Is PMP certification a career goal of yours? Do you think it is necessary for your PM career advancement? Or perhaps you are searching for a new PM gig and you think it will help you land a lucrative PM role or contract. Whatever the potential reasoning...will it help? Yes. Will it make you a better project manager? Yes. Is it absolutely necessary and would I only hire certified project managers. No. I know too many extremely successful project managers who aren't certified. I couldn't bypass a great PM with lots of project successes under his or her belt if I was looking to hire. And I have created PMOs and hired project managers along the way. But certification gives a validation you can't easily show in any other way – there is no question about that. So let's consider 5 advantages to obtaining PMP certification...
The PMP gives you the advantage. All things being equal, the PMP doesn't necessarily make someone a project manager. That said, if you have two people of equal qualifications and demonstrated capabilities - the project manager who has gone the extra yard to earn the PMP is likely going to show more consistent project success on an ongoing basis.
Certification shows a commitment to the profession. You can definitely manage projects – and succeed at managing projects – without PMP certification. However, the certified PM has demonstrated a different level of commitment to the profession of project management by making the effort to earn the industry standard certification.
PMP certification shows that you have demonstrated yourself to have the requisite knowledge for the globally accepted standards of project management. This is not a minor demonstration in today's global economy. Being aligned with the global standard of project management can significantly reduce mis-understandings in how to do the work of project management. In a profession like project management where communication and common understanding can mean the difference between success and failure, this is critical.
Certification shows a willingness to accept the requirements of leadership with respect to projects. PMP certification shows the person has the maturity to accommodate the global standards for project management even though they themselves may in fact have their own best practices they prefer. Again this is a significant demonstration that they can also accommodate others' different ideas in how to get the job done. No man is an island - being able to work together with others improves success of an organization.
Certification shows dedication to a course of study to a level of discipline and rigor to pass a difficult certification exam. Do you want project managers who aren't willing to go the extra mile to ensure your projects will succeed? Do you want project managers who have shown that they are willing to go through a training and testing process to certify themselves in their chosen field. Probably. Some or all may not have the time to prep, study and take the exam due to current workloads. But if it's also important to the employer, they will make the time for their PM resources – possibly even offer bonus or promotion or salary increase offers as incentives to get certified. One of my employers offered a large boost in salary for PMP certification.
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The bottom line is this – is it important enough to you and to your customer and to your employer and for your career to get certified in project management? If it matters to you, then stop making excuses and do it. It will only help you become a better project manager. Certification will open many options for the newer project manager and open new options for the more experienced project managers out there. Recruiters and companies seem to not be “requiring” certification much anymore, but most are still listing it as “preferred” and my guess is that the underlying theme is that they are basically requiring it. Do it – you won't regret it.
Readers - please share your thoughts and experiences on the needs and benefits of PMP certification? Do you think it's necessary? If you are certified, how have you benefited and why do you think it's important?