Not everyone sees the value in certifications. And I can't argue that both sides of the argument don't have valid points. So, I'm not going to. However, if your employer is going to pay for the training and materials needed for a certification and there's even a small chance that you might learn something, then I see no reason not to at least give it a shot. That's my reasoning for why I'm going after the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification from the Project Management Institute (PMI).
The requirements for the PMP are some of the more stringent I've seen. To qualify, one must have a minimum of 3500 hours of PM-related activities. On top of that, a candidate will need to take 35 hours of formal training that has to go beyond self-study. And finally, the candidate must take and pass an exam. The first two requirements are subject to random audits in which you'll need to prove any of the items on the application. This completely blows away what was needed to get any of the Microsoft certifications a few years ago (not sure what's needed now as I haven't looked in to them for a while).
So what do I hope to get out of this project management certification?
- The opportunity to meet individuals with similar career goals in a classroom setting.
- Being forced to step out of the bubble that I work in every day.
- Maybe, just maybe to learn something useful that I can apply at work.
- A differentiator from other, uncertified project managers.
- Free training.
What am I not going to get out of it?
- I seriously doubt there'll be a raise or promotion waiting for me because of this certification, but that's fair. Certifications don't prove one's worthiness of such things.
- Admiration from co-workers. It would be foolish to think that people are going to be impressed just because of a certification. And yet, I'm sure there are those out there that are surprised when people don't ooh and ahh.