N2K formerly CyberVista blog: Which Project Management Certification is right for you?

Which Project Management Certification Is Right For You?

Which Project Management Certification Is Right For You? 1200 628 CyberVista now N2K

By Chris Hare, Project Management Specialist, Content Developer

TL;DR – Check out this PDF outlining top project management certifications to pursue by level of experience.

A question I get often, from both professional colleagues as well as friends who want advice, is: “Chris, I want to become a project manager. Which certification should I get?”

My answer to everyone is basically the same, as I typically respond with three additional, clarifying questions:

  1. Why are you interested in becoming a project manager?
  2. How much project management experience do you currently have?
  3. In your current and past roles, have you ever managed a project? (You may have many experiences that fit this criteria; to be considered a project, this can be anything you have undertaken that is temporary, unique, and has a definitive beginning and end. I’m sure you can think of many examples!)

But, read this before you proceed: The answer to the first question will determine whether to proceed with the next two questions and subsequently with one of my action plans. For instance, if the answer to question 1 involves money, power, or landing a job/any job, then proceed no further. These are all the wrong reasons to become a project manager and because of the complexities and high-stress and pressure levels involved with the role, you are surely to quickly burn out.

If your answer entails aspects such as enjoyment of project-based tasks, interest in servant leadership, and/or admiration of the profession and work of colleagues, then please – proceed!

And, based on your answers to the last two questions, here are the set of action plans I would recommend – one will certainly apply to you:

Action Plan 1: I’m brand-new to project management, as in zero experience.

Here is what I recommend for you, as your quick-and-easy entrée into the profession.

Join: Project Management Institute (PMI) at pmi.org/membership. Become a member and take advantage of tons of free learning resources. Also, see what PMI chapters are proximate to you, and join that as well! They offer great opportunities to network, receive discounts on training, to name a few.

Learn: Jump-start your introduction to project management with our exams and practice tests to learn basic principles, as well as prepare for PMI’s entry-level project management certification:

Tip: Offer to volunteer to help a busy project manager at your company to get some hands-on experience!

Action Plan 2: I have 1-2 years of project management experience (meaning, having that somewhere in my title or job duties).

Join: If you haven’t already, be sure to become a member of the Project Management Institute (PMI) at pmi.org. Become a member and take advantage of tons of free learning resources. Also, see what PMI chapters are proximate to you, and join that as well! They offer great opportunities to network, receive discounts on training, to name a few. The CompTIA website has some great project resources as well for their Project+ exam (best suited for candidates with 12+ months of project experience or equivalent education).

Learn: Fast-track your learning goals with our Project+ certification practice test, and take advantage of our exam voucher discount:

Tip: Start to explore and expand upon additional learning opportunities and challenges, such as getting certified and working in other methodologies/frameworks and processes.

Action Plan 3: I have 3+ years of project management experience (regardless of title or level).

Join: If you are already a member of PMI and are in the CompTIA community, consider exploring other opportunities via educational certifications and those provided by authorized training providers. This is especially helpful if your next step is the Project Management Professional® (PMP) certification, as regular Professional Development Units (PDUs) will be necessary to attain, as well as maintain, your credential.

Learn: Accelerate your learning to achieve the gold standard in project management certifications, with our Project Management Professional® (PMP) practice test and training course:

Tip: Consider leveling up your skills as a project management practitioner by sharing your time and talent with your local and global community by writing articles or volunteering as a board member for your local PMI chapter. The project management community can always use more evangelists!

Action Plan 4: I’m just looking for a specialized project management-based certification, based on my interest in specific frameworks, processes, and industries.

Join: Once you are part of our recommended communities, consider expanding the breadth and depth of your knowledge into additional framework-, industry-, and process-based topics and communities, such as those offered by the PMI and Axelos.

Learn: Expand your skills and knowledge with practice tests and training courses to help you diversify your project management repertoire:

Tip: Consider mentoring, teaching, coaching, and speaking engagements to downstream all of your lessons learned with others. Your personal reward will exceed the amount of knowledge sharing you extend, guaranteed.

Questions on this or any other project management-based topic? Wish to share which path you will be taking? Have a suggestion for a future article? Send us an email at intelligence@marketing.n2k.com.