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Is Project Management the Right Career Choice for You?

31 Aug 2016
Is Project Management the Right Career Choice for You?

Do you ever wonder if project management is the right career choice for you? It is multifaceted and rewarding, but it is also a demanding job.

Have you considered the pros and cons of project management as a career choice?  The field is fast-paced, hectic, offers unique visibility opportunities across many functions of the organization and yet can be highly rewarding at the same time.

Project Management:

  • Means dealing with continual change
  • It comes with an abundance of risk and uncertainty
  • Involves constant pressure and stress
  • Means budgets and deadlines
  • Demands dealing with internal and external conflict
  • Embraces demanding schedules
  • Requires excellent people skills

If you think that this is the right career choice for you, the next step is to determine which project management certification will work best and offer you not only practical and real-world utilitarianism but promising job prospects to boot.

Many organizations offer project management certifications, and weeding through them can be daunting. The most well-known project management associations are the Project Management Institute (PMI), the International Project Management Association (IPMA) and PRINCE2.

With so many to choose from, where to begin?  

As in most fields, pursuing a project management certification can be quite murky. So how does one determine which PM certification offers you the knowledge needed for real-world application and promising job prospects?

The table below is an extract of a paper published by Stacy Goff, former president of IPMA-USA. It shows the main certification products in the marketplace and compares them based on three specific criteria. The three criteria for comparison are:

  • Prerequisites
  • Breadth of Coverage
  • Rigour of Assessment
where to begin


The IPMA Certification describes a comprehensive inventory of competencies an individual needs to have or develop to master the individual's project. However, it is not a ''how to'' guide or a cookbook for managing projects.

The PMI Certification describes the processes and knowledge areas involved in project management, and some purists argue that it focuses more on “knowledge”.” In contrast, the IPMA concentration is on “Competence/Performance”.

Both PMI and IPMA see future generations of project managers having to possess strategic, technical, and people skills to acquire advanced certification levels.

The PRINCE2 certification, while being popular, scores quite low on the comparative table as its thrust is on “Methodology” with very little if any attention to behavioural or the strategic components alluded to above.

It is important to understand that organisation managers and learning and development specialists are looking for a global certification with a firm foundation in leading to project and business success.

If you are trying to decide on career options, and project manager is a position that interests you, understanding the relative merits of the different certifications available is of paramount importance. The Institute of Project Management offers a variety of courses with different certifications. To explore your options further, click here.