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Advancing Your Career in the Emerging Profession of Project Management

Paul Naybour Paul Naybour

Published: 22nd February 2013

Projects are increasingly becoming part of the daily business of many organisations so the need for experienced and well-trained project managers is increasing as these organisations recognise the value of project managers with a track record of delivering complex projects successfully. Many organisations will have learnt the hard way that assigning an individual who has no prior experience or training to a project manager role is not always the most successful approach, so will have identified the need for controlled and structured project delivery through well-defined and documented processes.
Organisations are striving to improve the success rate of their projects by employing people with the right skills and qualifications or by investing in training their existing project managers. They understand the need for professionalism in project management so the opportunities to build a lasting career in project management have expanded with the consequent emergence of professional qualifications and accreditation in internationally recognised methodologies such as PRINCE2, APM or PMP. Well-trained project managers with globally recognised credentials are more motivated to succeed and build their careers and this is reflected in the quality of the projects they deliver. Recent research by PM Solutions revealed an average 26% improvement across eight measures of project and business performance because of project management training initiatives.
The Association for Project Management (APM) offers a range of qualifications and accreditation for project management professionals from the Introductory Certificate for first-time project managers, through to the Registered Project Professional (RPP) credential that recognises prior training, practical experience in delivering complex projects in real commercial environments, competent leadership and a commitment to continuous professional development (CPD). The RPP is awarded through the preparation of a portfolio of work and an interview assessment and was devised as part of the process for the APM to become a chartered body with the aim of raising professional standards in project management. A growing number of organisations expect their project managers to have this level of designation and project managers themselves want to be recognised with chartered status to help them develop their career in project management.
The Project Management Institute (PMI) also promotes the project management profession with internationally-recognised standards and credentials. But the benefits of such qualifications are more than just professional recognition – according to a PMI Salary Survey of 35,000 project managers in 19 countries, obtaining PMP Certification leads to salaries up to 10% higher than those of similarly experienced managers without the qualification.
These types of qualifications and credentials offer recognition for experienced project managers on a par with the well-established traditional professions such as accountancy and law.  And just as chartered status in traditional professions gives a client confidence in the abilities of the professional so similar credentials in the modern profession of project management instil the same confidence in clients and employers. Project management is rapidly becoming a highly-regarded profession with an attractive career path.
But advancing your career in project management is about more than simply acquiring the right qualifications. Qualifications have to be backed up by professional credentials that prove you have the right experience and leadership qualities and are committed to continuous professional development.
In her article “The Value of Project Management Qualifications“, Lynda Bourne notes an increasing number of individuals investing in their own project management training particularly on courses where the project manager will achieve a recognised credential that will advance their careers.
It can seem difficult to find the time in a busy working day to undertake the training or coaching necessary to achieve a recognised qualification or professional credential but, as project management becomes more and more of a recognised profession, it is essential for career advancement to find that time. Once chartered status has been awarded to the project management profession, there will be even more of a distinction between those who have attended relevant project management courses and achieved recognised credentials and those who have not.
Why not share with us your own experiences of the difference qualifications have made to your career in project management and to your earning potential.

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