Let’s say you’re well-qualified in your technical skills, for instance in designing, writing, network administration and so forth. These valuable skills have undoubtedly helped you reach where you are today. But what if you’re switching from a purely technical role to one that requires more teamwork, for instance, project management?
Or on the flip side, what if you want to formalise your experience with a relevant certification in project management?
This is where the option of obtaining a project management qualification comes in. While qualifications do require time and effort, at the same time, you’re also building confidence – not just your own, but also other people’s confidence in your competence and ability to give results.
The certification option
There are many options when it comes to project management credentials. The main one that most people seek is Project Management Professional, which is the de facto standard for many US businesses.
In Australia, there are also many courses run by registered training organisation (RTO) that offer a similar qualification, such as a Diploma of Project Management. However, it is important to note that all these routes involve some degree of commitment and financial costs from you or your company.
The main question to ask yourself is: Will it be worth it? Well, here are some things to consider.
Do employers require this certificate?
This question doesn’t necessarily apply to your current employer, however, this may be considered by hiring managers further down in your career progression. When recruiters read your resume, they want to make sure you have the relevant qualifications for the role. If having the qualification Diploma of Project Management after your name is going to open doors to new employment opportunities and potentially secure you a new lucrative role, then a certification definitely would be ideal.
However, careers typically aren’t that straightforward. Just having a project management qualification doesn’t necessarily make you instantly more hirable than any other candidate. Industry recognition is also significantly important. Having a title such as CPPP, CPPM, etc. after your name can definitely make your name stand out to the recruiters. Instead, what plays a larger role in securing your next job is a combination of being a good fit for the role, level of technical expertise, qualifications and so forth.
How relevant is this to my job?
Here, there are two questions to consider. Firstly, are you managing the kind of large projects that demand that you put professional processes and documentation into action? And secondly, is it essential that you develop more effective working relationships with your team and improve your organisational skills?
Some technical jobs involve managing large projects—whether you’re a project management professional or a professional who manages projects. Certainly, knowing how to plan and monitor progress is important and can make the difference between meeting your goals and not.
While project management skills will certainly improve your ability to hit deadlines, you can gain these skills without obtaining a certificate. Again, this depends on whether you feel like you have the necessary skills to complete tasks efficiently and keep progressing towards your career goals.
If your company is paying for your study and giving you study leave, then I would strongly advise going for it. However, if you have to pay for it yourself and take annual leave to attend the exam, then you must accept that and have complete confidence that the certificate will help your career.
Living Planit provides weekend class, which gives you more flexibility to balance your study, work commitment and families.
In terms of costs, remember to factor in not only the cost of the training, but also the time spent on assessments. If you have taken a credential offered by a professional body, you may want to pay for membership within that body, or you may be required to undergo ongoing continuous professional development.
As an NSW Smart and Skilled training provider, Living Planit provides government-funded trainings to students in NSW who meet the eligibility criteria. Check my eligibility.
However, there are ways to continue your professional development at low or zero cost, but you must spend time and energy seeking them out. In the end, remember to make the investment that feels right for you and your career goals.
Living Planit also provide Fee-Free Traineeship Program. Find out more information here.
What are the benefits of this?
This depends on what you’re looking for. One of the benefits of obtaining a certificate in project management are that your skills are now being taken more seriously by your peers. The certificate formalised and ratified your experience, especially if you don’t have any other business qualifications, yet work with people who have business degrees, it gives you a much-needed confidence boost.
Evaluation: it was worth it
Obtaining a formal qualification will allow you to reflect upon your professional career and acquire new skills and techniques to management. In addition, you’ll be able to understand more of the jargon related to project management which will let you be the bridge between the technical teams and others in the company who don’t share the same background.
And everyone will be different
Although most people found the qualification to be worthwhile, the effects may vary depending on the individual. However, in a competitive marketplace, with the pressure for teams to be innovative but with fewer resources and more time pressures, you will certainly reap some benefits.