It’s no secret that the demand for project managers is growing. In fact, the demand for project managers in the United States alone is projected to grow by up to 6.1 million jobs in less than two short years.
According to a Talent Gap report published by The Project Management Institute (PMI), the project management profession is projected to grow by $6.61 trillion by the year 2020 in the United States alone.
Although becoming a certified project management professional (PMP), and earning the official PMP credential by the PMI certainly solidifies your knowledge and experience as a project manager, will it even matter if project managers are a dime a dozen in the next few years?
Yes, it’s true that the term “project manager” is overused today. In fact, many professionals assume a “project management” role without really having any official project management training, or even understanding what it really means to be a project manager.
So, what is the true meaning and value of being a project manager? Read on to learn more about what true project management is, and how the PMP certification only adds to that value.
The Truth About Being a Project Manager
As we mentioned above, many professionals end up falling into project management roles by accident. In fact, 93 percent of organizations use standardized project management practices. This proves the overall need and demand for project managers in nearly every business, organization, and industry.
However, managing tasks, schedules, budgets, resources, and communication doesn’t mean that you are a project manager in the professional sense. Sorry!
Sure, these activities might form the basis and fundamentals of project management. Professionals who coordinate these activities and tasks certainly function as project managers. However, true project management requires a deeper, tacit knowledge and skill level.
What is the Difference Between a Project Manager and a PMP?
We know what you are probably thinking: Maybe you have served in a project management role for 10 years, but because you don’t have your official PMP certification, you aren’t really a project manager.
Allow us to explain…
If you undergo official training and preparation to take the PMP exam, you will learn about both the high-level and granular skillsets required to be a true project manager. Some of these skills include the following:
- Technical project management skills
- Analytical and critical thinking abilities
- Creative problem-solving abilities
- A strategic and design thinking mindset
- Outstanding communication skills
- Leadership, “soft” people, and team building skills
Certified PMPs and other certified project professionals have a range of the above skills. In fact, 72 percent of Project Management Offices (PMO) believe that the PMP certification is necessary for project managers.
As a result, organizations are increasingly looking for certified PMPs as well as other certified project professionals to help them reduce project failure rates, low-performance rates, and also achieve higher success rates across the board. All in all, a combination of these skills helps project managers drive measurable results.
Furthermore, in a day and age when most organizations strive to find innovative solutions to control scope, grow value delivery capabilities, and achieve better results, certified project professionals can use these opportunities to apply their qualifications and skills in a meaningful, valuable way. In fact, PMPs are proven to be more effective and efficient in their roles than non-certified project managers.
How is a Project Management Career with a PMP Certification Different?
In addition to acquiring a granular skillset and learning about the key knowledge areas and methodologies of project management, certified PMPs will also learn how these areas impact projects. For example, budgeting, problem-solving, team management, monitoring schedules and deadlines, and continuous improvement are involved in every phase of the project lifecycle—from beginning to end.
Acquiring these skills and knowledge will help align certified project managers for higher-paying and rewarding project management positions in the future.
Furthermore, certified project managers also earn higher annual salaries compared to non-certified project managers. In fact, studies show that certified project managers earn an average of 20 percent more each year than non-certified project managers. Depending on the project management role and industry, certified project managers can earn between $90,000 and up to six figures per year.
A common project management myth is that project managers need an MBA or specialized degree to become a certified project manager, before even taking the PMP exam. This isn’t true. Becoming a certified project manager only requires taking and passing the official PMP exam. For example, professionals with liberal arts or language degrees can become certified PMPs.
If you want to expand your career and accelerate your project management knowledge, you don’t have to go back to school. There are module programs available specifically for project management. You can build a career in project management with a degree in any subject or area. However, earning your official PMP certification will allow you to go a lot further in your career than if you didn't.
Will the PMP Certification Still Be Relevant in the Future?
Many professionals believe that robots will take over project management jobs. The truth is that project management still requires a skill level and emotional intelligence that robots could never replicate. Project managers can leverage AI software and robots to help them manage projects and project teams. However, robots will never take over project management completely.
So, yes, earning your PMP certification will continue to be relevant in the future, and is still worth the investment. Furthermore, earning your PMP certification is still a highly impressive and sought-after credential. The PMP credential shows future employers or clients that you are well versed and knowledgeable in the various areas of project management, which can be applied in any industry or project.
We won’t sugar coat it… the PMP exam is difficult and requires a significant investment. In addition to spending money on preparing for and taking the PMP exam, there is also a time investment involved. Most aspiring project managers spend between $3000 to $4000 on preparing for and taking the PMP exam. Furthermore, they also spend between three to six months on average preparing and studying for the PMP exam.
However, when you consider how much more valuable you are, and your new earning potential, the PMP certification is well worth it.
The good news is you don’t have to prepare for and navigate the PMP exam alone. Although the PMI is the only institution that offers the official PMP certification program, there are a number of exam resources, including preparation courses available to help you prepare and begin thinking in the way that the PMP exam is designed.
The Best PMP Exam Preparation Courses
The PMP certification can make a significant positive impact and even exacerbate the true value of a project manager. Furthermore, earning the official PMP certification also helps project managers gain and maintain a competitive edge in today’s job market and in the foreseeable future.
If you are looking for the best PMP exam prep course, take a look at Project Vanguards. Project Vanguards offers a number of resources, training programs, and PMP exam prep courses to help professionals and even aspiring project managers earn their PMP certification on the first try.