Should you go for PMP or PMI-ACP certification?

It might be tough choice for today’s project managers to pick one out of the many certifications available, to be able to add more credibility to their resume and boost their professional growth by being in tune with contemporary trends of the industry. Moreover, it is a daunting task to decide which certification is better suited to managers from a specific technical domain. 
Talking of the dilemma between the PMI PMP® and PMI-ACP® specifically, it should be noted that while PMP is a broader application carrying more influence, the PMI-ACP is specific to Agile methodologies that are increasing gaining popularity for their adaptability in unpredictable circumstances. 
It is being noticed that the PMI-ACP certification offered by the Project Management Institute (PMI) is gaining credence among employers in the technology space. But the same industry is witnessing organizations that are looking for PMP certified professionals who also have experience in Agile methodologies. 

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PMP and PMI-ACP: The basic difference:
It shouldn’t come out as a surprise that any certification from PMI is considered to be of high value in the project management industry. The PMI-ACP can be said to be a formal credential that improves the knowledge and understanding of the latest project management methodologies that find practical application in process-oriented organizations in today’s highly adaptable workplace. On the other hand, the PMI-PMP, in spite of being based on traditional software engineering methodology, is a globally recognized and demanded certification that demonstrates that you have the experience, education and competency to lead and direct projects.
The vital differences between the two certifications can be understood as under:

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PMP vs. PMI-ACP: Difference in terms of roles of a PMP manager and an agile practitioner:
As a PMP manager, you are expected to have sufficient knowledge and experience about the specific methodology that needs to be adopted to undertake a particular project. Your role would not only require you to lead and direct projects but you would also be responsible for controlling and regulating all the aspects of the project for its sustenance. Moreover, the management of the constraints of schedule and budget in the successful completion of the project becomes your responsibility. 
In contrast, an agile practitioner needs to be well versed with agile tools and techniques that focus on adapting quickly according to the changing needs and preferences in an ongoing project. Your role requires you to have a perfect understanding of agile methodology and concepts so that you are adept in bringing transparency and the high degree of coordination needed to manage agile teams. With the teams of planning, designing, development, testing and documentation working in cohesion, an agile practitioner is expected to be able to achieve lean management. 

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PMP vs. PMI-ACP: The difference in transparency and answerability:
One of the basic concepts in Agile being transparency, the project progress must be shared with all team members. The graphical representation of project progress through burndown charts presents a clear picture to every team member working on a project. The focus is on continuous improvement and defect prevention at every step during the project cycle. PMP, on the other hand, gives the authority to the project manager, who is empowered to take decisions as regards the way the project progress can be altered.  The project manager is the only person who knows how the project is progressing and has eyes on the big picture. Other team members rely on the information shared by the project manager.
PMP vs. PMI-ACP: The difference in terms of where you stand after earning the certification:
As a matter of fact, the PMP certification would take you to the highest level of project management to help understand project management from a macro-view to a granular level. However, the ACP is a mere subset of project management which is known for being flexible and always ready to respond to unpredictability. 
PMP vs. PMI-ACP: The difference in terms of what is covered in the courseware for the certification:
The PMP certification is all about Project Management using traditional approaches. It is a broader perspective to project management that provides an understanding of the concepts of Project Management but not Agile Methodology. So, for those who have an interest in Agile methodology and are fascinated by how the Agile development provides opportunities to assess the direction throughout the development lifecycle, PMI-ACP is the right answer for you. At the same time, for individuals who are looking for a wider acceptance of their project management skills, PMP can help in portraying that they can manage and execute their responsibilities, quite well. 
In general, PMI-ACP tends to focus only on Agile, while PMP takes project management to a higher level. So, if you are about to work on incremental development, Agile could be the right choice for you and if your focus is on learning how to integrate the different components of project management, PMP could do the trick for you.
Considering all the points of difference between PMP and PMI-ACP, we can conclude that the choice of certification is dependent to a large extent on the future plan of the professional going in for one. What one wants to get into is what can help decide which certification to go for. 

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