One question that many people have when it comes to the PMP – and understandably so – is whether or not it can truly help them in their career path. Is it worth all the time and money spent to get the certification? The PMP is certainly an internationally recognized certification, but in these days of increasingly competitive job hunting, is it enough to give applicants an edge in the job hunting process? And what types of career paths are available to those with the PMP?
The fact of the matter is that, rightly or wrongly, many employers use the PMP as a screening tool and will weed out applicants that don’t have it. This doesn’t mean that those without the PMP are less qualified, but just that it’s easier for employers to figure out that those with the PMP have a certain level of expertise and the qualifications they expect from a project manager. Much of this stems from the fact that in order to even take the PMP exam, one must have a relatively high number of hours of project management experience already. From this standpoint then, the PMP is certainly worth it.
As for career paths available to those with the PMP, this is as varied as the PMP-holder himself. The PMP job market can be difficult to pin down, however, as the title “project manager” cuts across all industries and functions. In general, many project managers work on a contract basis. That is, they’re brought in to take over and manage a particular project or assignment, one that has a set budget and deadline. The project manager will manage the day-to-day operations of the assignment, supervise employees, and essentially handle everything else that would lead to a successful project conclusion.
Of course, the contractual route is not the only one available to a PMP. Many companies look for PMPs to work in-house, and if this is the route you choose, you’ll work for one particular company either on longer-term projects, or in handling different projects as they come up. Regardless, the duties of a project manager remain the same, and so there’s not that much difference between a permanent PMP employee and one who works as a contractor or sub-contractor.
In making this type of decision as to what career path to pursue, you need to look at yourself and determine what kind of person you are when it comes to employment. Do you prefer the stability and steady paycheck of permanent employment? Or do you find more intriguing the idea of working on different projects with a different scope and area of expertise require for each one? Only you can decide this, but rest assured, the job market for PMPs continue to look robust, so either path confirms the worthiness of the PMP certification itself.