What is the PMP Qualification for Managers

Career: IPMA®, PMI® or PRINCE2® - which project management certification is the right one?

Arctic Project Lapland AB

Project management certification

The demand for highly qualified employees with a project management certification is increasing - and that's no wonder. Digitization, automation, big data, global supply chains and outsourcing: The economy is changing, the pressure on companies is increasing - and at a breakneck speed. In the past, project management was "just" a discipline for mastering complex projects with methods, but it is now a key competence and a success factor for survival in global markets. Qualified project managers are essential to meet these challenges. But which project management certification is the right one? The market is not easy to see through, training providers beckon with certificates on every corner. This article gives an overview of the jungle of providers - with clear recommendations for the German market.

"If you don't stay tuned, you will be left behind"

IPMA®, PMI® and PRINCE2® are the largest international associations for project management certifications

More and more companies are citing formal project management certification as a prerequisite for entry - not without reason. In order to survive in global markets, projects must be brought to success more efficiently than ever before. Due to the enormous increase in the importance of project management, the need for trained project managers is high.

"We are already receiving more and more inquiries from individuals who are in new types of employment. Many employment relationships are temporary, more and more are self-employed and work on dynamic projects," says Dr. Alexander Blumenau, head of the online training provider ittp. "In many job advertisements, official certifications are a must and add value to the résumé."

But not only individuals benefit from the official seals of approval:

The awareness of project management as a key competence has arrived in companies. Whether you are a traditional automotive supplier, a dynamic start-up or a district administration: The pressure is growing everywhere to work together smoothly across departments, divisions, companies and countries and to deliver professional results.

There is no question that such skills do not fall from the sky. According to a study by the Project Management Institute (PMI®), 83 percent of all high-performance organizations continuously invest in professional training for project managers.

The three most important project management certifications at a glance

Whether IPMA® Level D, PMP®, PRINCE2®, CSM® or PMI-PBA®: the market for project management certifications is confusing and difficult to understand. Each association stands for a certain orientation and offers different degrees of certification - depending on professional experience and thematic specialization.

The following is an overview of the three most important international project management associations, each with their most widespread certification - with specific information on effort, costs and thematic focus.

IPMA® - Level D is the perfect entry-level certificate for the German market

Which certification is the right one? The answer depends on your own requirements

The International Project Management Association (IPMA®) is the umbrella organization for member organizations from over 60 countries - particularly well represented in Germany and other European countries. The German Society for Project Management (GPM®) offers five levels of certification: from the basic level for beginners and schoolchildren to level A for experienced project experts at the highest level.

The most widespread certification is IPMA® Level D, Certified Project Management Associate: by January 2020, over 47,000 of these certificates had been issued in Germany. (Source: GPM)

The effort and costs for such a certification are comparatively high: six to seven seminar days plus exam preparation costs around 4,000 euros including certification fee, depending on the provider. If the training is chosen as a time-flexible online variant in self-study, the costs are significantly lower.

The undeniable advantage: an internationally valid certificate, which is particularly important in German-speaking countries. The IPMA® places particular emphasis on the competence of the project manager: Not only is knowledge certified, but the development of personal skills is also emphasized. In addition to technical methods, soft skills such as creativity, time management and communication are in the foreground. According to a study by the PMI®, these soft skills are playing an increasingly important role: Over half of those surveyed stated that soft skills are more important today than they were a few years ago.

The practical application of the learned content is also a plus: The certification can include project work in which the participants can apply and demonstrate their new skills.

"This practical moment is a huge advantage for many participants," says Dr. Blumenau. "Just like the fact that certification can be started early in the career: Even beginners without project experience can start right away and later upgrade to a higher level with increasing experience."

The certificate is valid for five years. The exam consists of multiple choice and open questions, optionally a written project work, and can be taken directly from the training provider on fixed dates in Nuremberg or Hanover or online since 2020.

The PMI® may be the best choice for some

The largest international project management association is the Project Management Institute (PMI®). The association is particularly well represented in North America and Asia. For beginners, the PMI® offers the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM®) certification and has the Project Management Professional (PMP®) as its flagship product - with over a million certificates issued worldwide, including over 16,000 in Germany.

In 2021, the PMI® will change its certification requirements for the PMP®: With the addition of significantly more hybrid and agile methods, an even more demanding certification exam than previously is expected. The preparation is tough: Depending on the provider, around five seminar days are invested, including the certification fee, the costs amount to around 3,000 euros. An online version of self-study can also be selected for the PMI®. In order to be approved for certification, this must be booked directly with PMI®.

In contrast to IPMA®, the PMP® certification places more emphasis on processes and methods. Soft skills are less present, but the proportion of hybrid and agile methods is higher.

Those who are directly aiming for the widespread PMP® certificate already need some professional experience: if they have completed their studies, three years of active project experience must be proven - without a previous degree it is even five years.

The certificate is valid for three years. The exam consists exclusively of challenging multiple-choice questions and can be taken online or in test centers. A sticking point for some participants: the actual exam is conducted in English. German translations are available, but these can cause problems, especially with tricky questions.


Both employees and employers benefit from an official certificate

With PRINCE2® (Projects in Controlled Environments), the third international big player comes into play: Originally developed as a government standard in Great Britain for project management in IT, it now also plays a role in other industries. In contrast to the other two associations, PRINCE® provides a detailed process model: What has to be done in a project from start to finish - and from which roles? A PRINCE2® certification therefore shows less general project management skills, but rather knowledge of the specific PRINCE2® method.

PRINCE2® plays a major role in Great Britain: 44 percent of all certificate holders are British. Historically traceable, the standard is also widespread in other Commonwealth countries, much less so in Central Europe and the USA.

For beginners, PRINCE2® offers Foundation certification, the Practitioner is aimed at existing project managers.

In contrast to the other associations, certification is comparatively simple and inexpensive: Depending on the type of training, between approx. 300 euros and 1,500 euros are due - certification fee included. Naturally, self-study is the cheapest option; depending on the provider, up to five days of face-to-face training are estimated for the PRINCE2® practitioner.

The certificate is valid for three years. The exam consists exclusively of multiple-choice questions and can be taken online.

Which project management certification is right?

As is so often the case, the answer is: it depends. First and foremost, participants or companies have to decide which goals they want to achieve with certification.

Dr. Alexander Blumenau: "Everyone has to decide for himself how much time and money should be invested - and what benefits he hopes for or in which area he is active. Even a cheap certificate is of no use to anyone if no employer is interested."

The following points will help you make your choice:

• Is it about obtaining any certificate with as little effort and costs as possible? The PRINCE2® certifications are a possible choice.

• Does the current or future company work a lot according to the standard of a certain association such as PRINCE2®, IPMA® or PMI®? Then the choice should be based on it.

• Are you aiming for the most widespread international certificate and are the projects mainly taking place in North America or Asia? There is hardly any getting past the PMP® of the PMI®.

• The Anglo-Saxon PMI® is preferred, but the three years of project management experience are still missing? Then the CAPM® is a good start.

• Are you looking for an internationally recognized certification that is widely used in German-speaking countries? The IPMA® Level D forms the ideal basis for everyone who is striving for a high-quality certificate early on in their career.

• During certification, in addition to a multiple-choice exam, emphasis is placed on the practical application of knowledge and, in addition to technical competencies, on teaching soft skills? Then the IPMA® Level D is the way to go.

Ultimately, many factors play a role: the time frame, the budget, the requirements of the employer and your own preferences. Do you prefer face-to-face training? Or flexible self-study?

Project management certification in self-study: flexible to the IPMA® Level D certificate

The latter is offered by "ittp - virtual education for professionals". The flexible online training provides all the necessary knowledge and skills to successfully complete projects on time and on budget - for satisfied customers and motivated teams. The entire learning concept is guaranteed to conform to the ICB 4.0 standard of the IPMA®. In this way, all participants benefit from the proven methodology for direct practical transfer - an important step from pure knowledge to practical skills. This is exactly what project managers can prove with a project management certification for IPMA® Level D.
responsible i. S. d. TMG
Arctic Project Lapland AB
Mr. Alexander BlumenauBlind jaws 1396030 VuollerimSwedenTax ID number: SE559091032801Org.no. 559091-0328Bolagsverket (Sweden) ittp-academy.de