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A recent PwC survey states that certified PMP project managers handle more than three fourth of the high performing projects. Also, companies with more than one-third PMP certified managers have much better project success than companies which do not. What's more? PMP is the fifth highest-paying certification in the year 2016.
Sounds important enough? If it does, the next question is should you get PMP certified? Before we explore this question in this article, let us first understand what PMP stands for.
Project Management Professional (PMP) is a globally recognized professional certification. It is offered by the Project Management Institute (PMI), a US non-profit professional organization. A well recognized and respected credential, PMP is considered essential for the project managers. Especially, for those who wish to take the next step in their career.
Initiating the project (13%)
Planning the project (24%)
Executing the project (31%)
Monitoring and controlling the project (25%)
Closing the project (7%)
*the number in parentheses indicates the weightage given to each domain in the exam.
The exam has about 200 multiple choice questions. Out of these, 25 are not counted towards the final score. These are used as pilot questions to improve the standard of the exam. But, one cannot know what the sample questions are as they are placed randomly throughout the exam. Also, it is a closed book test. It means that no reference material will be allowed to be used by the applicant during the test.
To the question of who should apply, PMI states:
"If you're an experienced project manager responsible for all aspects of project delivery, leading and directing cross-functional teams, then the PMP is the right choice for you.
More importantly, there are certain prerequisites one should meet to be certified. A candidate must have either
Secondary degree (high school diploma, associate's degree or the global equivalent.
7,500 hours leading and directing projects
35 hours of project management education
4,500 hours leading and directing projects
35 hours of project management education
Now that we understood what PMP is all about, let's come back to the original question. Should you get a PMP certification? There are both costs and benefits to getting the PMP certification. But, many hiring experts and certified professionals agree that benefits far outweigh the costs.
First, let us look at some of the problems cited with PMP certification.
If you are not a member of PMI, the cost of the PMP certification is 550 US dollars. However, if you are a member then you just need to spend 405 US dollars to write the exam. But PMI membership itself costs 139 US dollars. Though you save only 11 USD by becoming the PMI member, there is host of other benefits that are associated with the membership. Hence, it is highly suggested that you become a member of PMI before registering for the exam.
Additionally, if you fail in your first attempt and want to retake the exam, you need to pay 275 USD if you are a PMI member and 375 USD if you are a not a PMI member.
Apart from the cost of the exam, there are several other costs that one incurs during the preparation. These include the cost of PM training sessions, preparatory books, sample questions etc. Considering all these, one needs to spend at least 750 USD to gain this certification. Yet, almost all the experts agree that this cost is nothing compared to the career growth that one can have through this certification.
Most people agree that PMP is a difficult exam. Some even say that it is the hardest exam that they have ever taken. The difficulty lies in the fact that the exam tests not only the memory of the concepts but the practical application of them. When you add the pressure of time (you need to answer 200 questions in 240 minutes), it becomes terrifying for even a seasoned project manager. Also, there are individual differences in how long one takes to succeed in the exam. Some take two to three months to succeed. Others cannot get certified even after preparing for years.
But, the point is if the exam were a cake walk and anyone could pass it easily, would it be as valued as it is today? Definitely not! The prestige of this certification lies in the tough standards required to clear and maintain the certification. Thus, PMP certification does need hard work from your end. But the good news is the fruits of this effort will be sweet.
Yes, there is a financial cost. But, for most people the bigger problem is the cost of time. They complain about the number of hours it requires to get PMP certified.
A part of it has to do with preparation itself. As the exam is difficult, you need to set aside some time daily to master the PMBOK guide. But, most people agree that's not all. You need to read up several other guides, attend preparatory sessions (if you join any) and write sample tests as part of your preparation. All these activities do take up considerable time. Since most aspirants are people who are currently employed, they feel even more crunched for time.
Alongside, PMP application needs you to document all the projects you executed. That too, you need to write the minutest detail about these projects. Sounds simple, but it is not easy and requires a lot of time. Also, one cannot take this activity casually. That's because PMI conducts an audit process to establish the authenticity of applications.
Yes, these problems look intimidating. But, in the face of the advantages of PMP certification, these seem almost irrelevant. Let us now read about the pros of PMP certification.
There are several professional certifications that you can pursue throughout your career. But, among all of those, PMP certification is the most valuable certificate programme. Interviewers looking to fill in a position of a project manager understand this. Hence, they tend to prioritize profiles with PMP certification over those which do not have such certification.
Project management jobs are high in demand. So, in most cases, several people apply for these jobs. It is time and resource consuming for the company to interview and assess the potential of all the applicants. As such, they like to filter out as many people as possible before the project management interview process. This is where the PMP certification proves beneficial as it is one of the most objective ways in which one can shortlist the candidates.
Furthermore, many companies are making it mandatory to have a PMP certification. It means you cannot even apply for some positions without these credentials.
PMP certification can also be extremely valuable if you plan to advance in the current company you are working at. It puts you way ahead of your colleagues in terms of moving up the career ladder. Also, a certified manager can do much better in a gruelling project management interview than a non-certified one.
PMP certification is universally recognized. Many certification programmes focus only on a specific domain or geography. PMP on the other hand, is global and works with any industry and in any location. So, regardless of the professional background and industry, you can gain by adding the certification to your resume.
What is the PMP certification value in the market? Data show that as the number of certified project managers increases within a company, the success rate of projects also increases. Also, the companies recognize that certified managers are better at completing the project on time and within the budget.
If you are just starting out your career in project management, then PMP certification will make up for the lack of experience. Say you are experienced and have a proven track record of your work. Then PMBOK certification can take you to the next level in your company.
There are many project managers out there in the job market. In such a scenario, how do you stand out from the crowd? What better way to do it than by becoming PMP certified? It makes your resume more attractive to companies. More significantly, PMBOK certification teaches you important skills to excel in your career.
PMP certification has high standards. As such, it is not easy to clear this exam without extensive preparation. Moreover, it requires you to master the practical application of the material. Attaining PMP credential will include learning several hard and soft skills. It builds the knowledge of fundamental project management processes tools & techniques and methodologies. Further, it exposes you to best practices and current trends in project management. You can also learn new tricks and techniques in project management activities.
Want to keep growing in your career? You cannot do it without becoming better at what you are doing currently. Experience may teach you to improve how you manage projects. But, a certification can do the same thing in a lesser span of time.
The biggest draw of PMP certification is the higher salary it can bring to the project managers. Across the industry, the average salary of certified project managers is considerably higher. A recent PMI survey states that the average median salary for a project manager with certification is $ 1,08,000. In contrast, the median income for a non-certified project manager is only $91,000.
Another survey shows that certified project managers earn almost 20% more than the non-certified ones. This trend can be seen all over the world including in Middle East countries such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Among women, PMP certified holders earn a lot more than female, certified professionals in other fields.
What's more? PMP has consistently been the highest paid IT certification. Also, the trend indicates that PMP salaries will only continue to grow in the future.
Apart from higher income, PMP certification improves your job security. Some companies value the core competencies learned through certification during downtime. Hence, PMP credential helps you fight a potential lay off better than not having one.
PMI currently has about 773,840 active PMP certification holders across the world. When you sign up as a PMI member, you become part of that club. PMI arranges frequent meetings for members in major cities across the world. These meetings are also arranged to help the members earn Professional Development Units (PDUs). These units are needed to fulfill Continuous Credential Requirements, also called as CCRs. These are essential to keep the certification for three years.
The benefits of such networking sessions are many. During these meetings, one can get to know about any new job opportunities that are shared by people who value this certification. PMI meetings allot specific time to advertise such jobs. And there are other online and offline communities through which PMPs interact with each other. These communities help in building professional networks. Further, this certification allows a person to mentor the other PMI PMP aspirants.
As mentioned above, there are certain conditions which are needed to be met before getting PMP certified. If you are an associate, you require 60 months of experience to be eligible. On the other hand, a person with a bachelor's degree requires 36 months of work experience. PMP certification has high standards. A potential employer understands that clearing the exam takes dedication to the job. It indicates that you are serious about making project management your long-term career path.
An employee who invests in learning is a big asset for the company. A PMP certification symbolizes your drive towards improving your professional abilities, credentials, knowledge. It also helps you command respect among peers and team members.
We asked some of the certified project managers the question ‘Is PMP worth it?'
This is what they had to say:
"My answer is yes. PMP certification provides credibility, enhances employment opportunities and growth and gives an edge. It helped me learn techniques like EVM, Critical Path etc, These, in turn, helped me manage, lead and direct projects in a better way. Also, the global project management community helps you stay updated with new methodologies.To sum up, PMP certification enhances one's knowledge and increases project success rate" - By Jyothsna V PMP
"PMP certificate shows that you have the skills and knowledge that match all the PM prerequisites. Your capabilities as a certified PMP enable you to contribute to organization's strategies. Well-adapted and executed project management principles can lead an organization to success. This is the reason most organizations are making PMP certificate an important criteria. PMI - PMP certification is a globally recognized certificate. So, go ahead to take PMP certification and explore the opportunities in project management!" – Ankit Rastogi, PMP
In summary, some people might view PMP certification as expensive, time-consuming and difficult. But, many hiring experts treat PMP certification as an important credential that adds credibility to your resume. Further, it helps you build essential skills required to excel in your career.
So yes! PMP certification is worth the effort.
Are you interested in getting PMP certified? Then train with the best in the industry. GreyCampus is a leading PMP training organization and an authorized PMI REP (Registered Education Provider). We have trained more than 1, 00,000 professionals with an impressive success rate of 98.9%.