Dear Bob ...
What do you think about PMP Certification - wall-paper to decorate cubicle walls or really useful? How does certification weigh against real experience?
- Certified or Certifiable
Dear Certifi ...
Certifications have two uses. One is to put on your resume to document that someone thinks you've acquired a particular skill. The other is that it gives you external validation that you've acquired the skill.
Actually acquiring the skill has to already have happened, and that, of course, is what's really important.
So if you're asking me whether the learning experiences you have to go through to gain a PMP certification are worthwhile, I'd have to say, yeah but.
In my experience, looking in from the outside since I haven't gone through the exercise myself, I'd say PMP certification is a bit heavy on theory and a bit light on street smarts. It's like taking music lessons to learn to play jazz piano - you can learn the notes, chords and theory, but that's just half the battle. I'd also say PMP certification is of increasing value as the size of the project increases.
So if you already know the discipline and want to have an easier time getting hired, it's good for that. If you don't know much about project management and your goal is to learn the discipline you could do worse than taking the PMP coursework, but it might be both overkill and underkill. It depends greatly on how formal an environment you'll be working in, and the size of the projects you want to manage.
(If learning project management basics is your goal and you'll forgive a plug, you also might want to wait a few months until I get my project management handbook out the door. It's nearing completion, but it probably won't be available for sale until late spring or early summer.)
I know it's wishy-washy advice, but it's the best I have.