Hello readers and welcome back to our project management articles. I would like to start by saying a big thank you to all our readers for your continuous support in 2014 including all the comments, shares, likes and criticisms. You are the only reason we are here today and 2015 is definitely going to be a bigger and better year as we teach and enlighten ourselves in the field of project management.

In our article today, we will be exploring the numerous benefits of earning the PMP certification. Project management is one of the fastest growing fields in the world today and more people are beginning to consider developing a project management career or getting a certification in order to make them better managers in their current profession. However, the puzzle most people try to solve before committing their resources (knowledge, time and money) into pursuing a PMP certification is to determine if it is truly worth its hype.

PMP Training – Resources (Intense)

Common questions include: Would getting a project management certification increase my income? Does a project management certificate increase my chances of being employable? Do I stand a better chance for a promotion or increased salary when compared to my colleagues who are without any project management knowledge? Is the project management industry already saturated? All these and more are what this article hopes to help you answer.

Definition of terms

We should kick off by defining the following terminologies:

  • * Project – This is a unique and temporary endeavor that has a definite beginning and end time (time bound).
  • * Project Management – According to the project management Institute (PMI), “Project management, is the application of knowledge, skills and techniques to execute projects effectively and efficiently. It’s a strategic competency for organizations, enabling them to tie project results to business goals — and thus, better compete in their markets.”

The project management professional (PMP) certification recognizes the competence of an individual to perform the role of a project manager. A project manager is a competent, complex and dynamic person who understands what projects have in common and have the required set of skills and techniques that help in meeting the objectives of a project. Project managers exist in all walks of life and are found in various positions ranging from employees to owner-managers and independent consultants.

Having understood who project managers are and seeing that their role cuts across the various job roles of an organization, here are the benefits of obtaining a PMP certification:

  1. Increasing demand for project managers around the world means higher employability – Based on increasing positive results, organizations are beginning to see the advantages of employing project managers in managing projects over people without management knowledge. In a recent analysis carried out by the PMI, it reveals that an average of 1.2 project management positions would need to be filled each year for the next decade. However, as of today there are about 610,000 active PMP certified professionals across 104 countries worldwide. Logically, this means that there is currently a shortage of project managers in the industry. Earning a project management certification therefore increases your employability and chances of getting a job both in your field and in general.
  2. Lets you stand out from the crowd – As a prospective employee in any field, a project management certification distinguishes you from other job seekers. With a project management certificate, the organization sees you as someone who can perform a dual role, i.e. fulfill your original job description and at the same time perform the role of a project manager when the need arises. Also, an employer is more likely to shortlist a PMP certified employee, as it is a way of establishing you as a continuous learner. Employers are biased towards learners as most learners have proven to be high performers according to numerous researches.
  3. Earn more than your non-certified counterparts – Being PMP certified might earn you a higher salary than your non-PMP certified colleague for the same job role. According to a survey in 2010 conducted by the PMI salary survey, the PMP certified manager earns between USD 10,000 to USD 15,000 more than their non-PMP certified project managers. This is approximately 10 to 15 % higher than the average non certified manager.
  4. Project Management is the singular most important management job category – In 2008, the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), one of the world’s most famous management and industry analysts, conducted a survey which showed the following results:
  • Project management was identified as the world’s singular most important management job;
  • 97% of other management disciplines analyzed were already an integral part of project management; and
  • 60% of senior managers stated that there was a direct collaboration between senior management and project managers and more than half of them expected these collaborations to increase.

This survey also indicates that there is a continuous demand for project managers and is probably another reason why you should get the project management certificate.

  1. Ease of career change – Career change is not uncommon in today’s society. This is as a result of various factors, the most common being the lack of satisfaction with current profession and the need to earn more than one currently earns. While some people try to change careers within the same industry, others change careers between two unrelated professions. Having a project management certification enables you to easily switch careers (either related or unrelated). This is because the project management framework cuts across all disciplines and the tools and techniques required in managing these projects are the same, although they would need to be adapted based on the nature of the project and the industry.
  2. Networking opportunity – Being a PMP provides you a networking opportunity with other PMP’s in the world. As mentioned earlier, there are over 610,000 project managers in the world today, which is still growing. The Project Management Institute organizes project PMI meetings where members get together to learn and discuss project management theories. In these meetings, potential business relationships and partners are made and employment opportunities are discussed.
  3. High flexibility to go into self-employment – Self-employment or contract jobs is the dream of many. It provides the freedom many people want, as you have control over the kind of job you take on, your work hours, holiday hours, etc. With a PMP certification, you have a greater opportunity of venturing into self-employment. Your clients understand that you have the required project management knowledge and are more likely to trust you with their project. Also, your understanding of project management helps you handle projects in an efficient manner, thus optimizing profit.

For those still considering if the PMP certificate is worth it, there are more than enough reasons to become project management certified; however, before getting certified, it is not all rosy and beautiful. There are a few things you must know.

The PMP certification is expensive and time-consuming. The certification costs USD 405 for non-registered members and USD 555 for registered members. Registered members have access to some resources that help in preparing for the exam such as the PMBOK, while non-registered members have to buy these resources. It also includes taking 48 hours of formal classes that vary in cost depending on the institution organizing the tutorial and the country.

It also requires dedication in studying for the exams. While it is not an impossible one, just like every other exam it requires time to study and understand the principles. What makes the PMP different from the certified associate project management (CAPM) certification is that it takes a practical approach to learning. The exam goes beyond recalling all you have read, but tests your understanding of the principles, tools and techniques by applying them to real life scenarios.

Finally, it is important to know that the PMP certification is not a one-of process. As a certified PMP, you need to amass 60 PDU’s over three years. Also, you need to renew your certification after every three years, otherwise your certification expires and you become inactive.

Conclusion

After seeing the advantages and the challenges required in getting certified, would I still recommend the PMP certification? The answer is YES. This is because, in my opinion, the advantages are greater than the disadvantages and it presents us with a lot of opportunities as explained above.

We should also realize that the certification in itself just provides us with opportunities; it does not make us a good project manager. We always have to defend our knowledge, which the certificate claims that we have, by effectively applying the project management tools and techniques in fulfilling our organizational goals.

That’s all we have for today. Thank you for reading and as usual, if you have any comments or questions, do drop a message in the comment box below and we would get back to you.