Best Project Management Certifications For 2015

Best Project Management Certifications For 2015
By , Mary Kyle

Project management certifications have claimed a place in all of the top IT certification lists for years. That's because project managers are important to IT operations of all kinds. Whether you're interested in becoming an IT project manager or want to add project management to the list of your soft skills, these top 5 certifications will help you complement your technical skills, and in turn increase your value.

If there's one set of soft skills that has remained high on the IT radar for the past decade or so, to the point where they've become almost as sought-after and every bit as valuable as other top-level credentials, that has to be project management.

Thanks in very large part to the immensely popular and widely pursued Project Management Professional (PMP) certification from the Project Management Institute (PMI), this area has become an incredibly valuable "merit badge" credential for IT professionals of all kinds, because it enhances and expands on the value of just about any other kind of technical credential.

If you're wondering why this should be the case, think about what project management means and involves for a moment. It has everything to do with planning, scheduling, budgeting for, and then executing and reporting on projects of all shapes and sizes. Because anything and everything that IT does can be understood or handled as a project of some kind -- either a "one of a kind" activity that happens only once or very seldom (think hardware or OS upgrades, or migrating from older to newer platforms or infrastructures), or a recurring series of activities that repeat regularly (think security patches, software updates or other regular maintenance tasks) -- project management is incredibly important to IT operations of all kinds.

According to the PMI Salary Survey, Eighth Edition, IT professionals who hold the PMP credential report median earnings worldwide of $108,000 annually. Depending on factors such as the complexity and size of the project, location and field of expertise (IT, construction, or healthcare, for example), or experience, salaries for PMP credential holders may be much higher. In turn, this explains quite nicely why the PMP has showed up in nearly every top 10 list of popular, targeted or most desirable certifications since the early 2000s.

But there's more to project management certification than just the PMP (though it is very much the "big dog" of this pack) as our article will illustrate. Just to cover the most important base in this arena, however, we do begin our top five list with the PMP in first place.

To provide you an idea of what credentials employers actually look for in prospective candidates, we conducted a quick survey on several popular job boards to see what certs top the employers’ list of coveted project management credentials. In conducting this search, we ran into a couple of problems. Some of the job board search engines dropped the plus sign from the Project+ credential, so the actual numbers of employers looking for candidates with this credential is likely to be higher. In addition, the numbers for the Certified Project Manager credential may be off a bit because this search frequently resulted in employers looking for the PMP credential (Certified Project Manager – PMP as a query result, for example), although we tried our best to cull inaccurate responses. Even with mild variants in the results, Table 1 gives you a good idea of what employers were seeking when this article was published. Clearly, the PMP credential remains the overall favorite and remains our No. 1 pick for must-have project management credentials.

Table 1: Job Board Survey Results

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We hope you find our top five project management certification choices for 2015 useful!

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