How do those in tech know the best certifications for IT project managers? Organizations often emphasize this qualification because from their perspective, a candidate with IT project manager certifications is better than a non-certified candidate with the same experience. In this article, we’ll discuss paid and free certifications for IT project managers and why they’re worth it.
What is an IT certification?
An IT certification is a credential earned after an assessment process that evaluates knowledge in the relevant domain as meeting the standards set by the industry. It usually has an industry-led investigation. Certification is different from a certificate and the terms cannot be used interchangeably.
An IT certification demonstrates technological competence in a particular IT area and is based on a standardized evaluation method. It is recognized in the industry as a credible measure of a specific set of skills.
How much can you earn with a project manager certification?
Certified IT project managers earn an average of $110,000 per year. It varies widely depending on the specialization and years of experience in the field. For example, senior project managers are paid more than junior project managers.
Why is IT Project Manager Certification Important?
According to industry veterans, IT project manager certifications are some of the best investments you can make in your career path. Below are the ways in which an IT project management certification will skyrocket your chances of landing your dream job in IT.
While some applicants may have broad skillset than others, how can an employer really know without proof? Since certificates act as formal proof of basic knowledge and domain expertise, employers value a resume that is supported by sufficient evidence and thus have more reasons to hire.
Higher earning potential
According to researchers, certified project managers earn an average of 22 percent more than non-certified project managers. For example, project managers with a certification earn $120,000 in the US, while those without one earn $95,000. Based on this, a certification may be a bit expensive to acquire, but it provides a huge return on investment.
Improves your skills and marketability
Obtaining an IT project management certification is not easy. You have to go through a lot of training and a significant amount of academic coursework before you can pass the test.
However, these courses will prepare you for almost any kind of complex situation you will face in your job. Certifications can make you much more productive and valuable to your organization with the knowledge and hands-on experience you gain in the process.
Best IT Project Manager Certifications at a Glance
|Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)®||Member – $225 Non-member – $300||High school diploma, associate’s degree, or equivalent. A minimum of 23 hours of project management education can be fulfilled through the online project management courses offered by the Project Management Institute.|
|Project Management Professional (PMP)®||Member – $405 Non-member – $555||If you have completed a four-year degree, you will have 36 months of project leadership experience and 35 hours of project management training. If you only have a high school diploma or associate’s degree, you’ll need 60 months of project leadership experience and 35 hours of project management training.|
|Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)®||Member – $435Non-member – $495||Secondary education21 contact hours training agile methodology12 months general project experience in the last 5 years8 months experience with Agile projects in the last 3 years|
|PRINCE2® Project Management||$900||No|
|PPM: Professional in project management||$100-$340||E-course must be completed|
|BVOPM: Business Value Oriented Project Management (BVOPM)®||$130||No|
|Project management employee (APM)||$128||No|
|Certified ScrumMaster (CSM®) – Agile Project Management||$990-$1400||No|
|CompTIA Project+||$285||6-12 months hands-on leadership experience with IT projects (optional)|
|Certified Project Manager – IAPM||$630-$800||You will be asked to submit your experience with projects, which will be assessed separately. A total score will be given for your project history, which must meet the minimum score to participate in the certification.|
Top Certifications for IT Project Managers: A Closer Look
Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)®
CAPM is an entry-level certification that requires knowledge of best practices for managing IT projects and taking on more responsibilities as an IT project manager. The certification is awarded by the Project Management Institute and takes approximately 3 hours.
This course is attractive because you do not need to have previous certifications. It also acts as the foundation for future courses, making it the perfect first certification for IT project management education.
Project Management Professional (PMP)®
The highly sought after PMP certification is also offered by the PMI. It is accepted worldwide and proves competence with project management. The icing on the cake is that the course is also always up-to-date so that interested parties can follow the trends in the industry while earning this certification.
Agile Certified Practitioner (ACP)®
This certification is perfectly suited for those who prefer Agile practices and want to learn Agile project management. The ACP certification helps to develop an Agile mindset that allows you to better manage the project. The best part about this is that it covers everything from the basics to the advanced aspects of Agile methodology.
PRINCE2® Project Management
A PRINCE2 Practitioner takes a rather systematic approach to planning and executing projects of almost any size. Certified by PMI, it is one of the most popular project management methods in the industry. For those looking to add a widely accepted management framework to their resume, this PRINCE2 Practitioner certification is an excellent choice.
PPM: Professional in project management
As the name suggests, PPM teaches everything it takes to be an IT project manager, including the best strategies, case studies, practices and methodologies to use for a project. This is one of the best project management certifications as it helps those who pursue it to thrive as managers and become much more productive individuals upon completion.
BVOPM: Business Value Oriented Project Management (BVOPM)®
While some certifications focus on covering the general knowledge of project management skills, BVOPM takes a different approach by focusing entirely on Agile best practices, methodologies and principles. Moreover, it also helps in developing a value-oriented thinking process that can be used to contribute more value to organizations.
Project management employee (APM)
The APM certification is a basic certificate that lays the foundation for further knowledge of project management. Although it is not as comprehensive as other certifications, it is a worldwide known certificate in many industries. This certification would be a good choice for aspiring project managers committed to intensive certifications.
Certified ScrumMaster (CSM®) – Agile Project Management
Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) focuses strongly on Agile methodology and teaches you how to guide the developer team according to the framework – the ultimate ScrumMaster. It also covers other aspects of project management such as how value exchange works in an organization, how to communicate effectively with the developers and other stakeholders etc. If you want to master the Agile framework, we highly recommend this certification.
CompTIA Project+ can help formalize existing knowledge and help self-taught project managers gain credibility with employers. While the certification is not comprehensive, it covers most of the bits and bytes of project management that can serve as basic education for other courses.
Certified Project Manager – IAPM
Something where many people interested in learning project management struggle with how to get started with the training. While there are many training programs and certifications of different methodologies, not many answer questions such as which framework to learn and why.
That is what the CPM-IAPM certification aims to demonstrate, and it is suitable for those who only know the basics of project management. This certification is an excellent choice for Project Management Institute beginners seeking a basic level certification.
Free IT Certifications Worth Your Time
- Project management course certification: This globally recognized free online certification is best suited for those who no longer want to commit to anything. The course covers the full life cycle of a typical project and the area of project management, such as effectively planning, executing and monitoring projects.
- Certification Project Management Essentials. For those who want a basic understanding of project management and have no previous experience, PMEC is a good place to start. This comes with a 20-minute training program and the certification exam only has 15 questions, so it’s ideal for those on a busy schedule who want to start slowly.
- Free PMP® training. This free online PMP certification has a lot to offer, including lifetime access to the learning materials (25+ lectures, 60 minute training programs) and a self-paced setting. The certification program has also been recognized by the Wall Street Journal and is quite popular with tech giants like Apple and Google.
Are IT Project Manager Certifications Worth It?
Yes, IT project manager certifications are worth it. Whether it’s the salary, productivity, or overall competency you care about, they will all grow rapidly as you pursue certification. Since they require more effort and focus than a certificate, you will have to undergo intensive training, which will be very beneficial in the long run.
In addition, if you want to climb the career ladder by working smart, an IT project management certification will help you gain a lot of knowledge in a fast-paced environment, push your boundaries and unlock your full potential.
Best Certifications for IT Project Managers FAQ
The best certification for IT project management is the Project Management Professional (PMP). It is not only recognized worldwide, but also in sectors other than IT.
ITIL certifications serve as proof of your knowledge of service management best practices and process usage. It also demonstrates proficiency with commonly used methodologies and terminologies of modern IT.
Yes, a PMP certification is very helpful and valuable to your career as they are highly valued by employers around the world. The training process is not only quite intensive, but it also covers the core aspects of project management such as planning, initiation, implementation, monitoring and control.
While complex projects require different types of skills, you are generally expected to be proficient in effective communication, leadership, conflict resolution, time management, risk management and technical expertise.
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