The original article “Project Management: Is PMP Certification Worth It?” has been live for only about 48 hours and has already generated nearly 50 comments and they are still coming in. I wanted to take this opportunity and give my thoughts on what’s come in and where the discussion seems to be going.

First, let me clear a few things up based on several of the comments.

  • I do know what a project is – it’s not a confusion of terminology based on PMP vs. non-PMP term usage or PMI vs. non-PMI term usage. I’ve managed enough projects for a long enough time to know the difference.
  • I do know the difference between a project and a program. I’ve managed both…as I mentioned I’ve managed engagements anywhere from a 1-month $5k project to a 5-year $50 million program.
  • I do not have my PMP – and that is not what this platform is about. It’s about discussion on its value and where the industry is going and what current hiring practices are.

Ok..that said, let’s move on. Many of the 50 comments are my responses – I want to be sure to respond as quickly as possible to those who choose to comment. And at PMTips we welcome all comments – just keep them in good taste because we’re looking to provide helpful and useful information to Project Managers in all industries and want people to keep coming back and using PMTips as a resource.

Findings So Far

At this point, I would say the comments are leaning toward “yes, it’s too bad that companies are screening for PMP since it’s basically a sign that you’ve passed a challenging test, but given the state of the economy and industry, you should probably just make sure you have PMP certification.” Regardless of how you personally feel, if you’ve read the comments I think you’d agree that those are the general feelings. I would have to agree with that statement myself.

The Interview

If you find yourself an out-of-work PM and you’re actively looking for a PM position, then it is highly likely you’ll face situations where you are screened out if you don’t have PMP designation on your resume. Whether HR departments are becoming lazy or don’t have the skills to adequately screen just on experience or they just have too many resumes to go through and too little time…at any rate you’re going to face it. Since there isn’t really anything else you can do about it, the only thing left is to start documenting your experience and training, send materials into PMI for approval, get approved, study for the test, sit for the test, and pass it. It’s not cheap if you’re paying for it all on your own, but it will likely help you get to the next step in the interview process.

The Interview

If you are less experienced and looking to get more information for re-training to get into the PM field - meaning PMP certification isn't even an option for you yet - there are US options open to you in terms of free student financial aid and guaranteed student loans. I worked on both of these government contracts in application development and project management roles in the 1980's and 1990's.  In Canada, if you were lucky enough to have your parents start this early, you may also have the option of an RESP. An RESP is a Registered Education Savings Plan, a fund that is started at birth for post-secondary education payments.

Getting Hired

I still contend that PMP certification won’t get you hired. It shouldn’t. Experience, personality, confidence, and possibly references should get you hired. The PMP designation should only get you in the door to present yourself. I still stand by my statement that this is a sad indication of where we are at this point. Experience, a good resume, and lots of experience should get you at least a phone interview and a chance to show your confidence and experience. But I believe in many cases those chances are squelched for some good PMs because they lack the PMP designation.


I’m not sure where this is all going – I’m looking forward to more comments on the original article and probably some comments on this article. So far I’ve only been personally bashed a couple of times, but I’m not sensitive and I always enjoy a good discussion. If you never cross the line into some controversy, you’ll never get the good discussions going. I knew this one would generate some emotions and the excellent readers at PMTips have certainly not let me down.

I welcome everyone to comment no matter how you feel. Go to the original article about PMP certifications and comment and you can comment here, as well. And as always, you can track down my email in my profile and send me a personal message if you’re not comfortable posting here. A few have already done that, but post here if you can as it always seems to generate good discussions. If we get enough additional comments, I’ll write another follow-up like this one. Thanks again!