Is PMP certification valuable in your field? Ask Human Resources

Ask your Human Resources departmentHaving written about the pros and cons of PMP certification, I get asked a lot of questions about whether or not the PMP is right for specific individuals. Often, a person will ask me some variation of the following question:

“I’m a specialist in such-and-such a domain, living in such-and-such a country; is it worth it for me to get PMP certified in my field or profession?”

I have significant work experience – even project management work experience – in numerous different fields, but unfortunately I don’t have experience in all fields! And while I’ve worked extensively in the international arena, I’m certainly not the most seasoned business traveler there is. If you’re working in the domain of residential construction, or commercial marketing, or hospitality, or banking and finance, there is only so much advice I will be able to give to you regarding PMP certification. If you’re working in India, or Japan, or the Middle East, there are only so many things I can tell you about the value of various project management certifications in your region, and most of that information comes to me second hand. I do know for a fact that in the United States and Canada, PMP certification seems to be particularly of value in the fields of Software Development (SD) and Information Technology (IT), fields I have worked in for the majority of my career. Outside of those areas, things start to get a little hazy.

The good news is, I do have some good suggestions for people that you can reach out to to get the information you need!

Your Human Resources department

Want to get some advice from people who see a lot of resumes on a daily basis, and whose job it is to keep track of trends in education and certification? Talk to the specialists in your Human Resources (HR) department.

Often, employees will talk to the people in their Human Resources department only once… when they get hired on at the company. This is a mistake. Your Human Resources department was in charge of getting you hired, sure, but they’re also at least to some degree responsible for helping you with your continuing career at the company. Normally, Human Resources specialists in any given company are approachable with questions regarding how you might choose to grow professionally both at the company and as an individual.

If you want to know if PMP certification is valuable at your company or in your field or domain, your Human Resources department would likely know. They might also be able to tell you about any perks or benefits at the company that can help you get PMP certified – some organizations will pay for certain employees to go through a PMP prep course and will also pay the fees to get them certified. Why not try – it can’t hurt to ask!

Your manager

Your manager is in charge of you as an employee. If you’re interested in getting PMP certified, you might ask your manager whether he or she thinks it would be a good idea and whether or not it would add value to your team and company for you to get certified as a professional project manager. Good managers will encourage you to grow in your professional careers, knowing that the more skilled and satisfied their employees, the more and better quality work they will produce. Ask your manager what he or she thinks of the idea.

You might also see if your manager can find ways to have your company pay for your formal project management education and your eventual PMP certification. Again, it certainly can’t hurt to ask.

Your co-workers

Your co-workers probably aren’t too concerned about your career or your growth as a professional. But they’re probably very concerned about their own careers! If project management certification is becoming a useful asset in your field, some of your co-workers have likely already considered it and weighed some of the pros and cons. Talk to your co-workers to find out what they think. I’ve had plenty of co-workers approach me to ask me about PMP and ScrumMaster (Agile) certification. I’m always happy to share my experiences and give advice to those who seek it.

Your local PMI chapter

If you’re working in a good-sized city, you likely have a local Project Management Institute (PMI) chapter, and that local PMI chapter likely hosts a variety of PMI meetings, monthly or otherwise. In most places, you don’t have to be a member to show up at a meeting, learn what PMI is all about, and perhaps join as a member. Find contact information about your local PMI chapter and speak to your local PMI contact about coming to a meeting. You’ll meet plenty of project managers working in a variety of different fields, many of whom will have valuable advice for you regarding whether or not you should get PMP certified. And since they’re working in your city or town, you’ll be able to gauge whether or not PMP or other certifications have value with the companies operating in your area.

Yourself

At the end of the day, you’re the one who is going to be spending the time (and probably the money) to get PMP certified. Ask yourself – is this something you really want to do? Do you want to learn about project management and get certified for your own personal or professional reasons, independent of what the people around you seem to think about it? If so, go ahead and do it. There are plenty of good reasons to get PMP certified. If you’re a project manager, and have attained the 4,500 hours (with a Bachelors degree) to apply to take the PMP exam, then you’re already in good shape in your project management career. Even if you don’t think the PMP credential can help you right now, perhaps it can help you down the road? Getting certifications opens doors in your career, some of which you haven’t yet stumbled across. So this is a good reason to at least consider it!

I hope that this has been a helpful post. If you have questions about PMP certification in your particular domain or geographic area, go out and ask! It can’t hurt, and you may learn some valuable advice and meet some valuable new contacts in your company or town in the process.

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6 Responses to “Is PMP certification valuable in your field? Ask Human Resources”

  1. Hi Brian, I just finished reading this article. I also read your article about CAPM and would like to thank you for your take on both articles. It helped clearing up some of my questions and I would appreciate it if you give your personal opinion on my case, whenever you have free time.

    I’m thinking seriously to study CAPM. Money is no object and I don’t mind dedicating three months (or more if needed) to study for the exam. I’ll explain fully my situation so you have the full picture.

    I have a bachelor degree in Accounting and finished my ACCA exams (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) which is a professional certificate in accounting. I’ve been working for over a year in a very small company and my job is not entirely in the accounting field. In fact, accounting is only a tiny part of what I do there. I’m applying for other jobs in the hope that I could work for a bigger company in the accounting or finance department or work for one of the big audit firms. To be a member of the ACCA, it is required to have three years of work experience related to accounting, auditing or finance. It’s also required to be supervised or mentored by a certified accountant (anyone who has a professional certificate in accounting and not necessarily ACCA). Unfortunately, I’m not satisfying any of those requirements in my current job, so my year of experience will not be counted towards ACCA membership. That’s why I’m hoping to get another job where I can see myself progressing towards the membership (which is what companies and finance departments really value).

    Now after that lengthy introduction (I hope I didn’t bore you by the way!), here are my concerns with getting CAPM. I have a strong interest in the project management field and I think the skills of project management would benefit everyone regardless of their profession. Hopefully at some point I’ll be managing people, assignments, resources …etc. Am I correct in this assumption? Also I plan to have my own business in the future and I regard setting up and running a business as a project which will require proper management. Again, am I right to assume that having basic knowledge of project management will help me in starting a business?

    I would like to stick to accounting and build my career in that field. I chose CAPM because first I can qualify for CAPM even without the required experience. Second, it is an entry level certificate to project management which will give me a fair amount of knowledge (just enough) to make me better at work and make me stand out which in turn will help me going up the career ladder. I don’t need in-depth knowledge (PMP) as I don’t want to change my profession.

    Is it possible that having such a certificate in my CV (resume) would suggest to employers that I am not dedicated to the accounting profession? I am worried that having the title (Certified Associate in Project Management) right beneath (Certified Chartered Accountant) would confuse the employer as to why I am certified in two different fields. Would they see how having knowledge in project management would make me even better at work and that CAPM is just there to support and enhance my ACCA membership and accounting experience? Or should I just leave it off my CV if it would do more harm than good?

    To sum up, is CAPM going to help me in my accounting career and any future plan of having my own business? And is it ok to show employers that I have CAPM besides ACCA?

    Sorry I didn’t mean it to be that long! It would be very helpful to get an opinion from such an experienced and intelligent guy. I really appreciate your help.

    • Hello Sam,

      Thanks very much for the long and thoughtful comment. I appreciate your taking the time to write all that! I am also pleased that you like this article and the article about CAPM certification.

      If you are interested in project management, and do not see a way to get project management work experience right now, then CAPM certification does seem like a good idea. If you can get project management experience without CAPM certification, I would recommend it, as once you get PMP certification the CAPM credential becomes pretty much worthless.

      Meanwhile, if you’re interested in knowing what CAPM certification can do for you in the accounting profession, I would ask other people who manage projects within accounting, and more importantly, the professionals in your Human Resources department. The people doing the hiring in the HR department would know exactly what worth they give to CAPM and PMP certification in your company.

      Meanwhile, I do not think that having PMP or CAPM certification on your resume would indicate that you are not dedicated to the accounting profession. I think that project management is worthwhile to know in any field, and certainly there are various projects that you will need to manage throughout the year as an accountant. I think that you could leverage your knowledge of project management in interviews, and it might also help you to get a promotion in your department or organization.

      I hope that this is helpful. Best of luck to you!

  2. Sam, I can appreciate your dilemma. I own a manage a process improvement + project management consultancy. One common frustration with prospective clients (and recruiters) is the seeming unwillingness to “connect the dots” where experience and job titles differ. Some believe you can only do the job if you’ve had a title that is exactly like the one for which they need support.

    The communication, leadership and organization skills we garner through managing projects is an asset to practically every organizational role. And good leaders get that.

    However in today’s world, those recruiting for roles are often NOT the functional manager. They will rely on computerized systems of keywords to help determine if you should even be presented to the hiring manager. It will be imperative for you to build your resume in such a way that it demonstrates the value your project management experience brings.

    • hello Nikita,

      Thanks so much for your thoughts. I really appreciate you offering your expertise in this area!

      I agree that proper resume building to demonstrate project management (and other) experience is hugely important, especially today when resumes and cover letters are screened beforehand by computers before they even find their way in front of a hiring manager. Having the right keywords is hugely important – which, I think, is one reason why certifications like the PMP credential are of increasing importance in today’s job market.

      Thanks again for your comment, and all the best to you in your process improvement and project management consultancy!

  3. Hello! I am a marketing professional and looking to know if PMI/CAPM/PMi-PBA – any of these certificate courses would be of any benefit to me? Are the above more computer based courses or anyone could do?

    I would really appreciate your help with this

    Thanks,
    Charu

    • Hello Charu,

      PMP certification can be helpful in the marketing profession, especially if you’re working in technology marketing (marketing for a software development company, for example). However, whether or not PMP, CAPM, or other credentials can be helpful to you specifically is another question. Certainly I think that asking your Human Resources department, or other people who work in marketing in your domain or city, can be very helpful. That way, you can learn about your situation specifically, and it will help you make decisions on whether or not to get certified.

      All the best to you!

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PMP Exam Prep:  Seventh Edition

About the Author


Website: Brian Crawford
I'm a Canadian and British dual citizen with an internationally-focused American MBA and an MS in International Project Management from a French business school. I am PMP, ScrumMaster, and ITIL Foundation certified. I'm particularly into travel, writing, and learning about different languages and cultures.