Job Hunting? Do You Need a Project Management Certification?

Unless you’ve been living in an underground bunker these past 5 years, or seeking a spiritual awakening holed up in a Tibetan monastery meditating, then you realise we’re currently experiencing a Global economic crisis. With budget cuts, mass redundancies and the collapse of high street chains once deemed unsinkable (blockbuster excluded) the competition for jobs, salary increase or promotion are tougher than ever. In the Project Management sector this is especially true, in a career that offers flexibility, progression and against the current trend, increased average salaries, applicants are flooding into a shrinking market pushing up competition for Jobs.

Whilst it might not be a silver bullet, certification has always been deemed to give “an edge” when comparing candidates. Within the sector, the globally recognised PMI Project Management Professional (PMP) certification is an endorsement of knowledge both gained and applied by a respected Education body. Indeed, an increasing majority of job positions state within their requirements that PMP certification is desirable or a “requirement”.

In the remainder of this article we will cover some of the noticeable benefits a PMP certification provides and categorically answer the question, do I need a Project Management Certification?

Better Internal Pipeline Project Management

Although this should be the most obvious advantage, it helps to understand why certified project managers are more effective than traditional “in-house” oversight techniques. Passing the PMP examination and gaining becoming certified requires an extensive knowledge of how to handle a project’s internal logistics, how to more effectively communicate inter-departmentally, and the mean by which goals and milestones can be made clear to the workforce. Therefore, certified managers can bring these skills immediately to the table. This is particularly important if we consider that 7 out of 10 IT projects ultimately fail, according to Spivey & Co in CIO’s article “Why project management certifications matter”. It is ultimately in the company’s best interest to bring qualified skill sets to the table to increase efficiency and overall success.

International Recognition

The world is becoming a smaller place, especially where the business arena is concerned. Qualified individuals are now looking for employment abroad, and companies are likewise headhunting certified professionals across the globe. One major advantage PMP certification offers, is that PMI are internationally recognised throughout the business world. In fact, a relevant PMP certification may be the only difference between two professionals that have the same work experience. Another benefit here is as this exam is known worldwide, it is standardised; that is, there are no cultural or language biases associated with its content.

Trial by Fire

PMP shows a prospective employer that the individual has proven themselves in the field of Project Management, this is reflected in PMI’s pre-requisites, requiring an applicant have a four-year university degree, 4500 hours of project management experience and a minimum of 35 hours of project management education prior to application. So, a PMP certified Project Manager will already have shown employers that they are well-versed in their field and bring a great deal of added value to the company.

Financial Incentives

Financial stability is always a concern, according to Recruiter , research proves applicants in the US who possess a PMP certification on average earn between $6,000 and $10,000 dollars more than those without. These findings are reinforced by ITJobsWatch, who show a similar trend in the UK where PMP certified professionals earn on average £7500 (+15%) more per annum.

Leadership Experience?

Some insist that project management certification does not emphasise leadership qualities as much as it should, but rather focuses on knowledge bases and technical know-how. Governance components and motivational techniques are notably lacking, and therefore may impede the management process upon entering the workforce. Indeed, many cite this as one major drawback of the program, as effective project completion has as much to do with psychological leadership qualities as it does with discreet management knowledge. In fact, some industry leaders have clarified what can be called a “knowing” and a “doing” gap; simply stated, real-world applications are a far cry from examination knowledge.

To summarise, what are you waiting for…

These are but a handful of the most important reasons why one should consider a PMP certification. There are a number of pros and cons involved, but even with the “leadership quality” pitfall, these certifications can provide a great deal of positive benefits. As competition is expected to increase in the years to come, this certification can be a powerful tool to secure a lucrative position that may develop into a rewarding and lifelong career.

So the answer is yes and no, a Project Management certification isn’t a necessity, but if you wish to earn more and improve your chances of career progression then certification; especially PMP, is a vital step on the ladder to success. Why not take a look at Firebrand’s PMP course and get started today. 

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