As you contemplate putting in all the time required to prepare for the PMP certification exam, it is wise to ask yourself if the benefits will be worth it. The effort is immediate, while evaluating the benefits is an exercise in predicting the future.
Several arguments against “going for it” are especially common:
1. “My experience speaks for itself”
Many with extensive project management experience reason: “my experience is far more relevant than any certification”.
This may be true while you are on your current happy path. However, the minute you get knocked off this path, the certification may become relevant in securing your next job more rapidly and at higher pay.
Your next potential employer may be a consulting firm chasing business with clients who demand PMP credentials. Without the PMP certification you won’t even get a first interview.
2. “My employer does not care about the PMP certification — they have their own project management process”
That may be, but when times get tight and no new projects are being approved, your employer may cut you loose. After many years of faithful service you may find yourself scrambling for a new gig. Having the PMP certification provides you with resiliency to ‘surf the tsunami’.
3. “The PMP certification is based on theory that is divorced from reality and has no relevance in practice”
People studying for the PMP certification exam will often come across questions in which their work experience leads them to select an answer choice which is not the one PMI® will be looking to as correct. This does not mean that the PMI framework is divorced from reality. It just means that your work experience alone is not going to provide you with the understanding that you need to pass the exam.
4. “I’m an ‘Agile’ practitioner, so I don’t need the PMP”
Many software developers and product designers feel that the PMP certification and the predictive project management life cycle are obsolete. Nothing could be further from the truth. Your responsibilities may increase over time, and you may someday be responsible for implementing broad organizational changes that require a more predictive project management approach. Helping an organization to absorb an acquisition and realize synergies is just one scenario where PMI’s more predictive project management framework will be critical to success.
Studying for the PMP exam is placing a bet on your future — a gamble and a hedge.
The PMP certification can enhance your credibility as a reliable change agent, capable of assisting with the execution of strategic imperatives for an organization. That credibility will not only help you stay employed — it will keep you on track toward increasing levels of responsibility over time. With that comes increasing competence, confidence, credibility, compensation and satisfaction.
PMI and PMP are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.