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 IT project manager certifications and why they’re worth it.
What Is an IT Certification?
An IT certification is a credential earned after an assessment process that evaluates the knowledge in the relevant domain as it complies with standards set by the industry. It typically has an industry-led examination. Certification differs from a certificate and the terms cannot be used interchangeably.
An IT certification demonstrates technological competency in a certain IT field and is based on a standardized evaluation method. It is recognized in the industry as a credible benchmark for a specific skill set.
How Much Can You Earn With a Project Manager Certification?
Certified IT project managers make $110,000 a year on average. It varies widely depending on the specialization and years of experience in the field. For instance, senior project managers get 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 on your career path. Below are the ways an IT project management certification will help skyrocket your chances of landing your dream job in IT.
While some applicants might have a broad skill set than others, how can an employer really know that without proof? Since certificates act as formal proof of basic knowledge and domain expertise, employers appreciate a resume that’s backed by sufficient evidence and hence have more reasons to hire.
Higher earning potential
According to researchers, certified project managers earn 22 percent more on average than non-certified project managers. For example, project managers with a certification make $120,000 in the US, while those without one earn $95,000. Based on this, a certification might be a bit expensive to acquire, but it delivers a tremendous return on investment.
Enhances your skillset and marketability
Obtaining an IT project management certification is no easy feat. You’ll need to go through a lot of training and a considerable amount of academic coursework before you can pass the test.
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However, this coursework will prepare you for almost any kind of complex situation you’ll face in your job. Certifications can make you much more productive and valuable to your organization with the knowledge and hands-on experience you acquire during the process.
Best Certifications for IT Project Managers at a Glance
|Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)®||Member – $225Non-member – $300||High school diploma, associate’s degree, or equivalent. A minimum of 23 hours of project management education may be fulfilled by the online project management courses offered by the Project Management Institute.|
|Project Management Professional (PMP)®||Member – $405Non-member – $555||If you have a four-year degree, then 36 months of project leadership experience and 35 hours of project management training.If you only have a high school diploma or an 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 of training in agile methodology12 months of general project experience in the past 5 years.8 months of experience with Agile projects in the past 3 years|
|PRINCE2® Project Management||$900||None|
|PPM: Professional in Project Management||$100-$340||E-Course must be completed|
|BVOPM: Business Value-Oriented Project Management (BVOPM)®||$130||None|
|Associate in Project Management (APM)||$128||None|
|Certified ScrumMaster (CSM®) – Agile Project Management||$990-$1400||None|
|CompTIA Project+||$285||6-12 months of hands-on leadership experience with IT projects (optional)|
|Certified Project Manager – IAPM||$630-$800||You will be asked to submit your experience regarding projects, which will be assessed individually. A total score will be awarded for your project history, which needs to meet the minimum score to enroll in the certification.|
Top IT Project Manager Certifications: A Closer Look
Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)®
CAPM is an entry-level certification that requires knowledge of the best practices for managing IT projects and handling more responsibilities as an IT project manager. The certification is awarded by the Project Management Institute and takes about 3 hours to complete.
This course is attractive because it doesn’t require you to have any prior certifications. It also works 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 globally accepted and proves competency with project management. The cherry on top is that the course is also always up-to-date, so interested parties can keep up with the industry trends while obtaining this certification.
Agile Certified Practitioner (ACP)®
This certification is the perfect fit for those who prefer Agile practices and want to learn Agile project management. The ACP certification helps to develop an Agile mindset which you can use to manage the project better. The best part about this is that it covers everything from the basics to the advanced aspects of the Agile methodology.
PRINCE2® Project Management
A PRINCE2 Practitioner takes a rather systematic approach to planning and executing projects of virtually any size. It is certified by PMI and is one of the industry’s most popular project management methodologies. For those who seek to add a widely adopted management framework to their resume, this PRINCE2 Practitioner certification is a great choice.
PPM: Professional in Project Management
As the name suggests, PPM teaches everything necessary to be an IT project manager, including the best strategies, case studies, practices, and methodologies to utilize for a project. This is one of the best project management certifications because it helps those who pursue it to thrive as managers and become much more productive individuals upon completion.
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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 concentrating entirely on Agile best practices, methodologies, and principles. On top of that, it also helps develop a value-oriented thought process that can be used to contribute more value to organizations.
Associate in Project Management (APM)
The APM certification is a basic certificate laying the foundation for further project management knowledge. Although it isn’t as comprehensive as other certifications, it is a globally renowned certificate among many industries. This certification would be a good choice for aspiring project managers who are committed to intensive certifications.
Certified ScrumMaster (CSM®) – Agile Project Management
Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) focuses heavily on Agile Methodology and teaches you how to supervise the developer team following the framework – being the ultimate ScrumMaster. It also covers other aspects of project management like how value exchange works in an organization, how to effectively communicate with the developers and other stakeholders etc. If you want to master the Agile framework, we strongly recommend this certification.
CompTIA Project+ can help formalize existing knowledge and help self-taught project managers to appear more credible to employers. Although the certification isn’t extensive, it covers most of the bits and bytes of project management that can serve as the foundational education for other courses.
Certified Project Manager – IAPM
Something many people interested in learning project management struggle with is how to get started with the training. While there are many training programs and certifications of different methodologies, not many answer questions like which framework to learn and why.
That’s what the CPM-IAPM certification seeks to show, and it caters to those who only know the basics of project management. This certification is a great choice for beginners in the Project Management Institute who are looking for a foundational level certification.
Free IT Certifications Worth Your Time
- Project Management Certification Course: This globally recognized free online certification is best suited for those who don’t want to commit to something longer. The course covers the full life cycle of a typical project and the field of project management like planning, executing, and controlling projects effectively.
- Project Management Essentials Certification. For those who want a basic understanding of project management and have no prior experience, PMEC is a good place to start. This comes with a 20-minute training program, and the certification exam has only 15 questions, so it’s ideal for those with a busy schedule who want to start slow.
- Free PMP® Training. This free online PMP certification has a lot to offer, including lifetime access to the learning materials (25+ lectures, 60 minutes of training programs) and a self-paced setting. The certification program has also been recognized by the Wall Street Journal and is quite popular among 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 paycheck, productivity, or overall competence you care about, all will start seeing a rapid increase if you pursue certification. Since they require more effort and focus than a certificate, you’ll have to undergo intensive training, which will be very helpful in the long run.
Moreover, if you want to climb up the career ladder by working smart, an IT project management certification will help you acquire a lot of knowledge in a fast-paced environment, expand your limits, 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 recognized not only globally, but also in other industries apart from IT as well.
ITIL certifications serve as proof of your knowledge regarding best practices of service management and process utilization. It also displays proficiency with frequently used methodologies and terminologies of modern IT.
Yes, a PMP certification is extremely beneficial and valuable for your career as they’re highly valued by employers from all over the world. Not only is the training process quite intensive, but it also covers the core aspects of project management like planning, initiation, implementation, monitoring, and control.
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Although complex projects demand a different kind of skill set, generally, you’ll be expected to be skilled in effective communication, leadership, conflict resolution, time management, risk management, and technical expertise.
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