Getting certified as a project manager is one way to cement your skills and prove your worth not just to your current employer but to any future company too. Not only this, but by taking a project management certification course you can ensure you are up to speed on the latest best practice techniques for managing your project, helping you do better from day to day.
If you are considering getting qualified as a project manager, you are probably full of questions right now. Which route provides the quickest or easiest pathway to qualification? Which standard is the best and the one which is more likely to get you a job in the future? Do you even need a qualification at all? The answer to all these questions, and more, is often dependent on your specific circumstances.
Do you need certification?
Whilst any form of official certification is always going to benefit your career, considering the cost, the effort and the time involved in taking project management certification courses, it is important that it is actually relevant to you, right now. For instance, if you simply want to learn more about managing projects, you may be able to get everything you need from some simple day courses or online resources.
If, however, you are looking to make your first break into professional project management, or are looking to step up in your career to get a better job, then it could be a wise move to get yourself certified. More and more employers are using certification as one way of assessing a candidate’s suitability for employment, so it makes sense to have a robust qualification on your CV if you are in the jobs market.
Which one is right for you?
There are so many project management certification routes out there, the right one for you will depend on a variety of factors, such as where you want to work and what the preference of your preferred industry is. When considering certification routes, think about:
- Is the course recognized in your industry? What do project managers in your field usually hold?
- Is it recognized internationally? Even if you don’t intend to travel for work, international recognition can give you more clout when dealing with overseas contractors or project stakeholders.
- What is the cost? Cost should not be the deciding factor, but should certainly come into it, particularly if you are self-funding.
- How and where will the course take place? Traveling huge distances on day release from your current job is never going to be fun. See what is available locally or what can be completed from home.
- Where can you go next? Is there a further qualification leading on from the one you’ve done, should you wish to extend your certification further in the future?
All project management certifications, from PRINCE2 to PMP, are designed to give you a great grounding in the strategies and skills needed for project management success. The differences between courses are more to do with methodology than basic skills, so whatever you choose it is unlikely you will be restricting your choice of employment in the future, as long as you stick with the bigger names and most widely recognized certifications.
Michelle Symonds is a qualified PRINCE2 Project Manager and believes that the right project management training can transform a good project manager into a great project manager and is essential for a successful outcome to any project.
There is a wide range of formal and informal training courses now available that include online learning and podcasts as well as more traditional classroom courses from organizations such as Parallel Project Training.