managers need to seek significant training in PMBOK. 

One of the essential parts of PMBOK is the Project LifeCycle which tracks a project throughout its stages: initiating, planning, executing, monitoring, and closing. Becoming familiar with Project LifeCycle will assist you in setting up projects in Microsoft Project, as you’ll better understand how to track tasks, time, resources, and risks. 

Find Opportunities to Teach Others

One of the fastest ways to know that you’ve mastered something or develop further understanding is through teaching it. Figure out ways in which you could share your Microsoft Project knowledge with others could further entrench your training. 

Key Insights

  • There are many ways you could learn Microsoft Project online, including live online, on-demand, and free video tutorials.
  • You’ll want an instructor for some of your training because Microsoft Project requires that all data be entered correctly from the beginning.
  • Using real-world projects can accelerate your training. 
  • Cultivating familiarity with other Microsoft Office programs, understanding the Project LifeCycle, and teaching others can help lessen the Microsoft Project learning curve.

Learn Microsoft Project with Hands-on Training at Noble Desktop

If you’re an aspiring Project Manager, you’ll need to train in Microsoft Project. NYIM is a business, design, and coding school based in NYC. They offer tech courses and bootcamps both live online or at their state-of-the-art campus in Midtown Manhattan. 

All of NYIM’s courses have guaranteed small class sizes and are taught by instructors who are experts in their industry. NYIM uses a unique hands-on approach in which instructors give a “micro-lecture” and then immediately guide students through applying what they learned using real-world projects. Graduates can take advantage of NYIM’s “free retake” option, which allows them to retake the course for free for up to one year to refresh or further develop skills. 

Live online courses are a great option if you don’t live in the NYC area. Because the class is happening live, it works exactly like an in-person class: you’ll be able to ask questions, interact with your instructor and classmates in real-time, and even receive direct feedback on your work using screen-sharing software. 

NYIM offers many options for learning Microsoft Project and the other programs in the Microsoft Office suite. In their Microsoft Project Level I course, students learn essential project management concepts and the fundamentals of using Microsoft Project to manage projects. Some of the Project skills that graduates will develop include defining projects, creating and organizing tasks, analyzing task relationships, creating a work breakdown structure, creating a resource calendar, resource management, creating baselines, sharing project plans, and finalizing project plans. Graduates earn a Certificate of Completion, which is sharable on Linkedin and your Project Manager Resume. 

NYIM’s Microsoft Project Level II covers more advanced techniques, including managing multiple projects. Instructors guide students through hands-on projects to develop skills using Microsoft Project to execute a project, monitor progress, control a project plan, create progress reports, and use advanced customized features. Graduates earn a Certificate of Completion to share on their Project Manager resume or Linkedin. 

If you want to study project management or pursue project management education hours toward CAPM Certification, you should consider a course like Noble Desktop’s Project Management Bootcamp. A PMP-Certified instructor trains students in project management theories and methodologies to help them launch a new career as Project Managers. Topics covered include the Project Management LifeCycle, project scope, project planning, resource management, risk management, financial management, team management, and becoming a professional Project Manager.

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