Benefits and Drawbacks of PM

As we near to the end of our MBA program I decided to look into several different certifications that are available for PM. I thought it would be beneficial to understand how employers view PM certifications and what benefits they can have on your career. I found several articles that clearly define the benefits of being certified but I also was able to find some disadvantages that one should be mindful of.

Obtaining PM certifications obviously holds benefits. Regardless of what business field you decide to pursue, having PM certification enhances the resume and can open doors to PM positions if you do not already have sufficient experience. Additionally, salaries for those individuals tend to be higher, anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000 annually. Further, the PM certifications and education enables stronger communication skills. Although the certification does not teach communication skills, it does allow for standardized vocabulary and set of best practices. Another benefit of obtaining a PM certification now allows you to be more versatile especially due to the forecasted high demand for PM jobs in the near future.

I was interested to find some disadvantages of getting PM certified. Some of the drawbacks to consider before entering the field of PM is the long hours that are often times required for that role. Additionally the expense of getting certified can be pretty high. Further, passing the PM exam does not necessarily deem you an expert in project management. This simply implies that you have a good grasp on the framework of project management process. Additionally, having to stay PM certified, it is required to earn credits every three years which also have costs associated with attending classes as well as costs to renew your certification every year.

Overall, I believe that the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages of becoming PM certified. However, it is clear to me that if one is to pursue a career in PM, getting certified requires some serious commitment to the role of a PM. However, since the career in PM is so versatile and transferable within different industries, it is in my opinion that it is a desirable skill and is appealing to any employer within any industry. According to Project Management Institute, it is estimated that there will be 6.2 million new jobs from 2010 to 2020.  According to the source, the projection is on track. A career in PM is on the rise and it is worth considering the commitment.




8 thoughts on “Benefits and Drawbacks of PM

  1. This is very useful information related to PMP certification. I believe that PMP certification can provide great benefits for professionals who want to excel in the project management field. Certification is considered to be a respected credential that adds value to a professional resume and makes it to stand out. Some of the drawbacks for me are definitely time and money as it might be difficult to find extra time to prepare for the exam, but also the requirement of having a real world experience managing projects, which could be hard to obtain without being already certified, so it is in a sense catch 22 unless you can be promoted to PM position based on the experience within the company. Additionally, we should keep in mind that certification does not guarantee that you will be a successful project manager. The success will depend on the experience, personality, communication and management skills.

  2. You know, that’s an interesting take. When interviewing my PM professional for class, one of the things I asked was about his own certification, and how he came into the position of project management. I was more than a little surprised to hear that he just fell into it, and that he has no formal training, mentorship, or certification in project management. Now, the last couple aren’t terribly surprising given my company’s recent history; up to 6-7 years ago the company was managed much like a family boutique. They only got onto email around 2005!

    Sorry, I digress. Just like you, I’ve considered what it would take to get into project management, and whether I want to pursue any certification after getting my MBA (WAY after). I think my takeaway that I’ve had is that you can get into project management without certification, but you’ll need things to line up just so for that to work out. And if you’re going to succeed, you need to possess strong organization, communication, and planning skills, which will only develop with more project work. The certificate certainly wouldn’t guarantee any of that for you, but what does is give you the tools, the common vocabulary, and a foot in the door.

  3. Izabela- Thank so much for this post! This is great insight to the PM field. During my first year in the MBA program, I took Ops Management with Gayle Landuyt (great Professor btw), and she mentioned the PMP program at DePaul as a great certification to consider getting after wrapping up the MBA. I really like working with teams, solving problems, organizing a team structure, and completing tasks, I personally thought this was a great suggestion for me. I also thought this would help with me professionally because I am a career changer. As I’ve progressed in the program, teaming with various people in classes, and continuing to manage projects at work, I’m not sure if PMP would be as helpful as one would think. One of the most important skills needed for being a PM is people skill management, which can be extremely time consuming. As I’ve read other posts highlighting the “dark side” of PM, I’m starting to take a real hard look on if this is the right field for me to pursue. Haha. Their are two big drawbacks for me, the amount of time that is consumed with project management and the lack of practice. Yes, it’s very rewarding and gratifying regardless if your produce projects that succeed or fail, but it can take a lot out of you. Also if your current job functions do not include managing project, it can be challenging to increase your knowledge base and skill set. Now that you’ve taken this class, how do you think the lessons learned and experienced in class will complement your quest for PMP certification and impact your current/future role?

  4. I’m glad you decided to explore this avenue Izabela. Unlike the majority of the class, this is only my third quarter in the program and I’m still knocking out core requirements. I chose this course as my first elective in order to gain exposure to the field of Project Management early on and better understand what value certifications may hold. I’ve been involved in similar discussions regarding the value of the PMP and have seen the statistics pointing out the need for skilled project managers. At the end of the day, I’m still not sure if obtaining a PMP is advantageous. What I do know is that most companies have a need for organized, well spoken, and detail orientated individuals sitting in project management roles. Does a PMP validate those qualities? Or does experience and an MBA from a well-rounded program like DePaul count equally? Time will tell.

  5. Thanks for the post. Certifications are only as strong as the people that hold them, similar to the movie Tommy Boy and his famous line about “guarantees.” I have interviewed several people over the years that had certifications, but had no clue how to utilize them in a dynamic and changing business environment. You have to look beyond the alphabet soup of acronyms that can sometimes occupy an individual’s resume.

  6. Thank you very much for your post. I think it is the perfect complement to the conclusion of this class. I earned my PMP certification in May of this year, and I must say that your write-up very well summarizes my dilemma before deciding to pursue the certification. I agree that the PMP is simply a key that can open doors and does not replace years of hands on experience. It is a decision to not be taken lightly, like you said, due to the cost and time commitment. It made sense for me to have it in place when I complete my MBA (which is pretty much now) and start to look for a new job. I knew this transition was coming and wanted it to help open more doors.

    I thought I would share my experience of obtaining my PMP incase any one was considering doing the same. Once you decide that it is an avenue you want to pursue, the next step is to qualify to sit for the exam with the PMI. You have to have a certain number of working hours and education hours in project management. I am sure this class work account for most of the education hours. This process can take anywhere from a day to a few weeks depending on if you are one of the unlucky 10% of applicants who get audited. Once permitted to take the test, you can register. You only have one year from when you get permission to take the test, so make sure you are prepared to take it.

    From here you have to decide how you want to study for the test. There are many different books, classes, and online programs to help you study. This is much like the preparation for the GMAT, but unlike the GMAT, the actual questions you will see on the PMP are not available to study from. Different programs create their own systems based on what they think you will see on the exam. The exam is 200 multiple choice question with a 4-hour time limit and no scheduled breaks. This may sound like plenty of time to complete the test, but it is grueling. I would happily take the GMAT again any day over the PMP exam. It took me all of the 4 hours to check and double-check my answers. Thankfully I passed with all proficients. When you finish the test you only learn pass/fail and your proficiencies in the different question categories. It ranges from proficient to below proficient.

    I tried to use a book with online resources to study for the PMP, but as my exam date loomed close, I did not feel prepared. The exam costs around $500 and I did not want to have to take it over. I broke down and decided to pay the big bucks for a PMP Boot Camp. There are many options out there, but all run on the same structure. Monday through Thursday 8am to 7pm, homework every night, and then they suggest you take the exam on Friday. Most have money back guarantees that you will pass and if not they will pay for you to retake it. I believe mine costs around $2,500, but it was a rewarding experience. If you want to be fully immersed in the PMBOK to build your technical PM knowledge, the book camp structure is tough but great. In fact, my instructor is helping me to get an interview with one of his business contacts.

    That is the most succinct summary I can give on my PMP certification experience, but am happy to answer any question in the unlikely case that anyone wants to hear more about this enthralling process. Thanks again for writing about such a great topic to close out the quarter.

  7. Very interesting view on the pros and cons of project management certifications. To be honest, I’ve never thought about the disadvantages and always assumed any certification can only boost your career. I know someone that’s a director of Project Management and he has mentioned numerous times that the work he does is interesting but also very time consuming and restricts his ability to spend quality time with his family. Some additional obstacles that I could think of is the requirements and work experience needed to even take the PMP exam. Reading some of the websites you listed, not only do you need classroom hours, but also documented work experience related to actual project management work.

    I have not thought about pursuing this certification but like one of the comments stated above, sometimes we take on that project management role without realizing it or being “officially” certified and trained to do so. I have not had formal training as a project manager but I have led a few lean six sigma projects which has exposed me to some project management experiences. Although having the certification is beneficial, sometimes it’s not necessary to do the job.

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