This week we have a fantastic question about PM qualifications from one of our clients’:
I have been working in the project management domain for a number of years and been working to a fair few methods due to the variety of projects delivered, all my methods have been learnt on the job and I feel I have a good grounding which will be attractive to employers. Do you think I should gain formal accreditation in these methods, will it enhance my career moving forward or will employers be happy with my hands on experience?
David, Project Manager; Leeds
Hi David, many thanks for your question – glad to hear you are going about the big qualification issue the right way. First of all having the structured approach experience is always paramount to the majority of employers out there and also for your own professional development. I all too often see a lot of project professionals who have gained accreditations before putting the method to practice; this is often deemed the wrong way to go about things. I agree that more junior PM staff and those starting out in project management would benefit from taking introductory courses which will allow them a good understanding of why / what the stages of structured PM are in place, but don’t recognise the benefit of taking qualifications for methods which are not currently being used unless there is a requirement to bring such structure to the project with no other champions in the field available to oversee the implementation.
As a seasoned professional you would be adding to your current repertoire by taking qualifications relevant to your experience as this adds reassurance to the hiring manager that you are committed in the field of PM and also willing to enhance your own professional development. As such I would evaluate where you see your career heading and take an informed decision as to which qualifications to run with. If you have a particular specialism and can see this as a growth area in PM then it would be wise to follow this route, there’s little point in going for the qualifications which you don’t deem personally useful moving forward. As PM courses can prove to be expensive, you might also look to your current employer and see if they are willing to invest in your professional development. By providing a good business case for the need; such as training others / implementing companywide structures etc you should be able to strike a deal which will be mutually beneficial.