Project Management Qualifications to Boost Your Career
Project management has become one of the fastest growing profession with an increased demand for qualified project managers.
Irrespective of your current career stage, you will find that the proper project management qualifications are guaranteed to boost your career.
A recent study conducted in the U.K. showed that there was a steady increase of 15% in the rate at which projects fail. Part of this failure is attributed to the lack of proper qualifications for project managers.
So, as a project manager, how do you ensure success in your projects? One of the ways is to invest in the must-have PM qualifications that will guarantee you a successful career.
Wondering which project management qualifications will help you achieve career success? Read on to find out must-have qualifications in the industry today!
Training is the first step you need to take to become a project manager. Two types of training will earn you different sets of skills. They are discussed below.
This is the kind of training you get from an institution of higher learning. There are so many courses of study dedicated to the skill of project management.
These courses range from degrees, diplomas, and other types of certification programs.
You may work for some institutions that offer in-house programs for project management.
These programs are meant to help you transition from your current position into taking up project management roles and responsibilities.
Some institutions will go the extra mile of offering you shadowing and mentoring programs. You can also get informal training from volunteering in project management work.
These days, the majority of employers are looking for the following distinct skills in project management:
Every institution has a business component in project management. This means that for you to have a successful career in project management, you must have business skills and knowledge such as project financials.
You must have an in-depth understanding of loss and profit account to enable you to stick to the project’s budget.
Here are some business skills you’ll need.
Project management skills begin with an understanding of the profession. Having project management skills means that you can meet the four major competencies, which include the following:
- Time management
- Cost management
- Quality oriented
You need time management skills to ensure you complete projects within the stipulated time. This is the time required to complete a project
You also need to have skills on how to manage the financial investment side of the project.
Do you know the scope of the project? You need to have knowledge of what the project entails. Scope refers to the groundwork required to complete your project.
Finally, being quality oriented means that you are capable of meeting all the needs of your customer.
Being a project manager means that you will be in charge of other employees working on the project. This directly translates to you being a leader.
Therefore, you need to equip yourself with leadership skills such as conflict resolution, communication, negotiation and persuasion.
Risk Management Skills
If you’re in a position to identify risks and manage them effectively, it shows that you are in complete control of the project.
Employers will be attracted to you if you have exemplary risk management skills.
You must always stay ahead of the game and have the ability to predict potential risks for the project and come up with relevant solutions even before problems arise.
3. Level of Experience
The level of experience matters a lot. Most employers will want to know how long you’ve been in the industry. That’s why when they hire, they will indicate a certain number of years of experience as part of qualification requirements.
The level of expertise is classified into four groups, as discussed below.
If you’re a fresh graduate, this would be the most suitable level to start your career in project management.
You can look for paid internship opportunities in various businesses or institutions that are looking for people to help with their project management.
Internship opportunities could lead to full-time employment if you impress your employers.
However, if you don’t land that full-time job, the internship opportunity will add real experience to your CV.
What if it’s difficult to get an internship opportunity, what else can you do to obtain experience?
You can also volunteer. This is the easiest way of gaining the experience needed. Most organizations prefer volunteers to paid professionals for short-term projects to reduce the costs involved.
Are you working in a different department other than project management in your company? Are you interested in acquiring project management skills? You can find volunteering opportunities at your current place of work.
You need to ensure you deliver on the responsibility of your current job before taking up volunteering opportunities to enhance your project management skills.
As a newcomer in the industry, you’re likely to seek entry-level positions in project management. This requires you to have some experience like internship or volunteering.
If you’ve had experience in project management for several years, then look for more advanced positions.
You stand a higher chance of qualifying if you have a higher number of years in experience.
Certification in project management is the best way to advance your career. You can take any course in project management that is particularly useful in your line of work.
You don’t need a postgraduate qualification to get a project management job, but if your first degree is unrelated, it’s advisable to do a master’s to increase your chances of success.
There are several postgraduate project management courses offered, which are more specific to various roles in various departments.
Other courses are offered under associations and institutions that are internationally recognized and certified. Such are discussed below.
The project management institute is an international institution that offers professional advancement in project management.
This institute offers formal training to project managers across various fields such as healthcare, finance, telecommunications, IT and the construction industry.
A PMI certification is guaranteed to equip you with the following advantages:
PMI certifications are internationally recognized, and therefore, they’re an unbiased way to prove that you have the knowledge and professional experience in project management.
We all want to earn a decent salary and have career advancement opportunities.
PMI certifications are guaranteed to give you a competitive advantage and earn you the much-coveted employer recognition.
You don’t want to go for just any common PM certification. Instead, you should go for a PM certification that has been developed and acknowledged by practitioners and is upheld by the rigorous standards in the industry.
PMI certifications offer you the relevance you need to advance in your career.
The association of project management is an internationally recognized standard that offers professional project management qualifications.
APM is the U.K. member of IPMA, which is the international body for program, project and portfolio management.
Some of the certifications that APM offers include the following:
APM Project Management Qualification
This is a knowledge-based qualification that allows you as a candidate to demonstrate your in-depth knowledge and understanding of all the elements in project management.
APM Project Fundamentals Qualification
It’s an introductory course in project management where you get to learn all the terminologies used.
You don’t need any prior project management or experience to take this course.
APM Practitioner Qualification
This is for the experienced professionals’ with over three years of experience.
APM Project Professional Qualification
This course covers the specific and most important competencies that you require as a project manager.
It’s a course you can take if you’re working in project management and you want to become a member of APM.
This certification offers you a structured methodology that you can apply in end-to-end projects. There are courses available at the foundation, practitioner and agile levels.
The foundation level is for new recruits, while the practitioner level is suitable if you’re a working professional.
Agile certifications focus on continuously improving your PM skills. If you work in fast moving environments such as IT, you’re guaranteed to gain continuous improvement in PM skills that you need to excel in your career.
Project management in IT has significant differences compared to project management in other fields such as health care.
In IT, you’re continuously working in short-term projects under product development or improvement. Therefore, this requires you to upgrade your project management skills now and then.
How Can You Apply Your Project Management Qualifications to Boost Your Career?
You have all the project management qualifications you need to advance in your career.
But how do you apply them?
First, you need to know what options are available to you. This means that you need to identify the opportunities available for your career development and understand the qualifications needed.
Pick what suits you based on your qualifications. Once you get the opportunity, it’s good that you keep on advancing and upgrading your skills.
Look out or other learning opportunities that might help you gain more experience and boost your career.