Project management has been one of the most lucrative and in-demand career options for the last many years. This trend is expected to continue in the foreseeable future, and the need for proficient, experienced project managers will soar..
As per research conducted by PMI, employers will require 87.7 million project management oriented roles by 2027. If you are a current or aspiring project manager, choosing the appropriate project management certification right now is going to be definitive for your career in the next many years to come.
Project Managers with an industry-recognized certification have the edge over non-certified PM professionals. Certification provides industry recognition and choosing the right certification will help you gain recognition globally across any industry and location.
72% of PMO leaders feel certification is very relevant for mid-career project managers.— PMI Report, Pulse of the Profession: 2018
The most common project management certifications you might already be considering are the PMP (Project Management Professional) and PRINCE2 (PRojects IN Controlled Environments). To know which one’s going to suit your needs, it’s imperative to understand each in a bit more detail, including their demand across geographies, and the career prospects after getting certified.
Before we get into the differences between the two certifications, let’s begin with a brief introduction of each certification.
PRINCE2 stands for “PRojects IN Controlled Environments.” The British central Computer & Telecommunications Agency originally established it for Information Technology projects in the year 1989. Later, PRINCE2 was released in the year 1996 as a methodology with the inputs from 150 European organizations. Currently, PRINCE2 certification is owned by Axelos, UK. Axelos (www.Axelos.com) was formed in 2014 with a joint venture of the UK government and Capita (a public company).
Video credits: Axelos Global Best Practice
PRINCE2 project management is a process-based methodology for projects. It offers the official manual “Managing successful projects with PRINCE2” for the practitioners following PRINCE2.
PRINCE2 integrates with some of the globally known and practiced IT frameworks including ITIL. This makes it more applicable in the techno-driven environments, where technology is embedded into the fabrics of the new generation IT organizations. As per the Axelos report 2016, 90% of the PRINCE2 practitioners value the certification for their career progression.
PRINCE2 offers the following certifications-
PRINCE2 2009 - Certification for Project Management
PRINCE2 2017 - Certification for Project Management with tailored consideration including Agile
PRINCE2 Agile – Based on agile approaches to provide PM solutions
AgileSHIFT – Certification providing an enterprise agility solution
MSP – Program Management Certification
M_o_R – Risk management
P3O – Project, Program, and Portfolio
MoP – Portfolio management
MoV – Value management
ITIL – IT service management based on ITIL framework
RESILIA – Cyber resilience
PRINCE2 2009 certification offers three levels of project management certifications –
Foundation – Basic level
Practitioner – Significantly valued
Professional – Extremely difficult & seldom accomplished
While PRINCE2 2017 comprises of PRINCE2 Foundation and practitioner along with PRINCE2 Agile scheme.
PRINCE2 Foundation and PRINCE2 Practitioner are the most common and widely accomplished certifications.
Axelos revised the PRINCE2 guidance and certification scheme last year 2017 to accommodate changes related to tailoring considerations. From, 1 January 2018, Axelos has mandated all the English versions of Foundation & Practitioner exams to be based on the 2017 edition. Hence, going forward PRINCE2 2017 started offering four different certification exams in the English language –
PRINCE2 2017 Foundation Examination
PRINCE2 2017 Practitioner Examination
PRINCE2 Agile Foundation Examination
PRINCE2 Agile Practitioner Examination
Axelos is not a training organization, and hence, PRINCE2 certifications are public domain. However, training on PRINCE2 certification modules can be obtained from training partners. Training fee varies and is based on accredited training providers (ATO).
PMP certification is a popular certification among project management professionals, which is administered by PMI (Project Management Institute), USA.
PMI is headquartered in Philadelphia, USA and was founded in 1969 (www.pmi.org). It is the world’s leading not-for-profit membership association for the Project Management profession.
PMP stands for Project Management Professional. PMP certificate is most popular in the USA, Australia, and America. However, it is valued worldwide within the project management domain. The PMP certification exam structure is primarily based on PMBOK. PMBOK guide is also called as a bible for project managers and stands for Project Management Body Of Knowledge. The latest PMBOK Guide 6th Edition was published in Sep’17.
Below is the list of certifications offered by PMI:
Program Management Professional (PgMP)
Portfolio Management Professional (PfMP)
PMI Professional in Business Analysis (PMI – PBA)
PMI Risk Management Professional (PMI – RMP)
PMI Scheduling Professional (PMI – SP)
|#||Points of Difference||PRINCE2||PMP|
|1||Place of Origin||UK region||USA|
|Controlled & managed by||Owned by Axelos, UK||Administered by PMI, USA|
|2||Answers to||What/ When/ Whom?||How?|
|4||Guidelines (Exam Scope)||Official manual, “Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2® (2017 Edition)||PMBOK® Guide - Project Management Body of Knowledge Edition 6 along with standards & practice frameworks available on PMI site|
|5||Framework||Prescriptive: based on best practices in the project environment||Descriptive: based on knowledge areas such as scope, schedule, cost, risk, etc.|
|6||Structure||An integrated set of themes & processes along with 7 mandatory principles||10 Knowledge areas, which can be referred to in isolation to master a specific project management knowledge|
|7||Project Roles||All project roles are well defined||Emphasizes the role of a project manager|
|8||Certifications||PRINCE2 provides two levels of certifications:
||PMP is a stand-alone certificate for project management. However, there are other project management related to certifications provided by PMI. Moreover, the basic understanding of project management can be obtained with the CAPM certificate offered by PMI.|
|9||Widely popular in||UK, Australia and most parts of the European region||USA, Canada, Australia, Switzerland and Some portions of Asia|
|10||Eligibility||There are no eligibility criteria for Foundation level. However, to apply for the Practitioner level, you must have obtained a Foundation certificate.||Eligibility criteria are there, which includes-
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|United States (USA)||Preferred|
|Asia||Equally Preferred||Equally Preferred|
|Australia||Equally Preferred||Equally Preferred|
|Africa||Equally Preferred||Equally Preferred|
|Middle East||Equally Preferred||Equally Preferred|
The popularity of PRINCE2 certification has gone up in some Asian regions especially, India by 86% from the year 2012 to 2014 as per the ATO (Accredited Training Organization) reports from Axelos.
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A career in the project management field is highly prospective. According to the PMI report, there is expected substantial job growth for project-oriented roles. The report highlights the following region-wise statistics depicting project-oriented job requirements by the year 2027 compared to 2017:
Image Source: PMI job growth report 2017 - 2027
Based on the same report, employers would require to fill about 2.2 million new project-oriented roles on an annual basis through the year 2027.
However, with the increasing job prospects in project-oriented roles, a lot of challenges are yet to be addressed by aspiring project managers. The importance of certifications in project management is becoming paramount and mandatory for a rewarding career. Hence, certified project management practitioners are going to benefit in the long run in their career.
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Based on the region of work, the preference of the certification is the obvious choice among project management professionals. However, below is the comparison of the very recent salary data in the USA, UK, and India based on the certification choice of PM roles:
|#||Regions||Certified PMP Professional Salary Stats||Certified PRINCE2 Professional’s Salary Stats|
Table Data Source: www.payscale.com (Most recent data) – PMP certified salary vs. PRINCE2 certified salary
Table (2018): Comparison of Salaries of Project management professionals with certificates PRINCE2 & PMP among regions- USA, UK & India
A PMP certified project manager salary is a little more in comparison to PRINCE2 for the same project roles. But, this doesn’t affect the popularity of any of these certifications. They are equally valued and preferred by industries. Irrespective of the certification, a certified project management professional can demonstrate high PM skills.
|PMP certification||PMP certification eligibility: To apply for PMP certification, below are the PMP prerequisites:
|PRINCE2 Foundation||PRINCE2 foundation requirements: No Prerequisites recommended by Axelos. However, it would be useful to have prior project management experience, and formal training is recommended. PRINCE2 requirements for Practitioner certification: Need to qualify and obtain at least one of the below certifications to be qualified to apply for PRINCE2 Practitioner certificate:
|PMP certification||Registration for the exam can be done on the PMI website, www.pmi.org Need to fill and submit the application form with supporting details. Applications can be audited on a sampling basis. Post application submission & audit (if applicable), you’ll need to pay the exam fee with the payment link shared by PMI. Post submission of exam fee, you can select the preferred exam center and schedule for the examination. Aspirants can register themselves for PMI membership before applying for PMP examination. PMI Membership would provide you with the following advantages:
|PMP certification||Cost of PMP exam differs for PMI members and non-members: PMI Members: 405 USD Non-PMI Members: 555 USD Membership fee: 139 USD|
|PRINCE2 Foundation||Cost varies according to the region for taking the test and the ATO (Accredited Training Organization)|
|PMP certification||Non-disclosure of marks by PMI. However, scoring more than 62% would likely ensure the certification.|
|PRINCE2 Foundation||Approximately 55% marks, i.e., at least 33 marks out of 60.|
|PRINCE2 Practitioner||About 55% marks, i.e., at least 38 marks out of 68.|
|PMP certification||PMP certification validity is 3 years. Post certification, you need to earn at 60 PDUs in 3 years to continue the certification.|
|PRINCE2 Foundation||No expiry.|
|PRINCE2 Practitioner||Valid for 3 years. However, a certified PRINCE2 practitioner can enroll on PRINCE2 subscription to maintain the Practitioner certificate.|
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PMP certification cost:
Project management certification costs you around USD 555 for exam fee & PMI membership cost is USD 139 along with about USD 800 – 1200 for formal PMP classroom training.
Both the certificates are valuable within the project management fabrics. However, they can be preferred over the other based on geographical distributions. Both the certifications have been tested for years of project successes. PMP is knowledge-based, while PRINCE2 methodology is process-based for uncovering the best-proven practices in project management. To excel in the project management area, one needs to have both kinds of exposure. Thus, I would say both PMP & PRINCE2 are not competitors. Rather they complement each other. PMP equips you as a knowledge-driven project manager with the “HOW” of project management. While, PRINCE2 deals with WHEN, WHAT & WHOM. To advance your career as a proficient project manager, you can opt both. And make yourself a globally valued project manager.