What sets apart an aspiring professional and an amateur are certifications. They define the continuous passion for development and learning. The PMP, also known as the Project Management Professional, is probably one of the essential certifications out there a PM can get. It’s recognized all over the world, across a wide array of industries.
If you see yourself working as a project manager in the future, this certificate is confidently one of the best time investments you’ll make, considering the significant impact it’ll have on your salary and professional growth.
In this article, we’ll take a careful look at the most important reasons why you should consider investing your time in a PMP certification.
Let’s dive right in, shall we?
What does the PMP test consist of?
The PMP exam has five distinct areas that it tests for, which have to do with initiating a project, planning it, executing it, monitoring it, and closing it. The most important part of the assessment is the project execution phase, as it represents 31% of the weightage, while the execution and monitoring phases stand for approximately a quarter each.
The exam has many peculiarities you should be aware of. While the test itself comprises 200 questions, only 175 of them will be taken into account.
There are six different categories of questions you’ll encounter at the PMP exam. They can be:
- ITTO-based (Input, Tools & Techniques, Outputs)
- Formula-based questions
- Related to professional and social responsibility
All of them demand different approaches, which is why an in-depth understanding of the different classes of questions, along with their pitfalls and caveats, is imperative to pass the exam successfully.
1. A skill set recognized anywhere
The PMP is recognized all over the world, which isn’t something ubiquitous among certifications. Typically, they will focus on a narrow industry, location, and so forth. PMP, on the other hand, will let you work in any part of the world, proving your understanding of the craft, and guaranteeing your proficiency in project management.
The reason why certified PM’s are very sought after is security and confidence. Knowing that your project will be led by an individual that knows their way around all the intricacies of project management allows a business owner to be confident that results will be delivered on time and at maximum efficiency.
2. A higher salary
Certified PM’s have excellent professional prospects and are more likely to earn a high salary. The difference between a PMP and non-PMP salary is significant — it can sometimes reach 20%.
In the US, a median PMP salary clocks in at $111,000, while a non-certified PM should expect about $90,000 per annum.
Of course, the reason for this significant difference in salaries revolves around the value that you provide to the company you work with. However, it also has to do with your rich background, along with the time, the money, and the effort you’ve invested in your certification.
To be eligible to apply for a PMP, you need to have at least:
- Three years of professional project management experience;
- Over 4,500 hours of hands-on project management;
- 35 hours of PM-related training;
- Over five years of professional project management experience;
- Over 7,500 hours of hands-on project management;
- 35 hours of PM-related training;
Generally speaking, PMP is considered to be among the most handsomely paid IT certifications out there. More importantly, PM salaries are projected to continue growing over time.
Besides ensuring a higher salary, this certification provides its holders with higher job security, which makes it a valuable investment in your career.
3. Career Growth
There is a growing demand for project management work, and there’s not going to be any shortage of it in the near future. According to the PMI’s “Project Management Job Growth and Talent Gap 2017–2027,” the demand for qualified professionals in the project management field will grow significantly quicker, compared to specialists in adjacent areas. The report suggests that employers will need approximately 2.2 million specialists on an annual basis every single year throughout 2027.
Therefore, it’s worth mentioning that aspiring project managers won’t have to deal with a shortage of work in their fields for the next decade or two.
More importantly, having a PMP certificate will allow you to be a candidate for the best jobs available out there. Over the years, this certificate has become prestigious within the PM community, which gives you a considerable edge over non-certified project managers.
4. Improves your risk management skills
Coordinating projects involves a significant amount of risk, and its efficient management is an essential skill of a high-class specialist. Employers can rest assured that if their project manager is able to have all the moving parts of a project under their control, they’ll be able to run a successful business and deliver high-quality products on a regular basis.
5. Endless networking opportunities
As of December of 2019, there are over 932,000 certified PMP’s. Once you’re a member, you’re a part of a big community that hosts regular meetings in major cities all over the globe. As a result, you’re able to communicate with like-minded professionals and be in on the latest issues of the craft across a broad spectrum of niches and industries.
Furthermore, many high-class employers are very keen on advertising exclusive job openings for PMP-certified specialists at PMI meetings.
What’s also worth noting
While there’s no doubt that being a certified PMP provides you with impressive professional growth, job security, and a higher salary, it’s worth mentioning that there is a set of things you need to know before you embark on this journey.
1. You need to maintain your credentials
Project managers that have successfully passed the PMP assessment need to continue investing time and effort into their certification by maintaining it. Over the course of three years after receiving their certificate, PMPs need to amass 60 PDU’s (also known as professional development units). PDU’s reflect your dedication to the craft and your continuous desire to improve your skills.
There are many ways you can get 60 PDU’s:
- Publish your insights — you can earn PDU’s by submitting articles to the PMI blog. This way, you can contribute to the project management knowledge base by sharing valuable insights about your craft. You can be a content creator for the so-called Knowledge Shelf or the official PMI website.
- Self-directed learning — you can choose to conduct research or coach your colleagues on project management. The PMI can review your activities and recognize them, based on the impact of your actions.
- Do volunteer work — the PMI is an institution that relies heavily on the support of volunteers. Even the people who review the materials that you’re submitting to the PMI for publication are mostly volunteers. You can choose the position that you find most suitable to your interests. You can be a presenter at a PMI event, a part of the Standards Committees, a Member of the Advisory Groups, and so forth.
- Give a presentation — giving a speech at your organization, at a PMI event, or niche conference can win you a significant number of PDU’s for participation.
2. It’s somewhat costly
The price of a PMP certification is $550, in case you’re not a member of the PMI, while members will only have to pay $405. It’s important to underline that the membership itself costs $139, which means that you’ll end up saving about $10. However, there is a wide array of benefits that this membership will grant you. Furthermore, being a PMI member will allow you to retake the assessment at a much lower cost.
If you take into consideration all the expenses associated with the PMP, you should expect to invest close to $800.
3. It’s not a walk in the park
Most of the people that have passed the PMP exam have deemed it extremely complicated. Some consider it the most complicated they’ve taken in their lives.
What makes the PMP exam hard?
1. The amount of information you need to ingest — the PMBOK (also known as the Project Management Body of Knowledge) is by no means a short read, and it’s not easy too. There’s a lot of information that you need to be able to apply practically — not just recite it from memory.
2. The questions are hard — there are plenty of exercises that are tricky, they demand your undivided attention, and very often, they can break your self-esteem. It’s worth mentioning that they are often worded in a very convoluted manner, so it’s essential to invest extra time into ensuring that you’ve got your task right.
A PMP certification will most certainly allow you to flourish as a professional. It offers its holder higher job security, higher pay, and greater opportunities for networking and professional growth. While you should keep in mind that there is a significant investment that needs to be made from a financial and temporal perspective, the payback is most certainly worth it.