Are you currently a project manager or looking to become one? See which project management certifications can help advance your career and give you a leg up on the competition.
Before reading this guide, you can also check out our tutorial on How to Become a Project Manager.
What Are Project Management Certifications?
A project management certification is a program that assesses someone’s experience and knowledge with the principles, methodologies, and tools associated with project management. Project management certifications are different than project management certificates. PM certifications typically require weeks of courses and hours of education covering different facets of project management.
PM certificates, meanwhile, are diploma-like documents that a project manager receives after taking a test, which does not necessarily require any formal educational training.
What Are the Benefits of Project Management Certifications?
If you work as a project manager or would like to break into the profession, you may be wondering if getting a project management certification is worth your time and money.
The simple answer to that question is yes, as a project management certification offers several benefits. If you have worked in PM informally, certification can increase your skillset and knowledge so you can transition to a more formal project management role. And it can showcase your abilities and help you stand out from the crowd, which can be beneficial if you are new and looking for work as a project manager or are experienced and would like to get a promotion to increase your status and pay.
Monday.com Project Management Tool Dashboard
Speaking of pay, becoming a certified project manager puts you in higher demand, so you can increase your income. According to the Project Management Institute, certified project managers earn 20 percent more on average than those without certification. Not only is PM certification beneficial, but it is also required in some places. The federal government, for example, now requires most project and program managers to have PMP certification.
Another benefit of project management certification is that it can open you up to job opportunities worldwide since many are recognized around the globe. In short, if you are looking for better career opportunities and more pay in the PM world, getting a project management certification is your best bet.
What Should I Look for in a Project Management Certification?
While the benefits of project management certifications are easy to see, picking the right one for your needs is a bit more complicated. Before choosing a certification, you should decide where you want your project management career to lead. Once you know that, you can then pick the certification that will get you there.
To choose the proper project management certification to achieve your goals, consider the following:
- Where you are currently employed or would like to work
- Where you are in your overall career
- How much the certification can help with your current position
- The level of specialization you desire
- How long it takes to complete the certification
- The certification’s format
- Industry standards
- Your budget
Project Management Certifications for Developers
Since this article is being published on Developer.com, the assumption is that you want to, at the minimum, become a project manager in the IT industry or computer science field. Moreover, odds are you want to become a project manager for a software development company or web development PM.
That being said, the project manager certifications below are not just for IT professionals or PMs for software development teams – they can serve for many other industries as well.
Wrike Project Management Tool Gantt Chart
Project Management Professional (PMP) Certification
Considered by many to be the top credential for professionals in this field, you can get your Project Management Professional (PMP) Certification from the Project Management Institute (PMI).
Since PMI is recognized as the top project management organization in the world, getting your PMP could give your credibility an instant boost so you can take your career to new heights. With your PMP in place, you should expect a higher salary. According to a PMI survey, those with PMP certification reported 16 percent higher salaries than those without.
The PMP is designed for those with some degree of formal education and experience in the field of project management. Prerequisites for the PMP include having a four-year degree, 35 hours of PM education and training or CAPM certification, and 36 months as a project leader. You could also qualify if you have a secondary degree, such as a high school diploma or associate’s degree, plus 35 hours of PM education and training or CAPM certification, and 60 months as a project leader.
PMI sets the standards for PMP certification. You can find them in A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge or PMBOK Guide.
PMI members can take the PMP exam for $405, while non-members must pay $555.
Check out this Complete PMP Certification Training!
Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP) Certification
Professionals familiar with Agile practices who want to transition from entry-level work to a more advanced status should aim for the Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP) Certification. With this certification, you will cover various Agile approaches, such as:
- Extreme programming (XP)
- Test-driven deployment (TDD)
Prerequisites for the PMI-ACP Certification include a secondary degree, 21 contact hours of Agile training, eight months of Agile experience within the last 36 months, and 12 months of general project experience within the last 60 months.
A PMI-ACP certification costs $435 for PMI members and $495 for non-members.
Check out this Full Training for PMI-ACP!
CompTIA Project+ Certification
If you have fundamental PM skills and work with smaller projects that are not overly complex, the CompTIA Project+ Certification may be right for you. Unlike other certifications, this one covers all of the essential PM concepts versus focusing on a single framework or methodology.
With the CompTIA Project+ Certification, you can expand your skillset to become more knowledgeable and marketable by learning about change management, documentation management, resource and stakeholder management, project lifecycle management, risk management, and basic project management. You can also learn valuable ways to effectively communicate with team members to become a better leader.
The CompTIA Project+ Certification exam costs $348.
Check out this course that will fully prepare you for the CompTIA Project+ exam.
ScrumMaster Certification (CSM)
Whether you are looking to increase your Agile skills or want to earn the credential of Scrum Master, the ScrumMaster Certification CSM can help you do both. Once you earn your title as Scrum Master, you can lead others via Scrum principles, practices, and values so you can create a productive and efficient work environment.
Prior to taking the CSM exam, experienced Agile trainers CSM will teach you all of the Scrum essentials in a class tailor-made to fit your needs. Once complete, you will not only become a Scrum Master, but you will also carry the knowledge and confidence needed to apply those learned methods to your workplace.
The ScrumMaster Certification costs $495. To enhance your skills and advance your career even more, you can continue to strive for these related certifications:
- Advanced Scrum Master Certification
- Scrum Professional ScrumMaster Certification
- Agile Coach Certification
Check out these mock practice tests for the Scrum Master Certification.
Google Project Management Certificate
The Google Project Management Certificate is an excellent way to boost any entry-level project manager’s resume and skillset by teaching them the following:
- Fundamentals of project management
- Managing project lifecycle stages from initiation to execution
- Agile project management
Google employees with experience in project management designed the course’s content, which is interactive and based on real-world PM scenarios. To get the Google Project Management Certificate, you will have to run a gauntlet of hundreds of practice-based assessments and 140-plus hours of instruction.
The cost of obtaining the Google PM Certificate will depend on how long it takes you to complete the course. It should not exceed $300, however, so budget accordingly.