March 28 2023 at 12:00AM
It’s Never Too Late to Future-Proof Your Career by Earning a Project Management Certification
We live in uncertain economic times. Unemployment is at a 50-year low, but lay-offs are spreading across the tech and finance sectors. Inflation seems to be diminishing, but the Fed continues to boost interest rates. Some economic forecasters predict recession, while others see the economy cruising in for a soft landing.
So, what’s a project professional to do? As always, the best defense is a good offense. For many professionals, that means sharpening your skills and future-proofing your career through professional certifications.
A PMI professional certification ensures that you're ready to meet the demands of projects and employers across the globe. Our certifications are based on rigorous standards and ongoing research to meet the real-world needs of organizations. With a PMI certification behind your name, you can work in virtually any industry, anywhere in the world, and with any project management methodology.
There are many benefits to obtaining a professional certification. By enhancing your knowledge and skills, you can work smarter and more efficiently. You’ll be more productive in your job and enhance your professional standing – thus gaining a competitive advantage in the job marketplace and increasing your earning potential. Indeed, PMI’s 2021 Salary Survey reports that holders of our Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification earn 16 percent higher pay than those without the certification.
And we know, regardless of the short-term economic uncertainty, that the job market for project professionals is strong. Project management was ranked #11 on the World Economic Forum’s (WEF’s) 2020 list of jobs that are in increasing demand. And PMI’s 2021 Talent Gap report revealed that the global economy will need 25 million new project professionals by 2030.
At PMI, we try to make the certification learning process as easy as possible. You can take courses on your own time, at your own speed, and, in some cases, in multiple modalities, i.e., either through an instructor-led course or a self-paced online course.
But what certifications deliver the most bang for the buck? Here are three certifications that I believe provide maximum career flexibility and that say to current or potential employers that you have the chops to manage any project using any methodology.
Project Management Professional (PMP)®
The PMP® is the world’s leading project management certification and is recognized by organizations all around the world. In fact, CIO magazine recently described it as “the gold standard” of certifications in our field.
PMI recently launched an updated version of the PMP® certification exam. The new version reflects shifts in demand from solely technical project skills to a more diverse toolset, including agile and hybrid approaches. In total, 50 percent of the updated exam covers agile and hybrid ways of working.
The certification also now reflects the importance of power skills like collaborative leadership, empathy, and communication in project management. PMI research shows nine out of ten project professionals agree that power skills help them work smarter. So, 42 percent of the exam questions now focus on the “People” dimension of project management.
PMI offers two types of exam prep experiences for the PMP®: an instructor-led course through one of our vetted Authorized Training Partners or a self-paced online course called PMI® Authorized On-demand PMP® Exam Prep. We also recently launched PMI Study Hall, a subscription-based desktop and mobile app offering a gamified experience to make studying more effective and enjoyable through puzzles, flashcards, practice questions and exams, and more.
There are now more than one million PMP® certification holders in 200+ countries worldwide, spanning a range of industries. And satisfaction with the PMP® certification is strong at 85 percent.
Certified Associate of Project Management (CAPM)®
If you’re just starting your career or have recently made a career change into project management, you should consider the Certified Associate of Project Management (CAPM)®. The certification introduces entry-level professionals to the fundamentals of project management and the role of project professionals. It’s an essential first step in building your career.
CAPM® certification covers such areas as the project management environment and project integration management. It encompasses project scopes, schedules, costs, quality and resource management. And it will help sharpen your skills in procurement practices, communications, stakeholder relations and risk management.
Being CAPM®-certified sets you up for success in roles like project coordinator associate and junior project manager. It can also aid in pursuing other major certifications, such as the PMP®. In fact, earning a CAPM® certification means you automatically meet the 35 hours of project management education and training required to sit for the PMP® exam.
Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)®
If your organization is adopting agile practices or if you work on an agile team already, you might want to consider the PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)®.
More and more organizations are moving to agile ways of working – and for good reason. PMI research shows that agile organizations complete more of their projects successfully than slower-moving companies – 75 percent to 56 percent. The PMI-ACP® was created by agilists for agilists. It covers the many approaches to agile, including Scrum, Kanban, Lean, extreme programming (XP) and test-driven development (TDD). It formally recognizes your real-world knowledge of these practices and your hands-on command of agile techniques.
Whether you’re satisfied in your existing job or contemplating a career move, these certifications will help elevate your professional standing and make you more valuable to your current or prospective employer. They will sharpen your skills, help you embrace complexity, and allow you to thrive – regardless of what the global economy sends our way.