By Gareth Byatt, Gary Hamilton, and Jeff Hodgkinson

Whether you are a current practitioner in program or project management or you are considering a career in this profession, you may have thought about the value of obtaining one or more project management credentials.

If you are already certified and/or have one or more credentials, you may be contemplating ‘broadening your armory’ by seeking additional credentials or certificates in program or project management. For many reasons, the three of us are believers in holding credentials. To prove our point, a quick review of our bios at the end of this article shows that we all have several program and project management credentials. So what is the benefit of obtaining one or multiple credentials? Is there a typical value against the investment in time and money?

As we discuss the value of program/project management credentials, we will approach it from the point of view of varying levels of one’s career. Let us first consider the viewpoint of a recent college graduate in our profession. A recent four-year college graduate will have invested significantly in real money and time to obtain their degree. During the course of their undergraduate education, they have likely had some exposure to a real-life project. Nowadays, even elementary school students sometimes work on research, business, IT or other types of real-life projects as assignments, either individually or as a group. The majority of today’s employers will typically look for evidence of project work and the ability to successfully work on projects. Yet, how many recent college graduates also seek out entry level credentials in project management, such as CAPM, IPMA Level D, PRINCE2 Foundations or Projects+ as part of their education? When compared to the average cost of a typical four-year undergraduate education in any country, one or more of these ‘entry level’ project management credentials can be obtained for a relatively small additional amount. In the current job markets worldwide, competition for good jobs is fierce, especially amongst those entering the market for the first time. Having an entry level Project Management credential not only shows initiative, it may also allow new graduates to differentiate themselves, especially within professions in which project work entails a significant percentage of the role.

Let’s now approach the question from the prospective of the young professional who has been employed for three to eight years, and may be growing into (if not already in) a mid-level position. Over the course of their professional career to date, they have probably worked on one or several projects, perhaps having led a project for their employer. How does the young professional know what expectations exist of them, either as a project contributor or as a project lead? Organizational assets to guide people exist in most companies, but, assuming they are present, they can only serve the professional to a degree. Gaining experience is an important ingredient of managing projects, and blending experience with professional study/skills development can help move them forward. By seeking higher level credentials, the young professional is demonstrating a keenness to learn standard practices in project management.

Lastly, let’s consider the mid to senior level project professional that has been in their career for more than eight years. You may be asking yourself, “If I have eight or more years of experience within an industry and already hold a project management degree and/or credential from a chosen organization, what, if any, benefits exist if I expand my credentials? Surely, for me, it’s experience that counts.” To answer this question, you must first consider your own long-term career ambitions and your work situation. Will your employer be conducting business with organizations that ascribe to a project management methodology different than their own? What if you suddenly find yourself out of a job? The “preferred” project management credential will vary from employer to employer, the industry, and, in many cases, the geographic region in which you work. The senior practitioner of project management can potentially stand out by having multiple credentials from various certifying organizations. And also, remember that these credentials offer some good fundamentals in the basics and advanced techniques of our profession. Whether you choose to actively use them in your work is a separate topic.

For the experienced professional, holding credentials also demonstrates to peers with whom you may want to create a network that you are serious about your profession. This can “open doors” to expand your professional network and to learn from each other.

No one has a crystal ball that will predict what the job market in your geographic region will be like in 6 months or 6 years. However, if project management is the career in which you plan to remain throughout your working years, holding more than one credential may allow you increased mobility and security, and mitigate risks found in unforeseen situations such as changing jobs. Given that the majority of employers offer professional development as part of employment, the question becomes, “Why not add multiple credentials to your professional toolkit?” Through our interactions with many program and project managers, we can state that having multiple credentials can only benefit your career, in some way, shape or form. Regardless of your current stage of career development, seeking new training and knowledge for personal growth is always looked upon favourably by employers.

In conclusion, whether you believe their value to be intrinsic or monetary, having at least one program / project management credential/certification can be beneficial, regardless of your current career level. There is a saying, ‘What is great today is the norm for tomorrow ...” There are numerous globally recognized PM and PM-related credentials and certifications available today. Given the increasingly competitive job market and the growing recognition of project management as a profession, we think that this trend will continue.

 

Article Author Bios as of August 2011

 

 

 

About

The

Article

Authors,

Their Roles

Their Plans,

And Their Goals

 

 

 

Gareth Byatt, Gary Hamilton, and Jeff Hodgkinson are experienced PMO, program, and project managers who developed a mutual friendship by realising they shared a common passion to help others and share knowledge about PMO, portfolio, program and project management (collectively termed PM below). In February 2010 they decided to collaborate on a three (3) year goal to write 50 PM subject articles for publication in any/all PM subject websites, newsletters, and professional magazines / journals. So far 29 have been written, published, and translated into Arabic, Czechoslovakian, French, German, Indonesia, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, and Russian and published on websites in 25 countries including Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, India, Jamaica, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Pakistan, Panama, Poland, Russia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Trinidad, Turkey, UK, Ukraine and the USA. Their mission is to help expand good program and project management practices by promoting the PM profession, to be a positive influence to the PM Community, be known as eminent influencers of PM practices, and in earnest hope readers can gain benefit from the advice of their 60+ years of combined experience and expertise and include the expertise of co-authors who write with them on certain articles and subjects. Along with writing articles, each also champions a role in the overall writing program collaboration process:

      Gareth manages all requests for additional guest author collaborations

      Gary manages the article development tracking and readership metrics

      Jeff manages the article distribution and new readership demographics

Each can be contacted for advice, coaching, collaboration, and speaking individually as noted in their bios or as a team at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. has 15+ years of experience in project, program and PMO management in IT and construction for Lend Lease. Gareth has worked in several countries and lives in Sydney, Australia. He can be contacted through LinkedIn.

Gareth holds numerous degrees, certifications, and credentials in program and project management as follows: an MBA from one of the world’s leading education establishments, a 1st-class undergraduate management degree, and the PMP®, PgMP®, PMI-RMP®, PMI-SP® & PRINCE2 professional certifications. Gareth is currently a Director of the PMI Sydney Chapter, he is the APAC Region Director for the PMI’s PMO Community of Practice and he chairs several peer networking groups.

He has presented on PMOs, portfolio and program and project management at international conferences in the UK, Australia, & Asia including PMI APAC in 2010. Email Gareth: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Gary Hamilton has 16+ years of project and program management experience in IT, finance, and human resources and volunteers as the VP of Professional Development for the PMI East Tennessee chapter. Gary is a 2009 & 2010 Presidents’ Volunteer Award recipient for his charitable work with local fire services and professional groups. He has won several internal awards for results achieved from projects and programs he managed as well as being named one of the Business Journal’s Top 40 Professionals in 2007.  Gary was the first person globally to obtain the five credentials PgMP®, PMP®, PMI-RMP®, PMI-SP® , CAPM® . In addition to these, Gary holds numerous other degrees and certifications in IT, management, and project management and they include: an advanced MBA degree in finance, Project+,  PRINCE2, ITIL-F, MCTS (Sharepoint), MCITP (Project), and Six Sigma GB professional certifications.   Email Gary: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or contact him through LinkedIn.

Jeff Hodgkinson is a 32 year veteran of Intel Corporation, where he continues on a progressive career as a program/project manager. Jeff is an IT@Intel Expert and blogs on Intel’s Community for IT Professionals for Program/Project Management subjects and interests. He is also the Intel IT PMO PMI Credential Mentor supporting colleagues in pursuit of a new credential. Jeff received the 2010 PMI (Project Management Institute) Distinguished Contribution Award for his support of the Project Management profession from the Project Management Institute. Jeff was also the 2nd place finalist for the 2009 Kerzner International Project Manager of the Year Award TM. He lives in Mesa, Arizona, USA and is a member of Phoenix PMI Chapter. Because of his contributions to helping people achieve their goals, he is the third (3rd) most recommended person on LinkedIn with 555+ recommendations, and is ranked 54th most networked LinkedIn person. He gladly accepts all connection invite requests from PM practitioners at: www.linkedin.com/in/jeffhodgkinson. Jeff holds numerous certifications and credentials in program and project management, which are as follows: CAPM®, CCS, CDT, CPC™, CIPM™, CPPM–Level 10, CDRP, CSM™, CSQE, GPM™, IPMA-B®, ITIL-F, MPM™, PME™, PMOC, PMP®, PgMP®, PMI-RMP®, PMI-SP®, PMW, and SSGB. Jeff is an expert at program and project management principles and best practices. He enjoys sharing his experiences with audiences around the globe as a keynote speaker at various PM events. Email Jeff: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.