If you wish to pursue a Project Management career, but you lack substantive experience, I strongly recommend you complete entry-level certification. If you’re new to project management, your certification options include:
1. Prince2® has no experience prerequisite for certification. The PRINCE2® foundation and practitioner exams are required to be certified. Typically you can do Foundation training certification is a 3 day course. Once you complete Foundation, you can complete Practitioner in another 2 day course. (Recommended option assuming relevant to your industry)
2. The Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)® is another good entry-level certification if you’re new to project management, or still figuring out your career path. This certification is achieved competing a multiple-choice exam similar to the PMI® PMP® examination. CAPM is rarely mentioned in job ads however, but if you to complete CAPM this should help demonstrate a commitment to the project management discipline to any potential employers. That might be the deciding factor to getting a role that allows you to gain the experience to gain the PMI PMP or AIPM CPPM.
3. AIPM Certified Practising Project Practitioner (CPPP). Similar to CAPM® level. Essentially you need to have experience as a project team member. Again rarely, if ever mentioned in job ads but if you complete this it may help you win a junior PM role.
If your motivation is to to be able get the opportunity for an interview with the actual hiring manager for an IT job, my recommendation is that the Prince2 certification path is the best for someone entering the PM path. This recommendation is based on the fact that most PM roles are advertised as PMP®, Prince 2, and/or RegPM (CPPM) certified and having Prince2 on your resume will improve your opportunity to pass through recruitment agency initial screening hurdle. Few, if any, PM roles are advertised for CAPM® or CPPP and moreover both are certifying you as a project team member rather than a PM like Prince2 certification achieves.
In addition, when you get your first PM role, I suggest that you start preparing a portfolio of competence. This means that you should start collecting evidence to demonstrate that you have had experience against all performance criteria listed in the nine units of competence. Refer to the Australian National Competency Standards for Project Management for information about the nature of the evidence required. This will help you with either RPL based assessment for AIPM certifications and/or AQF qualifications.
When we stop looking at “project management” as a job title and understand it for what it is- a process, we find that the “processes of project management” are embedded in just about everything we do. Which means that one way or another, to some degree or another, we are all “project managers”. So if you apply the Project Management processes to your current job, maybe you can start preparing a portfolio of competence.
- For an ACCOUNTANT, his/her “project” is each client’s tax year, and if he/she has the client for more than one year, it would be a program;
- For a DOCTOR, his/her “project” becomes each procedure or intervention, and in the case of a family physician or GP, each patient over time, becomes a “program”.
- For a LAWYER, each case becomes a project and like the accountant and doctor, if the same lawyer handles more than one case for the same client, that client becomes a program for the lawyer.
- For an AIRLINE PILOT, each “project” is an individual flight from City A to City B, and the pilot’s “program” could be each type of aircraft he/she is qualified to fly OR it could be his/her tenure with any single company;
- For a PLUMBER or ELECTRICIAN, each “project” is a contract or work order…….
- For a MOM or DAD, each “project” is teaching their kids something new- toilet training them; teaching them to tie their shoes, helping them graduate from elementary, middle, high school and university; and the collective results of all these “projects” become a PROGRAM. Or how about the annual family vacation? Isn’t that a “project” by just about any definition?