Let me add my two cents on this very interesting topic, which might help you to decide to go for your dream certification or not.
Birth Of Professional Certifications
The professional market realized that the skill set which they required for their specific jobs were not being met by the educational institutions (colleges and universities) all across the globe because of different course structures and learning objectives. A standard body of knowledge that was applicable to many different industries did not exist.
Organizations were looking for a standard in that two people from different parts of the world will be aware of same concepts, terminology, tools, and techniques. When hiring for the role of project manager, organizations wanted individuals with the same core skill sets and wanted assurance those core skill sets were verified or tested.
This led to the birth of different professional certifications and professional bodies which offer these certifications. Organizations began using these certifications as criteria for hiring.
Certification: A Money Making Model Or Continued Education?
I hear this lot of time that why do we have to renew our certifications in every few years by paying the professional body. Is it just a money making model? I do understand the resistance to paying for renewing a certification you did long back every 5 years.
The Body of Knowledge for the profession, with techniques, and required skills are enhanced year over year through project management research and the ever-changing environments in which companies operate. A good example fo this is the “Cloud.” This concept of storing data and applications outside of the company wasn’t something that existed 10 years ago. Utilization of “Cloud” computing takes a different set of skills and techniques to deliver a project successfully. Enhancements to existing areas of knowledge are also expected as the career of Project Management change and evolve.
The reason is most of these professional bodies which offer these certifications are nonprofits. They need to have a revenue model to provide you with free webinars, free journals, and free e- journals access throughout. Certification Bodies focus on keeping it as a continued education model where you are always updated with the most recent topics of that particular certification. The sad part is most of the people access their website only when they have to renew.
Certifications Cannot Beat Experience But Can Add Value
Experience is certainly very important, and there is no replacement for experience. You will need some experience prior to obtaining Certification. Another viewpoint is that in this constantly changing environment techniques, tools, and methodologies get obsolete quickly. Recent research has indicated that techniques used just 3 years ago are no longer used because they are no longer considered effective in the organization.
Experience helps but keeping yourself updated with the professional certifications is very helpful in maintaining your “street cred.” Greater value is achieved by combining your experience with newer and more innovative techniques. Certification shows you understand the core skills required for the role and continuing education allows you to keep your core skill sets current and sharp.
Certifications Are Marketing Gimmicks
In this competitive era where recruiter spends less than 45 seconds on screening a resume, there needs to be something that catches their attention and force them to make a cold call to you for the dream opportunity you have been waiting for a very long time. Certifications solve this purpose and make you stand out from your contemporaries. Apart from this, it shows the recruiter/employer that you are passionate about this particular field and you are trying your best to stay updated and conquer that field.
Gaining certification shows a strong commitment to your career. You are showing you are dedicated to your career by going through the certification process and being successful. Your knowledge and experience are verified as part of the certification process. Organizations value the certification because if demonstrates not only your commitment but your experience to the Project Management career.
Certifications For New Hire Screening
Most jobs have prerequisites for certifications. For example PMP for Project Managers, CBAP for BA lead and CSM for Scrum Masters and CSPO for Product Owners. A lot of contractual positions also need their consultants to be certified by renowned professional bodies. All these encourage the job seekers to polish their skills with the in-demand certifications. The organization by requesting a certification is demonstrating its desire to acquire top rated and high successful individuals in their career areas.
With that said, certification is the not the final word in obtaining the right candidate. Even with certification, the individual might not be good a good fit due to personality. Additionally being certified isn’t a guarantee the individual will be successful in their role. Hiring managers still need to review references and past projects to ensure the the candidate is a good fit for the organization.
Certifications are great assets to have in the current era. It separates you from the crowd and helps you get more opportunities which lead to the realization of your dreams and goals. It helps to show your determination and commitment towards a specific area of study. It keeps you updated with the latest trends in that specific area of study, and you are aware of the best practices which make you a good pick for an opportunity than others. Certifications act as important milestones in your professional journey.
Go ahead and pursue the certification you are passionate about because it will help you to chase your dreams and dreams do come true.