The Benefits of Professional Certification
In the event of being apprehended for professional prowess, would there be ample proof to warrant charges? The crux of certification lies in furnishing tangible evidence to showcase one’s capabilities to others. A professional certification serves as a testament to this evidence, a critical facet, particularly in emerging professions where the contours of professional credibility are still defined. Consider these:
- Cyber Security
- Data Analytics
- Using Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
- Data Interpretation
Fifteen years past, these entities were nonexistent, at least not in the configuration we recognize. Few individuals possess academic credentials in these domains. Should you aspire to enter one of these vocations, substantiating your technical acumen becomes imperative, and a certification program is a viable pathway to do so?
Definition and types of certification
Certifications can be broadly classified into two categories:
- Academic Qualifications
- Professional Certifications
The awareness surrounding academic qualifications is ubiquitous. Universities globally vie for supremacy across various disciplines, often placing more emphasis on the prestige of the institution attended than the actual accomplishments. While college degrees undeniably hold value, recent surveys suggest that the earning differentials over a professional lifespan are not as pronounced as they were a decade ago.
Despite academic qualifications being rooted in the rigorous development of syllabi and mandated topics, their drawback in our contemporary world of swiftly evolving technology lies in the protracted time it takes to revise these curricula. This lag poses a challenge in aligning graduates with the dynamic skill sets coveted by employers. Academic insiders disclose that the revision process can extend up to three years—an untenable timeframe given the rapid pace of change in certain industries and technologies.
A remedy to this velocity of change is found in certifications. Although they may take several months to develop, certifications are unencumbered by academic year constraints, allowing them to concentrate on specific skills and roles, particularly in specialized domains. Certifications not only impart knowledge in specific roles, such as pen testing in cyber security or proposal writing in bid and proposal management, but they can also delve into distinct techniques within a profession, exemplified by Earned Value Analysis and business cases in Programme and Project Management.
Perhaps the most pivotal aspect of certifications is their capacity to introduce novel technologies or alternative methodologies. Recent examples include USM, a principle-driven approach to Service Management, alongside FitSM and OpenSM—agile and lightweight Service Management methodologies garnering increased pursuit among students.
Professional certifications typically originate from a Professional Body. If you harbor an interest in obtaining certification, explore the Professional Bodies most active and esteemed in your field. Alternatively, certifications can emanate from a dedicated consortium of professionals, exemplified by the group responsible for the Agile Manifesto, an individual, or a professional network with a compelling concept capable of fostering an ecosystem for development and market introduction.
Diverging from many courses, especially those proliferating on various platforms, certifications distinguish themselves by incorporating an assessment or exam designed to validate the attainment of prescribed learning outcomes. A notable distinction lies in the connection of many certifications to practical experience.
In contrast to numerous academic qualifications, several professional certifications aim to evaluate an individual’s proficiency, with certain certifications mandating ongoing education for maintenance.
Benefits of professional certifications
In 1877, Arthur Wellington penned a timeless insight in “The Economic Theory of the Location of Railways,” stating, “An engineer can do for a dollar what any fool can do for two.” I posit that Wellington’s definition of an engineer resonates across various professions. The advantages of professional certifications encompass:
1. Competitive Advantage
A certification serves as a license to practice. While in some instances, certifications are optional, those who opt for them distinguish themselves from the multitude. Such individuals showcase a personal dedication to their professional advancement. However, what starts as an optional distinctive factor can evolve over time into a standard prerequisite for specific roles within certain organizations. This trend is particularly conspicuous in larger professions where an array of certifications is deemed fundamental. These certifications allow individuals to exhibit proficiency in specialized domains and, through ongoing education, contribute to their overall professional competence. The efficacy of this system relies heavily on the sustained demand for the specific niche.
Certifications manifest a personal commitment to continual professional growth, aligning with the requirements of most professional bodies that mandate ongoing professional development. This serves as tangible evidence that an individual is actively maintaining and updating their skills.
2. Increased Financial Reward
Compelling evidence from independent research underscores that professional certifications correlate with individuals securing more lucrative employment opportunities and commanding higher salaries from employers. APMG’s internal surveys echo these findings:
- In a survey encompassing Agile Practitioners, a noteworthy 25% of respondents affirmed that the acquisition of certification played a pivotal role in securing a new position or promotion.
- Findings from our Change Management survey revealed that a substantial 46% of participants perceive their certification as a positive catalyst for enhancing their earning potential.
During a Praxis Framework Webinar, Marion Bell shared that following her attainment of the Chartered Project Professional (ChPP) certification, she experienced a notable career trajectory with two promotions and corresponding salary increases within two years.
3. Increased Opportunity
Individuals showcasing a tangible commitment to personal development, education, and broader knowledge frequently find themselves presented with more engaging assignments or even a new role within their organizations.
Their established capacity for learning and deriving value from training renders them highly sought after in project teams or groups exploring innovative work methodologies. Moreover, their active involvement in strategic discussions within the organization is facilitated by their extensive knowledge and understanding, making them integral contributors to such deliberations.
4. Enhance Professional Credibility
A majority of professional role models are individuals who have acquired professional certifications and willingly disseminate their knowledge through various channels such as speaking engagements, writing, and attending conferences.
Continuous Professional Development (CPD) or ongoing education serves as the bedrock of an individual’s commitment, transforming them into valuable employees and contributors in their chosen field.
The Value of Certifications in Different Sectors
In well-established professions like medicine, law, engineering, architecture, and academia, individuals typically begin with a foundational qualification and augment their expertise with additional professional certifications throughout their careers.
In contrast, emerging professions witness the proliferation of certifications from various professional bodies. Illustrative examples include:
- Agile Business Consortium – The overarching mission is to delineate, unify, and foster the global expansion of the business agility domain. Among their acclaimed certifications are Agile Project Management and Agile Business Analysis, encompassing both Foundation and Practitioner levels. Additionally, they offer certifications for roles such as Scrum Master and Scrum Product Owner.
- BRMI – The BRM Institute, a nonprofit corporation, is dedicated to assisting organizations in enhancing their Business Relationship Management capabilities. Their developmental initiatives encompass workshops covering BRM Fundamentals. Furthermore, they offer certifications for Business Relationship Management Professional (BRMP®) and Certified Business Relationship Manager (CBRM®).
- Within the realm of Project Management, professional bodies are prevalent in most countries.
- The Project Management Institute (PMI), based in the United States, stands as the largest entity aspiring to be the foremost authority in project management. With chapters spanning the globe, PMI is globally recognized, and its flagship certification, the Project Management Professional (PMP), is widely acclaimed.
- The Association for Project Management (APM) serves as the UK’s counterpart, operating as a registered charity and the singular chartered membership organization that globally represents the project profession. APM, along with certifications like APMG’s Praxis Framework, provides professionals with a route to attain Chartered Project Professional (ChPP) status. ChPP stands as a distinguished professional benchmark, signifying an elevated level of technical expertise, professional acumen, and ethical conduct.
- The UK Cyber Security Council is tasked with the development, promotion, and administration of nationally recognized standards for cybersecurity, aligning with the UK Government’s National Cyber Security Strategy. This includes the identification of diverse entry routes and career trajectories within the field, coupled with the corresponding training and qualifications.
How to Choose the Right Certification
There isn’t a singular answer to this question, given the non-linear nature of most careers. Successful professionals often attest to following opportunities and acquiring additional certifications along their unique paths.
In today’s dynamic job landscape, the concept of a lifelong career has faded, demanding individuals to be adaptable and agile. Numerous skills and roles currently in demand, such as AI Engineers, Cyber Security Analysts, Data Analysts, and Sustainability Specialists, didn’t exist a decade ago. Likewise, advancements in technology have transformed certain professions, like Statisticians evolving into Quants on Wall Street.
The knowledge gleaned from professional certifications holds enduring value. Acquired skills are transferable across various roles. My recommendation is to pursue certificates relevant to your current position while contemplating the requirements of your ideal next role.
Encourage creativity and an open mindset regarding skill acquisition, emphasizing quality over quantity. Having a few certifications from reputable professional bodies surpasses numerous certifications with limited credibility.
Utilize skills frameworks like SFIA to map your current skills and envision additional ones that could broaden your opportunities in the future. Examine surveys from organizations like the World Economic Forum for insights into roles anticipated to be valuable to employers.
Project Managers, in particular, are consistently in demand, with statistics indicating a need for 25 million new project managers to ensure timely delivery of planned activities. Becoming a certified project management professional can prove advantageous across various industries.
Here at CourseMonster, we know how hard it may be to find the right time and funds for training. We provide effective training programs that enable you to select the training option that best meets the demands of your company.
For more information, please get in touch with one of our course advisers today or contact us at email@example.com